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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Sugar Wars

Our 7-year-old daughter has complained of headaches for as long as she could say the word headache.  It's no surprise really, because every woman in my family suffers from them also.  I remember that in third grade we kept a bottle of children's tylenol in the school nurse's office for me.  By junior high, my mom had taught me some relaxation techniques, something that was still developing.  My heart breaks for my daughter because she says that she has a headache almost every day.  After several visits to our family doctor and no progress, we began seeing a neurologist.  One of the first recommendations: cut out the sugar as much as possible.  I was absolutely willing to do that, we had already greatly limited sugar in our household. My daughter and I agreed that it would be better to have less sugar and less headaches. Treats don't have to be sugary because they could also be stickers, extra play time, etc.  As we left the doctor's office determined to make this work, the receptionist offered my daughter a snack to eat on the way home.  My daughter eagerly viewed the selection, but the smile quickly turned to a frown.  The choices: fruit gummies, granola bars, and other sugar-loaded yummies.  Ugghhh!  Fast forward two weeks and we are back at the hospital working with the nurse who teaches children biofeedback techniques to deal with their headaches.  At the end of the hour-long session, the nurse praised my little girl for working hard and pointed her to the prize cabinet.  Upon opening the cabinet, my daughter smiled a huge smile.  The cabinet was filled with an assortment of toys, coloring books, and candy.  Weeks one and two were uneventful because she chose a coloring book and a bracelet.  Week three was a little more difficult. My daughter whispered, "Mom...there's nothing I want in here except a piece of candy.  Can I get it?"  Double ugghhh!    Mind you, this nurse also told my daughter that sugar was not good for kids with headaches.  All in all, we are doing better with the sugar wars.  We keep snacks with us so that when we are at sporting events, church, and other activities we can whip out the better snacks and turn down the junk snacks.  I just didn't expect to fight the battle at the doctor's office too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet Shoppe Birthday

We give our oldest daughter a $100 budget for her birthday party each year.  Wanting to stretch her budget, she decided to have a theme that would allow her to shop the clearance sales after Valentine's Day.  The theme she landed on was a sugar-loaded Sweet Shoppe.  She knew that she would save money on the candy that would serve as decorations as well as goody-bag fillers.  The day after Valentine's Day, we hit Wal*Mart and bought lots of candy.  Then we struck gold at Target.  Their Valentine's partyware was pink, red, teal, green, orange and yellow striped.  We got a table cloth, napkins, and plates.  We filled in the gaps with plain cups, balloons, and less-expensive candy.  This is what we did:Activities: Pin the Lolly on the Pop (the girls decorated their lollies before the game), Make Your Own Candy Necklace (Valentine's deal), Decorate a Cupcake (the cupcakes were placed on a stand for later), Guess How Many Gumdrops in the Jar, Sweet Shoppe Bingo (with gummy bear markers)
Goody Bags: Prefilled with bracelets, candy flavored lip balm, toothbrushes, and bouncy balls.  As they left, girls (and moms) could fill their bags with candy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Relay for Life Family Competition

Last April my grandmother found out she had cancer.  My girls and I packed up and headed to California at the end of May, intending to help my grandpa take care of my grandma and household tasks until she recovered.  Eight days after we arrived, she quietly passed away in the hospital.  This was not our first encounter with cancer, my husband's mother died of breast cancer when we were teens.  In honor of both of these wonderful ladies, our family is walking in the Relay for Life in June.  To make it fun, our family is having a contest amongst ourselves to see who can raise the most money.  The winner gets to choose dinners for a whole week AND not have to do chores for a whole week!  Please help us out by donating here.  This is our team page and the competition is among the Nourse sisters (and mom).  Better yet, join our team and walk with us!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Instant Information

When I woke up, I stared at my phone.  Do I check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. like every other morning or do I give it a day off.  What if it turns out like yesterday that I find out about something going on at work or with a friend that needs my immediate attention?  Then I reminded myself that if someone needs me, they will call or message me, not post it on their Facebook status.  After thoroughly thinking through every possible angle of this quandry for all of 30 seconds, I picked up my phone and started through the routine.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I was needed and I wasn't going to get that call or message.  As I read message after message, I realized that my prayers were needed immediately.  Near the top of the page, a friend in Japan posted that he and his family were all safe.  Another friend posted that her son who had just left for his duty station in Japan was accounted for, as well as all other U.S. military personnel.  Then I read about the largest earthquake Japan had ever experienced.  It reminded me of the morning I turned on the morning news like any other morning but what I saw took me to my knees.  9/11.  The biggest difference between the two experiences is the delivery.  Instead of watching the news footage, videos and photos taken by everyday people rolled across the computer.  Isn't technology amazing? I'm so thankful for the ability to choose whether to know at a moment's notice what is going on.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First thing every morning I grab my phone from the nightstand and check to see what's going on in the world.  E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, I check them all to see what happened while I was getting my beauty sleep.  Sometimes I see that someone commented on a post, but usually I just browse through my group updates and delete lots of e-mail.  Today there was a post on my employer's Facebook page, which is a rarity.  I work on Thursdays at a local municipality, mostly doing their water billing, but performing other tasks as needed (like creating their Facebook page).  The post, entered by a council member at 4:30 this morning, was short and sweet: City water is shut down due to a leak.  Ugghhh...really?  On the one day that I work.  Actually, I worked last Monday to cover for another worker and the water was shut down due to a leak.  It was chaos.  I was the only person in the office and people went crazy.  "I paid my bill, why is my water off?"  "I know I'm late, can you turn my water on? I will pay the bill on Friday." "Why didn't you call and tell me my water was being shut off?  I was getting ready tot ake a shower. By the way, my water bill is high, can someone take a look at my meter today?" "I just moved into town and need my water turned on.  Today." The good thing last week was that I didn't know it was happening until I got to work.  I had a relaxing morning with my family like any other day.  Today, I got to think about it all morning as I rush to get ready and on my way to work.  As a matter of fact, I started my work day at home, calling the media to alert them of the situation and fielding phone calls from the office.  Tomorrow, I'm going to start my day with the Good Book rather than Facebook.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where Did She Get Those Curls?

My youngest daughter has curls.  We're talking Shirley Temple curls.  Ladies stop us on a regular basis to comment about her beautiful hair.  My other two daughters, one who was blessed with wavy and the other straight hair, just smile as they are passed by without a word.  Then the inevitable is always asked,  "where did she get such darling curls?"  We all just smile because the question is expected.  My hair is straighter than straight, but not because I was born that way.  I once had uncontrollable curls springing from my head also.  Curls that drove me nuts because they never stayed in place.  My sanity came in the form of a flat iron.  I liked straight hair and so did my husband.  (He liked long hair too, but I chopped it short when we were just friends, before he was allowed to have an opinion.)  Only when I was running short on time did I allow my hair to go au natural.  Recently, I was blessed with a new cousin (by marriage) who is a stylist.  Her gift to me was a Brazilian Blowout. Here I am, seven months later, and I am beginning to embrace my inner curl for the first time.  The Blowout is now more out than in and I'm OK with that.  My name is Mama Curls and it's a pleasure to meet you.
Me at the age of 4, but it may as well be my baby because she is a carbon copy.