Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ouch!

Oh, man, am I sore tonight!  My muscles are hurting a bit.  I actually took it easy on myself today.  Instead of hopping right on the Octane elliptical, I went for the Life Fitness version.  I managed to do an entire 50 minutes, followed by a 5-minute cool down.  It felt awesome at the time!  No worries though.  Ibuprofen is my friend at the moment.  And tomorrow, when I get back at it, I'm sure my muscles will ease up again.  And hey, looking on the bright side....I have muscles!  A whole lot more than I did before I started all this!  I have four more days to go before that one much needed day of rest.  I'm actually kind of nervous about taking a day off.  I'm afraid one day will lead to another and another and I'll lose all of the progress I've made.  I'm thinking that day of rest just might be spent doing something semi-active...like taking the kids to the pool for an hour or two.  Or running around a park with them for a bit, if it's nice out.  We'll have to see how things go.

Lily's not feeling so hot tonight.  She refused to eat any dinner.  Normally, I'd push a little bit to at least get a couple of bites into her.  But she had a melt-down just before dinner and chose to cuddle up with me in her bed until she calmed down.  She would have happily agreed to fall asleep then and there, I think!  I convinced her to eat a cup of pudding (with sprinkles, or it would have been a no-go), put some fuzzy, feety-jammies on her, and then took her off to bed.  She was out and snoring by 6:30!  Poor girl!  I'm hoping she just needed a little extra sleep and will be back to her usual happy self tomorrow.  I'm dying to take her trick-or-treating!  Until then, I'll be testing her often throughout the night and sacrificing my own sleep to make sure she's staying stable and steady.  Luckily my husband has offered to let me sleep in again!  Gotta love that man, for that reason alone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The three D's....

I'll give you a quick hint...diabetes isn't one of the D's I'll be talking about tonight!  Before I get into that though, I want to say...I LOVE getting all the comments that so many of you are leaving.  The ones about being inspired by me, the ones about being active and eating right and doing whatever all of you are doing to make positive changes, the suggestions (Sarah, thanks for yours!  I think I'm going to take up the 15g before bed suggestion!). I love reading all of them!  I've honestly never thought of myself as something special and I have no clue how so many of you can find my efforts inspiring, but I'm so glad that so many of you are making positive changes too!  And I love hearing about all of them!

Today was a rough one.  I think my body is getting a bit worn out at this point.  I lasted about 20 minutes on the Octane elliptical today.  Finished it off with a 3 minute cool down period to give my body a chance to catch up to me and then I headed over to the Life Fitness elliptical for another 30 minutes.  It's funny, when I first start, it feels like my legs are screaming for me to stop, refusing to move.  But when it's all over and I'm done with the workout, it feels more like they're thanking me for keeping going.  I feel great afterwards!  I am really looking forward to having a day off when I'm done with the next 5 days though!  Today, I finished up just in time.  As I was getting dressed after my shower, I heard my name being paged.  Lily has a habit of lying down in a corner of the child care center when her blood sugar is dropping.  Luckily, the child care workers are phenomenal!  They call for me right away and they always have a few little treats stashed away, just in case.  I came in to find Lily cuddling with one of the workers and sucking on her "treat" (a lollipop).  I tested her and 82 popped up on the meter.

Okay, on to the three D's.  Destructive, depressing, demoralizing.  I could think of a few more D's to go on that list too, I'm sure.  I'm pointing my finger at a common household item in all of their bathrooms when I'm saying those three words.  Your bathroom scale.  It is destructive, depressing, and demoralizing.  Here's the problem with the bathroom scale....how many times do we start on a "weight loss journey"?  We work our butts off, push ourselves, and then we go to the scale and find that we haven't dropped more than a couple of pounds or we've put on weight instead of taking it off.  Or maybe we've lost a good amount, but instead of seeing how far we've come, we focus on how far we have to go until we get to that magic number.  We all have a magic number.  If only I weighed x pounds, I'd be happy.  I'd love my body.  I'd have more friends, I'd be more out-going, more confident, healthier, happier.  And you know what?  Even if we did weigh x pounds, we still wouldn't be happy.  We'd have all the same problems we have now.  We would weigh x pounds and we'd be obsessed with trying to maintain that weight, trying not to indulge in emotional eating, trying to exercise and be active enough to keep that weight.  The scale drives us to be chained to that magic number, to be depressed about the number we see pop up, to be demoralized by our current weights, and to destroy our weight-loss goals.  Why do we do that to ourselves when the number on the scale means nothing to our over-all health?  The fact is, a woman who weighs 200 lbs could be a whole lot healthier than one who weighs 125.  The 125 lb woman could just have a higher metabolism.  If she doesn't get daily exercise, she's not all that healthy.  If the 200 lb woman gets moderate exercise daily and eats well, she could be in perfect health.  The number that pops up on the scale isn't important.  Want a more concrete example?  I'm a whole lot healthier now, at whatever weight I am now (258, when I started 25 days ago), than I was when I was 19, weighed 170 and manipulated my diabetes in order to weigh that amount.

So, here's my suggestion.  My plea for all of you who are trying to be healthier.  Rethink your goal.  Don't think, "I want to weigh x amount."  Do me (and yourselves) a huge favor and shove that scale deep into the closet with the understanding that you will not touch it for the next 30 days.  Instead, set your sights on something else.  My goal right now, I want to be able to run a 5k in the spring.  That's a concrete goal.  My less concrete goals...to build muscle, to drop some fat, to exercise for an hour each day, to add more fruits and vegetables into my diet (more vegetables than fruit though!).  For now, I'm concentrating on the exercise though.  I'm paying more attention to the changes in my body.  I've misplaced a few inches somewhere.  Not quite sure where they've gone, but the waist and thighs of my jeans are looser, my bras aren't fitting very well anymore, my t-shirts are looser.  I finally caved and bought myself that winter coat that I need for this winter.  Twenty-five days ago, I would have had to buy a size 3X in order for it to not look like I had stuffed myself into it.  Today, I bought a 2X and there's still a few extra inches.  That is an awesome feeling!

Okay, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a good, no-low night for both Lily and me tonight!  And for the rest of the d-kids and parents!  I'm hoping a little extra sleep tomorrow morning (my husband says he's going to let me sleep in!) will kick my fatigue out so I can get back to challenging myself a bit!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Miracle Drug has been found!

No, seriously, it has!  Kind of.  Except, it's not a drug.  It takes a little more effort than popping a pill in your mouth and swallowing.  But it really is a miracle!  I'm talking about....E*X*E*R*C*I*S*E!  So here's why I'm calling it the Miracle Drug.....

Poor complexion?  Add in regular exercise, and you apparently sweat out all the toxins and things that are causing you to break out in massive pimples everywhere.

Can't sleep?  Work your muscles each day and you just might find that you can actually sleep!

Joint pain?  Well, that could possibly be from carrying around more weight than your frame was intended for or it could just be because those joints aren't used to moving.

High cholesterol?  Exercise helps with that!

Depressed?  Exercise makes your body release wonderful hormones that boost your mood and can make you feel a whole lot more content!

I could seriously go on and on!  I'm on Day 24 today!  The last couple of days, I've headed to the gym to avoid the bitterly cold, brutal winds that have been blowing.  The kids love playing in the child care center, so it's a win for all of us.  I've hit the elliptical for an hour both times.  I pushed myself a few days ago and really tried to step up my efforts a little bit.  The challenge has been fun!  I may have overdone it a little bit though!  The last couple of days, I've hit a little bit of a wall.  I have to push myself to keep going.  Luckily, the gym has several different kinds of ellipticals (several, meaning like an insane number of different ones).  The ones I've preferred to work on, Octanes, are a bit harder, a bit more resistance, I think.  So on days when I feel like I can't go any further, I cut my workout short on the Octane and head over to the Life Fitness ellipticals to finish.  Either way, I have managed to complete an entire hour of exercise, every day.  I just make sure I pay attention to how my body is feeling, take it a little easier when I feel the need to, but keep going.  And as I wrote above, I'm feeling a whole lot better!  Don't think it's all good though....I've had some bumps along the road.  I've had a couple of middle-of-the-night insulin reactions which are almost always followed by morning highs (sleep-reactions are the worst, I think...it seems like your body gets frantic for sugar to treat the reaction and you're nearly always half-asleep still, which leads to over-treating).  You know though, it's been so worth those minor hassles!  I'm planning on taking a day off once I finish the next 6 days, but I'm hoping to have just a little bit of activity on that one day.  I'm scared if I take the day off completely, I'll lose my momentum and end up with more than one day off!  Maybe I'll take the kids swimming at the pool or on a trip to the Minnesota Zoo.  Something fun.  They've earned it!

