Family Health & Exercise My Boys

How to Use Beard Brush?

Beard hairs are more delicate and needed to be looked after more carefully, unlike the hair on our heads. The length and growth of the beard varies from person to person. the growth of beard depends on various factors like hormones, environment, products used, etc. the length and growth can be enhanced by following some tips like oiling your beard hair regularly, combing or brushing it with utmost care in proper direction, keeping it squeaky clean and many more.

How to Use Beard Brush?

Steps to follow while combing and brushing your facial hair

  • Step 1: Choose the right comb with the right alignment of teeth. The spacing between the teeth should be dependent on the thickness and density of your beard. The edges of the plastic comb are static due to which they are rough and delicate enough to get twisted in one or two glides. Choosing the best quality teeth can make or break the shape and texture of your beard.
  • Step 2: styling your beard should be done by beginning from lower to upper, in an upwardly position. The detangling issue would be solved if you start from the neck portion to the cheeks and then to the chin. Separating your hair strands is also important.
  • Step 3: the snags caused in your hair during the gap in combing, maybe overnight, might be stubborn but it is advised to not pull them with friction. Instead, slowly detangle them inch by inch cautiously. If they are too much crossed over each other then you can use nice beard oil to smoothen them.
  • Step 4: after all this, start combing your beard downwards to do the desired styling. You can now start the use of the brush. Brushes with soft bristles are known for superb styling and removing the frizz present in your hair.
  • Step 5: combing the mustache is the step often forgotten by men. It is too, important, as it is also counted in styling your facial hair. Comb and keep the hair of your mustache aside from your lips.
  • Step 6: do not go aggressively and put too much friction in your beard hair. Gently comb your mustache with a specialized comb for mustache.

Following the above-mentioned steps while combing your facial hair will not only detangle them but also helps in styling them.

How to Use Beard Brush?

Materials used in making beard brushes and combs

Brushes are basically made from hairs of animals such as horses or boar. Beard brush is known to be the one made from the bristles of boar’s hair as they are more appropriate in usage because they reduce frizz in a short time and spread the oil more efficiently than the brushes with horse bristles.

Combs are manufactured by the raw materials like wood (sandalwood and pear wood), metals, rubber, cellulose, silicone, plastics, etc. they are more durable and lasting than the brushes, I.e., they have a longer shelf life as compared to the brushes.

Beard combs are portable, I.e., easy to carry, but beard brushed take a lot of space to fit in. you can put your comb in the pocket of your pant but you cannot do this with your brush.

But it is one’s personal choice to choose a beard brush or a comb. Each one has its own pros and cons.

Pros of combing or brushing your hair

  1. Creates symmetry: beard combs or brushes help you attaining the desired style of your beard. They also make your face look perfectly aligned. They make the jawline look sharper.
  2. Hygienic: when you eat something, it generally struck into your facial hair. A comb with a narrow gap between teeth can help you resolve this problem. It will remove the food particles that are stuck into them. This creates a proper hygienic and clean environment and prevents health issues.
  3. Moisturizes: applying beard balm or beard oil every day before taking a shower is highly suggested for a great texture of your facial hair. They keep your beard hair strong and healthy too, by making the underneath skin moisturized. Specialized balms or creams are available for beards that are thicker as compared to the face or skin creams, as they need to penetrate the facial hair to reach into the epidermis.
  4. Gives a classy look: it gives a fine look when someone uses brushes to style your hair as per their requirements. If you really want to notice the changes, stop combing your beard for a few days and the detangling process will begin to start. Then you will know the value of beard oils and combs. Combing your beard twice a day is recommended to every man out there.

Things not to do with your beard

  • Do not use plastic combs.
  • Do not comb in the wrong direction.
  • Never use regular head combs.
  • Avoid putting extra friction.

What is the suitable time to use beard comb and brush?

Time matters in respect to combing your hair. Brushing or combing them right after you have taken a shower is said to be the best time to comb it. But first, let the facial hair air-dry for some minute. Combing in wet hair is not at all suggested as, at that time your hair is in their most delicate and weak condition, thus they might get breakage if done even gently. This will cause hair fall conditions to start appearing as well.

How to Use Beard Brush?

