Friday, November 18, 2016

The Burden

I brought her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an iced tea. I set the plate on her lap, along with a napkin, and moved the table next to her so that she could reach the drink. She was in her bed. She had not been able to go up or down the stairs in over two months. She told me, "I'm a burden. I'm a burden on my husband, my kids, my family--everyone. I'm not saying this to be dramatic or depressing, it's just a fact that I've been thinking about lately."

I don't remember what I said in response. I know I tried to tell her she wasn't a burden at all, that it was my pleasure to help her any way I could. I know she argued back. I know it made me sad. I want to go back and have a re-do of that conversation. I want to tell her what I know now, with the perspective of time and much mulling over. 

What I know now is this: there was a huge burden, but it wasn't her. The burden was her illness.

The burden was what she carried. And it was so heavy that we all worked as hard as we could to hold on to parts of it for her. The burden was the wicked illness that attacked her body, making her nauseous and unable to eat. The burden made her unable to stand and walk. It made her feel unbearable pain. It was enormous.

When she died, the burden broke up into pieces, and each of her loved ones now holds a chunk.

Depending on the day, my chunk of the burden feels either easy and light, or like I'm carrying a 500 pound boulder on my back.

No, sweet sister, you were never a burden. You held your burden as long as you could, to keep it from falling on the rest of us. Now it is broken into smaller, more manageable chunks, but they are sometimes still very hard to hold.

You were strong, you tried so hard for so long, now we can take over and you can rest.

I love you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

I Am Reclaiming the Holidays

I haven't really enjoyed Thanksgiving or Christmas since 2009.

Yes, despite everything I have to be thankful for, despite having four wonderful kids with whom I can share the magic of Christmas, I've been just barely making it through the holidays, let alone enjoying them.

In 2010, it was the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my dad. It was hard, because his birthday is right around Thanksgiving, and he loved the holidays more than anyone I know. We had lost him only two months prior. It all felt forced and difficult.

In 2011, we were a little more used to not having Dad, but it was still hard. I didn't look forward to it, in fact, I dreaded the holidays.

In 2012 Sue was very sick around the holidays. I remember getting calls from her in which we discussed what we might do if she was in the hospital on Christmas. She was miserable. We faked it through those holidays, despite the fact that she wasn't in the hospital after all.

In 2013 we had lost Sue. My nieces and nephews were trying to see what life was like on the holidays without a mother. I was deep, deep in grief myself. I don't remember much about those holidays except escaping to cry in the bathroom a few times.

In 2014 we had made it through a whole year, plus, without Sue, but I wasn't feeling much better where the holidays were concerned. I remember waking up on Thanksgiving and crying, just wishing I didn't have to fake it through another holiday. I did end up enjoying myself at Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was just took so much effort to be happy.

In 2015 it was another year of merely "making it through". Again, things felt a bit lighter, but still not joyful.

Now it is 2016 and I am tired of dreading the holidays. I'm tired of crying in bathrooms, wishing happy days away, and being grumpy every time I hear a Christmas song. I know how disappointed my dad and Sue would be if they knew the extent of my holiday crabbiness. 2016 is the year that this will stop.

I will enjoy the holidays this year! I will listen to the Christmas songs and sing along at the top of my lungs! I will bake cookies and bask in the glow of Christmas tree lights!

The thing is, friends, we don't know how many Thanksgivings we will get. We don't know how many magical Christmas mornings we will be allowed to experience in our lifetimes. We need to squeeze out every bit of joy we can find, wherever we can find it. I used to be a person who loved the holidays. I want to be that person again.

When my kids wake up especially grumpy, positive that they will have a horrible day, I always tell them the same thing: It is up to YOU to DECIDE what kind of day you will have. You can CHOOSE to be grumpy, or you can CHOOSE to have a great day.

It is time for me to make the choice to feel joy, thankfulness, and contentment in the coming holiday season. I'm starting today!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Another Birthday and Blood Drive in the Books

It was horrible, I thought, that I couldn't schedule the blood drive in memory of my sister on my actual birthday. In fact, I cried about it a lot. I talked with the lady who schedules the blood drives and explained why it was so very important to me to have it on my actual birthday, the third anniversary of the day Sue died, but it didn't work out.

I hate when things don't go according to my plan.

I began planning the blood drive, while also completely avoiding thinking about my birthday. When well meaning friends would offer up a suggestion of how I could spend my birthday I would either 1. Cry, or 2. Change the subject. It took me weeks to stop obsessing over it. Once my birthday was about two days away, I finally came up with a plan.

My husband, Frank, took the day off from work to spend with me. I knew that I wanted to go for a walk and out to breakfast. When the day came, I decided I didn't want to go for a walk, I just wanted to go out for breakfast. And so began me just sort of taking the day minute by minute. We came home and I decided to spend a few hours watching trashy TV on the couch. We went to the Halloween parade at our little boys' school. I baked cookies for the blood drive. I took a breath, then another, then another, until finally the day was over.

I was so relieved when the day was over.

It's so hard not to relive the day she died over and over as my birthday progresses. It's hard not to think, "At this point of that day, we were driving to the funeral home to make the arrangements." or "At this time, we were telling the kids their mom was gone."

It was the worst day of my life. And I don't know how to handle it yet. So I just go through the motions and white-knuckle it until my birthday is over. Honestly, I kind of hate having a birthday now.

But! The next day was the blood drive. I was busy all day with preparations, then running the drive, then cleaning up. I got to see so many wonderful and kind people. So many people care enough to either come to donate, or come to visit during the drive. I feel so purposeful during the blood drive. I feel like maybe some good has come out of Sue's death.

We collected 35 pints of blood, saving up to 105 lives (and as I know from Sue's situation, we could also be prolonging the life of many people's sisters--this is my favorite thought as I watch the blood bags fill up). We had 4 first-time donors, and we collected $225 for a donation to the Red Cross in Sue's name (raised by a silent auction of my mom's quilts).

I made it. I lived through another birthday/anniversary of Sue's death. I ran another successful blood drive in her memory.

This is starting to feel like something I can conquer, year after year.

Sue, meeting my youngest for the first time, 2009

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

That One Summer

We would lie on the dock, beach towels protecting our backs from the cracking, peeling paint and splintered wood. She would bring out her tape player so we could sing along to our "jams". We would talk and talk, about our family, our hopes, and our secrets, or sometimes about nothing and nonsense. 

We spoke our own inner language, which consisted of so many inside jokes that at times an eavesdropper would be left wondering how any of our words fit together to make sense. 

We were always laughing. It was always just so FUNNY, those shared memories that could be brought forth with a single word, or sometimes even just a gesture.

We would have cold Diet Pepsi, one for her and one for me, sitting between us. An opened bag of Cheetos would lie there, too, haphazardly spilling a Cheeto or two onto the dock. 

We would watch the boys on jet skis or boats and wonder out loud if there might be a cute older brother/younger brother set among them. They were too far away to judge their cuteness, though.

The sun would bleach our hair and tan our skin. When it got too hot, we would hop off the end of the dock, landing in the cool water, our feet touching sand with little patches of tickling seaweed. We would dunk under, wet our hair, flip or twist it just so, and stand back up to reveal fancy supermodel hair, or The George Washington, or a giant handheld Mohawk. 

