Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Social Experiment

This morning I conducted a social experiment. I needed to mail 4 boxes at the Post Office. The boxes reached to my chin and were awkward, but not heavy, so I elected to carry them in rather than use a cart. I had to walk about 20 yards from the car to the door of the Post Office, so I decided to see if anyone would offer to help. Only about 5 yards from my car a woman (who was going the opposite way) asked if I needed some help. I assured her that the boxes weren't heavy and thanked her. About 5 yards from the door, a man walked out, looked at me, and kept going. It would have been easy for him to hold the door, but he offered no help. As I was close to the door, a woman inside saw me coming and rushed to open the door.

Final score: women--2; man--sucked. Apparently this man had parents who did not teach him to help others. Sad.

It was interesting to see what happened. I had no preconceived notions on who would or would not offer to help. My son's teacher has 3 pages of "GC" (good citizen) rules for his classroom. I thought it was overkill at first, but they're really common sense things that parents used to teach their children when teaching them how to be polite (many parents no longer do this). One of their rules is to open the door for others. Between Mr. Miller's "GC" rules and the Nickel home rules, we'll have that situation covered!

***I realize that I'm behind, and I swear I'll catch you up on what we're doing this week--complete with pictures and everything!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Let's Catch Up....

I can't believe that it's already October!!!

Let's see, what's been going on around here? We had an *incident* 10 days ago which resulted in a little of this:

Hannah has been physical from conception. While she baked in my oven, she'd kick so often and hard that she bruised my belly--no lie! She's been in perpetual motion ever since. She was WAY too busy to sit and be cuddled--she'd rather bounce in her crib. And she's the more physically violent kid too. More often than not, she'll explode with a kick or hit instead of words, no matter how she gets punished for her actions. We had a repeat episode 10 days ago. Toph was going upstairs at the same time as Hannah, and he told her to hurry up. So her response was to punch him in the heart! Now, punching someone in the heart can kill them--remember that baseball player who died last year? I don't think Hannah has skills that good at this time, but it's still not something I want her to do! I'd much rather she yell instead. Or in this case, just hurry up!

Robert and I were in disagreement as to how to proceed. She needed to be grounded for a week--this was a serious offense. But I wanted to make it relevant. So instead of taking away ALL privileges, I started a "bad behavior book" and made her write about her behavior each day. It's just a composition book where we write what the behavior is and what the punishment is, and then Hannah had to sign it. And every day for her week of grounding, she had to write about her offense. First, she wrote an apology letter to Topher. The next day she answered questions like, "What did you do to get in trouble? Why shouldn't you get physical with someone when you're angry? What could you do instead?" Each day she had 3-5 similarly themed questions she had to answer for me. This way she was reminded again and again of what she'd done in the first place. We weren't just being mean by not letting her play on the computer.

Our little jailbird served her time and wrote that she would NOT do it again. Her answer was something like, "No NO NO NO NO NO NO NO I will NOT do it again." Maybe she's learned her lesson? I'd like to hope so!

Aside from that excitement, we've done a lot of the same stuff. Kids go to school. Mom tries to get a handle on the laundry and the house and cook stuff that's good for us. Robert tries to go surfing as often as possible and bring home the bacon and get his homework done in time. We go to scouts. We try to go to Church--and have managed to do so! We've spent some time with our friends, the Gibbs, and said good-bye to their dad, as he began his deployment.

Last Saturday, Robert and I even managed a DATE! The kids had a practice for their Primary program at Church, and while they were practicing, Robert and I snuck off to the Original Pancake House for some breakfast. All I can say is that their pancakes are like no other, and now I'm craving them again! It was wonderful to have some time alone with my Honey. The program the next day was very nice! The kids did a great job and managed to sneak in waves and I love you signs often.

We had about 7 days of HEAT--I'm talking over 100* heat. It got up to 107* in our back yard one of the days. It doesn't happen often, and it usually doesn't last long, but those HOT days are hard to handle. And, to make matters worse, Fresno was cooler than we were during that time. Now we've entered into the time of bi-polar weather. That's when our temperatures will vacillate 20* over 2-3 days. It's hard on the body. We'll be in the 90's and then drop down to the low 70's for a couple of days and then rinse and repeat. I've also discovered that my fibro body is very unhappy when there's a big difference in the daily temperature. Yesterday, for example, it was 50* when we woke up and 100* in the afternoon--fibro doesn't like changes like that (or maybe it's just a barometer thing).

I've gotten chummy with the chiropractor lately. The muscles along my shoulders have felt like a rubber band stretched to the limit. NOTHING I do seems to relax them. I finally decided that it's probably a fibro cycle and that I'll just have to stick it out, but it HURTS! So I go get my neck and back popped and my chiropractor suggested that I might benefit from muscle stimulation therapy. OMGosh!!! It helped SO much! She puts these stickers on me and they're attached to a machine that puts out an electrical stimulus that makes my muscles contract and relax. It does this every second for 14 minutes, and I end up feeling like I've had a massage without someone having to touch me (because that hurts). It basically exhausts those muscles. LOVE IT!!! Love it so much, we'll probably be buying a machine. Especially if the insurance will pay for part of it.