Tricks to comb style your beard

  1. Tap a dry towel over your beard on extremely wet hair, after a shower.
  2. Then let it air-dry for a few minutes.
  3. Put some beard oil and gently massage your beard and mustache.
  4. Run a nice wooden beard comb with wide spacing teeth.
  5. Style them by a brush with soft bristles.

How many times you should style or comb your facial hair?

Using a combing your hair for detangling your beard hair once a day is normal. While brushing them three to four times per day for styling is known to be okay. But when this activity exceeds this standard time, then it might weaken your beard hair and can cause hair damage. To prevent the condition of hair loss, you should carefully do this process.

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Health & Exercise

How Often to Exfoliate Body?

New skin cells cannot increase to the surface and dead skin cells trap oil and dirt in your skin. This can lead to a duller looking skin tone, acne, rough, dry, oily or dark spots.

Exfoliation includes by hand removing dead cells from the skin. This can be performed in a number of ways. One way is with abrasive substances or tools, the other way is chemically. Exfoliating tools consist of loofahs, brushes, particular wash clothing which are created to exfoliate as they clean. Abrasive substances are typically emollients with something coarse included which will scrub off the dead cells. Typical products used consist of salt, sugar, crushed apricot kernel, almond shells, and jojoba beads.

How Often to Exfoliate Body?

How to Exfoliate Your Body The Proper Way

We typically consider exfoliation as being simply for the face, however the rest of your body needs exfoliation, too. The question is what to use: Is an exfoliating body scrub the response? A loofah? A body brush? We discuss the do’s and don’ts of body exfoliation, and discuss why the very best body exfoliator is one you leave on your skin.

Advantages of Body Exfoliation

You may be questioning why we need to exfoliate. With age, built up sun damage, and particular skin concerns, skin’s natural capability to undetectably shed dead surface cells ends up being defective– often stopping entirely. The outcome is an accumulation of dry, ashen-looking skin that can make your arms, elbows, legs– practically all over– look dull, unequal, and older than they really are.

The Very Best Body Exfoliator Tool

The cosmetics market typically provides one kind of item as a service: body scrubs. You’ll find scrubs which contain different kinds of exfoliating components, from polyethylene (also called plastic microbeads, which are being phased out due to ecological issues) to walnut shells, pumice, ashes, sugar, and sea salt. Which scrub is best? Remarkably, none! The very best body scrubs are the ones you do not use.

How Often to Exfoliate Body?

Why prevent body scrubs? 2 factors:

With extremely couple of exceptions, practically all body scrubs are too abrasive. They exfoliate at the expenditure of triggering small micro-tears, which slowly deteriorate your skin’s protective barrier, resulting in dryness, level of sensitivity, and other issues.

Body scrubs also are typically extremely fragranced, consisting of with necessary oils, and these cause additional problems that can activate inflammation (although they do smell excellent, which does make them appealing).

The Advantages Of Exfoliating Before Tanning.

There are various manner ins which technology of today day has made beautification efforts more streamlined, structured and simpler to achieve. One such fulfillment can quickly be found with indoor tanning beauty parlors. Such locations bring in males and females from all strolls of life who are merely attempting to make their skin look more appealing.

If you are not correctly exfoliating your skin prior to making that trip to the tanning beauty salon, you may not really be getting your complete money’s worth out of such beauty ventures. The good news is, there are some simple and affordable manner ins which you can exfoliate your skin prior to another experience in tanning.

Can avoid your skin from becoming too dry

Among the most crucial advantages found with exfoliating your skin before tanning is that it can avoid your skin from becoming too dry. The ultraviolet rays that you will be exposing your skin to are almost similar to those that are produced from the sun. By exfoliating your skin prior to that trip down beauty lane, you can get a much deeper and more lively tan without drying your skin while doing so.

You’ll also wish to ensure that you use a high quality exfoliating soap, shower gel, or body wash before totally exfoliating your skin in preparation for tanning. Search for soaps that are hypoallergenic which do not have any extreme components or scents in them, however that will exfoliate your skin while you are bathing.

If you choose to eliminate calluses with a pumice stone, you ought to also remove what triggered the callus to develop in the first place. This might indicate getting a sole implant for your shoe, using different socks or getting a new shoe entirely. Make certain your shoes fit correctly.