As the sun would dip just slightly below the trees, we would know that Dad would be back at the house, making us some dinner. We would jump in and back out one last time, gather our empty bottles, Cheetos, and radio, damp towels wound around our bodies, and walk home.

Monday, July 18, 2016


It was a rough drive to the hospital. Every bump in the road caused her to cringe or yell out. She told me to take my foot off both the gas pedal AND the brake to make the jostling just a little easier on her.

"I don't know why it helps," she told me, "It just does."

It was terrifying, knowing that how I navigated each dip or rough spot on the road directly affected her pain level. My arms ached from gripping the steering wheel so tightly.

I sat in the waiting room with a book. We were there to see if they could get her some relief by draining some of the fluid from her abdomen. There was a lot of it, it caused her immense pain, and it was one of many parts of her body that was slowly, horrifyingly, getting worse.

The lady at the desk called me over. 

"They are ready for you to go see her. Room 6-B."

She was joking with a nurse when I walked in. When she told me that they didn't do the procedure, they couldn't do the procedure, because what everyone thought was fluid was actually her own organs, painfully enlarged, I needed to remind myself to breathe. 

We had reached a point where the doctors and nurses at the hospital couldn't help her. She was too sick.

I was shaking. I asked her, in as calm and normal of a voice as I could produce, "What do you want to do now?"

She took a deep breath, smiled, and said, "Let's grab some lunch!" 

I navigated her and her wheelchair through a sea of hospital workers. We needed to see all possible lunch options at the hospital cafeteria before we could make our selections. I rolled her past Saran wrapped sandwiches on paper plates, "No," she said.

I pointed out the pizza station, where the sad, droopy slivers sat waiting under heat lamps to be chosen. "No way, not pizza." She replied.

I steered her around the soup and salad bar, naming off the items that she couldn't see from her chair. 

"Let's see, there are black olives, chickpeas, some kind of cheese, maybe cheddar?" I reported.

"Chickpeas? Cheddar? Olives? Let's DO THIS!" She smiled.

We spent a considerable amount of time building her the perfect salad, with the perfect soup to go with it. We were a clumsy pair, her with trying to reach and assemble her salad from the chair, me with trying not to run over hospital workers with my less-than-stellar wheelchair steering skills. We bumped (and apologized), we dropped toppings, we laughed too loudly, we took too long making our choices. But when we were done, we had made it just how she wanted.

We got settled into a table and took a breath. 

"You have no idea how good it feels to have all of these choices," she said, taking a fork-full of salad. 

"I honestly can't remember the last time I got a chance to choose every part of what I ate and get it set up just how I want it. Thanks for doing that for me. I know it wasn't easy, but I'm so happy with this lunch! Perfection!"

I sat and stared at her for a moment, struck by how, over the past few years every single choice had been taken from her by her illness. She couldn't choose to be the wife and mom she wanted to be. She couldn't choose to make dinner for her family. She couldn't even choose to stand up and walk to the bathroom when she wanted. There was only one thing I could think of that she could still choose and she had chosen it that day. 

She had chosen to smile and be thankful.

I'm smiling today, remembering this particular day, and feeling thankful that she was mine. She was my friend, my sister, my role model. And I am who I am because of what she taught me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thoughts on Graduation

Sue's oldest child graduated from high school last night. It was so emotionally draining that I'm spending some time resting this morning. It was a wonderful night, and I was so proud. I'm not sure I've ever felt quite so proud. However, when facing happy life events, the grief is always there too.

All day yesterday I was humming a line from an old Queen song that says "pain is so close to pleasure". I understand what that line means now. I'll try to explain my pain/pleasure: 

I am SO PROUD of Sue's boy! So much pleasure! But Sue would be proud too, and she's not here to see this. PAIN. Look what he has accomplished! He has such a bright future ahead! More pleasure! But she will miss all of it. Ouch.

It's hard to put into words how daunting it is to think of all the milestones we have ahead: more graduations, first big jobs, weddings, babies, holidays. She won't be here for any of them. Not one. She never even got to see any of her kids get a driver's license. 

But here I am, watching, enjoying, being a part of her kids' lives. Why am I here and she's not? Why did her body get sick and shut down and I'm healthy? 

I don't know.

I do know that one of my biggest goals in life is to step in and feel all the emotions she would feel. I will take the pain so I can have the pleasure. 

The pain is overwhelming. But so is the pleasure. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Gettin' Stuff Done!

Well that was a whirlwind of a weekend! 

Friday night we had the Battle of the Books. We didn't win, but we had fun.  Then Joe, Natalie and I attended the church lock-in. It was an overnight activity with play practice, movie night, popcorn, a loud, rowdy game of hide and seek, and finally sleep for our youth group of 12-14 year olds. Natalie then spent the rest of the weekend with her cousin at college for Little Sibs Weekend, and Ben went to a birthday pool party for a friend. On Sunday we had church, an Easter egg hunt, Sam went to a friend's house, Joe and I grocery shopped, and Natalie came home. Honestly, I was completely exhausted by last night.

Since I was at the Lock-in, I didn't get to do my Saturday morning walk.  I did do my run on Friday morning though! (That might have been part of why I was so exhausted by about 10 pm at the lock-in!)

Today, after getting all the kids dropped off at school, I went straight to the gym and did my run. I wasn't really wanting to, in fact I was downright crabby. But once I was on the treadmill it was okay.  

I made a good food decision by having a reasonable lunch. I nurtured myself by going to my therapy appointment (during which it was pointed out to me that I'm not doing a very good job nurturing myself--more in that in a later post).

I'm tired and ready for bed. Tomorrow I'll have yoga, and I'm already looking forward to it!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ready For Battle

Guess where I am! I'm at our very last middle school Battle of the Books meeting! This is good news for a few reasons:

1.  Our big battle, the thing we have been working toward since November, is tomorrow!

2. We are making team t-shirts tonight! So exciting!

3. I'm really super tired of being the Battle of the Books team leader. I'm really, really over it.  (Oops, this doesn't count as good news I guess)

4. I repeat: it will all be over tomorrow!

Today went well, mostly. I took the day off from exercise, and that made me happy. I got a lot of stuff crossed off my to-do list, which also makes me happy. I didn't make any good food decisions. I ate lunch at Wendy's and got a chicken sandwich with fries. I guess I could have gotten two chicken sandwiches and two orders of fries, so I guess we can count that, right?

I didn't nurture myself today either. I'm not doing so well with that goal lately. Tomorrow probably won't be any better though, because it's going to be a BUSY one. In fact I'm not sure I'll have time to post tomorrow night. I'm chaperoning an overnight kids' activity at church (and that's after the battle of the books). 

Tomorrow is my running day, though, and I definitely will be doing that first thing.  

Have a good night, and wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

And Also: Fitness!

                          A selfie.

I wrote a post about Sue earlier today but I didn't touch on how my day went with fitness and my goals. I started the day with my second run of the week. It went well and I'm not feeling sore at all tonight.  Yesterday I thought about maybe going to Zumba after my run, but today I realized that was completely insane! I was worn out after that run! 

