Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Birthday

I love fall.

The colors of the leaves. 
The brisk nip in the air. 

Part of this love of the season may have to do with the fact that my birthday just happens to fall right in the middle of it.  This year we celebrated a day early as my wonderful husband had the day off and the four of us could spend the entire day together.

The morning began with a quick two mile walk at the park. And the bridge wasn't even slick at 7:45 am!
Skid marks from that dangerous walk!
 After returning from my walk (my hubby jogged his miles and walked a cool down lap with me), I jumped into a super fast shower and then headed for the church leaving the three guys at home.  It was the day of our regularly scheduled moms group.  I am in charge of making the coffee for 20+ moms who have just spent the previous hour(s) getting their children ready for school, making it to the bus stop/droppping them off at school, while getting themselves and any remaining children ready to get to the church by 9:30.  They deserve a cup of steaming hot coffee waiting for them.  I have the privilege of making sure that happens.  So after the coffee was made, I scooted back home.

Two cards awaited me on the breakfast table. One contained this:

While I was gone, my guys hid six items around the yard for me to find.  My very own geocache series for my birthday! I love my men so much! Such a thoughtful and wonderful fun surprise!

So after hunting and finding my caches, I am set.  Each cache was a tool to help grab actual finds along the trails.  

After that fun hunt, we loaded into the car and spent the day in Pittsburgh doing stuff our family loves to do.  We ended the day at a local restaurant that happens to have a fabulous bakery attached to it.

French Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Creme and Fudge
I feel very loved and treasured.  It was a fabulous way to spend a birthday. I even have leftovers from dinner for tomorrow, even cake!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to attend a football game

The four of us had the opportunity to attend the Boston College vs. Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg, VA.  For those of you who may not know, my wonderful husband is a Virgina Tech Hokie Alumnus.  He has been wanting to take the boys to a game for a long time.  Finally all the pieces and the timing worked out for this weekend.

The only thing that didn't cooperate was the weather forecast.  Thursday before the Saturday game they were calling for  90% chance of rain at game time.  A quarter inch of rain in the afternoon.  The game started at 12:30.

Not to be detered, we packed snowpants, sweatshirts, long johns, thick socks, boots and swim wear (our hotel had an indoor pool).  We each planned an extra outfit to have with us in the car for immediately after the game so we had dry clothes to change into.  We packed blankets and ponchos in backpacks to carry into the game.  Gloves were tucked into pockets and we were set.

We loaded the car and set off Friday to points south.  It was a nice day for a drive and the trip went well.  Thanks to the patience of my wonderful husband, we even made a couple geocaching finds along the way.    After a lunch stop, a dinner stop, and a couple of other necessary stops, we arrived at our hotel.  Upon check in and finding our room, we quickly changed into swimwear and headed to the pool (and hottub!) AHHHH

The next morning we were up and about bright and early to find snow falling and collecting on the ground outside our window.  An extra layer was added to our game bags and we hit the road for the campus.  As we drive the snow turned into a light rain and that eventually subsided.  We drove around my hubby's old stomping grounds and walked around the memorial.  It is a beautiful campus! After logging another couple of geocaches, we hit the student union for a lunch of really good burgers and fries.

We went back to the car, layered on our clothing and snowpants, then headed to the stadium for the game.  We had great seats.  We could see the band. We could see the players on the field close enough to even see the ball being passed from player to player.

The rain onlly amounted  to a drizzle for part of the time.  We stayed warm by cheering and rooting for the Hokies.  The cheerleaders were right in front of us, so we helped them as much as we could.
The boys even attracted the attention of the camera man and he put them on the jumbotron (the scoreboard) twice!

It was a great day, even though our team didn't finish with the most points. As we walked back to the car, after shopping a little at the campus bookstore, the littlest M asked if we could go straight to the hottub when we got back to the hotel.  I told him we could, right after dinner.

And so we did.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The "New" House

On Memorial Day, 2013, we moved into our new house on a private lane.  Our neighborhood consists of three houses.  But from our hilltop abode, we can see only glimpses of the other two through the leaves in the spring and summer,  and corners of them through the branches in the fall and winter. One neighbor is a retired school teacher and her husband and the other couple is a retired contractor and his wife.  Both couples have given our boys generous permission to play where ever they want on the hillside, even if games of tag and exploration of the woods bring my exuberant boys on to their property.

Our "Little House in the Country" has an open floor plan with a master bedroom on the ground floor and the boys' rooms on the second floor with their own bathroom up there too. The finished basement needs a new paint job to reign in the eight different colors currently on the walls.  The room spans the width and length of the house and, I think, the decor was chosen by the boy who used to live there.