Despite what part of your body, exfoliation is important to eliminate dry, flaky, and dead skin. Removing dead cells from the skin enables it to breathe and shine with health. Exfoliation followed by a hydrating cream or cream will ensure that your skin ends up being smooth, soft, and conditioned.

Use whatever manner in which works best for you

Whichever way you pick to exfoliate, understand that you need to know your body and use whatever manner in which works best for you. All bodies and skin types are as unique as the individual themselves, so treat your body kindly and carefully and it will reward you with healthy, radiant, glowing look. Exfoliation will make your body feel great, which in return will reward you psychologically and mentally. If you have diabetes, or other conditions that trigger circulatory issues or feeling numb, consult your health professional before attempting any of these treatments for calluses or corns.

How Often to Exfoliate Body?

A simple way to really exfoliate your skin before you tan can be found in a variety of spray-on exfoliants that you can find at most supermarket, drug shops, or perhaps beauty supply shops. These items tend to be extensively available and really budget friendly. Most indoor tanning beauty parlors sell them. You just shower and after that spray them on to the areas of your skin that you intend on exfoliating. Enable them to work their magic previous to that tanning consultation and you can prevent dark lines or dry skin.

Calluses typically develop when your skin chooses it needs to secure itself from damage, such as wear from a specific spot on your shoes. Do not use the skin in these spots away entirely-this opens your skin approximately infection and prospective blistering.

Conclusion

You will also wish to check out some valuable exfoliation tools which can be bought at most shops. A couple of great ones to think about consist of: body loofahs, scrubbing sponges and exfoliating gloves.

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Family Health & Exercise Me, Myself and I Politics Work

I AM HEALTH CARE

As a kid, I never dreamed of being a doctor.

I moved to California at the age of eight, when my dad (a PhD biochemist) was asked to work for a biotech company that, in 1987, thought they may have found a cure for HIV. (Spoiler alert: that didn’t pan out.) I didn’t understand the temporal bravery of the scientists working on what was then thought of as a homosexual disease, but I was so proud to know that my dad went to work every day trying to save people’s lives.

Within months of our cross-country move, my mom got a job at Stanford University Medical Center making sure insurers paid the hospital and the hospital paid the docs and the university…blah…blah…blah…accountingcontractsnumbersmath…so that, ultimately, the many thousands of patients – HUNDREDS OF WHOM I PERSONALLY KNOW – could get the best health care on the planet. I don’t understand accounting but I am so proud to know that my mom goes to work every day to make sure Stanford (and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital) can deliver the highest quality care to my friends, neighbors, family, and the many people who come from across the country and around the world to seek health.

When I was a teenager and young adult, I worked in Stanford’s heart and lung transplant department (with the father of heart transplantation) where I met donor families, people waiting for a donor match, transplant recipients, nurses, doctors, office staff, schedulers, and yes even accounting folk who came to work every day because together, as a team, we saved people’s lives. Some of the most fulfilling “work” of my life happened when the nurses who supervised my clerical/office tasks asked me to go hang out with the younger transplant recipients – kids who were stuck in a hospital for weeks on end with no one but adults with whom to interact. I wouldn’t trade those conversations for the world. (You don’t know humility until you hear it from an adolescent fighting for their life.) I was invited to witness an organ harvest (sorry, technical term) and heart transplant all in-house (which does not often happen) and it ranks right up there with birthing my two sons on my list of top life experiences. I may not have understood why transplants worked, but I was so proud to work with a remarkable group of people who, with an astonishing amount of regularity, resurrected life from death. [PSA: if you’re not already, please learn how to register to be an organ donor.]

I moved on from my high school and college clerical jobs and pursued a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown where I took classes from amazing professors who taught me the policy and politics behind our most important health laws. (I mean, for reals…I took Politics & the Media from Paul Begala while he was still appearing on the (good) Crossfire. Could life have been any better for a policy/politics dork like me?) I began to understand that policies enacted by our government can truly impact people’s lives. I was so proud to have chosen a profession where I could – in my own, passion-driven way – help people live healthier, more productive lives.

Since I graduated from grad school, I have had the honor to do work – on my own and in my career – on behalf of the people like my dad and my mom and my coworkers and the many hundreds of thousands of people in California and across the country who go to work every day to try to make people’s lives better by optimizing their health.