So instead I went home, showered, and headed out to Costco, Kohl's, and Michaels to get some shopping done that I've been putting off. One thing I picked up was some new socks. I needed some for running and some just regular ones. I also bought a huge package of toilet paper (aren't you glad you read this blog?). 

This evening was full of homework, dinner, dishes, chores, and a treat: the kids and I watched Fuller House together on Netflix. It's very corny, but very cute. 

I can't think of anything I did to nurture myself, so that will be next on my list before bed. I just got a new meditation app on my phone, and I think I'll go try it out.  Tomorrow I have a day off from exercise and I'm looking forward to it!

Have a great night, and thanks for reading!

Hidden Happy Surprises!

This is a picture of me with Sue at a work party
when we worked together at Ford
I have written in this blog before about hidden grief land mines. They are little triggers that I don't see coming, that make the grief come to the surface and feel very painful. Today I want to talk about what I've decided to call "Hidden Happy Surprises". Fortunately this is a phenomenon that is happening to me enough these days that I needed to name it. This is a trigger that makes me think of Sue or my dad, but instead of feeling very painful, these experiences make me feel happy.

Today I hopped into my car while out running errands and turned on the radio. The song playing was called "The Freshman" by a group called "The Verve Pipe".  This song and band was at its height of popularity in the early to mid-nineties, when Sue and I were working together at Ford Motor Co. When I heard this song today, which I hadn't heard in years, I remembered a friend and co-worker of ours named Rob.  Rob loved this group with his whole heart. He had gone to college with the guys in the band and was so genuinely excited about their success that he would talk about them often.

Sue, upon first hearing about the group, mistakenly called them, "The Verve Pipes". Rob quickly corrected her. It was "The Verve Pipe," not plural.  The next time she referred to them as "Verve Pipe". Rob corrected her again. The word, "The" is part of the group's name.

Then it came flooding back to me that after that initial exchange, Sue went out of her way to always, ALWAYS refer to the band as either "Verve Pipe" or "The Verve Pipes". At first Rob would nicely correct her, and she would nod and say, "Ohhh, right! The Verve Pipe!" only to turn around and call them "The Verve Pipes" or "Verve Pipe" an hour later. It drove Rob crazy. It was such a stupid thing, but she continued annoying him this way for YEARS.

As I sat in my van, reliving all of this in my mind, I started to laugh. It was just SUCH a Sue thing to do. I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed some more.

Somehow this memory triggered me to feel so happy instead of so sad. It's weird how this happens, but I still have a smile on my face because of this hidden happy surprise. I'm so thankful that I got to have Sue as my sister. She made me laugh constantly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday, March 15

Today was kind of a low-key day, and I liked it! After dropping the kids off at school, I paid bills and did a bunch of paperwork. I took some time to read...a lot of time to read (hello, nurturing!). 

I made a good food decision by limiting my portion size at dinner. And this evening I went to yoga.

Tomorrow I'll do a run and I'm debating going to Zumba afterward because I miss Zumba but don't want to miss my running workout. Is that crazy? I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes. Goodnight!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday, March 14th

I'm sore. It was a good day, but I'm sore. I dropped all the kids off at school and went right to the gym. I started on week three of my couch to 5k training. It felt great while I was running, but tonight I'm feeling it!

After the gym I took the dog to the vet, then came home to do some cleaning and work around the house. After the kids got home, Ben and I did a kids' yoga video together.
My cute yoga partner 

I spent some time reading today as my nurturing. I made so many good food decisions I can't even list them all!

It was a good day, I got a lot done and did a great job with my fitness. I'm just hoping the soreness goes away before tomorrow.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Night Post

Good evening! It's been a busy weekend. Friday I spent my whole day taking care of my little girl after she had oral surgery. She was brave, but kind of had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia. Then later she had some pain, so I had to keep on top of her meds. I didn't work out on Friday.
My sweetie, Natalie, before her surgery 

Saturday I started the day with my dog-walking date and it was a wonderful, warm morning. It was much nicer than having to climb over snow drifts like we did a week ago!  After my walk I went to the gym to do my Couch to 5k running workout. I made a few decent food decisions, and I nurtured myself by talking with my friend on our walk.

Today I went to church (my nurturing for the day, I feel so much better about everything when I go to church!). Then it was off to my middle school Battle of the Books meeting. We only have one more meeting before our big battle on Friday night. (Go Team Book Scavengers!) 

Then it was off to the grocery store and finally, home to rest. Sundays are my days when I'm allowed to eat sugar, so I tend to go a bit overboard, and today is no exception. My good food decision of the day was to buy lots of good fruits and veggies for the upcoming week.

I'll end tonight's post with a picture of Sam with stickers all over his face. I'm not sure why he did this. He makes me laugh. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Closer to Fine

I was looking for athletic pants for Joe, my oldest, at the store. He needs some pants to wear while he does his running workouts to prepare for our 5k. I looked up and recognized the woman browsing the racks next to me. I had a lengthy dialogue with myself in my head that went like this:

I know her. Who is that? Oh, right, a friend of Sue's. Should I talk to her? She knows Sue died, right? Oh right, I remember somebody told me that they had told her. Was she at the funeral? I have no idea. If I talk to her, what will I say? I'll have to remind her who I am. I'll tell her I'm Sue's sister. She will get that look in her eyes and she'll say, "I'm so sorry about your sister. How are you doing?" I'll have to tell her that I'm doing okay, no matter what I'm actually feeling because telling people you are not okay makes them very uncomfortable. She will tell me how sad that whole situation is, or that she can't believe that Sue is gone, or something else like this. I'll have to say something comforting to her. She'll ask about Sue's kids. Again I'll need to say that everything is going well, because telling people the hard truth just makes them upset. I will have to find a way to break away from the conversation and go back to trying to find pants for Joe. She'll look at me with sad eyes and walk away, probably a little more bummed out than when she arrived.

All of this took less than 10 seconds in my mind. I made a quick decision to turn the corner, and hide from her in the next aisle.

What you have to know is that this is very uncharacteristic of me. If I see someone in a store that I know, I will always, always stop and talk to them. So I started wondering why I hadn't talked to this woman. Then I began the questioning phase in my head, in which I go over my own behavior and try to figure out why I'm doing what I'm doing.

"What's wrong with me?" I wondered. My mind scrolled through possibilities:

I must be overly stressed right now.
I have entered into some new stage of grief that involves avoiding people in stores.
I'm depressed! I should call my therapist. Do I need to be medicated?
I'm so self-involved due to several issues with the kids that I have lost my ability to be social.
Sue's death has fundamentally changed who I am to the point that I won't talk to people in public anymore.
I'm avoiding my grief and therefore won't speak about my sister.

I finished my shopping, and went out to sit in my car. I was sad and upset, and needed a few minutes to sort through my feelings. Right then, my phone rang. My friend, Donna had called to check in with me.

Donna knows all kinds of things. She knows grief all too well, and I often bounce my issues off of her and she always talks through them with me. I explained to her what had just happened.

Donna said a lot of things, but what it all boiled down to was, "If you don't feel like talking to someone, you don't have to talk to that person."

