Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Charmed Life

One of my worst traits is my sarcasm. Because of it, people sometimes don't understand how lucky I really feel for so many heaven-sent blessings. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd list the reasons I am so lucky. I really do live a charmed life.

1. I'm so lucky in love. How I managed to snatch up such an amazingly wonderful, kind, funny, hip, hot, adventurous, helpful, (did I say hot?) guy to spend forever with will be one of life's mysteries for me.

2. The Hostess Outlet near our home started carrying cases of Chocodiles. (Google Chocodile if you have not yet tasted this chocolate goodness.)

3. I know there is a Father in Heaven who loves me and accepts my best efforts. I also know there is a Savior who has sacrificed Himself when I fall short of my best. Not everyone has this knowledge. I am lucky I do!

4. We have a job! In this time of economic despair, we have a job!

5. We have a beautiful home with plenty of space to accomodate our growing & busy family.

6. I have a craft room of my very own and can spend time in there being creative! (Or hide in there when I can't face reality, lol!)

7. I am blessed with amazing friends, both near and far, well-known and barely familiar, yet all having made huge impressions on my life.

8. I have 3 lucky charms to call my own--Jacob, Kaylee and Landon. You are 3 precious gifts from God, and though some days are difficult, I am grateful every single day for the privilege I have been given to be your mom.

9. I have tasted the sweetness of having a full-time career and am now afforded the amazing opportunity to enjoy the even greater sweetness of being a full-time homemaker.

10. We are debt-free (with the exception of our house).

11. We are healthy.

12. Josh takes the kids out during Sacrament when they are being irreverent. (I know...I'm spoiled.)

13. Others can sing. (Because trust me...if I had to listen to myself all day long...we'd be in debt from buying stock in ear plugs.)

14. We can laugh! Oh how I love to laugh.

15. I have my own personal shopper (yes...Josh again) who will run to the store at a moments notice to pick up a forgotten item. Seriously, he'll even stay up until 12:01 a.m. to avoid breaking the Sabbath to get something I need for Monday morning.

16. A huge extended family loves and cares about me and my family.

17. I had the privilege of an amazing college education that continues to be put to use every day of my life.

18. Cadbury eggs are stocked for Easter! Love these little creamed filled chocolate wonders!

19. Although not my idea of a dream car, my van is paid for, fits our family and still runs!

20. I have TIME to pause, reflect and be grateful. I thank my lucky stars for good living!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

sleep⋅walk⋅ing [sleep-waw-king]

the act or state of walking, eating, or performing other motor acts while asleep, of which one is unaware upon awakening; somnambulism.

of or pertaining to the state of walking while asleep; somnambulistic.

It's the night of the living dead around our house. Our resident in expert zombie is currently our 7 yr. old, Jacob (better known as Jake). He has me to thank for the sleepwalking curse. My parents found me all the time (as a child) in the most random parts of the house attempting to "use the bathroom". Closets. The dryer. You name it...I probably attempted to mark my territory. Of course it's all heresay. I don't recall ever doing this, but I've been reminded frequently of my nighttime rituals. Now my son is carrying on the legacy. I couldn't be prouder.

In the last week he has attempted to go to the bathroom in my craftroom and get his stuffed animal from the garage (both in the middle of the night). Thank goodness I was parked in the prime location to catch him on both occasions, before disaster struck. Of course, if you ask him about this, he'll deny, deny, deny. But, the 2nd time, I had my wits enough about me to capture a few photos for evidence.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

I was a little curious about the medical science behind sleepwalking, so thought I'd share a small excerpt from what I learned.

Hours after bedtime, do you find your little one wandering the hall looking dazed and confused? If you have a sleepwalking child, you're not alone. It can be unnerving to see, but sleepwalking is very common in kids and most sleepwalkers only do so occasionally and outgrow it by the teen years. Still, some simple steps can keep your young sleepwalker safe while traipsing about.

About Sleepwalking

Despite its name, sleepwalking (also called somnambulism) actually involves more than just walking. Sleepwalking behaviors can range from harmless (sitting up), to potentially dangerous (wandering outside), to just inappropriate (kids may even open a closet door and urinate inside). No matter what kids do during sleepwalking episodes, though, it's unlikely that they'll remember ever having done it!

As we sleep, our brains pass through five stages of sleep — stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Together, these stages make up a sleep cycle. One complete sleep cycle lasts about 90 to 100 minutes. So a person experiences about four or five sleep cycles during an average night's sleep.