Oh, one quick thing before I head off to bed!  Lily picked out an adorable little fairy outfit at Costco for Halloween.  Unfortunately, it's not nearly warm enough for our Minnesota Halloween weather!  So, I'm going to layer her up underneath and convince her to wear this on her head:


She's not super-thrilled with it just yet....but I'm working on convincing her!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

*S*I*G*H*

That title....that's me taking a great big sigh.  It's been one of THOSE days.  Seriously.  I haven't had use of my car since this wonderful drizzly weather started (Joanne and Reyna, your hats are ready to go in the mail and will be sent out as soon as I can make it to the post office during business hours!  I'm so sorry!).  With the wonderful, hurricane-force winds that we've had today, the kids and I have been trapped indoors.  I did manage to make it to the gym for a workout, but it took a bit of finagling.  That wasn't the worst part of my day though....I'll give a quick synopsis:

Gotta go back in time a bit....my husband has been really cranky and difficult to live with lately.  Work is stressing him and he feels really put-out with all that he has to do for other people.  So he comes home and resents being asked to help or being obligated to help with things.  I understand that he's feeling strained and being the sole-provider for our family is a major stress.  But it's just not possible to get the kids to leave him be when he comes home.  He's been great about letting me sleep in on the weekends, which I really appreciate.  The last few weekends, his mom has been watching the kids for a couple of hours so we can spend some time together.  This last Sunday, my husband looked at me and said, "you can take the kids to my mom's by yourself, right?"  He decided he wanted a nap and assumed that I would be spending the time without them grocery shopping in peace.  I have this horrible flaw...I sometimes say things that I shouldn't or fail to word things properly and end up causing upset with what I do say.  While dropping the kids off, a whole lot of my "stresses" with my husband came out as I was explaining why he needed to get in to see the therapist.  In the process of explaining, I apparently upset my mother-in-law (I said something about my husband holding onto hurt from being abused by his step-father, who used to hit him).  His mom thought that this equated to "step-dad used to beat him and you were a horrible mom for letting that happen".  Ah, yes...have to love the overly-dramatic interpretations.  So....I spent the day arguing with my husband, who is very upset with me for saying anything at all, blames the entire thing on me (which I am mostly responsible for since I know his mom is overly-sensitive and prone to mis-interpretation).  I took my frustration and upset over the incident and put them to good use....I pushed really hard on the elliptical!  An hour and 5 minutes on that thing today!  I kept my heart rate up in the 90% range for nearly the entire workout.  Wow, did that feel good!  We ended our day with an appointment with our marriage counselor, who will now become my husband's therapist for the next few months as he works through some of his unresolved issues.  It actually turned into a really productive day for us!  We walked away from our appointment with three follow-up appointments for my husband: one for him to take an MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), an appointment with a psychiatrist, who can help figure out which anti-anxiety medication might help him the most, and another appointment for a one-on-one session with the therapist.  Hopefully all of this will equate to him working on being a much happier, healthier person so we can work on having a much happier, healthier family.  It's so hard on the kids when we argue and although we try our hardest not to argue in front of them, they always seem to sense the extra tension.

Anyway, Day 22 of the challenge!  Reyna, I'm so impressed that you were even able to stand after doing that 13-mile run, let alone do Kempo!  Now that the forecast is saying that snow is becoming a possibility, I think the gym is going to be our refuge!  Fine with me since I've been loving the elliptical lately.  It's awesome to have a piece of gym equipment that is fun to use and tells you that you're burning nearly 1000 calories in an hour!  Love that!

One last note, just because I'm really excited about this....About a year ago, I finally convinced my husband to let us adopt a kitten.  She was adorable and I loved having her!  But....I was having some allergy issues (hives) that I assumed were because of the kitten.  So we gave the kitten away.  Well, turned out the hives popped up every time I got stressed and were related to the anti-depressant medication I was on at the time.  Ever since giving the cat away, my husband has been dead-set against getting another pet.  Hehe....until his little girl started asking him!  Apparently, the last couple of nights, Lily has asked her daddy if he'd like a kitty or a puppy.  Let me make it clear that this has not been due to coaching from mommy.  I occasionally take the kids to look at the pets in the mall's pet store, but I would never get a pet from there.  I figure if Lily brings it up again for the next couple of nights, her daddy just might end up caving and telling her she can get a big kitty (no kittens in our home!).  Yay!  I miss having pets!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why is this working?

First off....Reyna, you are one of my heroes!  Seriously, a 13-mile run?  That's awesome!  Way to go, you fierce lady!

I've lost count of how many times I've crawled into the bandwagon and pledged to lose weight, exercise more, eat better.  I've lost count of how many times I've fallen right back out of that wagon without making any major changed.  Today is Day 21 of the 30-day challenge.  Day 21 of working out everyday.  At the beginning of this, I would never have thought I'd be able to do some of the things I can do now, without major straining or causing myself a heart attack.  Today, I chose to workout at the gym.  I was left without a car all day (hubby's truck won't run when it rains, darn thing!).  I'm on Day 3 of my period, which usually lasts for a good 7 days.  And yet, I still managed to go to the gym this evening and spend an hour on the elliptical.  An hour!  And I'm pushing myself a little bit too.  I spend about 1/4 of my time on the machine trying to go at a faster pace.  I'm increasing the level so there's a little more resistance.  It's great!  So....what's different now and why is this working?

I think it all boils down to one concept....SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS.  All of my other attempts, I've concentrated on weight loss.  Do you know how hard it is to lose a pound of fat?  It's so much work!  And pounds do not melt off!  At least, not naturally.  If you want to melt the pounds off, you may want to invest in a human-sized spit and let someone roast you over a fire in the backyard.  It'll be painful, but the pounds of fat will melt.  Would you believe that I haven't set foot on a scale since I started this though?  I'm not paying any attention at all to weight.  By not paying any attention to it, it's forcing me to use other ways of measuring my success.  Like the fact that my body is changing.  I haven't dropped any dress sizes or anything like that, but my clothes are fitting better.  My pudgy, chunky belly no longer imitates the top of a muffin when I wear jeans!  My legs have more muscle, my butt doesn't jiggle quite so much, I've dropped down to a d-cup bra (woohoo!).  I can run up and down our stairs in our house without getting winded!  I can haul Leo's skinny little butt into the gym from the car without feeling like my arm is going to give out and I'm gonna drop him.  I can chase after my little escape-artist (repeatedly, because he's stubborn and thinks it's funny) and I'm not feeling like I'm gonna drop into a puddle!  Those are my measures of success this time around.  The more I can chase after my children and play with them, the more determined I am to keep going!

Don't get me wrong, it's not always easy.  There have been days when I haven't felt like going.  I procrastinate horribly.  This is why it never worked for me before when I resolved to go to the gym three times a week.  I'd go the first day and then would skip a couple days because I was sore.  And then I'd procrastinate and figure I could just go the last two days of the week.  The last day of the week would come, I would have only gone once, instead of the two I should have gone and I'd give up and figure, "why bother".  This time, I can procrastinate all day, spend the day playing with the kids, cooking, cleaning, crocheting, whatever.  But when evening comes and I haven't gone yet?  The fear of being disappointed in myself propels me out that door and off to the gym.  I do not want to fail myself this time.  And I have so much less time to procrastinate with the "go every day" goal.  So, I go every day.  And that's working because I'm not straining myself too horribly.  Something I've really noticed with myself, my mom, my husband.....when we make resolutions to go to the gym, diet, whatever....we tend to throw ourselves into it whole-heartedly, with everything we have.  There's a problem with that.  When you start out going at full-speed, it leaves you nothing to work your way up to and it tends to tire you out quickly.  So, this time, starting slow, walking a couple of miles a day, worked.  I walked a couple of miles.  And then a few days later, I walked three miles.  And then four miles.  Now, 21 days later, I can go for an hour on the elliptical!  I can push myself a little bit each day without fearing that I'm putting myself in danger of being unable to go the next day.  It's amazing how quickly your body can and does adjust to moderate, daily activity!  And even more amazing how your body starts to crave that daily activity!

