Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fit at last, fit at last!

We got our Wii Fit last night. Today, in the privacy afforded to me by my family being out of the house at work & school, I set it up for the first time.

It. Is. Awesome.

Okay, my little mii is in sad, sad shape. She looks absolutely awful. But! This is so much fun! I exercised for 27 minutes so far, and I can't wait to get back on it when my second shift is over today. Right now my "wii age" is 46 (I'm 34 in real life), but I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I did balancing exercises where some of the other miis in our plaza flung soccer balls (good), shoes (bad) & panda heads (really bad!) at my head. I went on a little jog with another mii and got to watch all of my friends run by and did some step aerobics between the miis we have for Jason & Lord Voldemort! Working out for certain amounts of time, I'm able to unlock extra things and levels of difficulty. Plus, you just get to compete against yourself.

I have no doubt that for people who actually work out, this is a pretty simplistic little thing, but for a total couch potato like myself, this is really fun. I get to vary my workouts a bit. Right now I'm just trying everything, but I expect as the days go by, I'll set up some kind of more specific routine (aerobic exercise for X minutes, strength training for X time, etc.).

I'm sure we'll bust it out for the kids and Jason later tonight. I know we're late to the game with this, but I'm so glad we picked it up. I have no doubt that it's going to get plenty of use and be a big motivation to get our family a bit more active!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

Today is Mardi Gras, which means that tomorrow is the first day of Lent. While I totally believe that we are under no compulsion to observe any Lenten fasts, I have decided that this year I am going to do a couple of internet fasts.

One site that I totally love and totally consumes WAY too much of my time is Facebook. I know that the mature way to handle this is to simply cut back and moderate my time spent on the site. But honestly, I don't feel that mature right now! So instead, I'm going to take a full break from it until Easter. I hate to give it up, but honestly, I KNOW that I'm being called to make this sacrifice for this season, so I'm going to do that. There's another site that I'm going to take a break from as well. That's more of a sabbatical than a fast, since I "work" there in a lot of my free time, but I'm sure I'll miss it as well, since I do have friends there as well.

During that time, I'm hoping to spend a bit more time working on getting my mornings organized. I have about two hours free each morning before I work, and I need to make better use of my time there. I have a list of items that I hope to accomplish each day (like cleaning bathrooms on Monday, dusting on Tuesday, mopping on Wednesday, etc.), but even so, I still feel like there are things that I need to do to make my days more productive. Taking this time to work on getting life a bit more "together" seems like a really good thing.

Additionally, my parents' pastor challenged their church to pray for 10 hours in March. It works out to about 20 minutes a day. I've decided to go ahead and take that challenge. I know that prayer isn't one of my strong suits, so I look forward to making a very concerted effort to see that I pray 20 minutes each day.

Finally, I wanted to post a video that our church did for the children's ministry. A couple of weeks ago, the new children's minister asked Deborah to share her testimony for a little video they put together to share with the other children. We stayed after church and they taped several kids and teachers for this video. It was shown last Sunday and I was really impressed with it. Deborah was definitely a bit nervous during the filming, but I still think it's pretty sweet!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Musical Monday

In church yesterday, we pulled out an old song -- one that I hadn't heard in a while. But even though this song is older, it is aging nicely. It's one I've done numerous times since it first came out in 2002.

The song is Matt Redman's Blessed Be Your Name. The song has been recorded numerous times by numerous performers. My personal favorite (though I was unable to locate a copy online) is Matt's own re-recording of it on his most recent cd, Beautiful News. Some of the chord progressions are just really, really nice in the newest version.

But more than anything, this is just a beautiful lyric. Matt has woven the Scriptures beautifully with this melody and he has added his own personal touch and come out with a very enduring song. And the message is certainly one that resonates here. Though it's much more difficult to praise during the dark and painful times, God's love endures and His name is to be praised.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Catching up

Sorry for the blogging hiatus there. I'm not sure what it is about February -- I haven't blogged much in the second month for like 3 years in a row!

Anyway, it's been a pretty decent month. We've really dug in and cleaned a lot. We've thrown away and given away a lot of stuff in the past few weeks. It feels good to be able to walk around in the house and not be overwhelmed by junk. I know that it's still not even close to clean compared to many, but the piles are smaller than they used to be, as well as being far less numerous. The kids are being really good about working in their rooms as well, and they have kept them pretty well picked-up. We still need to buy a few more bins to store items in, but overall, the kids are doing their part to keep their space cleaner.

We've also been eating most meals at the kitchen table again. I absolutely love that. I know that as the kids get older, we'll be pulled in far more directions, and I'm glad that we're re-establishing this in our family. We got away from eating together at the table, and it was really awful. The kids have all commented on how much they enjoy eating at the table, so I'm glad that we're at the point where we can do that more often.

