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How to Reward a Kid

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I have a 16-year-old exchange student living with me. His report card came today, and he got "second honors," in spite of getting a D in his Bible class. The Bible class was actually a coup in itself, because he was failing and brought it up after I taught him how to look up Bible verses (why the teacher didn't see fit to teach him this, I do not know).

I think he deserves a celebration.

But what?

My SparkBud MEL_UNRAU wrote a blog about something similar today with her son:

But now I don't know what to do. I am, like, the least maternal person I know, so I'm at an even greater disadvantage than most. I'm more concerned about me than the kiddo. He's thin as a rail and isn't mine to raise. I think he's at an age where his psyche is not so tender as to be greatly affected by what his host parents for less-than-a-year do. And he loves my husband's macaroni and cheese (but really, everyone does) and his eyes lit up in the car when we told him we bought ingredients for pizza a few nights ago (WW TJ's crust and lots of veggies...not a nightmare). I don't know much else about his interests, except, well, watching horrible TV meant for 6-year-old girls. I'm in the process of moving, so taking him to a movie like MEL_UNRAU mentioned is not really an option, and anyway, I hate movies.

So is it okay to reward him with food? Especially food that I also like? And what are some other ideas?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLESIMS 11/19/2012 12:54PM

    What about renting a movie? Fun food and movie night could be a big hit! With a game too boot.. or 16 year old boy, take him and a friend to an Arcade and let them play while you sit back and read a book, or shop around near by?

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 11/19/2012 11:13AM

    I think a food reward is ok - it's when every little thing becomes a celebration that it can be a problem. but it doesn't sound like you'll have that problem and neither will he. Also, I like Ruth's idea. What about Boggle (my personal fav)?

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MARTY728 11/15/2012 12:56PM


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RUTHXG 11/14/2012 11:57PM

    Yes! Celebration is in order! I think it's fine to reward him with food, as long as it's not ridiculously unhealthy kinds & amounts. But what about a cool game? Bananagrams! He could have fun making crosswords in English & his own language!

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CELLOSONG 11/14/2012 6:42PM

    haha wait..TV meant for 6-year-old girls? Does he watch My Little Pony!? If so, buying him a My Little Pony toy would make his day.

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Maybe Not That Big a Deal, but I'm Still Beside Myself

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 30. My driver's license expired.

Last week, I filled out the form to renew online and printed out the temporary license. This morning, I saw it as I was walking out the door and figured that even though I've not been pulled over for about 13 years, I would put it in the glovebox just in case.

And it's a good thing I did.

Because I got pulled over today for expired inspection. I knew the sticker on the windshield was expired, but I thought my husband had sent in whatever needed to be sent in and everything was taken care of. I didn't realize that the sticker on the windshield wasn't something you got in the mail.

Which, don't get me wrong, I know is my responsibility.

But I am still SO UPSET that he TICKETED me for my expired inspection. It expired 15 days ago, and yesterday was my birthday! I know none of this actually matters, but I wish it had!

I cried the whole way to the gas station. The guy felt bad for me, with my red, puffy eyes, that he gave me a discount on my inspection. I know it's not that big a deal. I know it happens, but I hate, hate getting in trouble.

And I'm okay with a ticket. I'm okay with being pulled over, but I don't NEED a court date to do what I'm supposed to. And I'm going to court...I'm not paying this unless a judge makes me. If it were something I could just mail in, I'd be okay with it, but in addition to giving me a ticket, he gave me a CHORE.

I just want this over with. I'm calling tomorrow to see if I can move up my DECEMBER FOURTH court date. Anyone know if courts generally do that?

Especially because shortly after I came home, I got an offer for that job for which I interviewed last week. I'm going to have to counteroffer, but if they do accept my counter, I don't want to have to sit around here waiting for a stupid court date for a stupid inspection that was two stupid weeks overdue.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/31/2012 1:57PM

    Ugh, that sounds so frustrating! Ahh congrats on the job offer! I'm trying to catch up on my feed so I'll have to see if they accepted your counter and what's going on with that!

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AMYLONGHORN 10/27/2012 11:28AM

    OK I am *so* late to this party, and I don't think we talked about this on the phone, but I had the same thing happen to me, remember? When I was in Virginia, I didn't want to get my plates and registration changed from Texas, and I went like five months before I ended up getting pulled over. I had to get an inspection and deal with registration/license plates (which took a couple of hours during the work day!), but when I went to court with proof I took care of everything, my ticket got dismissed! Good luck and keep me posted on how it goes!!

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JILLIANPRNCSS 10/18/2012 8:25AM

    Usually you can pay those online. It should say on the ticket.

