Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogging about Facebook

The whole world was peer-pressuring me to join Facebook. Over the course of a few short weeks, several in-person friends pestered me about my failure to emerge as a Facebook Friend. At the same time, I was subjected to multiple seminars about how I should be using Facebook as a tool for health promotion (the kind of work I do).

When I finally registered for Facebook, I was shocked and delighted to see that I had Friends waiting for me. If you joined Facebook years ago like everyone else, you probably don't know that Facebook retains a list of people who tried to beFriend you before you joined the site. When you finally do join, Facebook recognizes your email address and greets you with a list of people willing to be your Friend, if you agree.

My delight at my unexpected popularity dampened a bit when I wrote my first post and realized what a teeny little text box I had to write in.

I can be succinct. Really. Brevity is one of the defining virtues of the field of health promotion. But darn it, in my personal life I reserve the right to be as long-winded as I please.

Joining Facebook led to happy reunions with many long-lost friends. My Friends were asking me, with questions short enough to fit into the little Facebook textbox, to update them on my life. I wanted to, but I couldn' t figure out how to summarize a full and rewarding life with a family, career, hobbies, and even Friends in such a miniature space.

So now I blog. So long, tiny textbox!

By the way, I still haven't managed to use Facebook for health promotion. Eat your veggies, Friends.

Rockin' Utah

The Utah state parks administration has a grant this summer to fight the obesity epidemic by teaching families with kids to recreate outdoors.
We gave it a try. The first event we signed up for was called, "Fish and Fly".

What a deal! The event cost $10 per family, including admission to the park. Since admission to Yuba Lake is usually $7 per car anyhow, we essentially invested $3 for the program. At the lake, the whole family received new fishing poles. Even my toddler became the proud owner of a colorful, miniature pole with a toy fish attached to the line. We were also given bait and a tackle box. During the "flying" portion, my kids each received a nice, large, colorful nylon kite. My husband and I received a stunt kite to share. We came home with quite a cache of merchandise for three bucks!

Not only was this a great deal, but it was a lot of fun. A ranger was taught us how to fish. My four-year-old actually sat with my husband and fished and she was thrilled to catch a couple (although they were not the kind you would eat so we threw them back). My toddler ran up and down the dock, spouting off two new words he learned at the activity: dock and boat. Every now and then, he would seat himself in the row with the fishermen and stick his toy pole over the water, grin, and immediately jump up and take off running again. I got great exercise following him.

A rep of Cloud 9 in Draper (where you see all of the paragliders jumping off the cliff as you go past on the freeway) taught us how to manage the stunt kite. We are still not very good at this, but that makes it fun. I get bored with traditional kites a few minutes after getting them up into the air, when there is no challenge left. The kids loved seeing so many kites in the air at once, like Mary Poppins.

The downside: The website has NO information, other than the dates and places of the activities. So you are pretty clueless about what you are signing up for. After signing up, we got a couple emails that said "More information to come," but never any actual information, so the day of we were still wondering if we needed to bring anything with us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family versus house

About two years ago, my husband and I acquired a stucturally sound but dated 1940's home. We had a swell plan to live in one part while remodeling the other. Assuming it was an inanimate object, we did not take the house's opinons into consideration. The house did not want us to live there.

Before our first move-in attempt, I peeled away some wallpaper and found that the wall underneath it was missing. Termites.

During another attempt, the furnace died. In January. Being ecologically minded, we had intended to replace that ancient, energy-consuming monster anyway. But our plan had been to undergo the project in the summer, when we would not need heat. House said, "Hah!"

Since those early attempts, we have managed to take up residence at the House. However, our budget for contractors has been depleted and we are continuing the remodeling effort ourselves. My husband is the master carpenter, plumber and electrician and I am the dim-witted assistant. My wonderful family has taken pity on us and devotes one evening per month to helping us, too. My kids serve mainly as the testing crew, experimenting with things until they break them or injure themselves. They are also good at redecorating freshly painted walls with markers. House continues to reject us as residents, breaking something in protest on a regular basis.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Religious freedom

My son recently reached 18 months of age. This qualifies him to enter the church nursery instead of accompanying me, where he would loudly express how boring Sunday School was and create diversions to liven things up. We are both happier now.

He was a success his first day at nursery. He joined the other kids playing without much concern for the status of his parents. He particularly enjoyed singing time; he plopped himself into the teacher's lap for the whole session.

Talking about talking

My one year-old's vocabulary is growing by a word or two daily now. For quite some time, I irrationally fretted about his lack of speaking skills, in spite of the reassurances of my husband, who is a speech therapist. My older daughter was always so ahead for her age that right-on-track seems slow. At his last well-child, I was quite surprised to learn that his current vocabulary of about 30 words was about triple the average 10 words for his age. Even Daddy Speech Therapist hadn't noticed the transition from right-on-track to brilliant orator.

Some Things My Toddler Says...
I love you (This was one of his first elocutions! Isn't he sweet?)
mama (This was not one of his first...sigh.)
papa (grandma or grandpa)
happy (He learned this one at big sister's birthday party.)
boat (He learned this one at his first fishing trip.)
oh oh
big (always referring to himself)
helper (also about himself. He says this when he passes me something useful. Or not useful. Or when he helps me do chores, such as pulling flowers while I pull weeds or unfolding laundry as I fold it.)
clean up
please (as a sign)
NOTE: So far, he does NOT say, "No" or "Mine." Keep your fingers crossed for me that we can keep this up...

Raising royalty

My daughter is 4 years old. She has the brains and social networking skills necessary to be president someday. Although, she has informed me that she doesn't want to be president; she wants to be princess. If anyone has the potential to grow up to stage a coup and instill herself as monarch, it is my girl. So let's hope she doesn't choose the dark side.

The scar-face villain

My daughter's personal energy level usually rivals the aggregate energy levels of an entire athletic team. Sometimes this energy compels her to do irrational things, like last week when she spun into the kitchen countertop and split her chin open.

Fortunately, her annual well-child exam happened to be one hour later. She got stitches (again).

Later that evening, my husband looked at her and yelled, "Where are her stitches?" The question confused me, since he was present at the doctor's office and should have known where the stitches were.

The stitches were gone. We rushed her back to the doctor, who informed us that apparently, my child had removed her own stitches on the sly. No, my 4 year-old does not have the appropriate medical training for such a procedure. We anticipate scarring.