Hannah's class has been working on a bear unit. They have learned all about all different bears and they've made a bear--so cute--out of grocery bags. Today they wore their PJ's to school and had their teddy bear picnic. Yesterday they made bear buns (bear shaped rolls) and they got to eat them today with oatmeal. She had a great time. She's been a reading nut lately too. She brings home a chapter book to read every day, and at first there were "stop here" post-it's after 3 chapters. This week she read an entire book every day. The kids take quizzes on the books afterward too, to check their comprehension. Hannah does much better if we make her read aloud to us--but again, she's in perpetual motion. She's not hyperactive though, lest you get the wrong impression.

Toph's class has been working hard to earn their first reward party of the year. You must read 1 chapter book and either write a book report or pass a test on your book AND you must not be in the "oops" book more than 3 times in order to qualify. Toph's goal is to not be in the "oops" book at all, and he did that. He finished his book and passed his test, and this afternoon he was rewarded with a game afternoon (board and card games only). Toph is enjoying school this year and really likes his teacher. He's getting his meds adjusted, so we'll see if it helps him even more. We still go see Dr. Mantell--world's awesomest psychologist--every 2 weeks or so, and he's helping us learn how to live with it. Toph is enjoying the Roald Dahl books, like, The Twits and Matilda. We watched the movie Matilda a couple of weeks ago, and that's the book he'll start next.

Robert is surfing as often as humanly possible. He's lost enough weight that he had to have his wet suit taken in! And that's a really good measure of how his body has changed, since it was custom-made for him in the first place. He's chugging along at work and learning how to work in the new environment (not a new job, just a reorganization of the roles they all play). He had a really good day yesterday, and we hope that happens more often. School has started for Robert, so his evenings and weekends include homework again. I can't complain much, since it's all online and we get to spend time together.

Last weekend we went to the iPhone store and got Robert his NEW iPhone--and I got the old one ("old" being the one he purchased in May)! I didn't *have* to have an iPhone, but it's nice to be on the same plan again and be able to talk to each other for free. Also, AT&T has rollover minutes, which Verizon did not. I wasn't unhappy with Verizon, because here the coverage is great, but they don't have an iPhone. I LOVE having my calendar and pictures and music (and now games) all in that tiny box. The kids love it too. I especially love that Robert finally taught me the trick--you have to use your FINGER, not the nail. I had been trying to use his phone with my nails (because that's how I used my phone) and I was reconsidering my desire for the iPhone--but it's easy. Now I just need to learn how to do my own ringtones.

We had an interesting thing happen earlier this week. There was a tsunami advisory for California, Oregon, and Washington--due to the earthquake in Samoa. I'd never given much thought to the risk of a tsunami. It ended up being not much more than 8-12 inches higher than normal waves, but it did make me pause for a moment. My heart goes out to all of those people in Samoa who lost homes and/or loved ones. I can't even really comprehend it. And then again in Sumatra and Bolivia. It does warm my heart though, to see the rescue workers drop everything and rush to help.

Not much else going on around here. It's starting to feel like Fall in the evenings and early mornings. I love that it gets a little bit chilly and we need to use the blanket on the bed. I miss the colors of fall--not much of that here, since palm trees don't turn colors. I went to Panera with my friend, Carmen, for lunch this week. THAT was a nice treat. And before we left, I got all kinds of crazy and ordered a pumpkin muffie (for you non-Panera people, that's a muffin TOP). I don't really even like much pumpkin stuff. OMGosh! It was DELICIOUS!! And now I want the recipe. But that won't do me much good when it's virtually impossible to find canned pumpkin on the store shelves. Maybe I'll find a good recipe right when pumpkin is available again--wonder what the chances of that are.

I've been having more good days. I was telling Robert that I hadn't had an entire BAD day in a long time. And then I did, but not lots in a row. So I feel like I'm making progress. My energy level is still below what I'd like, but I haven't been in total pain much of the time. Again, the cooler weather is not so nice on the fibro, but I LOVE it--so I'll have to figure that out. Now that I've been introduced to muscle stimulation, I foresee good things in the future.

We're into the birthday countdown time of year now. Robert's birthday will be in 23 more days, and then I will enjoy calling him an "old man" for 3 weeks. Then I will have a big birthday this year. NO idea what we'll do to celebrate that, but I'm even feeling good about the number. Then we'll celebrate Thanksgiving and then Toph's birthday. We'll spend Christmas at home this year, celebrate New Year's, and then celebrate Hannah's birthday. It's a BUSY time of year.

Now I need to get jazzed about getting out decorations. Since we're not moving this year, I can decorate for all of the holidays. I need to do that this year. Yes, I'm a crazy holiday fool, but I like to do it. I also need to get myself in gear and get my next cards for card swap figured out and made. I'm going to try not to procrastinate EVERYTHING and get some things done before the night before--kind of like turning over a new leaf.

This weekend is one of my favorites. It's General Conference weekend. That's when LDS families all over the world will get to listen to the Prophet and Apostles speak. Since it's broadcast over the internet and cable, we get to stay home--or go to a friend's house. We'll be going to the Gibb's to spend some time with them. Robert will probably do homework while Carmen, the kids, and I play. It will be a great time. We'll get to listen to sessions of Conference on Saturday and Sunday, and one of the things I like about Conference weekend (besides getting to stay in my jammies) is enjoying some delicious treats.