Now, here's the one area that I feel can still be pushed and improved on....I haven't bothered to change my diet much during this challenge.  You see, one of the things with doing exercise/activity changes and diet changes at the same time...it's really hard!  After you workout, you get hungry.  The more you work out, the more appetite you have.  And this is where diabetes really plays a part.  The more I work out, the more exercise I get, the more low blood sugars I have to treat.  I'm knocking back my basal doses a little at a time and trying to gradually do away with some of the worst lows, but until my insulin is adjusted perfectly for the amount of exercise I'm getting now, I have lows to treat.  That doesn't mean that changes aren't happening though.  I used to spend a lot of time eating simply out of boredom.  After the kids went to bed, I'd snack and watch tv.  Now, I rarely snack on anything more than an apple after the kids are in bed.  I don't eat just to eat.  I eat when I'm hungry and when I'm low.  I'm not making a concentrated, full-out effort to cut back on my calories, but it's happening anyway.  I don't want to ruin my hard work with empty, pointless food.  I did indulge in my craving for hot, buttered popcorn the other night.  But, I stuck with a very small amount and only used about half the amount of butter that I would have used before.  I would have considered that a huge sacrifice before!

Tomorrow is going to be a challenge.  The forecast includes rain and some pretty phenomenal winds.  The rain means I will probably be left without a vehicle again.  And as soon as my husband gets home from work, we'll have to head out the door to his appointment with the therapist (yay! for finally starting the path to healing his inner child!).  It might take some real effort to get us to the gym again tomorrow...maybe I'll have to haul the kids out in their pjs to bring my husband to work so we can have the car!  In which case, I should probably be getting to bed soon!

*Just one quick note......Only one more week until all of the political slugs crawl back under their rocks and leave us in peace for another year!  I can't wait!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If you think farting is funny.....

It's okay, you can laugh at me tonight.  I'm laughing at me.

I've had a bit of a rough day.  It didn't get off to the best start.  It never does when I wake up to find that my not-so-wonderful Aunt Flo (AF from here on out) has arrived.  I actually used to have to take codeine for the pain that comes with AF.  I'm trying to combat it with just extra-strength midol and ibuprofen now.  It's not cutting it.  And there are a few uncomfortable friends that AF brings with her.  Cravings, lack of energy, moodiness....oh, it's a blast having unwanted visitors, isn't it?  So, this morning AF showed up.  And I just wanted to crawl back into bed all day long.  Luckily, my wonderfully amazing husband let me sleep in this morning.  Even better since the kids woke up at the ass-crack-of-dawn!  Unfortunately, the combination of those two always puts my husband in a cranky, angry, resentful kind of mood with me for the rest of the day until I remember to sit down in front of him, look him full in the face, and tell him how incredibly much I appreciate that he does that.  Just thanking him for it repeatedly is not enough, I guess.  You'd think I'd learn.  Must add groveling at the feet of my husband to my list of things to do next time he lets me sleep in.  Anyway, back to the story.....AF for me means lots of discomfort.  I've actually had surgery to try to figure out why this is, but so far, there is no answer to it.  I spend days in misery, not wanting to do anything but curl up under a warm, fuzzy blanket and eat everything salty and sweet that I can get my hands on.  Unfortunately, wallowing in my misery isn't an option and if I missed working out today, on day 19 of my 30-day challenge...I would be so incredibly disappointed in myself!  So, this evening, I packed up my stuff, put on workout clothes and went off to the gym.....

Here's an uncomfortable fact....increases in hormones cause digestive issues for me.  This accounts for a great deal of my misery.  Want to know a second uncomfortable fact?  Exercising speeds up the digestive process. When I got to the gym tonight, I kept all of that in mind when I chose an elliptical to use for my workout.  I specifically chose one far away from anyone else.  No one, anywhere close.  You can guess what comes next, right?  Someone had to come and ruin my solitude, just five minutes into my hour-long workout.  Never mind that there are 15 other ellipticals and only one other person working out on one.  I would have felt bad for what came next, but really, she could have picked another elliptical!  For the next 30 minutes, the poor woman had to deal with the silent-but-deadly version of noxious emissions.  You know the kind...the sulfurous-smelling ones.  My face is still turning bright red, even as I type that.  It's embarrassing!  But really, what can you do?  Hold it all in, and you spend the entire time clenching your butt while trying to resist the urge to double over in pain.

It's okay, you can laugh about it.  After you get over how icky all that is.  Now, I think I'm going to head to bed before my insane craving for buttery, salted popcorn gets the best of me!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Holding back...

I scaled back my exercise a bit today.  I'm not feeling too horribly, but a little lacking in energy.  We had a bit of a rough night, followed by a very early morning, which is never good.  So, today, we stuck with a 3-mile walk around Lake Nokomis, which is not quite as gorgeous as Lake Calhoun.  They're both part of a chain of lakes here in Minnesota and there are biking paths, a scenic byway, and walking paths stretching between all of them.  I think we're going to have to check out a couple of the other lakes as well.  Don't want the kids to get bored!

I was thinking I should blog tonight about the differences between what I'm doing now and why it's working for me and what I've done before and why it didn't work.  This process has been fantastic, not just in a physical sense.  I'm also looking at my own weak areas and personal tendencies.  It's all definitely helping me grow in so many ways.  But tonight, instead, I'm going to share something from my past with you, something not exactly diabetes-related, but I do think it connects with the recent passing of Eilish in some ways....

When I was 22, I took a job as a camp counselor at a summer camp in Minnesota.  Kids come from all over the U.S. to attend this particular camp and they're often 2nd generation attendees, meaning that their parents were also campers.  The camp was actually split, with boys on one side of the lake and girls on the other.  There really wasn't much interaction between the two sides, except for with the counselors.  The counselors showed up to camp a few weeks before the kids and spent time getting to know everyone (and thinking up nicknames for everyone, as the camp had a tradition that none of the staff went by their real names-my camp name was Sunshine, if you can believe that one).  It was a wonderful place to work, for the most part.  The co-workers were all amazing people.  The summer went by quickly, friendships formed and cemented.  There was one particular co-worker that I really enjoyed spending time with.  After the kids were in bed, we'd hang out outside our cabins and talk until the bugs got too bad.  Her came name was Indigo and her fiancĂ©e, Reel, worked at the boys' camp.  He was in charge of videotaping the main events of the summer and putting a film together at the end.  Towards the end of the summer, Reel was sent out with a group of boys who were taking a 3-day long biking trip.  In a freak accident, Reel lost his balance while filming and fell.  His head hit the pavement.  Two days later, he passed away of brain injuries.  

I don't need to tell you how incredibly tragic it is when a young person passes.  For those of us who live with a chronic illness, like diabetes, we know that the threat always lurks in the shadows.  There is no real comfort that can be offered when it shoots out of the shadows and claims a life.  But....I want to offer those of you who are still sad over this latest loss, just as I am, a story with a bit of a message:

The Dragonfly
Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,
there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
beetles.  They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again.  They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem.  However, he was determined that he would
not leave forever.  He would come back and tell his friends what
he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that he decided he must take a nap.  As he slept, his body
changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
designed for flying.

So, fly he did!  And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking
by now he was dead.  He wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
before.  His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water.  He could
not get back to tell his friends the good news.  Then he
understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
know what he now knew.  So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!