Oh. Yeah. That's right. It's okay to just not be in a mood to be social. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'm having some sort of crisis, or I need to buy a self-help book, or I need to consult a doctor. Sometimes, as humans, we feel like talking, and sometimes we don't. Duh.

I drove away from the store and a song came on the radio that I remembered from when I was in college. I never paid much attention to the lyrics back then, I just liked the melody. I started to sing along:

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain.
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line.
And the less I seek my source for some definitive,
The closer I am to fine. The closer I am to fine.

(Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls)

I felt as I was singing the words, that they were what I needed to hear today. I felt like it was telling me to jut stop it with all the stupid overanalyzing, overthinking, second guessing, and worry. Sometimes the best explanation is the simplest. I haven't gone over the edge into darkness and despair. I just didn't feel like talking to this person, on this day, at that moment.

And the more I can lighten up on myself, the closer I am to fine.

Click here to hear the song

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I dropped the ball...

Oh my goodness, did I drop the ball. I was going along, somewhat keeping up with my daily posts, and then suddenly I wasn't. Somewhere in the midst of snow days, band concerts, church deacon meetings, Junior Optimist club meetings, Battle of the Books meetings, orthodontist appointments, sick kids, a kid scheduled for oral surgery, and regular nights filled with homework, chores, and lunch-packing, I dropped the stinking ball!

The day-to-day-to-day business of raising these four kids, and, well, life, sometimes feels like it's getting the best of me. Our lives are good, though, and I'm not trying to complain. I just sometimes have the feeling that I'm on a merry-go-round that won't stop spinning and I want to get off!

Let's jump right in: I have not been doing well with getting my nurturing in. I am not taking time for myself as much, and I can feel it wearing on me. When life gets extra busy, time for relaxation is the first thing I throw out the window. 

Today I did my second running workout in preparation for our 5k race in April. I started on week 2 of a couch to 5k workout plan, and so far so good.  

My eating has been just okay. I'm still sticking to my lent no-sugar rule pretty faithfully (I had a few screw ups here and there). I could really use some work on portion control, though.

So, I'm picking the ball back up. I enjoy posting here on my blog, and I'm going to give it a good try to get back into the habit of posting most nights. 

I hope you are all well, and that you are all ready to start reading the details of my (not super) exciting life yet again!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day!

It was quite a day, friends. We started off the day with a funeral for my friend, Danielle's grandpa. It was so sad. She was very close with her grandpa, and it was hard to watch her and her family feel so much pain. 

From there, it was off to an appointment for Natalie with an oral surgeon. We scheduled her surgery for March 11. She is having two teeth extracted. 

We stopped for lunch at Olga's Kitchen, where I made my good food decision of the day by getting a veggie sandwich with no fries.

I didn't do any nurturing today, I also didn't do any exercise. I also have no idea how tomorrow might go, there are murmurings of a possible snow day tomorrow. Yes, ANOTHER snow day. I really hope this doesn't happen, I'm worn out from being around kids 24/7 since sometime Wednesday morning.

Well, we will see how this goes. I'll update tomorrow evening. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I'm back!

I took a break from posting for awhile there. I'll sum up my absence this way:

1. A grief breakdown
2. My husband went out of town 
3. Huge snowstorm 
4. 2 1/2 days home with all the kids because of the weather 
5. No real exercise (except snow shoveling!)

I feel better now. I'm back and ready to start posting daily again. Some good things happened while I was gone. 

I started going to grief counseling again with a new counselor. I will only be going once a month and I think that will be perfect for me. 

I stuck with my no-sugar during lent plan! I was stressed as all heck, but I didn't break down and go crazy with sugar (no matter how badly I wanted to! And believe me, I DID want to!)

Finally, I signed up to run a 5K with Joe, my oldest kid! He is 14 1/2 and talks incessantly, so he's great at keeping me distracted. It's on April 23rd, so we have plenty of time to train.

Today I went to church (nurturing), I got no exercise, and I made a good food decision by eating a reasonable lunch and dinner.

Tomorrow I have a funeral to go to, followed by an appointment for Natalie, so I'm not sure how the day will go exercise-wise. I will check in tomorrow night.

I'm back, Baby! Enjoy your Sunday night!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday, February 18

I felt better today. I had some running around to do and did not work out. I ate very reasonably until dinner. We went out for dinner as a fundraiser for Natalie's school choir and I ended up getting a coney with chili cheese fries. I should have made a better choice but it was gooooood!  

I don't think I did any nurturing today, so I need to work on that. 

Tomorrow I will be babysitting my nephew all day. It will be just the two of us, so I won't be able to go to the gym. We may go for a walk if it isn't too cold.

I will let you know tomorrow night! Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Good Day, With a Side of Grief

My day was great. I got so much done. I went grocery shopping, went to the gym and did Aqua Zumba, and got a ton of things crossed off of my to-do list. I made really good food choices that included a nice salad for lunch.

The difficult part to my day came in the form of a hidden grief land mine. I was looking through Facebook posts and saw something someone else posted that reminded me of a conversation Sue and I had. This person happened to use the exact phrasing Sue used in our conversation.

Just like that, the tears were flowing. The "why can't I have my sister back?" thoughts flooded my brain. I was taken right back to what it felt like to have her in my life. She always had my back, she always made me laugh. There is now and always will be a big Sue-sized hole in my heart. She was a small person physically, but that hole is HUGE.

It hurts. It's not fair. I'm angry.

It was a good day overall, but the pain of grief knocked me down this evening, and I need some time to rest and process it.

Have a good evening, I'll check in again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday February 16, 2016

It was another day at home with all four kids and I loved it. When I don't have to get up so early (5:30), I feel much better and have a lot more energy. I got a lot of things done around the house, and did a lot of cooking. I nurtured myself by playing several games of solitaire. Exciting, I know, but I love me some solitaire!

I did a good job with eating today and made lots of good food decisions. Then I went to yoga class and it was a bit more challenging than usual. 

It was a good day. The kids go back to school tomorrow and I'm feeling ready to go back to the gym, so I'm hoping to have a great report. Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday, February 15

It was a nice, relaxed day here at my house. The kids were home from school and I had a few trips out to drop off/pick up a couple of them at a friend's house and a birthday party. Other than that I put some Jambalaya in the crockpot and we just hung out together. This whole day counts as my nurturing! 

I did not exercise today, but I did a good job with my eating. No sugar! 

It was a great day! I hope yours was too!

Valentine's Weekend

Good morning! It's Monday. I didn't blog for the whole weekend, so I have some catching up to do.

On Friday I waited around at home for the guy from the window company to come over to fix a window that wouldn't completely close. It was just as well that I sat around at home, because I felt like I was coming down with something. I got a few things done around the house and the window got fixed, so it was somewhat productive. I did not exercise, but I had no sugar, and I read a lot (nurturing).

Saturday started with my dog-walking date, but it was COLD! We cut our walk short, it was -11 F with the windchill. I couldn't feel my legs when we got back. I think we made it around 30 minutes (we had to make it to Starbucks and back! Priorities!). I took Joe for a haircut, and had my nephew over to play with Ben for awhile, then we started to prepare for Card Night.  Frank's sister, her husband, and their son came over for an evening of pizza and Euchre playing. We love having card night!  I couldn't have any of the dessert, but I stuck with it.