Policy-making isn’t always pretty. Politics certainly isn’t. Medicine is often as much of an art as a science. And though I don’t always understand the science part of medicine, I am so proud to be part of a community of people who I KNOW strive to enhance, improve and save lives EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

 

***Disclosure: I’ve acknowledged, both in this post and on my “My House, My Rules” page, that I work for health care companies. That being said, I’ve not been asked to write this post, nor have I been compensated for it. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and only mine and do not reflect the views of my employers, colleagues or clients.***

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Animals Family Me, Myself and I My Boys Parenting RIP

Friend. Protector. Family.: RIP Mater

***This post began as a comment on Facebook in response to the notes I received after I posted the status update and pictures shown below. But in typical FB fashion, it was being a punk and in typical Emmie fashion, I was blabbering on and on. So I dusted off this blog and decided to just post this here. Thanks for coming back to visit.***

Friend. Protector. Family.: RIP Mater

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. All of us are taking this very hard. For those of you who asked what happened, all we really know is that Mater got sick and went downhill fast. The very long version is as follows:

Mater vomited once on Saturday morning. We withheld food, figuring it was a stomach bug. He threw up a small amount Saturday night and then was fine until Sunday night when he vomited water. We came home (we were in the Bay dropping off the boys for camp). By Monday night, he was perking up a bit…asking for food, following me around the house close to normal. I fed him a small amount of rice. He kept it down all night. I gave him a bit more the next morning (Tuesday) but when we came home from work we found he’d thrown it up in his crate.

By that point it was clear that Harley hadn’t contracted whatever he had (they always share little stomach bugs so that was unusual) so I was no longer inclined to think it was something that simple. I called our vet who was closing for the night. They sent us to the emergency vet. (Side story: Just before we left, I took Mater into the backyard. Our neighbor’s dog was out and they did their usual tussle at the fence. Normally I’d shush him but something told me to just let him have his fun while he could. Yesterday morning, I heard the neighbors’ dog outside waiting for Mater like normal. It broke my heart.)

I got him to the emergency vet. He was solemn but wagged his tail when the tech and the vet came in. At this point, everyone thought it was an obstruction…that he’d ingested something he shouldn’t have and that it was lodged in his digestive system somewhere. X-rays indicated that was unlikely. Blood work showed his liver values were through the roof. The ER vet said his levels looked like those of a dog who ingested something poisonous. We couldn’t think of anything he could have gotten into. I told her I needed to know if he wasn’t going to make it. That I had to go get my boys who were two and a half hours away.

We started him on antibiotics and fluids and the emergency vet kept him overnight to run some more tests. In the middle of the night, she called to say his liver wasn’t producing the proteins to clot his blood (which meant they couldn’t get a biopsy of his liver, the next step in diagnosing him along with an ultrasound). He could suffer from internal bleeding at any time. The nurse caring for him said he “looked worse” in the morning. The radiologist that reviewed the film confirmed that obstruction was highly unlikely and said his liver looked smaller than it should be. The vet informed me that it would be extremely difficult to figure out what was going on and likely significantly harder to fix it. She explained the procedure for euthanasia.

At first we asked to move him to his regular vet. But as we thought about it, we wondered whether we should just keep him there so as to avoid the anxiety and discomfort of a car ride. I called our vet to tell him our concerns but he pushed hard to evaluate him himself. “He’s my patient,” he said. “Let me try to save him.” I couldn’t blame him. (In case you question his motives, he offered us a break on the expenses and was significantly cheaper than the emergency vet even without the discounts. He’s a good guy.)

The car ride over was awful. Mater cried the whole time, like I’ve never heard him cry. He threw up as we pulled into the parking lot. I got help getting him inside and talked with the vet. He ran a couple more tests (it wasn’t parvo but he had bacteria in his stool) and asked for two days to try to treat him with antibiotics. Scoot went to get the boys so they could see him that day (Wednesday) just in case. He rushed down to the Bay, told them Mater was really sick and that we wanted to give them a chance to see him, and they headed back. While they were on their way back, I got a call that Mater had a seizure. He wasn’t responding to the antibiotics (now on hour 18). I asked the vet to keep him comfortable and told him that the boys would be back in about two hours.