Last weekend we took the kids up to my parents for a quick visit after church. We spent the night and then on Monday, we all went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. We also went to the Scaife gallery, but honestly, we breezed through there pretty quickly. I think next time we'll try to spend a little more time in the art museum, but it was the end of the day, and we were all pretty tired. Plus, the modern art installation wasn't in as they were moving out another gallery. We did finally get to see the new T-Rex display. Very nice. Carnegie assembled a pretty amazing collection of dinosaurs, so it's very cool to get to have them so close. We really enjoyed that and the hall of minerals. Lots of fascinating pieces of geology in there! Faith talks about becoming a "rock scientist" every now and then, so she really liked that part of the museum.

In the braggy section, I've got to mention my son James. He was tested recently for the gifted program at school. We were very excited to get his test scores back and find that he did very well. We knew the kid was smart, but having it confirmed by an IQ test was pretty exciting. In general knowledge, he tested at nearly an 8th grade level (he's in 2nd grade). We have an IEP meeting for him in 2 weeks and hopefully shortly after that, he'll be able to join the REACH program at school.

I've been working a good bit at my new job, finally. Working for Citibank requires a lot more knowledge than my previous job with DHL, but I really like it. The supervisors are very helpful and have been really great at assisting me in learning the ropes. Working from home is different from working in a call center mostly because there's very little opportunity to have any hands-on experience with the system before you're actually taking calls. When I worked for Aegis, I was able to practice on the system for a while before I actually had to talk to customers. Here, I didn't get to work on it much before I was working with real money! I don't think I've bankrupted anyone yet, so that's good.

I think that should catch everything up for now. I'll try to write something a little more interesting soon! I need to get my mornings a little bit more organized (I generally have about 2 hours between dropping the kids at school and starting work each morning), and part of that needs to be setting aside a period of time for writing my blog. I'm never going to be an Organized Person (TM), but I can at least be a less disorganized person!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Musical Monday

Back to it -- I know it's been a while since I've blogged. Sorry about that, just nothing very compelling to write about lately. We've just had one sick kid after another lately. Nothing terrible, but enough coughing or enough of a raised temperature to keep someone home most days last week. Fortunately, everyone seems well-ish today, so everyone is heading back to school. I also finally start my new job with CitiBank today. It looks like I'll be able to get more hours with this company than with my last job, so that will be nice.

We were also on a bit of a cleaning kick last week. All of the bedrooms were cleaned out and I've made numerous trips to the Union Mission with clothes and toys that we have all decided need to go to someone else instead of taking up space in our house! We even cleaned out the closet in the boys' room. That may sound like something small, but it's a massive closet. Back when Jason and I lived in that room, the closet served as a baby room. Large enough to hold a crib and plenty of toys. It's been jammed full of junk since we moved downstairs years ago and I finally decided that it was time to make it a usable space again. I got a lot done and Jason finished it up while I was shopping on Saturday. We're thinking that it will become a study/reading/knitting/music/whatever space. I can't wait to finish getting it fixed up.

Anyway, on to my Musical Monday offering. I sang for KidSTUFF this week at church. Deborah generally goes with me to dance, but she wasn't feeling well, so she missed. Since I had the car to myself on the ride home, I decided to listen to something that I hadn't heard in a long time, and put in Wish by The Cure. It was so fun mondegreen-ing to songs I probably haven't listened to in 15 years (honestly, I don't know when the last time was that I pulled out this cd). But it brought back all kinds of fun memories. The Cure played in Pittsburgh when I was graduating, and several friends picked up the tab and paid for my ticket to go see Robert Smith and his hair. Wish had just come out, and it even had a song with my name (sort of) on it. Of course, that song was horribly depressing, but nevertheless, there aren't a lot of Alise (or Elise) songs, so I was excited. In high school, I tried to do the New Wave thing (probably would have been Goth these days) complete with all of the black clothes, the white face, the bright red lipstick and the black hair. But I'm mostly a very happy person, so it was all very ironic. And my absolute favorite song off of Wish was Doing the Unstuck, which I mostly just called Let's Get Happy.

Anyway, for today's Musical Monday, enjoy Doing the Unstuck by The Cure. The video would have been taken from the tour that I got to see (though this wasn't the venue that I got to see them in). Have a happy day!

It's a perfect day for letting go
For setting fire to bridges
Boats
And other dreary worlds you know
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for making out
To wake up with a smile
Without a doubt
To burst grin giggle bliss skip jump sing and shout
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

It's a perfect day for kiss and swell
For rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well...
There's loads of other stuff can make you yell
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for doing the unstuck
For dancing like you can't hear the beat
And you don't give a further thought
To things like feet
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the beat is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!

It's a perfect day for getting wild
Forgetting all your worries
Life
And everything that makes you cry
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for dreams come true
For thinking big
And doing anything you want to do
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the dream is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!

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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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