~Author Unknown~

Death isn't the end.  It's a transformation.  Just because a loved one isn't with us in the physical sense anymore doesn't mean that they are gone from this world or from our hearts.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You know that feeling...

I have that feeling right now.  You know the one.  The feeling that tells you that you're going to have a full-blown horrible cold in just a few days.  The one where you have phlegm in the back of your throat and you just can't get it out.  I HATE that feeling!  That's the feeling I have tonight.  It's driving me nuts.  And nothing helps.  My poor husband is not going to sleep well if I have to spend the night awake and clearing my throat.  You know though...it's still not as bad as having to listen to his snoring!

Anyway, on to other things.  I didn't have the heart to blog last night.  I still don't.  But I'm pushing myself.  I think we were all a little heartsick and heart-heavy yesterday.  We still are.  It's so hard when we lose one of our own.  The 13-year-old girl who never woke.  I hope the fact that we are all able to claim her as one of our own and feel her death so deeply will help ease the heavy burden her family must feel.  I know we are all imagining the pain and unspeakable grief of that situation.  It's something we try not to think about.  Until we're forced to by this kind of news.  I think the hardest part for so many of us....is the fact that the internet brings us so closely together that we forget about geographical barriers until things like this happen.  And then, all of a sudden, here we sit, helpless, frustrated and scared.  If we could all just be closer together...we could at least share our grief in person, light our candles so they shine through the night, and dry each others tears or cry on another shoulder.  Computers just aren't very good at offering up physical comfort, are they?

I was a little derailed on my fitness challenge today.  We had a rough time getting going this morning.  Thankfully, my husband is my perfect compliment....he came home from work, dragged us all off to the gym for our daily exercise (yay!), and then fed us Subway for dinner.  Gotta love that man!  Reyna, your comment this morning inspired me.  Instead of just walking around the track today, I hopped on an elliptical.  I managed to do 55 minutes, plus a 4 minute cool-down at the end!  I hit about half-way and thought about quitting and going back to the track, but I pushed myself in your honor.  I took my pace down until I was just a step above where it would have been comfortable and finished out my intended amount of time.  According to the machine, I burned more than 650 calories and went quite a few miles!  And bonus, I'm not even sore!  Tomorrow is supposed to be a gorgeous day, so I think we'll be back to walking around a lake or through our neighborhood (the kids like looking for all the Halloween decorations).  For now, I'm off to cuddle with Lily before crawling into bed for my two hours of sleep before I get up and steal another drop of her blood while she sleeps.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halfway!!!!

Yay for being half-way!  Today was Day 15.  I decided to start the day off early by loading the kids up in the stroller and walking the 1.1 mile distance to the Community Center for Creative Play Time.  CPT is basically just a couple of hours each morning, M-Th, when the Community Center opens up a couple of rooms full of toys, art projects, and whatever, for parents to bring their kids in to play.  So, the kids got to play for a couple of hours.  We followed playtime with a stop at the library, a walk in front of the Elementary School so Lily could see what a school looks like (I'm still trying to find a motivation that will work for potty-training-she's stubborn like her daddy!), and then we walked through our neighborhood a bit.  To be honest, I'm not sure exactly how far we walked today, but I'm guessing it's just over 3 miles total.  I was actually a little sore when I got home!  But, it was a good sore, so no complaints!

Oh, I can't tell you how excited I am that so many of you are joining me for the next 15 days!  It makes me so happy!  Seriously, you can't imagine how much the last 15 days have changed me and how much happier and healthier I've felt!  I'm actually excited to get going on our walk each day, instead of having to force myself to go.  I can run up and down our stairs in our house without getting winded now!  I can run after Leo without losing my breath and collapsing at the end of the day!  It's kind of funny....people talk about how much work it is to lose weight and they fight and battle it so much.  And eventually, they give up.  But here I am, with no desire to know what number would pop up on the scale at the moment and the "work" is becoming fun and exciting.  It's something I feel good doing instead of cursing and crying over!  Don't get me wrong, at the end of the 30 days, I'll definitely be interested in knowing what number pops up on the scale.  But until then, I don't want to know.  I want to just concentrate on how much better I'm feeling, how much happier and energetic I am.  I'm so happy that you're all going to share the rest of the journey with me and will get to feel all of that too!

I need to head to bed a bit early tonight.  We have plans for a playdate tomorrow morning, bright and early.  We're meeting a mom and her little girl at Lake Calhoun for a walk around the lake.  The only problem I've had with walking lately (including the blisters that popped, but were so tiny that they haven't even caused me pain) is that Leo gets a bit fussy.  I think he gets cold, but he refuses to keep his hoodie up.  So, I've crocheted him a hat very quickly tonight and plan to strap the thing onto his head!  Until then, I think I'll go cuddle up to him and get some rest!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting down and dirty...

I'm hanging my head in shame over the picture I'm about to post.  But I'm posting it anyway.  Because there's something that I think people need to understand (Heidi and Wendy, I'm talking to you-and quite a few others too!).  So, here it is, my living room on Day 14 of my challenge:


Notice the toys scattered everywhere?  The yarn piled on the couch?  The sippy cup in the middle of the floor?  The unvacuumed carpet?  The general chaos?  Yup, figured you would.  My house is NEVER like this!  I hate that I'm sharing this and if someone asked to stop by my home right now, I'd make excuses and bar them from coming in!  Not how I usually am.  I'm usually one to welcome others with open arms, throw the door wide, and offer them refreshments while they sit down and relax in my cozy little home.  Want to know my point in sharing this?  Notice that not once during the last 14 days have I said that I couldn't go for a walk because the house was dirty and needed to be cleaned?  The housework is on hold until my walk is over.  Now that is a huge change for me!  Housework used to be one of my many excuses for not exercising. "Sorry, honey, can't go to the gym tonight.  The laundry needs to be done."  Or the dishes, or the vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, dusting.  You pick, I've used them all.  During my challenge, I'm learning to put my own body's needs first.  Because you know what the reality is?  The house is not going to have a heart attack if I don't pick it up every day and vacuum the floors every time they get dirty.  My body, on the other hand, just might have a heart attack if I don't give it exercise and treat it better.  It's as black-and-white as that.  A dirty house may not be something to be proud of, but it's not nearly as bad as poor physical health.  Your kids will not remember that your floor was steam-cleaned daily, that everything had its place.  They will remember if you took them on walks everyday and taught them to love nature and the beauty they could find outside their front door.

Tomorrow is my half-way point!  Reaching this point has inspired me to ask a question of all of you.....who wants to finish the challenge with me?  15 days of activity.  It doesn't have to be anything big.  Heck, I'll be happy if you all put your brooms down and walk around the block just once each day!  If you want to walk around the block 10 times, even better for you!  I promise you, if you do join me in the last 15 days of my challenge, you won't regret it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Thirteen!

It is absolutely amazing how much can change in such a short time!  First, let me tell you this....I've never understood people who run.  The ones who actually enjoy running, who think it's fun.  Seriously?  How could anyone think running was fun?  Why would they think it was fun?  But....I think I'm starting to get it.  I'm not up to running yet.  Just walking.  But I'm starting to understand how people can get really into exercising.  I'm starting to enjoy it!  Don't get me wrong, it's still hard to get myself going sometimes.  Especially when it follows a night like tonight, when I'm stuck waiting up until 11:30 for a blood sugar check for Lily (lots of plummeting at night lately!).  Tomorrow is going to be tough.  But, once I get going on a walk with the kids, I start getting excited.  I start to feel better, my muscles loosen up, the soreness all melts away.  In fact, there have been a few days where I've actually intended to "take it a little easier".  Day 10, for example.  There's a free zoo not too far from our home.  Just down the road from the zoo is a small lake.  Lake Como has a walking path that works out to be 1.67 miles all the way around.  I decided that I didn't feel like doing the walk around Lake Calhoun (3.2 miles) and the kids had been so phenomenal on my walks that they deserved a treat.  So, I packed the kids off and we drove off to Como Zoo:





