Friday, March 29, 2013

MauldenNews - Dec 2012 - Mar 2013

Hey, I'm back! Guess I took a few months off from MauldenNews. Partly it's just being busy, and partly it's frankly sometimes intimidating to write stuff that you know other people are going to read. I want to be funny and insightful and all that, but it takes effort. It's also a constant balance of deciding how much to share with the world, how deep to go.

But now here I am, drawn back to writing. It's time to connect and reconnect. Life is moving along. Spring is here, Easter is coming. It's getting warmer and it's lighter in the evenings and new life is all around.

Rewind back to December. I can't even remember much detail that far back, so I'll just post some pictures.

Marshmallow guns and Pikachu toys were the faves this year.

We had a party and Alle made this sign to make sure some of the goodies were reserved just for kids.

New Year's Eve - we set the clocks back 2 hours and celebrated "New York style" at 10 pm our time. Well, 3 of us celebrated. One could not stay awake even with all the fun.

Ran a Half Marathon (first one ever indoors!) at the Utah Olympic Oval on Jan 1! Great way to start the New Year. Yup, still running and still loving it. I also do yoga, walking, aerobics, weights, and am learning some new activities with the stability ball, stretchy bands and foam roller at home. It really makes me feel amazingly good. Recently I read an interesting book called Spark that explains more about what physical activity does for your brain. This neurologist never learned about this in medical school, but much of it was discovered pretty recently. Along with balancing our neurotransmitters and boosting our feel-good/reward signals (serotonin, dopamine) it strengthens neural connections involved in learning, focus, motivation and memory. I've signed up for another season with the SLC Jeff Galloway group and I'm looking forward to more punishment. :-) I hope to run two half marathons in April and May, and two marathons: Salmon, ID in September and St. George, UT in October. Hoo-ah!

The REAL Christmas present to the kids this year was a trip to Disneyland in January. We got lucky with great weather and had a delightful time at the Magic Kingdom. Daniel and Robin were our gracious hosts. Daniel makes awesome green smoothies and we LOVED the time with them and their kids, as well as the chance to visit with Jenny and her kids and with Laura, Ellie and Chris. Sam put some rocks in their pool and took one of Tres's toys to our hotel, but all was ironed out in the end. When we got home, Bryan discovered several pictures on his phone taken by a very short person.

 Alle got chosen to be a Jedi knight in training. She gave Darth Vader a good whacking with her light saber.

While we were in LA, we visited Korea Town - no pictures here but it was really fun - enough Korean people, Korean signs, foods, and items in the stores to make it feel like we were back in Korea. For the kids it was a chance to experience a bit of Korea for the first time since they were babies. Afterwards Alle shared with me that she wondered if her own birth mother (or Sam's) could have been walking around right there near us. Who knows? It led to some good conversations about their roots in Korea and their feelings about their birth parents. We signed them up for Korean Culture Camp in Minnesota for this summer and we're very excited about that. We'll be staying with my cousin Margaret (whose daughter is also adopted from Korea) and I'm looking forward to volunteering in the kitchen and learning more about how to make Korean food.

February was blah. We had cold, snow, and air pollution. I spent all my free time cramming for my Neurology board exam recertification. Don't have results yet but I'm hoping I passed. My biggest accomplishment - a true gift to myself - was that I finally extricated myself from the night and weekend call system. Yippee! I had always struggled with the stress and sleep deprivation, and finally felt brave enough to ask the Department if I could continue on as an outpatient doc only. Of course, since they don't pay me (I'm paid through the informatics office) they don't have a lot of leverage but still it was nerve-wracking to ask. Needless to say, I'm so glad I did! Sometimes you just have to decide what you want and go for it.

Other news...I gave up cereal for Lent this year. I read somewhere about the amount of fossil fuels that go into making our processed foods (plus packaging) and decided this would be my form of protest. Though I dearly miss my cinnamon Cheerios and Kashi GoLean Crunch, it was a good daily reminder that healthy sustainable eating can be tasty too. I rotated among several cooked grains - oatmeal, brown rice, barley, corn/grits, millet, quinoa, and wheat. (Went to Whole Foods to try farro but they were out! Darn!) Bottom line, any grain is delish if you add fruit, nuts, milk/yogurt, and sugar/maple syrup/honey.

Sam's kindergarten began an all-day program in January, and that has been good although he had some difficulty adjusting. Sadly, some really ugly behaviors started occurring. He hasn't been exactly easy at home either. After some teacher conferences we had him evaluated for ADHD. We tried one medicine but it kept him up too late at night so we couldn't tell if it was really working. We're starting another one now. We also discovered that he is nearsighted and so we have made him an appointment to see about glasses. Meanwhile, things seem to be smoothing out quite a bit and he has had a much better past couple of weeks. Very inconsistent. Hard to know what to make of it. Bryan and I are both puzzled. We're trying to focus on creating positive interactions and nurture our relationships - since so much of our time with him seems to be spent dealing with behaviors.

As a result of the above, I have been listening to the book Driven to Distraction by Ratey and Hallowell. It has helped my stressed-out mom's soul. I am learning a lot about this disorder and appreciate the increased understanding and compassion it is giving me, both for Sam and for myself and for all kids and parents who deal with it. It's also helpful in emphasizing the positive - that people with ADHD are often energetic, enthusiastic, creative, fun and interesting. :-) That's definitely Sam!

Other books worth mentioning - I loved listening to Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. The narrator's talent shines and it was one of those books you think about all the time and hate to see it end. Wow.

Another thought-provoker is Speaking Christian

(Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored)

by Marcus Borg. Our church group is doing a discussion group on it. I've read other books by this author and though I don't always agree with him, he has a knack for making me see and understand God, Jesus, and the Bible in new ways and especially helping me hold God, and Jesus, close to my heart with new appreciation and insight.

Last but not least - I can't resist - I've just started reading Buddha Never Raised Kids and Jesus Didn't Drive Carpool: Seven Principles for Parenting with Soul . The title stood out to me as I have had the exact same thought. Reading about the great spiritual masters like Jesus, Buddha, and the Dalai Lama, I have thought, "I'd like to see THEM dealing with an enraged, maniacal and destructive little beast-child and see what they would do!" It's easy to meditate and be all wise and patient when you don't have someone pushing your buttons all the time, right? Anyway, if any of my parent friends wants to read along and share thoughts, I'm game!

Til next time...Peace to all.