Sunday was my first day of working in the kitchen at church to help serve Coffee Hour (big spread of breakfast/snacks after the service). It was fun, but there were Valentines goodies everywhere! Since it was Sunday, I was allowed to have sugar, and I did. After church I relaxed for awhile (nurturing) before Frank and I went to dinner and the movies for Valentines Day. I had dessert after dinner, which, coupled with the stuff I ate at church, means I went overboard on my one day when sugar is allowed. I need to be more careful next week!

Today is Monday, and the kids are off school both today and tomorrow. It really throws off my workouts when there are four extra people around to distract me! I'll report tonight on how things go. I'm back on the no sugar bandwagon. Have a great day, and happy belated Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's a Challenge, This Week...

Another day of craziness! Today I got up, took kids to school, went to work at the church for a few hours, then off to lunch with a friend, back home to bake several dozen cookies for Valentines Day parties, kids got home, made dinner, and now I am sitting at the weekly middle school book meeting at the library. 

So, let's see...I didn't exercise, I stuck to my Lenten no sugar rule, my lunch with my friend (and fun conversation) was my nurturing. This is clearly not one of my best exercise weeks. I'm a little frustrated with myself that I keep not fitting it in. I'm proud of sticking to no sugar  (and that was a challenge while baking several dozen chocolate chip cookies!).

I will be stuck home tomorrow to wait for a guy to fix a window, so no gym for me (again!) but I can find a yoga video and follow along. I'm going to work on that tomorrow.

Have a great night!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sick Kids, Clean Dog

It's been another crazy day! The first sound I heard when I woke up this morning was like a warning bell to a mom-of-four's ears--the barking cough. The croup cough, which sounds just like a seal barking, can wake me from a dead sleep. I've had a LOT of experience with it, unfortunately, and I knew immediately that our Ben would not be going to school today. Soon after checking him out, Natalie came to me complaining of nausea and fatigue. So, I had two kids home sick today. (Only one was okay with being photographed.)

Isn't he adorable and pitiful?

I didn't exercise, except for a 15 minute stint of snow shoveling. I made it through day one of lent without eating any goodies. I'm not sure I spent any time nurturing myself. I was too busy taking care of two sick kids, doing the (long overdue) grocery shopping, picking up Sam from an after-school club meeting, getting the dog groomed, and helping the two little boys fill out five billion Valentine cards and do homework. Ack! 

I'm tired tonight. I have a full day planned for tomorrow so going to the gym doesn't look like a good possibility right now, but we'll see.  

The good news is that Violet looks and smells lovely, and Ben perked up enough to do some yoga! Have a great night!

Super Bowl Weekend

Oh my, did I have a busy weekend! I need to lay low today just to recover from it! I'll take you through the weekend day by day.

Friday, Feb. 5: I started off the day by going to the gym. I did walk/run intervals on the treadmill. Then I came home and did some cleaning before going to lunch with some friends (nurturing!). After the kids came home, it was time to go back up to the school for the school carnival. The kids had a great time playing games and hanging out with their friends. Thankfully nobody won a goldfish! I don't recall making any good food decisions on Friday. Oops. 
Here's Ben at the fair. Joe paid a bunch of tickets to get him arrested and put in jail.

Saturday, Feb. 6: I started the day with my dog walking date at 7:30 am. We walked for about 45 minutes. When I got home, we left to drop off a table from our basement to a friend's house. We had Subway for lunch (I'm counting that as my good food decision because I talked myself out of Taco Bell). We came home but then I was off again to take the little boys for haircuts and a new pair of shoes for Ben. After that, I came home to rest for an hour. Frank and I had plans to go on a date (my nurturing). We went out to dinner and to see a play. It was a lot of fun, but by the time we got home, I was exhausted! 

Sunday, Feb. 7: It was my day to teach Sunday school to my class of k-2nd graders at church. I'll count that as my nurturing because I like having a chance to be a teacher once in awhile, and the kids are fun. We came home and stayed home for the rest of the day. I did a lot of cooking for the Super Bowl. I made a few not-so-good food decisions at our Super Bowl party. I didn't exercise.

Whew! That was our crazy-busy weekend. Now today I'm being lazy, but doing very well with eating. Im nurturing myself with rest, but not exercising. 

I hope you had a great time over Super Bowl weekend, and I'll give another update tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday, February 9

Today started on a rough note. I'll spare you the details, but I ended up having to drag Ben onto the bus this morning while he screamed that he was NOT going to school. Ugh.

After the kids were off to school, I came home, wrote out my grocery list and read my library book for awhile (my nurturing). When I got ready to leave for the grocery store, I stepped outside and realized how deep the snow was. I needed to shovel. Ugh again.

I spent an hour and a half shoveling the driveway (my exercise for today) and when I finished I decided to grocery shop tomorrow instead of today. I was worn out, the snow was heavy!

Today is Fat Tuesday and I only had some chocolate Chex mix, no other bad stuff. Tomorrow starts Lent, and I will be giving up sugary goodies. 

Since I desperately need to grocery shop tomorrow, I'm not sure what my plan is yet for the gym. I'll report on that tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Tuesday night!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday, February 4

Just a quick entry tonight because I'm headed to bed. I didn't exercise today. I made good food choices by eating a healthy lunch and not eating anything after dinner. I nurtured myself by going to a bible study meeting at church. I don't usually go to these meetings but I had time today so I went. I really liked it!

That's all I've got for tonight. Have a great Thursday night! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Aqua Zumba, Blood Donation, and Nutter Butters

Today my kids had "late start day" which is when their schools start 50 minutes later than normal on every other Wednesday. (This annoys me in so many ways, the least of which being the mental math I have to do to figure out start times of three schools by subtracting 50 minutes. Oh sure, it sounds easy but considering that I can't really remember what time their schools start on a normal day, and I'm doing it first thing in the morning, before coffee! Blahhhh). 

Anyway, the point here is that I left later than normal, which got me to the gym later than normal. This was good because I got there in time to try a class I had been meaning to try for awhile: Aqua Zumba. This is a class consisting of high energy dancing. In water. Was it awesome? Why, yes it was!

After class, I decided to make a blood donation appointment for later in the day. Then I rushed home, showered, ate lunch, and ran back out to make it to my appointment.

Confession: after giving blood I ate a snack sized bag of mini Nutter Butters. But the blood drive workers practically forced the things on me! The woman pointed to a big box full of snacks and said "Pick one."  And there were Nutter Butters in the box. It had to be done, folks.

After giving blood I usually feel more tired than usual, and today was no exception. I was glad it was Natalie's night to make dinner. I mostly rested until dinner, then did the dishes and clean-up, supervised homework, and lunch-packing.

I nurtured myself by resting and reading my library book. I made a good food choice by having a healthy, reasonable breakfast. And now I am fulfilling my blogging goal. 

I told several people at the blood drive about my sister, Sue, and why I give blood in memory of her. I like to get the chance to tell people about my sister. Just a reminder, if you haven't given blood in a long time, please consider going onto the Red Cross website, finding a blood drive near you, and making a donation. You may be forced to eat Nutter Butters. And if that doesn't convince you, then nothing will!