They had a blast!  Leo loves monkeys.  And big cats.  He "oh oh"ed and "roar"ed at the animals.  Lily very animatedly told me about all the things the animals were doing and everything she could see.  She was a bit stumped in coming up with an explanation for this one though:

Yeah, that's what I thought too....Only a mother, right?  Anyway, after they were done looking at the zoo, we went over to Lake Como for our walk.  I bought them ice cream cones to keep them occupied and then planned to do one lap around the lake, 1.67 miles.  I was sore and meant to take it a little easier, remember?  So, I walked.  I got about 3/4 of the way around the lake and decided, you know, rather than finishing the 1.67 miles, I'd turn around and go back the 3/4 of the way that I'd just walked.  So, instead of walking just 1.67 miles, I walked 1.5x that!  Before starting this challenge, I never, and I mean NEVER, would have chosen to make things harder for myself or do more than I had intended to do.  And would you believe, when I was finished with the walk around the lake, I decided that there was no hurry to get home and I might as well walk up the path into the hill so the kids and I could take in this view:

My way of thinking is definitely changing.  Instead of taking the easy way, I'm challenging myself more, I'm pushing myself.  Perfect example: My wonderful husband bought me a new pair of running shoes yesterday.  I was so excited about them that I decided to wear them on my walk today.  Totally forgot about breaking the darn things in.  I have blisters on my heels to show for it.  But you know what?  I have no intention of letting that stop me from walking tomorrow!  It would have stopped me before.  Now, I'm planning on padding my heels with some fantastic bandaids, strapping my old shoes on my feet, and walking just as much as I have been!  I think I'm afraid that if I take it easy, I'll revert back to my old behaviors and habits.  So, I'll just keep going and challenging myself until I'm not afraid anymore, until I know there's no way I'll ever revert back!

Oh, and almost forgot...pictures of Como Lake:



Little side-fact...when I was little, I wanted to get married in that pavilion!  It's gorgeous!  I wish I would have taken some pictures of the houses around the lake though.  Victorian, old, and beautiful!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Pure honesty here....I'm not entirely sure why any of you bother to read any of what I write!  Really, I don't think I'm that interesting of a person and I'm pretty sure I'm not saying anything profound.  But I appreciate all of you reading and leaving me such encouraging and positive comments!  You can't imagine how much your comments mean to me!

A quick warning.....this post isn't going to be pretty.  In fact, I think if people take what I have to say tonight in a certain way, they could be down-right offended.  Please understand that I'm not meaning to offend anyone, but I do wish to be brutally honest with this post tonight.  I'm hoping that by sharing my own little epiphany, maybe others will have one of their own.

Here's what I want to tell you tonight: The absolute greatest injustice my mother has done to me was done by modeling for me the lifestyle that she did.  I'm not blaming my mom for the lifestyle I've led.  Ultimately, I know it's been my choice to live the way I have.  Just as it was my choice to not be the type of parent that my parents modeled for me.  My mom was a stay-home mom when I was little.  Her afternoons were spent watching soap operas.  Our mornings were spent watching Sesame Street.  She didn't clean house much, but she did prepare a complete from-scratch dinner every night.  She had a secret stash of treats for herself that we weren't allowed to eat.  I remember that whenever we went to the store, we stopped at Hardee's (the ONLY fast-food in town) for lunch.  For as long as I can remember, my mom has complained about her weight, held-off on buying new clothing, signed up for every fad diet that came out, worn clothing that was too small and too tight and uncomfortable just to avoid going up a size.  But never, not once, did she take on an exercise program.  This is the lifestyle she taught my siblings and me.

Here's my epiphany:  Every behavior, every habit, every attitude we display is something we are modeling for our children.  Our children look to us to know how to act, how to respond, how to live.  They learn how to eat, how to exercise, how to be kind or how to be rude.  All from us.  And here I was, teaching my children the exact same lifestyle that my mom taught me.  When that realization came to me, I cried.  I sobbed.  I DO NOT WANT MY CHILDREN TO LIVE LIKE I HAVE BEEN!  I don't want them to learn how to sit down and watch tv for hours.  I don't want them to learn how to stock their cupboards with things that should be for occasional indulgences only.  I don't want them to learn to eat out of boredom and stress.  I don't want them to learn to sit on their rear-ends all day long without ever straining their bodies, challenging themselves, or just taking the time to treat their bodies as they should be treated.

Realizing that has changed me.  That's why this is no longer about losing weight.  My 30-day challenge is about creating a new habit, building a new life, being a better model for my children.  The absolute worst thing I could do to my children is to teach them to live the kind of life that I've been living.  Knowing that is a powerful motivator.  Knowing that is making me challenge myself to create new habits, break old ones, and be a healthier person.  Because when it comes down to it, I don't want to look in my child's eyes and see the unhappiness, guilt, and pain that I've seen in my own eyes.

That is as honest as it gets!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reflections....

Today was Day 11!  Eleven straight days of walking, 2 or more miles every. single. day!  I've been avoiding telling my family about my new venture.  I finally cracked and told my mom that I'd been walking every day for a couple of miles each day yesterday.  Oh, did that remind me of why I was trying to not mention anything!  I love my mom.  Really, I do.  But sometimes, I don't like her very much.  Please don't think badly of me for that one!  I really do love her.  But as I've gotten older and become a mother myself, it's opened my eyes to a great many things.  You see, almost everything in life is a competition for my mom.  Not because she's competitive, but because she sees what other people have, what other people do, and wants to measure up to them.  She can be very hard to please.  She's on her third marriage now and has a tendency to complain about her husband quite a bit.  Which makes me very sad.  No person is perfect and I expect her husband isn't anywhere near perfect either.  But neither is she.  And he absolutely adores her!  That should count for a great deal.  So...my mom's response to me walking for 10 days...."have you lost any weight?"  It's only been 10 days and to be honest with you, I don't want to step anywhere near a scale just yet!  I knew before I told her what she would say.  I'm not surprised by it.  But, I am a bit disappointed.  Isn't it funny how no matter what age we are, we still look for our parent's approval?

I want to share something with you tonight.  My life in weight.  You see, I never intended to weight what I currently weigh.  I never would have imagined that I would be the size that I am.  You're all curious what my weight is, aren't you?  Two hundred and fifty-eight pounds.  It's less intimidating to write it out that way than to put a 2 followed by a 5, closely followed by an 8.  It's a scary number!  So here's the cliff-notes-version of how I got to where I am...

I was 9 lbs even at birth.  From that moment on, I was always on the smaller side.  I barely registered on the growth charts.  My mom often called me "Skinny Minnie" growing up.  Common nickname, I know.  I HATED it!  I was always the skinniest kid in class, one of the smallest girls.  I was diagnosed with diabetes 3 months before my tenth birthday.  I weighed 45 lbs at diagnosis (I'd lost 9 lbs in the process of getting sick with diabetes, so my weight at the time was 54 lbs).  At 14, I weighed just under 100.  At 15, I was 110.  I was thin and a perfect size 6.