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KATELAU1 10/16/2012 1:13PM

    Tickets totally are no fun. I deal with them on the other end. I work in a court office. What our city does is if you receive a ticket for expired registration and if it's only been expired for a short period of time, like yours was, they give 10 days to fix the issue, show proof and then the ticket is withdrawn. No money to be paid. No court date. Basically a compliance ticket.

Not everyone is the same. Courts in the same county can do things differently. What can also happen is if you go to court, they may give you a break. Again not every court is the same, but our Judge will dismiss the ticket with some minor costs. I don't know how much the ticket is for, but hopefully you won't have to pay anything at all or at least not the full amount.

Even though court is a big pain in the butt, it might still be worth your time if they will reduce the charge and/or fine.

Good luck! I hope the Judge is awesome and give you a huge break. Especially since you resolved the registration right away.

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ANNIEONLI 10/16/2012 6:48AM


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FIREFLY_MEDIC 10/16/2012 2:54AM

    hope the days get better

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JUNESHOPE 10/15/2012 10:07PM

    emoticon Sorry about that. It seems like the officer would just have given you a warning for 15 days... Sounds like a terd to me. I would go to court too.

emoticon emoticon Happy Belated Birthday... emoticon

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REBECCATKD 10/15/2012 9:54PM

    A belated Happy Birthday to you! And congrats on the job offer!!

As for the ticket...maybe call the police department? Show that you, in good faith, got your inspection done immediately after you realized it was needed. Maybe they'll be able to do something?

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BEATLETOT 10/15/2012 7:23PM

    I could just pay the ticket and forget it, but depending on how much it is, I don't want to! I can't think of any amount I'd want to pay. I want to go to court and get the damn thing dismissed, but I don't want to wait till December to do it.

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CARLYG8 10/15/2012 7:19PM

    I can't imagine why any city would want to tie up their court systems...even traffic court--for a ticket on an expired inspection. I would read the back of the ticket. Usually they give you an option to just pay by mail/online OR go to court to fight the ticket. And they do usually assign the traffic court date because it may not be held every day (once a month out here in no-whereville!) but that doesnt mean you have to go to court.

If you do want to go to court, you should be able to go earlier (if it is available) if you explain that you are possibly moving out of the area.

I am sorry you had to go through all this...especially on a Monday, and the day after your birthday. ~hugs~

Congrats on the job offer! Are you excited about the prospect of moving there? If so, I hope they accept your counter and everything goes smoothly for you. Good luck!!

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RDGISME 10/15/2012 7:12PM

    Congrats on the job offer!! And about the ticket: I have mailed in a payment and avoided the court appearance that way. I plead no contest, but where as you contest that ticket I'm not positive about the court date...Good luck!!

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RUTHXG 10/15/2012 6:53PM

    emoticon on the job offer! That's so exciting--I hope they say yes to your counteroffer!!

BOO on the ticket, of course. The cop may have been anxious to make his quota. If it helps at all, this fall I got my first moving violation EVER!! for going through a red light. We have cameras at so many intersections now, & they are merciless. The series of photos included with the ticket left no wiggle room.

Weird that you can't just mail in the ticket with a check, or pay it online!


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Aiming for Perfection

Saturday, October 06, 2012

They say you shouldn't do that.

They say that you're setting yourself up for failure, for giving up, for disappointment.

I've already failed, I'm ready to give up, and I'm already disappointed.

Clearly, my haphazard, unsystematic methods haven't been working. They have culminated into my highest weight ever. EVER.

So now I'm aiming for perfection.

I'm not accepting excuses. I'm not eating waffles or mac and cheese. I'm not going to eyeball portions. I'm not taking cookies and cakes from co-workers. I'm not drinking alcohol. I'm not not working out. I'm not not getting enough sleep for any reason.

I have a fulltime job and a part-time job. I just hired myself on for another part-time job--losing weight and getting healthy.

Of course, I'm not perfect. I will probably do some things that take me further, rather than closer to my goal. But it's not okay when that happens. It's not "Oh, well." It's not something to be blase about. No. Haphazardry ends now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIREFLY_MEDIC 10/14/2012 5:06AM


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FIREFLY_MEDIC 10/10/2012 4:20PM

    Aim for the moon and you land among the stars :)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/8/2012 12:12PM

    Wow this is great emoticon I mean emoticon
I have to start being stricter, too!

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HONBAD 10/7/2012 9:08AM

    You are smart to think of it like a part-time job!! I like that way of looking at a healthy lifestyle. Cuts down on the excuses!