I went to lay with him while we waited for the boys. When I arrived, his eyes were fixed. The vet had to sedate him and he said he thought Mater was blinded by the seizure. I put my face in his. His nose twitched. He knew I was there. I talked to him, told him
how sorry I was, that we all loved him, that the boys were on their way. I wondered whether I had time to bring Harley over, thinking maybe she could bring him comfort that I couldn’t. He adored her. But I knew there wasn’t much time and my priority was to make sure he wasn’t alone. I got all the arrangements handled. We moved him to an exam room where he was able to lay comfortably on a blanket.

The boys arrived. How they felt is their own story to tell. I, however, have never felt as terrible as a parent as I did when they walked in and said their goodbyes. Mater dragged himself into Bop’s lap as Bop sat in my arms on the edge of the exam table. It was such as juxtaposition to the early days when the puppy Mater and 2-year-old Bop wanted little to do with each other.

The boys went to the waiting room with Scoot while Mater left this world. I stayed with him, nose to nose. The end was peaceful and merciful.

Meanwhile, the boys chose the inscription for his urn: Mater Johnson. Friend. Protector. Family. September 29, 2008 – August 7, 2013.

He wasn’t even five years old.

Mater was supposed to be our way of helping the boys deal with Harley’s mortality. He was supposed to comfort them and snuggle them when she died of old age. He was supposed to be here to greet them when they walked home from school by themselves for the first time. He was supposed to hang out with them while they played video games. He was supposed to be the playful peacemaker after enduring the yelling of fights between adolescent boys and their parents. He was supposed to get in the way when we were trying to take pictures of the boys on their way to prom. He was supposed to cry at the door when DJ went off to college. He wasn’t supposed to be a distant memory by then.

Instead of enjoying all of the “supposed to”s, I’m left to mourn. To comfort my husband and my kids as we all struggle with this complete and sudden shock to our lives. To second guess every decision we’ve ever made about him and his care. To wonder what would have happened if he’d been seen sooner. To research the chicken-or-the-egg cycle that is liver failure in a fruitless search for an explanation. To question my natural inclination to plan out everything in my life. To get smacked in the face by the reality that there is so much beyond my control. To try to envision my kids’ future without him in it. To answer my boys’ questions – some of which are unanswerable. To know when to let tears flow and when to dry them. To forgive myself for my role, however big or small, in his demise. And, ultimately, to have faith that none of us will feel this way forever.

I’ll miss you, my little snuggle bug.

Friend. Protector. Family.: RIP Mater

Friend. Protector. Family.: RIP Mater

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Business Fashion Friends Me, Myself and I

Can We Have Take Your Classmate to Work Day?

I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about Facebook, questioning why in the world they’d want to be in touch with their entire high school class and I understand why some folks would say that. But I see it differently.

Facebook has allowed me to not only reminesce with the people I grew up with but to see what interesting people they’ve become as adults. I have to say, I’m pretty proud to have known so many awesome people. Many of them are doing really cool things. Below, I highlight three women I grew up with who have started their own businesses following their passions.

Live in San Francisco and own a dog? Then you should get to know Fetch in the City. FITC is run by my best friend from junior high, Jessey. She offers play groups for dogs as well as customized pet sitting. Her playgroups, which have a maximum of eight dogs each, get their exercise off-leash at Fort Funston. Anyone who knows Jessey knows she has a passion for animals. She nearly got me killed riding a horse once (ok, not killed…we were in a ring and the horse was barely trotting but it scared the snot out of me anyway), but I still love her.

Jessey and I both were soccer players throughout high school and a teammate of ours, Naomi, is also running her own business in San Francisco. Sweet Buds Floral designs beautiful bouquets of flowers and delivers anywhere in San Francisco for $13. They also deliver for weddings and events throughout the Bay Area and into wine country. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill carnations, these designs are breathtaking. Order your Mother’s Day bouquet today!