I'm the one on the end, in the blue and green coat.  You want to know something though?  I hated being that size!  Not so much because of the size though.  This violates every ounce of humility and modesty that I have, but....I hated being that size because of the attention it got me.  I was the quiet kid.  The shy one.  I was probably every teacher's worst fear come to life when I was little.  I was so incredibly, painfully shy that if the teacher spoke my name or called on me in class, I turned bright red and clammed up.  So you can just imagine how well it went over when one of my sister's boyfriend's friends (who happened to be over 21) told me that he thought I was gorgeous and going to be a heartbreaker.  Or when boys in school would make cat-calls down the hallways or try to snap my bra.  It was painful for me.  And then, a year later, at 16, it all stopped.  Puberty hit.  My metabolism came to a screeching halt.  I weighed in at 145.  Not a huge amount just yet though.  The next year, I was up another 15 pounds.  I walked my high school graduation weighing 176.  Off to college I went.  I only managed to last for a semester during my first attempt.  I put on the Freshman 15 plus an extra 10.  I was 19 and weighed 200 pounds.  And I stupidly resorted to the worst thing a diabetic can ever do to themselves....I manipulated my insulin in order to lose weight.  It worked.  I dropped down to 175.  Until I woke up one morning and couldn't see.  I started taking care of myself and my weight went back up to what it was before my stint as an idiot.  When I decided to go back to college, I chose to stay home (much to my mom's frustration) and attend our local community college.  I took up a student-worker position as the ungodly-morning-hours supervisor of the student fitness center.  I started at 6 every morning.  Luckily, more often than not, it was just a couple of little old ladies who came in to use the facility.  This meant that I could spend my "work hours" working out on the equipment.  My weight stayed pretty stable for the next couple of years.  When I graduated with my Associate of Arts degree, I chose to transfer to the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.  Huge, huge campus.  With very limited parking.  This actually worked in my favor.  Parking, affordable parking...was a good 4 blocks from campus.  My first class was just inside campus.  My second class....was on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River!  You wouldn't believe how much walking I did for that entire year!  It was nuts!  I finally dropped back below 200.  But I hated the University.  It was a great experience for me because it finally cracked my shell wide-open.  I stopped caring what people thought.  I realized I could be whoever and whatever I wanted to be and who cared if there was someone who didn't like me?  It was right around that point and just after that realization that I met my husband-to-be.  I was in the process of contemplating transferring to Bemidji State University.  But Jake was a student at Minnesota State University-Mankato.  So...I chose to transfer to be close to him.  The smaller campus and the fact that I started stress-eating, eating out more often (on dates, usually), and eating convenience foods didn't do anything for me.  My weight slowly crept up over the years.  College graduation, full-time employment, buying a house...through it all, my weight crept up just a little at a time.  By the time I got pregnant with Lily, I weighed 230.

During my pregnancy, I made a lot of changed.  I started trying to eat mostly protein-based foods in order to control how much insulin I would have to take.  By the end of the pregnancy, my daily amount of insulin was close to 100 units!  Lily was born severely tongue-tied.  She wasn't able to nurse.  But I was so determined that she be fed breastmilk in order to protect her from the threat of diabetes (haha, joke was on me for that one, huh? but at least I did everything I could and don't have to doubt or dissect what I did).  I pumped, exclusively, for 10 months straight.  Oh, I can't even tell you what hell that was!  I developed an amazing appreciation for dairy cows!  Breastfeeding is not meant to be done by machine!  Pumping is an awful thing to do to your body.  Seriously.  I produced for the pump instead of for a baby.  Which somehow equated to producing enough milk for quintuplets (that is NOT an exaggeration!).  But, breastfeeding by pump also had this wonderful side-effect....the weight literally melted right off of me!  In ten months, I lost 50 lbs!  And then I got mastitis.  I started the treatment for mastitis and before it had cleared up, I was also battling thrush.  Pain doesn't even begin to explain how that felt!  I quit pumping cold-turkey.  Within a couple of months, I was pregnant again.  And putting the weight back on very quickly.

By the time Leo was born, I was back up to my pre-pregnancy weight from before Lily was born, plus all the baby weight from Leo.  Leo was an excellent nurser, from the very beginning.  But nursing didn't have the same effect this time around.  My weight slowly crept up again.  Seven months after Leo was born, Lily was diagnosed.  My nights of very little sleep turned into nights of no sleep.  Sleep has an amazing connection to how well your body processes food and insulin.  The less sleep I got, the less energy I had, the more weight I put on.  It's a bad, bad equation.  Add into that comfort-eating, stress-eating, and boredom-eating.  It's not a pretty picture.

So, here I am, just a little more than a year after Lily was diagnosed.  Things feel like they've finally settled, at least somewhat.  I'm still not getting much sleep.  But I'm recognizing the ways my life needs to change.  I'm seeing my part in getting to where I am now.  And I'm terrified of teaching this lifestyle to my children.  I've decided on a challenge for myself.  It takes 30-40 repetitions in order to form a new habit, for most people.  So, my goal is do 30 days straight of walking or exercising for an hour each day.  I've done 11 days so far.  The last couple of days, it's been a bit tough to do.  I've been feeling a bit sore.  In fact, the last two days, I've started the walk with the intention of taking it easy, doing a shorter walk.  But once I started, I felt the need to keep going!  It's incredibly how that happens!  So, it may not be an easy thing to do, but I'm going to keep going and hope that I can make it the full 30 days!

In order to end this in the most positive way possible, I'll share one more thing with you.  My husband usually comes home from work while I'm cooking dinner.  He has a habit of coming up behind me, while I'm cooking, and giving me a hug and kissing my cheek.  Yesterday, during this ritual, he gave me the best compliment ever.  He hugged me and said, "wow!  You feel firmer already!"  Screw focusing on the weight-loss part of this.  I'm going to focus on the being-in-better-shape part so I can get more compliments like that from him!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hot tip on a new D-product!

My husband came home with a new little something the other day.  He works for Medtronic and has a couple of co-workers who also have children with diabetes.  There are some huge benefits to this, including that they share new products with him.  So, he came home with this:


This little thing is AWESOME!  It's a new lancing device, with teeny tiny little lancets, a much quieter click, and a whole lot less movement.  Lily loves it!  Just after we tried it for the first time, we went out for a walk and I had to test Lily with the spare meter.  She got mad that I was using the old "poker"!  I tried it on myself and I honestly would have sworn to you that I hadn't even poked myself!  The only "bad" side to it...you HAVE to use the lancets that are made specifically for it.  And honestly, that's not such a bad thing.  Especially when it comes to saving those teeny, tiny, itty-bitty fingers of our little children just a little bit of the pain and discomfort they already have to deal with!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A sneak-peak for Joanne!

Normally I'd wait to post these pictures until Joanne has received the hats.  I'm mailing them out today!  But, I'm so excited about how the hat for Elise turned out and I can't wait to share the pictures!  I made a monkey hat for new baby Mattias and a pretty little pom-pom hat for Elise with a cute little flower-button detail on it.  I'm hoping Elise will like it!




Now I just need to finish up the one for our very own Portuguese Princess and then I'll be all done with my current, paid-for orders!  I just have to say....thank you so much to anyone who ordered!  I've enjoyed making them and the fact that all the money is going to diabetes makes it that much more fun and fulfilling!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Million Dollars and the path less taken....

I have two things I want to post about tonight.  I'm going to lump them together just to make things easier...

I want to share with all of you a description of my home.  My husband and I live in a northern suburb.  It just happens to be the same one that my husband was born and raised in.  His parents were born and raised here.  Family history was made here.  When we started looking for a home to buy, my husband drove me through our neighborhood and told me, "This is my ideal.  This is where I want to own a home someday."  I fell in love with it immediately.  It might have helped that later on that same night, my husband got down on one knee and offered me a gorgeous diamond ring!  We got lucky.  Just a few months later, a house in that neighborhood went on the market and we bought it.  There's so much to love about our neighborhood!  The trees are old and plentiful, the houses are charming and cozy, the lawns are well-cared-for, and everywhere you turn, there's something beautiful to see.  Have you ever heard the quote, "A bond forged by fire can never be broken"?  It describes our neighborhood so well!  You see, 40-some years ago, there was a night in which 6 tornadoes tore through the Twin Cities, 3 of them through our neighborhood.  The house that used to be on our land was torn up from it's foundation.  The damage it left behind was catastrophic.  But....it also forged something beautiful.  Many of our neighbors have owned their homes since before that night.  The aftermath of that night, the fear, and the relief, all helped to create a very tight-knit community.  It's beautiful to see and even more incredible to be part of!  Considering our neighborhood and the beauty of it all and the fact that there are miles of walking paths throughout, why in the world would I drive 20 minutes away from home to walk around a lake rather than just walking in our neighborhood?  This is why:


You see that incline?  There's a sign at the top that warns bikers to dismount because of how steep it is.  It doesn't look like much from my camera phone, but it's killer.  Seriously!  Factor in the 30 lbs of stroller filled with 50 lbs of children that I've been pushing up that hill....oh, do my muscles ache!  The last couple of days, I've been pressed for time and haven't had the extra time to drive south to the lake.  So, we've resorted to walking the forest paths that I've been avoiding, partly because of the incline and partly because of the massive number of bugs.  But I have reason to be proud of myself now.  I've been walking 2+ miles every day for the last 7 days (that's 8 total workouts!).  Go me!