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CARRAND 10/6/2012 10:17PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CARLYG8 10/6/2012 6:47PM

    Oh, how I could have written this blog myself. I was saying the same things to myself as I added my weigh in this morning. I am starting this challenge .02 pounds less than the summer challenge. Really? All I have to show for the last 3+ months is .02 lost?? I can do better than that! I will do better than that! So, my little starfish sister...I am in the battle with you!! Love ya girl!! emoticon emoticon

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RUTHXG 10/6/2012 6:36PM

    I know how it is to feel disappointed in oneself but then find ways to shrug it off. If you pick yourself up again & get back on track, that's great--but too often shrugging it off, for me anyway, means letting myself do more of the same. I'm proud of you for mustering your determination & shooting high.


And thanks again for the virtual $$. I'm happy to have any kind of $, even virtual. emoticon

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PINKNFITCARLA 10/6/2012 12:41PM

    None of us are perfect. Just keep trying your best!

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Fall 5% Challenge - Assignment 8

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Here is my prompt:

Give 3 or 4 reasons and for each (reason/excuse on why my diets and exercise plans have not been well-executed in the past) write a strategy that will keep me on track for 8 weeks.

I really like this assignment. It is methodical and systematic. It also reminds me of the EX method of quitting smoking, which I think is nice and...dunno, comforting in a way. Familiar and friendly. Anyway, here are my answers.

emoticon DIET emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I am craving sweets."
Strategy: Chew gum instead. Eat a piece of fruit. Suck on a Flintstones vitamin.

***Excuse #2
"I am craving chocolate."
Strategy: Tell myself I can eat some at the end of the night within my calorie/sweets budget. Also, make sure I am careful throughout the day to make sure I have room for the treat.

***Excuse #3
"Dang it! I'm late! No time to make breakfast!"
Strategy: I want to make sure that my kitchen is well-stocked with fruit, string cheese, nuts, bars, hard-boiled eggs...stuff that I can grab and go and also keep for snacks at my desk.

***Excuse #4
"Dang it! I'm late! No time to make lunch!"
Strategy: There's no way I can promise myself or commit to making my lunch the night before, although that would be the most obvious way of avoiding this. I've been leaving a little later in the morning, because I'm usually very early to work anyway, so I can spend the five minutes to stick the leftovers in the Pyrex. If there's nothing to put into a Pyrex or a Ziploc baggie, then I will leave work to get food...but I am going to the grocery store, not the 7-Eleven or the CVS. I'll go to the grocery store and pick up the tuna or chicken salad. Yum!

***Excuse #5
"So-and-so brought cookies/homemade banana bread/baklava/bagels...etc., etc., etc."
Strategy: I don't think I can say no, especially to any of the above-listed items. I will allow myself ONE per day. If two people bring awesome food, then I have to choose.

***Excuse #6
"Husband made mac and cheese. Holy crap, it's sooooo good. I'm going to eat the bajeezus out of it."
Strategy: I dunno. I mean, I have to watch him make it, put in the recipe, get the values, and portion it out, but I think I'll probably still be eating the bajeezus out of it. I can just track it better.

***Excuse #7
Strategy: Put pizza into my tracker BEFORE I eat it.

emoticon FITNESS emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I'm tired. I can't move. Well, I guess I CAN, but I REALLY don't want to."
Strategy: I'm committing to five minutes of exercise a day, which is really only one strength exercise, at "worst." I can certainly do bicep curls, crunches, or calf raises for five minutes, so there is that. Further, this attitude stems from my smoking (See blog "Sybaratism."). Since I am officially scared straight on the smoking, then this is not going to be an issue.

***Excuse #2
"Okay, this is a real, legitimate emergency, and I really can't do the five minutes today. I mean, I really can't."
Strategy: This happened this weekend. My strategy for this one during the Challenge is going to be at least five minutes of gentle stretching before bed. This sounds relaxing and charming to me.

So there are those. Any tips, suggestions or additional strategies welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHITNEYLD 10/2/2012 10:04AM

    I stole this idea for my own blog! Hope you don't mind. I thought it would be a great idea for me to do this.

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MONAKIN314 9/26/2012 12:17PM

    Great Plan!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/26/2012 12:07PM

    Love this blog and where you admit you'll probably "cave." That's ok, it's all about balance! I couldn't resist Mac & cheese either!!
I have a stock of frozen healthy waffles, oatmeal, cereal, etc for days at work when I don't plan out a regular breakfast. I even sometimes "Cheat" and get the oatmeal from McDonalds or Jamba juice. IDK why but it makes me feel empowered to order something remotely healthy when everyone around me is getting hash browns and mcmuffins!

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MADAMES 9/25/2012 10:11PM


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PINKNFITCARLA 9/25/2012 9:17PM

    Sounds good! emoticon emoticon

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 9/25/2012 7:52PM

    Sounds good to me, if 2 people bring yummy treats, why not have 1/2 of one each. and keep the other 1/2's for the next day!!!
All the best with the challenge

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RUTHXG 9/25/2012 5:57PM

    Sounds good to me, Brenda! emoticon emoticon

(Sorry, I am running a deficit in my Inspiring Things to Say mental stash. Love you in any case!)