Fell Asleep on the Couch

I had a good day yesterday. I was busy all day, then went to yoga in the evening. After yoga I plopped onto the couch and fell asleep. 

I made a good food decision of having a healthy lunch. Then I made a bad decision of making peanut butter oatmeal bars "for the kids" and eating one. (It was delicious, but I'm not supposed to be eating sugar during the week).

I nurtured myself with yoga. I love yoga! I always end up so happy and relaxed (see  "fell asleep on the couch")

I forgot to make my blog post. 

It was a good day with some ups and downs. I will report on today later.

Have a great day! It's sunny and unseasonably warm here in Michigan, and that makes me happy!

Another Busy Day

Oops! I wrote this on Friday, but apparently didn't post it. Let's go back in time!

Today was busy, but fun. I had a breakfast date with a friend (my nurturing!) and it was wonderful. By the time I got home I had just enough time to  hang some curtains in the bathroom and do a little cleaning and the kids were coming home (they had another half day).

We went shopping for supplies for Natalie's paper mache project for her Social Studies class. Then it was home to make dinner, and now here we are.

It was another day of no exercise for me. I ate some sugar this afternoon/evening. I made a good food decision by getting a healthy, veggie filled breakfast at the restaurant. But I have my dog walking date set for tomorrow morning, and I have high hopes for next week.

Have a great night! Happy Friday!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Catching up

We hosted a birthday party for my husband's brother last night and I forgot to do my blog post. I made some bad food choices at the birthday party (Cake! Ice cream! Yum!). I went to church for my nurturing, and I didn't get any exercise.

Today went pretty well. I started off my day by going to the gym! Yes! I finally went back to the gym. I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes, I kept increasing the incline to keep my heartrate up. It felt like a decent workout. Then I came home and had a healthy lunch.  Later I spent some time reading my library book as my nurturing for the day. 

Since it is the first of the month, I'll report on my progress thus far. I have lost 4.5 lbs! I don't see any difference from last month, but I'm happy that I made some progress.

Thanks for reading, and have a great Monday night!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

It's Saturday Night!

It's a crazy night around here. We have an extra kid until tomorrow afternoon. My nephew, Brandon, is spending the night and going to church with us tomorrow. Ben is happy as a clam because Brandon is his best friend.

I have had another day of both good and not-so-good decisions. I went for my walk with my friend and our dogs this morning. We walked for about 45 minutes. Then I came home, took a shower and Brandon got dropped off. When my sister brought him over, she also dropped off a big bunch of chocolate chip cookies (my favorite!). So I ate way too many cookies. I ate a decent lunch and dinner, though.

My nurturing was talking with my friend, got some exercise, made a good food decision by not eating anything after dinner, and I'm even remembering to make my blog post! 

Well, I'm off to watch a "scary" movie with these little boys. I hope your evening is as full of fun as mine!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday, January 29

Good evening, friends! 

I'm still plugging along. I went to bed last night having not remembered to make my blog post. I am still working to make this a daily habit. On Wednesday I dressed for the gym and ended up with a headache and stayed home. I am having a hard time convincing myself to go back to the gym. 

I do have good news, though! My eating habits are improving quite a bit. I am making better choices each day and staying away from both sugar and artificial sweeteners. I nurtured myself by spending some quiet time alone. 

Today's report isn't great. I didn't go to the gym, but I met a friend for a breakfast date. It was very good for me and nurturing. The kids had a half day of school and orthodontist appointments (two!) in the afternoon. We had a healthy vegetarian dinner, and now here I am, back at the library with my middle school book team meeting. Oh, and somewhere in there I broke my no sugar rule by getting a Coke Slurpee at 7-11. 

What does all this mean? It means I'm succeeding, then failing, then making some good choices, then making some bad choices. I keep trying, though, and I keep forgiving myself, then starting another new day. I never imagined I would begin this plan and then follow it perfectly. I just need to keep trying to make more good choices than bad. 

I'm not trying to be perfect, just better. 

I'll see you again tomorrow, the kids have another half day so my schedule will be thrown off. I'll just keep on working at it!

Enjoy your evening!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday, January 26

Just a quick update for tonight because I'm tired and ready for bed. I followed my no sugar plan, I spent time reading for my nurturing, and I went to yoga tonight (which apparently kicked my butt!)

Tomorrow I will go to the gym!

Have a great night!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A good, normal day

It was a good day! I didn't go to the gym, but I went for a 45 minute walk with the dog. I stuck to my no sugar plan, and logged my food in the My Fitness Pal app. 

I stayed home today (except for dropping kids off at school, and a quick return trip to the middle school to drop off some forgotten gym clothes). I got a lot of cleaning and some paperwork done. I love checking things off my to-do list!  

I talked with a friend and took plenty of cleaning breaks to nurture myself.

All in all, it was a pretty good day.  I hope you had a good day too! Enjoy your Monday evening!

Oh, I forgot to mention that it's a special day at our house: our pup, Violet, is three years old today. She got lots of treats and a nice walk for her birthday. We love you, Violet! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Sunday Night...

...and I need to report on my weekend!  Since I didn't make a post about Friday or Saturday, I'll cover those as well as today.

Friday I still felt pretty tired and achy, so I rested up in anticipation of my night out with my nephew, Kevin. I didn't work out, I ate a very reasonable breakfast and lunch since I knew I was going out for dinner and that we might have dessert. I also didn't do my blog post. I nurtured myself by going out with Kevin, one of my favorite people.

On Saturday I went back to my weekly dog walking session with a friend, so I actually got some exercise! Yay! We walked for about 45 minutes.Then I nurtured myself by doing pretty close to nothing else for the entire day. I ate too many cookies, but my good food decision was to have small portions at lunch and dinner.

Today I went to church (my nurturing for the day), then came home and did the weekly grocery shopping. My good food decision for the day is to not eat anything after dinner. And as of now, after dinner,  I count it as a weekday so no more sugar until Friday night. Now that the grocery shopping is done for the week I'll have no excuse to stay home from the gym tomorrow . I don't want to jinx myself but I think maybe, just maybe, I may be over this virus!

Happy Sunday ought to you! Here's to a great week to come!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pure Joy

stirred the spaghetti, threw together a salad, and set out plates while pausing to send texts back and forth to Kevin, Sue's oldest child. We coordinated our schedules and firmed up our plans. 

"Leaving now to pick you up!" I texted, as I gave my four kids some last minute instructions. Hoping that they would remember what I needed each of them to do while I was gone, I slid behind the wheel of my freezing cold van and pulled out of the driveway. As I drove carefully along our icy neighborhood roads, my heart and mind changed gears. I left the role of "mom" and switched over to "aunt".

It's one of the greatest pleasures of my life, being an aunt, and I don't set aside as much time to focus on it as I should. But the drive allowed me a few minutes to think about what being an aunt has meant to me. My mind ran like a film projector, images of Kevin as a cuddly newborn, a chubby-faced toddler learning to say "Auntie!",  a fourth grader excitedly telling me stories about his teacher... 