Although it can happen during lighter stages of sleep, sleepwalking often occurs during the deeper sleep of stages 3 and 4. During these stages, it's more difficult to wake someone up, and when awakened, a person may feel groggy and disoriented for a few minutes.

Kids tend to sleepwalk within an hour or two of falling asleep and may walk around for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.

Causes of Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is far more common in kids than in adults, as most sleepwalkers outgrow it by the early teen years. It may run in families, so if you or your partner are or were sleepwalkers, your child may be too.

Other factors that may bring on a sleepwalking episode include:
  • lack of sleep or fatigue
  • interrupted sleep
  • illness or fever
  • certain medications
  • stress (sleepwalking is rarely caused by an underlying emotional or psychological problem)

Behaviors During Sleepwalking

Of course, getting out of bed and walking around while still sleeping is the most obvious sleepwalking symptom. But young sleepwalkers may also:

  • sleeptalk
  • be hard to wake up
  • seem dazed
  • be clumsy
  • not respond when spoken to
  • sit up in bed and go through repeated motions, such as rubbing their eyes or fussing with their pajamas
  • Also, sleepwalkers' eyes are open, but they don't see the same way they do when they're awake and they often think they're in different rooms of the house or different places altogether.
  • Sometimes, these other conditions may accompany sleepwalking:
    sleep apnea (brief pauses in breathing while sleeping)
    bedwetting (enuresis)
    night terrors.

Is Sleepwalking Harmful?

Most sleepwalkers don't sleepwalk often, so it's not usually a serious problem. However, sleepwalking episodes can be hazardous when they're frequent or intense. Why? Because sleepwalking kids aren't awake and may not realize what they're doing, such as walking down stairs or opening windows.

Sleepwalking is not usually a sign that something is emotionally or psychologically wrong with a child. And it doesn't cause any emotional harm. Sleepwalkers tend to go back to bed on their own and probably won't even remember the nighttime stroll.

How to Keep a Sleepwalker Safe

Although sleepwalking isn't dangerous by itself, it's important to take precautions so that your sleepwalking child is less likely to fall down, run into something, walk out the front door, or drive (if your teen is a sleepwalker).

  • To help keep your sleepwalker out of harm's way:
  • Don't awaken a sleepwalker because this might scare your child. Instead, gently guide him or her back to bed.
  • Lock the windows and doors, not just in your child's bedroom but throughout your home, in case your young sleepwalker decides to wander. You may consider extra locks or child safety locks on doors. Keys should be kept out of reach for kids who are old enough to drive.
  • To prevent falls, don't let your sleepwalker sleep in a bunk bed.
  • Remove sharp or breakable things from around your child's bed.
  • Keep dangerous objects out of reach.
  • Remove obstacles from your child's room and throughout your home to prevent a stumble. Especially eliminate clutter on the floor (i.e., in your child's bedroom or playroom).
  • Install safety gates outside your child's room and/or at the top of any stairs.

Other Ways to Help a Sleepwalker

Unless the episodes are very regular or your child is repeatedly engaging in dangerous sleepwalking behaviors, there's no reason to treat sleepwalking. But if the sleepwalking is frequent or your child hasn't outgrown it by the early teen years, talk to your doctor.

For kids who sleepwalk often, doctors may recommend a treatment called scheduled awakening. This disrupts the sleep cycle enough to help stop sleepwalking. In rare cases, a doctor may prescribe medication to help a child sleep.

Other ways to help minimize your child's sleepwalking episodes:

  • Have your child relax at bedtime by listening to soft music or relaxation tapes.
  • Establish a regular sleep and nap schedule and stick to it — both nighttime and wake-up time.
  • Make your child's bedtime earlier. This can improve excessive sleepiness.
  • Don't let kids drink a lot in the evening and be sure they go to the bathroom before going to bed. (A full bladder can contribute to sleepwalking.)
  • Avoid caffeine near bedtime.
  • Make sure your child's bedroom is quiet, cozy, and conducive to sleeping. Keep noise to a minimum while your child is trying to sleep (at bedtime and naptime).

The next time you encounter your nighttime wanderer, don't panic. Simply maneuver your child back to the safety and comfort of his or her bed. Then you can both probably have a good laugh about it in the morning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Metabolism of a Slug?