In addition to beautiful flowers, what better gift for mom than a way to stay fashionable while she’s serving as the hostess at her dinner party? Look no further than Smocks Design. When having company over, no one wants to ruin their good clothes while preparing dinner, but aprons can be so blah. Kelley, who I went to elementary, junior high and high school with, and her mom have you covered…literally. When Page Six Magazine decided to cut back to publishing quarterly, Kelley, who served as the mag’s fashion editor, went to work on creating her own company which promotes “the art of entertaining” by bringing high fashion to the apron-wearing set. They purchase remnant fabric from designers, so not only is the cut stylish and flattering, the fabric is too. While Kelley’s not kicking off new business ventures, she and her mom also search for style and substance together on their blog, Cuts on the Bias. It’s a daily read on my netvibes page.

I admire all three of these women for taking risks and following their passions. Go check out what they have to offer and I’m sure you will come to admire them too.

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Animals Family Our 'Hood Parenting

My Kids Are 5 and 2 But I’ve Got Empty Nest Syndrome Already

Friday night last week, our 6 month old puppy Mater was in the backyard acting weird. I saw him looking up at one of our trees going ape shit. He actually tried to climb a 6 foot tall wood fence to get closer. Because we live in a new neighborhood with new trees, we have no normal suburban wildlife (like squirrels) so I didn’t really think much about it and went on with my evening.

The next (beautiful!) day, we spent the entire day doing yardwork. As I was cleaning up the back corner of the yard, I remembered Mater’s behavior and decided to take a look. Sure enough, right at eye level there was a nest with two little baby birds looking at me with their beaks wide open. I stared for a few minutes and then realized that their mom and dad were in my neighbor’s tree watching me and those chicks looked hungry, so I left.

I know absolutely nothing about birds. (I think they may be Western Meadowlarks or Lesser Goldfinches but I could be wrong.) But, man, their behavior was so interesting to me. All weekend I was drawn to this little bird family. It ends up there were not two but four. And they were growing by the day!

It’s no surprise, really, because that mommy and daddy bird were busy! Their routine was something like this: Mom & Dad (making assumptions here…since I know nothing about birds I’m assuming they are in a heterosexual relationship…no clue if that’s right) fly into the area together and make a few circles around the tree where the nest is. They’re checking out the territory and making sure everything is ok. They’re very vocal. One (I like to say Mom but I really don’t know) swoops into the tree to a chorus of baby chirps while Dad hangs out in a high location nearby, presumably keeping watch. Then once Mom is done, they switch places and Dad feeds the babies. The chicks are instantly calmed and Mom and Dad fly away noisily. The chicks curl up together and take a nap and the cycle starts all over again.

D, our 5 year old, witnessed this routine as well and he had a lot of questions and since he still believes that I know everything I narrated the show to the best of my abilities. What was so remarkable, to both of us, really, was how familiar this pattern of parent/child behavior was. Now, if I’m remembering the one day I didn’t cut freshman year biology correctly, the feeding is done when the Mom and Dad regurgitate whatever they found on their hunting expedition for the babies to eat. I’ve never done that, though I did chew food for my kids a few times when they were just starting to eat solids. I’m also pretty sure that if I had left my kids all by themselves in their cribs when they were days old, CPS would have been over to visit with a quickness. But all-in-all observing their behavior was yet another reminder of how natural parenting is for many animals, humans included.

It reminded me of an incident that happened the summer before we moved from DC to California, when I was about 7 months pregnant with B. We had a little townhouse with a little yard and in it we had a blue tarp. We went to clean up the yard before we put the house on the market and realized a mouse (or rat?) had made the tarp its home. We scared it away but realized a few minutes later that there was an entire litter of rodents left behind. I called the local animal services people and the woman on the phone said, “Rodents are mammals. Mammal mothers don’t abandon their babies. She’ll be back.” I burst into tears. The sappy, can’t explain to your husband when he asks what’s wrong kind. (Hey, I was pregnant. I blame it on the hormones.)

My point is that motherhood, parenthood, is not just about procreation. It’s about so much more than that, for wild animals and humans alike. It’s about the things that Mom and Dad bird did to put food in their kids’ bellies. It’s about the pain that we feel when our kids are hurting. The sacrifices we make to keep a roof over their head (or a nest under their bum, as the case may be). And the heartbreak we go through when something goes terribly wrong.