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5% Challenge Assignment #3

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've kept the same answers to the third assignment on my SparkPage for a looooong time. It's time to update. Not only was I so inspired by my Larve-cum-Adult Starfishie Dragonfly, but I mean, it's just TIME. I haven't thought about these answers in a long time, haven't tried to internalize them, and they certainly haven't been effective.

So here are the questions and my updated answers for assignment #3.

Today's assignment is to list all the reasons you want to lose weight.

***I do not see myself as I am. I think I'm thinner than I am. I posted a full-body photo of myself as a background so I can SEE what I actually look like. It's not great, and it's not what I see. So when I am FORCED to see it, like the other day when I was in a dressing room, it's a disgusting shock to me. I don't want to be shocked anymore.

***I am vain. I want to look cute and attractive. I don't want to look rotund.

***One of my knees has arthritis in it. It doesn't hurt unless I weigh a few pounds more, and then only going upstairs, but com'on. I'm not even 30.

***I am just tired. I want to work on something else. Or nothing at all. Regardless. I'm done. I'm tired, and I'm done.

What do you want to change?
I want to change my body and the feeling of failure, sadness, and disgust. I was grossed out by what I saw in that dressing room mirror. I hate saying that. I feel bad saying that, but I did. I want to change my relationship to food. I want to start making the connection between what I eat and the size of my belly, thighs and ass.

How do you want to look?
Like a 30-year-old version of 23-year-old me. Trim and slender. Like someone with wrists the size my wrists are. I want to look my best. I've been going through some sort of spiritual crisis for the last long while; I'm having trouble coming to terms with the idea that I'm only living once, and this is the way I'm going through it. There's a lot more to these thoughts, but suffice to say, I'd like to look my best.

How do you want to feel?
Attractive. Comfortable in my skin. Toned.

What things will you be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body?
I'm not really hindered by my weight right now as far as activities. I can fit in amusement park rides, I can run, I can jump, I can kneel down...but I guess I will be able to buy cuter clothes and focus my efforts on other parts of my life that need to belooked after.

So that's them. This took me a long time to write. I hope it's clear to you guys, but more importantly, I hope it's clear to me during the challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/21/2012 4:17PM

    I completely relate - in my mind I'm like Oh I look pretty good? then I look in the mirror and I'm like
emoticon Oh
I agree with your other reasons, too. It's like, I'm not as bad as Honey Boo Boo's mom, BUT I also don't look like how I want to at age 28. And the knees thing, yeah! It sucks!

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RUTHXG 9/20/2012 11:13PM

    This post is very poignant; I hear longing in your words. May that desire energize you day by day!

emoticon emoticon

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DRAGONFLY02 9/20/2012 9:15PM

    Awwwww, thanks for the shout-out in your blog. I'm glad my blog inspired you to update yours. I consider myself blessed for making this journey now in my 30s as I know the older we get, the harder it is. But there are so many people on here who've been able to make the changes that are older. Regardless, now is the time to make the changes to our lives and continue living healthy for many, many years to come! Thanks for being such a great mentor!!

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BRAVELUTE 9/20/2012 8:39PM

    I agree with Bookwerme. We aren't doing this for the now. Tomorrow counts, too. I wish everyone would watch Dr. William Li's video at Ted.Com or on You Tube or at Eat to

He says we can eat to keep cancers from growing into tumors. And the same science behind that claim works for shrinking fat cells, and other ailments like arthritis, alzheimers, and on and on. Perhaps the food list at Eat to Defeat would be the spark that you need as you make those changes you want to make.

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BOOKWERME 9/20/2012 8:32PM

    When I was 30 I was always up to my ears in kids and farm work and just trying to keep up with everyone. I never wore the size clothes I wanted...that something special that caught my eye always stopped in the size below whatever I was wearing. It wasn't until I was in my 50s that I began to feel the consequences of not taking notice along the way...diabetes at age 46. Heart surprises some years later (that cost us a full years insurance!!!) The weight creeps up unless you are vigilant.

You are analyzing the whys of NOW...keep that focus for things get harder as you age...I didn't believe it when I was told that back when I was in my 30s and 40s. But it is true..your joints begin to complain, you may discover some arthritis...stairs are sometimes a bit of a get stiff when you sit after exercise. The more you can do NOW to keep yourself fit and healthy, the less trouble you will have with all this aging stuff down the road.

GOOD FOR YOU to see where you are going...and why!!! emoticon

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VONBLACKBIRD 9/20/2012 8:26PM

    emoticon emoticon

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