Okay....on to the Million Dollars!  I think for tonight, I'm going to introduce you all to the idea.  Maybe tomorrow or the next, I'll tell my response.  I've been thinking about this idea for a while.  What does money mean to people?  What value does it have?  What does money represent for each individual?  I think it tells a lot about a person and can really be an excellent way to learn about other people.  So, here's the question....what would you do with a million dollars?  It's not so much money that you could do whatever your heart could desire, but it's enough that people can dream big, right?  So....I'm curious.  What would people in the DOC do with that amount of money?  Donating it to diabetes research is, of course, an excellent idea.  But that's just too easy.  So, I'm banning that response.  I'll share my ideas soon, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to answer the question, I'd love to read about it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Uncomfortable truths

Oh, how I love my husband!  He's incredibly wonderful and incredibly amazing.  A hard-worker (sometimes too hard of a worker!), a good provider. and terrifically blunt when it's needed.  We had a conversation the other day.  I was complaining about my need for a new winter coat and how I really don't want to buy one because I don't like the size I'm going to have to buy.  His response?  "You're sounding like your mother."  Did you ever have one of those teachers in high school who came up and slammed the top of your desk with his open hand because you'd fallen asleep?  It's the same exact effect!  Seriously.  You see, for as long as I can remember, my mom has been over-weight.  I have no problem with that.  But her response to being over-weight is to not buy herself new clothes because she wants to lose weight first.  Or, if she does buy new clothes, she buys them a size or two smaller than what would be comfortable and squeezes into them anyway.  I love my mom.  I really do.  But, squeezing an over-weight body into smaller-sized Disney sweatshirts and jeans is just plain painful and unattractive.  Personally, I can't stand wearing clothing that cuts into me or fits uncomfortably.  So I've been good about buying the right size of clothing.  I just don't want to spend much on myself.  I suspect that would be true no matter what size I am though.  Anyway, back to the point.  My husband's words echoed something I'd read earlier in the week.  Jen, from Prior Fat Girl, wrote a post about the desire to lose weight.  She basically said, you can wish for it, hope for it, pray for it, yearn for it, but if you really want it, you'll do the work for it.  All the wishing, hoping, praying, yearning will not bring you weight loss.  Hard work and determination will.  I've been busy doing all the wishing, praying, hoping, yearning, for years.  But I haven't done the work.  So, now I'm getting busy with trying to do the work.  I've been walking 2-3 miles daily for the last week.  I'm limiting my calories to 1500/day.  I'm trying to make healthier eating choices.  I'm trying to work on my whole self-perception, self-love kind of thing.  That's the hard part for me. I'm not my biggest fan.  Biggest critic, definitely.  Anyway, in my quest for self-love, I'm going to share some facts that I've become aware of in the past few days.  I need to embrace my faults, just as much as my strengths!

1.  I AM starting to sound like my mother.  Must stop that now!
2. I've spent far too long making excuses for my lack of activity.  Excuses need to end now!
3. If I want to be healthier, I must sacrifice and work hard.  That's just reality.
4. I'm teaching my children an unhealthy way of life too.  Definitely not something I want them to learn!
5. It's incredibly easy to be your own biggest critic.  Not so easy to be your own biggest fan.  But if you're not a fan of yourself, then who else is going to be?
6. It is not pretty when I sweat.  But it's not supposed to be and who cares that it's not anyway?
7. There are always going to be excuses for not exercising.  But the reasons for it far outweigh the excuses.
8. Adding in exercise with diabetes is a HUGE pain!  It results in major insulin reactions all day long, all night long.  I need to suck it up and do it anyway.
9. My children deserve much better than I'm giving them right now.
10. The most uncomfortable truth...I'm worth the effort.

To finish that all off, I'm going to be brave and share a photo of me after my workout today, sweat and all.  I'll warn you, I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I say it's not pretty!

Reyna, it's going to be a very long time before I sport a bikini....maybe in my next life!  For now, I think I'll just be happy with being healthier and more active.

On a happier note....I absolutely ADORE my backyard at this time of year and thought I'd share some pictures with all of you, just because it's so incredibly gorgeous.  The kids and I are spending every spare minute we can out there on the swing set and playing with chalk on the cement while the warm weather lasts.  It'll be cold again before we know it!




Beautiful, isn't it?  I love autumn for this reason alone!  All the beautiful colors in the trees!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My new best friend....

I have a new friend that I don't think I can live without.  Seriously.  Want to know what (not who) my new best friend is?  Aveda Foot Relief lotion.  Aveda is this incredibly cool company that uses all pure ingredients and focuses on non-polluting products.  Personally, I love their products.  But I've heard a few people voice complaints because they're very "herbal-scented".  Anyway, the foot cream is my new best friend because, without it, my legs would be turning into sore, achy, sticks of jelly.  Today is my 5th day in a row of walking 2 or more miles!  I think that just might be a record for me!  Usually, when I attempt to start a work-out routine, I go every other day.  And I can never keep it going.  So, this time around, I'm attempting every single day, no breaks.  Which is partly why I'm choosing walking as my form of exercise, at least to begin with.  It's something I can do every single day without needing a break from it.  Maybe once I've made this a new habit and gotten used to all the new exercise, I can add in something more strenuous.  And until my body adjusts to the new amount of exercise, I think I may be buying stock in Aveda.  Or at least buying the foot cream in bulk!

For my walk today, I took the kids back to the Lake Calhoun path.  I left my husband napping (he got up bright and early with the kids this morning-apparently walking lots means I need more rest in order to feel functional!).  Meri, I grabbed the camera on the way out the door just for you:

 Beautiful boats!

 The Minneapolis Skyline

 The lake, without the zoom lens

A picture of the lake, from the lagoon

Reyna, I'm devoting my post tonight to answering your question....do I have a dog?  The short answer is, no dog at the moment.  But there's an explanation behind it.  You see, this is my old best friend:


Adorable, right?  Peppy.  The name suited him perfectly!  He was all pep!  Our little happy-go-lucky puppy.  My husband and I bought our house in October of 2005.  If I'd had my way, we would have adopted a dog within a week!  It took a little more work to convince my husband.  I finally told him that all I wanted for Christmas was a puppy.  Nothing else.  We found Peppy, a teeny little cocker spaniel puppy.  I put in a ton of work with him.  I potty-trained him.  I ran home from work on my 30 minute lunch break every day for months in order to take him out to go potty and feed him.  I taught him to play fetch, I took him for walks.  And you know who he choose as his person?  My husband, of course.  It didn't matter that he was supposed to be MY dog.  He loved Jake.  He adored Jake.  To be perfectly honest with you, Jake was his "b*tch".  I say that as fondly as I possibly can.  My husband is a pushover.  Peppy got into the habit of insisting he be brought outside every hour on the hour all night long.  And my husband accommodated him.  We had Peppy for a little over a year before Lily came along.  Long enough for Peppy to fully cement the idea in his head that Jake was his to control, his to command.  And then Lily came along and changed everything.  Jake no longer wanted to take him outside every hour on the hour.  As Lily grew and became more mobile, more interactive, Jake spent more time just cooing at her, playing with her.  Peppy got very jealous.  He never minded Lily, but he minded that Jake's attention was on something other than him.  It didn't matter that Lily adored him:



Peppy would be fine all day long, well-behaved, happy, playful.  But as soon as Jake got home, he'd start having potty accidents.  He wasn't happy.  And then, one night, we reached the end.  Peppy had an accident and when I went to hook him up to his leash and take him outside, he nipped me.  That's one thing I swore I'd never tolerate from a pet.  No biting.  The next day, I took Peppy to the closest no-kill shelter, sobbing the entire time.  I kept an eye on him from their website and he was adopted by a new family within a week.  Knowing that helped ease my guilt a little bit, but it still hurt to have to give Peppy up.  