I was so drawn to those four chicks over the past four days that my heart broke a little when I came home this evening and the nest was empty. Of course, D and I celebrated that they had grown up and moved away, lest I discourage him from doing the same thing some day. I just hope they come back to visit and know that when they do, they’ll find their bedroom just as they left it.

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Me, Myself and I My Boys Parenting Sports

I’m Either Raising a Master Manipulator Or I Suck As A Mother

While we were on our vacation in Michigan, D (our 5 year old), asked Scoot, “Daddy, will you stop being on the computer?” He then repeated the question to me. The next day, the two of us had a conversation about it and decided that while we’re not on the computer all that much, if our kid is mentioning it to us then perhaps we should cut back. Problem solved.

Until last night.

While driving home from registering D from his first soccer league, I mentioned to him that I have a soccer game at 9 pm tonight. His response: “Mommy, I don’t want you to play soccer any more.”

What? Why? I play one game once a week and it’s one of two outside-the-house activities I do (the other being the neighborhood association board which meets once a month for two hours).

“Because I want you to have fun time with me.”

OK, kid, so why don’t you break my heart while you’re at it? Am I really that bad of a mother?

I’ve always been proud of myself for not participating in a lot of non-kid activities. Though Scoot and I both work fulltime, we spend as much time as possible with our children outside of work hours. We put them in daycare near our work so that we could spend extra time on our long commute together. I can count on one hand the number of times they’ve been watched by someone other than one of us…IN 5 YEARS!

So now I’m vacillating between thinking I’m a horrible mother and thinking I’ve raised a total manipulator. Does he know that when he says stuff like that he’ll get his way? Even if “spending fun time with me” means he’s playing in his playroom while I’m doing the dishes or changing his brother’s diaper?

Don’t think I’m being too harsh on the kid…he really does know how to work it. A couple weeks ago he wanted to get “biscuit” (Lucille’s BBQ) for dinner and Scoot was ready to make a meal at home. D turned to his daddy, and said something along the lines of, “Daddy, can we please have biscuit? I’ll be so happy” and then gave him a kiss. Game. Over.

But even so, if a kid says they want more time, even if they get as much of it as you think you can give, shouldn’t you listen? Is spending a few hours a month on your own activities selfish? I’m so confused. Halp!

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Family RIP

A Satisfied Mind

Six years ago this spring, my Grandma Johnson died. My heart broke for many reasons: I was pregnant with my first son and I knew she and my kids would never know one another (a loss for them both); her death was sudden and so came as a bit of a surprise (although she was still 83 years old) and I was totally unprepared; I was on an airplane on my way to say a last goodbye when my dad called to say that she had passed away and so felt I had missed out. But most of all I was heartbroken because the love of my Grandfather’s life, the woman who he had spent the last 63 years with, was gone and he was left alone.

And so, for the past six years, every time I’ve heard Randy Travis’ Satisfied Mind, I’ve bawled my eyes out. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it includes these words:

“He said I ain’t afraid of dying ‘cause I know there’s something worse,

When you have to see your reason for living go first

And you get left behind.

Some can’t think of nothing better than to live this life forever,

I never wanted no more than was mine

And to lay down some day and go home with a satisfied mind.

He said don’t look into the darkness if you wanna see true black,

Look into the morning’s brightness at love ain’t coming back

And you will find right there the darkness that blinds.

And don’t think wealth is ever having all you want all to yourself.

It is found when you are giving what you have to someone else.

The only difference in the rich and the poor is a satisfied mind.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, Grandpa has been fortunate to be surrounded by family, as he has children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who live in Michigan, some of whom eventually came to live with him in his final years. But ever since Grandma died it’s been clear that a piece of his heart was missing.

This is the only tragedy surrounding his final days on earth. In fact, Grandpa always used to say that when old people die, that’s not a tragedy. He was proud of his old age, and he embraced it like no one I’ve known.

When I was in college he asked me once, “Why would I fear death? Do you remember what it was like before you were born?” “No,” I replied. “Did God hurt you or let you be hurt by others?” “No,” I repeated. “So it must be when you die,” he said. Simple logic to be sure but Grandpa had a way of taking all the stress and worry and other emotions out of aging and death and strip it down to a very simple, very understandable truth. We are born, we live, we die.