Surrounding the house is a little over two acres of land.  Some of it is wooded with lots of space for two young growing boys to explore and discover.  Our drive way is a quarter of a mile from our house to the main road.  No one can see and not to many people even know our house is at the top.  Many times while the guys are headed down to get the newspaper at the main road, they have startled deer and turkeys, not to mention the usual squirrels and rabbits.

The previous owners left behind a tree house that the boys have dubbed their clubhouse.  It even has real windows that slide open and closed.  They have added a small table and two chairs to the space and I'm sure a request for a coat of paint is not far behind. I can't wait to hear the discussion that leads to the color choice.

There was a large portion of the back yard (actually the side yard, but it is the largest section so it is "The Backyard) fenced to contain a garden.  A garden that size would have easily fed a family the size of the Duggar clan and would have killed me and caused no end of grief.  So we pulled out half the fence and now the garden for us is one-third the size.  It is still a thorn in my side, but one I will bear for fresh green beans and garden-ripe tomato sandwiches.

We are surprised at the freedom we feel living in the country as opposed to living in a subdivision.  We don't have to worry about keeping curtains or blinds pulled to avoid the eyes of the neighbors seeing our dash to the laundry room to grab a pair of jeans from the dryer.  If the grass get a little long, we are not going to get a "nasty-gram" from the Home Owners Association.  And if we park our camper in the driveway, no one will complain about it being an eye-sore.

While we are still 15 minutes from the grocery store and less than an hour from the big city, we feel a subtle separation from the hustle and bustle life can bring.  Even after a year, I admit, I still have a lot of sorting and organizing to do.  There is chaos and clutter at times, that covers every flat surface.  But sitting on the swing on the covered back deck, watching deer wander by and listening to the woodpecker capture his dinner, peace fills my heart. My boys are healthy and happy.  My hard working husband comes home each day to a house filled with love and energy and is refreshed. As long as our home is our retreat from the world, we will be ready for anything that happens beyond the driveway.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Success

Day 31 - 31 Day Challenge
To read this challenge from the beginning, click HERE.

This month of blogging has definately been a challenge.  No one forced me to choose the topic of health. No one forced me to post each day.  But I took up the challenge and am better for it.

While I am glad I can be a little more varied with my topics from now on, I will try to continue to blog more often than before the challenge started.  That shouldn't be too hard, as I only posted once every few months.

Setting a goal is healthy. Whether or not you meet that goal is sometimes not as important as doing your best to achieve success.  I may not have lost more weight this month than ever before, but I set small goals and started working towards success.

I am surprised I achieved this goal.  I was sure I would miss a day or two along the way.  It is fun to surprise yourself.  Surprising yourself can give you a boost of confidence that you weren't expecting and is much needed.  Knowing I can get a blog post in everyday for a month shows me I can get at least two done per week.  I have blogged while camping, traveling and during the normal everyday busy-ness.

For those of you who checked in to see what I was up to during the month - THANKS.  It was fun to see the numbers of those who visited my blog each day.  Thanks for the support, comments, and encouragement. I hope you will come back and see what I am up to when I am not chatting about health.

Please continue to set goals, drink your water, and eat wisely.  I am still walking the road towards health. Don't give up.

Let's do this!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Handle a Migraine

Day 30 - 31 Day Challenge
To see the other posts in this series, click HERE.

If you have never had a migraine headache, you will not fully understand this post.  If you have, you will understand it all too well.

I have very sporadic migraines, maybe one or two every three years or so.  This week I had two warnings that migraines are approaching.  My symptoms are funny to the non-educated and when I am not experiencing them, they are funny to me as well.

When a head pounding issue is arriving it is polite enough to send messages ahead to prepare.  First my fingers go numb.  My index finger begins the numb parade. By the time I have feeling back in that pointer finger, the odd sensation has worked its way through all my digits in a wave from pointer to pinkie.  Then the numbness continues down my palm and disappears.

My tongue delivers the next warning.  Apparently, when the numbness is finished with my fingers, it travels up to my mouth, but only partially.  Half of my tongue tingles just like the effects of the dentist's novocain.  You can only imagine trying to explain what's going on when you tongue is just not cooperating.

Message number three comes from my eyes.  Blind spots occur in my peripheral vision, usually the outside edges, but last night it was the bottom, outside quarter of my right eye.  That was the biggest one ever.  Between the blind spot and good vision is what I refer to as a starry patch of rainbow colored flares.  Those are kind of pretty to look at if it didn't get in the way of actually seeing.