Then, some hard memories: I remember stopping to check on him while his mom lay dying in the next room.  I picture snuggling next to him on the couch as he tried to begin to process the news he had heard moments before, "She's gone".  I can recall the pain on his face as I glanced down at him while I was delivering his mother's eulogy.

We have been through a lot, our family, this boy and me. And today he turns 18. He's an adult now. It makes no sense, he was just a tiny, chicken-legged creature who fit perfectly in my arms. But it makes complete sense, this boy who studies hard every day, all the time, who plans to become a doctor, has the life experience of a much older person. He handles all life has given him with grace, humility, and humor.

We set out to begin our evening, just the two of us. There are plans to eat dinner at one of his mom's favorite restaurants, then see a movie. Later we find ourselves sipping root beer floats, and flitting from topic to topic. Our discussions range from an in-depth critique of the movie, to how we each handle our day to day struggles with grief. 

He hugs me goodbye as I drop him off at his door, and I wait to be sure he gets safely inside. And as I drive away, I let the tears slip down both of my cheeks. But this time I am not feeling sadness and despair. This time the tears are tiny drops of pure thankfulness and joy at the gift my sister has left me, the gift of being Auntie.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Good evening, friends. I come to you tonight from the library, as I allow my middle school "Battle of the Books" team to engage in discussion without me. 

I have come to some realizations today:

1.  I am still sick. I am not being lazy, sloth-like, or irresponsible. I'm generally a person with a lot of energy, but this past week and a half I keep finding the need to collapse into the couch, several times a day.

2. Because I'm still sick, and honestly, even if I wasn't, I need to be forgiving to myself about my lack of progress. I've been reading about establishing new habits (check out all books by Gretchen Rubin!) and have discovered that people who readily forgive themselves for their mistakes are more likely to stick to their goals in the long term.

3. Therefore, I'm not doing well with my exercise but it's going to be okay.

I nurtured myself today by talking to a dear friend (and possibly the entire audience of this blog--hi Donna!).  I made several good food decisions (easier to do with an upset stomach!) and I am writing my daily blog entry.

All is well. When I feel good enough to go back to the gym, I will absolutely do that. In the meantime, I'm watching many recorded episodes of a show called "My 600-lb Life". If that isn't good motivation, then nothing is!

Enjoy your evening! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday, January 20

I went to yoga last night. I didn't go to the gym today, I got a haircut instead! I'm counting that as my nurturing for the day.

I stuck to my no sugar plan, so that was my good food decision of the day.

I'm really having a hard time getting back into working out. Tomorrow should be a good day to go back.

I'll update you on my progress tomorrow night! Enjoy your Wednesday night!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sunday, Monday, and Today

I dropped the ball there for awhile. I think part of the reason why I forgot to blog was because nothing much was happening on Sunday, and yesterday was crazy.

On Sunday I went to church (my nurturing for the day), then came home and RESTED. I don't think I got off the couch for hours. I got up to make dinner and clean it up, then went right back to the couch. I was still feeling sick on and off all day.

Yesterday I felt better, which was good because the kids had a day off from school. I started the day with grocery shopping, then we had dentist appointments for four of us. We ended up going out to dinner after the dentist. Oh, and somewhere in there our garage door opener broke. 

I stuck to my "no sugar on weekdays" plan, even though the kids were trying to talk me into getting dessert at the restaurant. 

I haven't worked out in many days. I am feeling pretty good today, but needed to stay home from the gym to wait for the garage door repair people. I am going to yoga tonight, though. 

So, that's where I am, slowly coming back from this illness that basically caused a fever, aches, and extreme fatigue. This week I'll go to yoga and get back to the gym.

Here we go!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Not at my best

I felt pretty run down and achy today. I took a long nap, then dragged myself up because I had promised Sam I would take him to dinner and to the movies. We try to have one on one nights with the kids and this was my turn to hang out with Sam.

We ended up going to Culvers and then seeing Daddy's Home. It was really funny.

I made nothing but bad food choices today. I got no exercise. I nurtured myself by napping, but I am doing my blog post.

Tomorrow we'll go to church and I'll do the grocery shopping. Have a great Saturday night!

Friday's Post, Today

Well, I did it again. I fell asleep on the couch and forgot to make my Friday night blog post!

So let's recap Friday: I got up, and didn't feel like going to the gym. I got annoyed with myself for not going to the gym. I felt like I was moving in slow motion all day. I did several things on my to-do list and decided to stop at a blood drive because it's time for me to donate again. 

When it was my turn to see the nurse she asked, "Did you just have some hot coffee before coming in here?" I told her I had not, in fact I had been drinking a cold drink before coming in. She told me I couldn't donate because I had a fever of 100.8 F.

She asked if I felt sick or knew I was sick. I told her no, but I had been feeling a little more tired than usual. She said "Go home and go to bed! You are sick!"

So, I picked up Joe, then Natalie, then the little boys and basically plopped on the couch, where I stayed for the rest of the night.

So, no exercise, I can't think of any especially good food choices I made (it wasn't my best food day), I didn't do my blog post, and I guess I nurtured myself by refusing to get off the couch. 

I am still feeling a bit iffy today, so we'll see how I do. I'll just keep trying! 

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Off Course, Again

I got into my bathing suit this morning, ready to do water aerobics, when I stood up quickly and realized I had a pounding headache. Natalie stayed home from school with an earache, and Frank was feeling sick too. Clearly we have something going around our house. 

I knew there were still lots of things I needed to accomplish, so I skipped the gym. (For example, I'm at my middle school Battle of the Books meeting right now, although I'd rather be in bed!)

I stuck with my rule of no sugar on the weekdays, although I just really wanted the comfort of a big cup of hot cocoa. It's very cold outside and the roads are STILL pretty bad.  

I nurtured myself with a nice long talk with a friend.

At this point, I have no idea what I'll do tomorrow. I will just see how I feel after a good night of sleep and go from there! I plan to go to bed early, but need to see Big Bang Theory first.

Happy Thursday to you, see you on Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13, 2016

I got a lot done today, but I didn't work out. I just really felt like I needed to work on my big to-do list instead.

I had salad for both lunch and dinner, so I'm counting that as my good food decision for the day.

I nurtured myself by reading my library book, and by not beating myself up about not going to the gym.

I have big plans for tomorrow, it's going to be a busy day. I am either going to try power yoga or do water aerobics at the gym. I'll let you know tomorrow night!

Have a good evening!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12, 2016

It was another crazy day filled with lots of snow, bad roads, and complications. I stayed home from the gym because of the roads and the driveway needed to be shoveled, but right as I was about to start shoveling, my neighbor showed up and plowed it (thanks Anthony!).

I had already planned to stay home, and I was going to be missing yoga tonight because of a Deacons meeting at church, so I did a 40 minute yoga workout I found on YouTube.

I made a good food decision by sticking to my "no sugar on weekdays" rule.  I nurtured myself by visiting with a friend, and I almost forgot to blog but did it anyway! Whew!

Well, it turned out that my Deacon meeting was cancelled because of the weather, so I could have gone to yoga after all. I stayed home, though. Hopefully there will be fewer weather complications tomorrow. 

Have a great Tuesday night!