He was successful with this philosophy in large part because he had an unbelievable sense of humor and was always able to laugh at himself – even last summer when he walked out of his bedroom, to the bathroom and back before realizing he didn’t have on any pants. He was a joy to watch age in much the same way that a child is. On that same visit last summer, Scoot and I walked into his room and found him watching Coyote Ugly. He developed a crush on Jennifer Aniston and owned every season of Friends on DVD.

When my dad called to tell me the news of his passing early in February (he had fallen a couple days earlier and broken his leg so it was not a huge surprise), he told me that my aunt and uncle had just left him with some magazines to read and he was talking to the nurses and he just died. Now, I’m sure there’s more to the story than that, but I don’t want to know it.

Because in my mind, I have this perfect image of Grandpa lying in his hospital bed, reading a People Magazine with Jennifer Aniston on the cover, flirting with the nurses who are doting over him, a smile crossing his face and then him going home to Grandma. And there could be no more apropos way for him to leave this world.

It was an honor to know him, to love him, and to be loved by him. He and Grandma are both sorely missed.

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Food Vacation

Do Not Try This At Home

Today was the first full day of our Michigan “vacation.” I use the words in quotes because we’re here to celebrate my grandpa’s life which ended this winter. (I’ll have more on this later.) We arrived yesterday afternoon, had an uneventful drive from Detroit to Lansing (where we’re staying for the first half of our trip), ate dinner and tried to get the boys to go to bed at a reasonable time while their bodies were telling them they were still on Pacific time. That was fun…NOT! Scoot was laid up with a cold for most of the day so I took D and B to the zoo and later took D to the swimming pool. After his 1,000th nap of the day, Scoot was feeling better and suggested we head to Jackson (about 40 minutes by car) to try out a place he’d seen on the Man v. Food discussion boards called The Parlour.

*Fellow Shredheads and Team Bob – please look away from the computer*

Scoot and I each split a small meal with our boys and then went in for the kill: The Dare to Be Great! It is described as, “Twenty-one scoops of assorted flavors of ice cream, topped with strawberries, chocolate, pineapple and marshmellow toppings, chopped mix nuts, whipped cream and cherries.” It cost $29.99 (but it’s free if one person can finish it in one hour).

This is what it looked like just after arriving at our table:

 

(My God, every time I look at this picture I’m amazed at the volume of ice cream that’s floating around in our bodies at this moment.)

I should note that the arrival was accompanied by a chorus of ooohs and aaahs from other Parlour patrons.

We did a decent job on that bad boy. D was a trooper and totally helped out, even though they had brought him his own (free) sundae before dinner. After one hour it looked like this:

 

Not bad for a day’s work. I’ll admit, though, I was a little upset that we didn’t finish the whole thing. I hate planning to do something and then not doing it. It frustrates me to no end. Though this will probably come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, I also got frustrated because the scoops were impossible to differentiate from one another. I’m someone who needs to visually see progress. I needed to know how many scoops we had left to motivate me to keep eating. My arteries are pleased that I stopped eating when I did.

For those of you who are wondering, the waitress said that about 10 people have successfully completed eating the entire Dare to Be Great! She said it’s the most disgusting thing she’s seen and she would have preferred going through life without having witnessed it.

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Health & Exercise

Cardio Max – Level 1 – Day 1

Did Cardio Max today for the first time. Wow. It’s tough. But I think I like it. For those of you who haven’t tried this DVD, Bob leads it and you customize your workout so you select what you want to do: warm up, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and cool down. Once you select the workouts you want to do, they just play one after the other.

I only did the warm up and Level 1. I did some of the cool down, which is very yoga-inspired, but B insisted that I sit down so that he could do yoga on his own.

Anyhow, today was a pretty good day. Not only did I exercise, but I also ate quite well including lots of fruits and veggies. I drank lots of water, didn’t go crazy with anything and I tracked it all on my Sparkpeople page. Yay! This is the kind of day I needed. Thinking I might try the yoga DVD tomorrow.I am going to hurt tomorrow and even more so on Saturday, but it was definitely my kind of workout. Weights were optional, though if you’ll recall I only own 10 pound weights. I think I made it through about three-quarters of the video using the weights when they were called for but by the end I was pretty spent. My legs were especially burning.

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