All these symptoms then disappear in the order of appearance.  Sometimes they overlap, but most of the time they are very mannerly and take turns.  This polite warning system allows me to prepare for the pain that may or may not follow. What? you may ask.  Yes, I have discovered I can go through all or some of the symptoms and not get the headache, but I will wake up the next morning with a killer of a hangover headache. The kind where the pain is a dull ache in the background until you cough or bend over or do anything that puts pressure on or to you head, then WHAM a sledgehammer of pain will stop you in your tracks.  Once the pressure is gone, so is the pain.  Your brain feels black and blue for several hours.  Day two after the migraine (for me anyway) all is right with the world with only the dull ache in the background.

Like I said, this happened to me twice this week on the days that my wonderful husband was out of town with work.  Thankfully, the pain did not follow the symptoms either time, but the lingering headaches did.  I am wondering if because the pain did not come, the symptoms will keep coming until the headaches arrive and clear the slate.

I have discovered, that when it is possible, I just need to not fight what is happening. I need to turn off the lights and just go lay down and ride it out.  The pain passes quicker and stays away longer than if  I try to muscle through my day and try to ignore the migraine notices.

I am not sure if there is a cycle to my migraines or if they are tied to any state of health, but I will do what I can to endure and bounce back from them as quick as possible so I can continue down the path towards better health.

Let's do this.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Water, water, everywhere (and a few other options)

Day 29 - 31 Day Challenge
To read this challenge from the beginning, please click HERE

Grab your water bottle and pull up a seat.  I have written how much water we are supposed to drink in a day.  I try, I really do, but sometimes, water is just so blah.  After working out or doing some serious yard work, I can guzzle water without thinking about it.  But in the middle of the day, the thought of drinking another sip of plain water makes my throat close up. So I have researched alternatives that still count as water but have flavor and even a little kick.

Option 1 - Add something to plain water.  I have added chunks of ginger root, slices of cucumber, and even though I cannot do this myself, lemon or lime slices work well too.  These additions do not take away any of the health benefits of water. they may even add a smidge of extra healthiness.

Option 2 - find a recipe that does not add chemicals or sugar to your body.  I have mentioned the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.  They introduced me to "Good Girl Moonshine".  There is no alcohol involved in this drink.  In our house we refer to it as "Ginger Pop".  It is my soda/pop/cola replacer.  It is a great refresher on those hot summer days when you used to reach for a bubbly beverage.

           Fill a quart jar with ice, then fill with water leaving about an inch empty at the top.
           Add a half inch of ginger root or 1 teaspooon of ginger powder.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons of apple
           cider vinegar. Finish the mix off with 1-2 packets of truvia (all natural sugar replacement).  Put
           the lid on the jar and shake to mix it well and disolve the truvia.  Drink while ice cold.

Adjust this recipe until it totally suits you.  Add more truvia, less ginger, what ever floats your boat to make this drink your favorite over the sodas you used to reach for.

There are many other recipes like this out there.  Some for hot weather and some for cold.  Some in the format of a smoothie texture others a lite latte version.

What ever it takes to get your liquids in, please do it to help your body get healthy.  Let's do this,

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fresh Air

Day 28 - 31 Day Challenge
To read some of the rest of the series, click HERE

A nasty cold has settled on my oldest child.  We were up until 12:30 last night.  Even though he is 12, he wanted to have his momma hold him for a little bit while he fell asleep.  I jumped at the chance even though a migrain was threatening. The symptoms were announcing themselves in their usual order: numb fingers, numb tongue, loss of peripherial vision, then the headache.

Anyway, I had obligations this morning and once those were accomplished, I warned the boys with penalty of death I was not to be disturbed, and went back to bed for a hour.  It is amazing what sound sleep can do.  My headache had retreated to the background and I was ready to teach school (consider it a four hour delay).

I glanced outside.  The sun was playing with the clouds as the wind rocked the tops of the trees.  The temperature was higher than it has been for a week and most likely as high as it will be until after winter.  Snow is in the forecast for this weekend.  Knowing these facts, we packed up our school room and headed out to our outdoor classroom (aka the back deck) and learning commenced.

As read aloud began, we breathed in deep and relaxed in the warmth of the sun.  Tension of the morning of illness and headache wars blew away with the breeze.  The beauty of the autumn trees surrounded us with art that can't be duplicated by any man.  The music of the leaves rustling and the birds chirping was a wonderful accompainment to the lessons being read.

There is something about being outside and breathing in lungfulls of fresh air to lift your spirits and make you feel better.  Looking ahead to the winter and being inside each day, makes us enjoy this day all the more.  School in front of the fireplace is special too, and I will tell about that in another post this winter.

Today, I am going to enjoy this summer day that got lost in the days of fall. I will get in my two mile walk with a friend this evening and enjoy it all the longer.

Breath deep, everyone.  Let's do this.