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Always Something

Today started out with me getting ready for the gym, then driving the two oldest kids to school. It took longer than usual because the roads were bad. By the time we got home, Sam was complaining of back pain and wasn't feeling well. I took Ben to the bus stop and kept Sam home. 

But then I was worried about Sam so I made him a doctor appointment (It turns out he sprained a muscle in his back, he'll be fine.) 

After his appointment, I spent 45 minutes shoveling the driveway, which I'm counting as my workout, and then went grocery shopping.

Today was one of those days when I felt like I barely sat down all day. I made lots of good food decisions today, though. I can't think of anything I did to nurture myself, so I will probably go read some of my book before bed.

Overall it was a good day. As long as none of the kids are sick or injured, I will be at the gym tomorrow doing water aerobics.

Happy Monday and see you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekends are Harder

I posted Friday's blog entry on Saturday morning, then I forgot to post Saturday's entry! I am learning that keeping up with posting is harder on the weekends when my schedule is different.

This post will cover Saturday and today, so I can be back on track. 

Yesterday we took our four kids plus an extra (Sam's best friend) to Chuck E Cheese. We were there all day and I made several questionable food choices. Then we came home, ate dinner, and my mom and her husband came for a visit. After they left I didn't do much else, just watched a little TV and went to bed. 

I guess my good food decision for the day was to stop eating after dinner. I did no exercise. I nurtured myself by reading my library book. And as you know, I didn't do my daily blog entry. I'll get better at being on top of things on the weekends!

Today I went to church (my nurturing for the day), and the weather was so bad that on the drive home I decided not to go back out to grocery shop. I've been home all day since we got back.

I did some work around the house, hung out with Frank and the kids, but did no exercise.

I'm doing my blog post now, and my good food choice for the day is to stop eating after dinner. I'll see you tomorrow, I'm going to the gym to run. Have a good Sunday night!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Oops! January 8, 2016

I fell asleep on the couch last night and never did my blog entry. Since I fell asleep so early, I'm up bright and early this morning.

Yesterday went well. Ben was feeling a lot better and went back to school. I went to the gym and ran two miles. Then I spent some time with my sister, Kate. It was fun to have some sister time.

My visit with Kate was what I did to nurture myself, I worked out, my good food decision was to refrain from snacking after dinner (easy to do when you just pass out from exhaustion on the couch! lol) and now I have made my blog post.  I have completed my first week of my new fitness plan.

Whew! It's more tiring than I anticipated, but that will keep getting better as I keep up with my goals.

See you tomorrow! (Later today, actually) 😀

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sick Day

Today didn't go as planned. When I went to wake up Ben this morning he was complaining of a sore throat and had a croupy cough. It was pretty clear he needed to stay home from school. This meant that my plan to go to the gym went out the window.

We spent our day snuggling on the couch and by this afternoon he was feeling a lot better. He still has a cough but definitely has his energy back up.

As far as my other goals, I'm blogging, I nurtured myself by having a nice phone conversation with a friend (and snuggling with Ben), and I made a good food choice by sticking to my no sugar plan. Tomorrow I should be fine to go back to the gym. I just can't decide if I will run or do water aerobics. I'm feeling very energetic after having a day off!

Have a great night and I'll be back tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016

This is getting difficult! I ran on the treadmill this morning. I planned to do a mile and a half, but ended up running a mile and three quarters. It felt good at the time, but after 12 hours and many chores and activities, I'm sore, crabby, and so very hungry!

I almost forgot to blog tonight. I'm ready for bed and I remembered at the last minute. 

I made a good food decision by only allowing myself a yogurt before bed instead of the 700 snacks I wanted to eat (see previous "so very hungry" comment).

I told Frank that I feel like I've been working out on my new plan forever. And then I realized that it has not even been a week! (I get very dramatic when I'm sore and hungry).

I nurtured myself today by blasting and singing along to some of my favorite songs while driving around. 

Okay, I did everything I was supposed to do, tomorrow I'm going to walk on the treadmill (need a break from running) and get a haircut. 

*Moan* *Groan* I'll see you tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 5, 2016

Today went well but was a bit exhausting.  I started the day by dropping all the kids off at school, then left for water aerobics class at the gym. I got about halfway there when I realized I forgot to pack a towel. So I turned around, grabbed the towel, and made it there just as the class was starting.

After class I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, then home to shower, do dishes, and clean my office. I made it through a ton of paper clutter!

After the kids came home and I made tacos and salad for dinner, I left for yoga class. I worked out twice today! And now I need to go to bed!

So let's see: I'm blogging now, I worked out, I nurtured myself by going to yoga, and I made a good food choice by not having seconds on anything but salad at dinner.

Happy Tuesday everyone! See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

Here we go! I've downloaded an app for blogging and I have high hopes that it will post my "before" picture this time.

I started out my day by dropping the kids off at school, then going immediately to the gym. I ran for a mile, then walked for another mile and a half.

I decided to try not eating any sugar on weekdays, so my good food decision today was to stick to that goal.

It was a busy day filled with cleaning and organizing around the house, then taking care of several kid issues while cooking dinner. I am currently at the library with Natalie's middle school Battle of the Books team. I am team leader and am sitting off to the side while they have their discussion. 

I nurtured myself by having two great fulfilling phone conversations with friends. It always builds me up to check in with my friends!

Well my blog entry is done for the night. Have a great evening and I'll see you tomorrow!

(Before picture, taken 1-1-16)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 3, 2016

Today went pretty well, although I didn't exercise. I started off my day by going to church, which I'm going to count as nurturing myself. I always feel renewed and calm after church. I also taught Sunday School, and spending time with a group of 5-7 year olds renews and nurtures me too.

After church I did all the grocery shopping for the week in anticipation of going to the gym tomorrow morning instead of my old habit of Monday morning grocery shopping. I bought lots of fruits and vegetables! I'm counting that as my good food decision of the day.

I found myself being excited about doing my blog entry for the day, and thinking about what I would say. I think this blogging every day plan is going to work out nicely for me.

As you can see by the formatting of yesterday's post, I still have some learning to do when it comes to blogging from my phone. I wasn't able to get my "before" picture to post, and I'm in a hurry tonight, so I'll try to do that tomorrow.  I plan to take a photo of myself on the first of every month to (hopefully) see my progress.

Tomorrow Frank goes back to work and the kids go back to school.  It also will mark my return to the gym, I will be running on the treadmill right after I get everyone off to school. I have a goal of getting back to being able to run for three miles without stopping. I have some work to do to get there.

Have a great Sunday night, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2, 2016

Today is day two of my healing challenge. I started off the day with a date with a friend to walk our dogs so exercise was covered for the day. Frank and I went to Ikea to buy some furniture, and my one good food decision was to not get dessert there, even though they had very good looking cake and reasonably priced chocolate bars. I am obviously blogging right now, so that goal is accomplished for the day. Now, this doing something to nurture myself thing? I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do. Maybe I'll set aside some time this evening to read a chapter of the book that I never seem to make to read.

I'm trying to attach a picture of myself to use as a "before" photo, but I am blogging from my phone, so I'm not sure if it will work. If not, I'll try again tomorrow!

Have a great Saturday and I will update you on my nurturing activity tomorrow!