Ok, so who knows...maybe slugs don't have sluggish metabolisms, but I feel like I do. (Is it just me, or does something happen after your 3rd baby which makes it incredibly difficult to maintain health and fitness? How can I feel more closely related to a slug and less like an ape?..not that I believe that we evolved from apes...just saying.)So, in my quest to improve my metabolic activity I came across this information that may be helpful to all of us, especially those past or nearing the dreaded 30 yr. old mark.

(**My commentary will be in bold italics after each tip.)

Wrinkles, sagging skin, and graying hair aren't the only crosses you have to bear as you age. Your metabolism also makes the growing-older hit list.

After age 30, metabolism slows by about 2% per decade, thanks to a loss of muscle mass -- we lose as much as 50% of our muscle mass between the ages of 20 and 90, and the rate of loss is especially pronounced from ages 50–70.

Why is that important? The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn, and that can add up to age-related weight gain. For women, menopause can slow metabolism even more. Yes, life is unfair, especially since women have slower metabolisms than men to begin with because of their naturally higher levels of body fat. Here are some tips to help you boost your metabolism.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #1 -- Eat breakfast. Breakfast gets your metabolism out of its resting state and back into burning mode. Skipping breakfast and other meals may prompt your body to store calories as fat rather than to burn them, in case your body won’t be getting more food any time soon. Infrequent eating may also prompt you to overeat later as a result of excessive hunger. I have mistakenly skipped breakfast thinking I'd save myself a couple hundred calories. After realizing that not only is this not helping my weight loss and fitness goals, but is actually hurting them, I will not purposely skip breakfast EVER again.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #2 -- Eat frequently. Instead of eating three large meals a day, spread out your food consumption (for example, eating small amounts of food every three hours or so) to keep your metabolism at work, burning and processing calories all day long. An added bonus: Eating smaller, more frequent meals is more filling than eating the same amount of calories in three large meals. I have also found this to be true in the last two weeks as I've put it to the test. I have been less likely to snack on "quick-fix" items because I eat frequently enough that I avoid the desperation eating which usually results in me over-eating or eating something I'm craving vs. something that is good for me.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #3 -- Eat more lean protein.
A recent Dutch study found that consuming a third of your daily calories from protein can boost metabolism. The reason: Your body burns more calories when digesting proteins vs. carbohydrates or fats. Protein also makes you feel more satisfied, so you may end up eating fewer overall calories. Be sure to choose non-fatty protein sources, such as lean meat, poultry without the skin, beans, and nonfat dairy products.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #4 -- Exercise frequently. Regular aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or biking, keeps your metabolism in high gear. The latest national guidelines recommend getting 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on most days of the week to prevent weight gain. I am attempting to get at least 60 minutes of cardio in 5-6 days a week. We'll see how that goes! I have found that varying my workouts keeps me motivated and I'm dreading my workouts less and less.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #5 -- Strength train. Resistance training -- working with machines or free weights -- can help counter some of the muscle loss that normally occurs with aging. And as we said before, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn (the body uses more energy to maintain muscle than fat tissue). Two to three weekly sessions of strength training that work the major muscle groups in the chest, arms, legs, and back should do the trick.

Metabolism Boosting Tip #6 -- Get enough sleep. Inadequate slumber may affect your weight -- not only because you’ll be too tired to exercise but also because tiredness may lead to snacking as a “pick-me-up.” In fact, a study of over 1,000 people found that those who sleep less than the recommended eight hours a night weigh more than those who get adequate rest. In addition, researchers are investigating whether lack of sleep affects appetite-regulating hormones. Wow! Can't say enough about this tip! I struggle getting enough sleep. I'm somewhat of a night owl since it's the only time in the day that I have to myself. But, after reading that those who are tired tend to snack more, it rang true. I realized I fall victim to the "tired eater syndrome". I know I've grabbed a snack on many occasions, not because I was truly hungry, but because I was truly tired! So, if you're not getting your 8 hours of sleep each night (trust me, I know this is difficult with kids), that might be a good goal to add to your list! Early to bed, early to rise definitely does make a man HEALTHY, wealthy and wise!

Metabolism Boosting Tip #7 -- Move as much as possible. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that people who fidget and move around a lot, even if they don't formally exercise, have more active metabolisms and burn more calories than nonfidgeters. In their study, fidgeters moved about 152 minutes longer per day than nonfidgeters -- and as a result burned 350 more calories a day. The lesson: Take every opportunity to move a little more during your day, from changing the TV channel by hand to pacing while talking on the phone and standing when you could be sitting. Guess I should be grateful that my kids are a little spazzy? Maybe I should take notes.