Monthly Archives: September 2016

Helicopter Sister

Helicopter Sister

I admit, I have never really empathized with helicopter parents.  Loving your kids?  Of course.  Wanting only good things for them, to protect them from bad?  Yup.  Trying to give them all the skills they need to succeed?  On it.

But the worry, the lack of perspective, that I never got.  I got a package from Kai’s Kindergarten teacher the day before his First Day, with a cotton ball, a kleenex, and a peppermint tea bag.  It also had a cute poem in it, telling me that I would be sad on Kai’s first day, but I could stroke the cotton ball to remember his sweet, soft, spirit, I could use the kleenex to dry my tears, and I should put my feet up and enjoy the cup of tea and reflect on this momentous day.

Um.  Right.

I think my First Day emotions were more like “WHOO-HOO!  FINALLY!  HE’S IN SCHOOL ALL DAY FIVE DAYS A WEEK!  He’s so ready!  I’m so ready!  Let’s do this!”

I did enjoy the tea, however.

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My lack of helicoptering with my kids left me totally unprepared, though, for what happened when I got a text from my Elizabeth, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, that said, “my water just broke.”

Whoosh.  My everything flew across that ocean.  My focus, my energy, my prayers, my breathing, my thoughts.  I woke up every 90 minutes that night.  The next day I had the day off from work, and I’d planned some to-dos to do, but instead found all I could do was a. walk and pace and breathe and think about her or b. curl up on the couch and watch reruns of Call The Midwife.

We’ve had a bug running through the house, and when Andrew came home from work and saw me curled on the couch, he said “are you feeling sick or just worried about Elizabeth?” and I answered, “honestly, I can’t tell the difference.”  (HSP shout-out!)

I assumed once the baby was born, I’d Whoosh back to my present life, wishing her well and glorying in baby photos…but not so much.  I wake and I think of them.  Lulls in work, I think of them.  And when we had a text exchange last night and I could tell she was so tired with new-mommy stuff (which is, really, an insane unreasonable time and why on earth is it designed this way?  It’s like those stupid penguins marching for miles – who designed these systems?) and Andrew was talking to me and I couldn’t hear him because I was there, with her, and…

…well, in bed later that night, I realized I had to let go.  It’s coming from a place of love, but it’s not healthy to me and my family.  I can be an amazing Aunt Erika, and a supportive big sister, and love them to pieces, without being a hovering mess.  I took a deep breath, and asked (implored, demanded, whatever) that God hold her and that new baby very very very very very close…and I flew my helicopter back to the States.  I parked it.  I got out.  I snuggled my husband in bed, and thanked God for my own sweet babies (kids, hulking boys, whatever) and I went to sleep.

Zumba Strong – Erika’s Thinks

Zumba Strong – Erika’s Thinks

Last night I took a Zumba Strong demo class.  People ask me ALL. THE. TIME. what I think about Zumba as a Jazzercise Instructor, and I’m hesitant to speak because, well, I have strong opinions about how group exercise classes should go.  But, I figure I’m an informed participant, so, here are my thoughts.

The format:
– it’s good. The cardio is not too complicated, very with the beat, lots of strength – mixed with straight up strength – like the planks and lunges.
– I didn’t find anything too challenging until the floor abs part, and that was just unreasonable, to my mind. Even the instructor wasn’t hanging in for all of it.
– I did not like the 90 second catch-your-breath-get-water break every 5 minutes. Killed the momentum. (But, see below, maybe it’s really needed for most of the customers).
– I would enjoy teaching this class.
– We already do almost everything in this class (except for the copious amounts of burpies) in Jazzercise – it would easy easy easy to create this using what we already do. The “techno music set to the strength choreography” selling point – feels just like our choreography. Totally.

The class:
– the instructor was cute as a button and CUT. I liked her. BUT.
– she flipped between facing the mirror and facing us, and sometimes facing side randomly, but didn’t bother to switch her R/L when she did so. I was careful to be equal on each side, but the customers weren’t – they just followed.
– this kind of thing needs really good cueing for safety and to know what’s coming up next. When the choreography is set to music you have to be on the music – no time to wait another 8 counts and jump in. This instructor did not know what was coming next in time to cue for it, and it showed.
– I liked the challenge of the intense bursts of strength (and a lot of the plyometric jumps into burpies into kickboxing was pretty intense)…but I’m in pretty good shape and teach Jazzercise. Most of the class was not like me, and could not keep up. About 25% of the class left after the first 10 minutes, and those that remained, over half did not ever touch the floor – and going down and up from the floor was a big part of this.
– safety – eek. I was in the back row and looking at all the knees ahead of me and thinking “this is really not safe”. Without the cueing and prep, the quick turns into lunges and such were not done safely by most of the class.

The workout:
– I burned the equivalent calories to an Interval Fusion class, says my fitbit. Remember – I was going all out and doing everything; most of the customers were not.
– I am a little sore in the core and glutes.
– I am a lot stiff in my back.
– My head was pounding after the class – I think it was all the quick inversions from the burpies and planks and up again. Ouch.
– I was a sweaty mess after…but not sweatier than when after I teach Jazzercise.

Thems my thinks!

My Raffle Winning Superpower was in full force, and won a free month of group exercise classes at the Parks and Rec Center for attending this demo…so I’ll go back and take this for a month and see if my perception changes.  It was a good enough class for me, personally, to get something out of it.

A corner of my own…

A corner of my own…

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Well, this would do splendidly…thanks, Pinterest!

“There should be at least a room, or some corner where no one will find you and disturb you or notice you. You should be able to to untether yourself from the world and set yourself free, loosing all the fine strings and strands of tension that bind you, by sight, by sound, by thought, to the presence of other men….

“Once you have found such a place, be content with it, and do not be disturbed if a good reason take you out of it. Love it, and return to it as soon as you can, and do not be too quick to change it for another.”

— Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


This is one of the few complaints I have about our new house…in our condo I carved out a corner of our bedroom, a nook by a window, that was all mine.  It had my altar, my prayer things, some photos or mementos that rotated as I felt they needed to be, a candle, and a small vase for flowers.  I could sit on a cushion in my nook and just…be.  I could lock the door to our bedroom and claim some quiet space and time.

New house?  No nook available..at least, not one I’ve found yet.  It did take me 4-5 years in the old place to discover my first nook, so maybe one will be forthcoming.  But for now – I’m always available, and always in the family space.

A working lock on our bedroom door would help, I suspect…

Oh, and I yoinked the above quote from Gretchen Rubin’s blog The Happiness Project.  One of my fav’s – an almost daily check-in for me.