So, no dog for us for the moment.  I do want a dog again.  I'm dying to get one.  But I have some requirements.  I want a dog that will adore my children.  One who will be their best friend.  One with a fantastic personality.  Friendly, happy, playful.  I refuse to get another puppy.  It's so hard to know what their personalities are going to develop into when they're so small.  My mom's dog is actually nearly exactly what I want:

I found Cooper for my mom and her husband through a local rescue organization.  He was 6 months old and nearly 75 lbs.  Fully grown, he weighs in at a whopping 90 lbs.  He's half Golden Retriever, half Black Labrador Retriever.  He thinks he's a lap dog.  He'll sit with his massive head in your lap for an hour or more. He thinks he's Tigger.  He bounces when he's excited, but never jumps.  He lets all of my mom's grandchildren crawl all over him and when he's had enough, he just traps the kids down with one paw to let them know he's done.  He only has two faults....big dog = big poop.  And fur, fur, fur everywhere!  Whenever we go to visit, we come home coated in black fur.  The picture above is actually from one month before Lily was diagnosed.  He laid there and let her crawl all over him and never complained.  He was gentle with her, licked her face, and was as gentle as can be.

So, long answer short...we don't have a dog right now, but hopefully, someday in the not too distant future, we will have one again!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Things I learned today...

We had a very rare day here.  October in Minnesota is not known for it's warmth.  But somehow, the temperature sky-rocketed to the mid-80s.  The sun shone.  The breeze blew gently.  It was a gorgeous day!  After walking inside on a track at the gym for the last few days, I decided the kids and I could use a change of scenery.  We have some gorgeous lakes here in Minnesota.  Lake Calhoun is one of the absolute prettiest!  Imagine a lake surrounded by trees, a couple of sandy beaches, and walking and biking paths all the way around.  Add in that it's at the very center of the city and you've got Lake Calhoun.  It's gorgeous!  The walking path measures just over 5k.  I figured if I started on the path, I wouldn't have any choice but to walk all the way around it, right?  So instead of walking just 2 miles today, I walked 3!  And learned some incredible things in the process....

1.  Walking 5k while pushing 30 lbs worth of stroller with 50 lbs worth of children in it is hard work!  And makes for an incredible workout!
2.  Love, in all it's many forms, is a beautiful, wonderful thing!  While walking the lake path, we passed several mothers with their children, a dad pushing his daughter on a swing, a younger couple on a tandem bicycle, and a pair of middle-aged gentlemen who were holding hands while walking their dog.  Love is amazing!
3. The perpetually-low portion of Lily's current growth spurt is officially over.  In spite of walking nearly half the lake path, she remained in the 200s all day long.  Yuck!
4. Leo will attract attention from anyone and everyone no matter where we go.  The kid is just too darn cute! He spent half the time hamming it up and listening to all the women coo over him.  I'm going to have my hands full!
5. The more I walk, the easier it becomes.
6. I will ALWAYS be jealous of anyone on a sailboat.  Seriously, I if I could have swum out to one of those boats with the kids and hopped on board, I would have!
7. Minnesotans are officially C*R*A*Z*Y!  Seriously, there were women in bikinis sun-bathing.  In October!  In Minnesota!
8. Dogs really are our best friends.  It's just as much fun to dog-watch as it is to people-watch!
9. When a rare nice day like today shows up, everyone will find a way to take a moment to soak in the beauty of it!  You wouldn't believe how many people told us that it was so gorgeous out today that they had to call in sick to work so that they could be out and take advantage of it!
And finally....
10.  My kids are PHENOMENAL!  Seriously.  An hour of walking, waiting in line for 20 minutes just for ice cream cones, and not a word of complaint from either of them!  They were just as happy as I was to be out and about and soaking up the sun.  It was fantastic!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No D today...

So I caught the scoop from Reyna's blog about the Ninjabetic's idea of blogging about anything but D today.  I figure it would be a total waste of the opportunity if I spent my blog-time complaining about my sore knees and ankles (walking 2 miles each day for the last few days is taking a toll, but making me feel better too-funny how that works).  Instead, I think I'll treat you all to a couple of the cutest sleepy pictures ever:


Don't they make you just want to cuddle up and take a nap with them?  Leo's sleeping face makes me just want to kiss him!  I have some new hat pictures to share too!  I'm calling them my Lollipop hats.  They remind me of those swirly-pop lollipops:



Aren't they great?  I just sent these two off to a cousin of mine in Wisconsin who ordered them for her grandchildren.  I can't wait to hear how she likes them!

Okay, off to crochet some more.  I need to make use of nap time so I can go back to the gym later and work out the soreness in my muscles!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Mail Exchange!

I know some of you are wary of putting up pictures of your children.  Not a problem if you don't feel like participating.  But, I thought it would be really fun to share pictures of what your kids received and how much fun they had!  So, if anyone wants to participate, I'm setting up a "linky party".  Feel free to share your photos or leave comments!  I hope all of your children have received their mail and are enjoying it as much as we did!  Lily has been running around, talking about her new friend and showing off her loot.  It's amazing how excited they get about stuff like this, isn't it?  Here are our pictures:


I can't wait to see everyone else's pictures too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just breathe!

I've been a bit busy with making hats for everyone (and they're all coming along nicely and should be in the mail soon!), but there's an even bigger reason that I haven't been blogging much lately.  I've been focusing every extra ounce of energy I have on convincing my husband of something.  You see, marriage counseling did wonders for our marriage.  It really did!  I still get upset and hurt when my husband is in a bad mood, but now I can take a breath and think about the reason behind his mood and not take it all so personally.  Sounds great, right?  It is!  So where's the problem?  My husband isn't doing so well with figuring out my moods (which he openly admits, so it's okay for me to say that, right?) and he's still having some issues.  He hasn't had the easiest of lives.  He's tends to hang on to his anger and resentment over things instead of just talking things out.  And there are a whole lot of things that he's still angry about from his childhood.  It's tough.  To be honest, I can totally understand how and why he's hung onto those things.  I know it's hard to let go of things.  But it's affecting us and our children.  So I've been working on getting him to realize that talking to a counselor may be a really good thing for him.  I've been chipping away slowly at his resistance, in as gentle and loving of a manner as I can.  Guess what?  It's finally worked!  He's even suggested that we both go to the first appointment with the counselor so I can help explain some of the behaviors I see with him.  I'm almost crying right now, just typing that he's agreed.  I've been suggesting it since we started dating 10 years ago!  I want him to be as happy as he can possibly be and it's so hard to do that when you carry an angry, hurting, bitter child around inside of yourself.  I'm really hoping he'll embrace this opportunity and give it all he's got!

Okay, enough with the heavy topics!  I've been doing so much better about going to the gym lately.  We've been doing it as a family, taking the kids to the child care area and then my husband runs off to the weight room (he's a bit obsessed with Arnold and would love to sport some similar muscles.....) and I go off to walk the track.  I've been doing a two mile walk every time we go.  I know, it's not much, but I need to start somewhere.  I've even signed up to follow a blog by a woman here in the Twin Cities, Prior Fat Girl.  She's managed to lose 90 lbs!  It's incredible to see stories like that.  I'm not so focused on losing weight, although that would be fantastic!  I would much rather be more active, healthier, and just plain happier.  I love my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds and I know I'll never be able to leave them behind (for my sanity and the sanity of my husband), but I wish the doctors would stress more how helpful exercise can be to your moods.  All those wonderful hormones that it tells your body to release!  It all just makes you so much happier!  Not to mention the people-watching and the incredible selection of eye-candy!  Don't get me wrong, my husband is still the best eye-candy I've ever seen, but wow, it's so much fun to go to the gym and just look!  One of my favorite parts of walking around the track....there's almost always some really toned man running around, no matter what the hour!  And super bonus from today...I could almost swear that I saw T.R. Knight at the gym, on one of the recumbent bikes!  I'm serious!  He looked just like the actor, with a few extra pounds added on and it's not so far-fetched considering that the actor is from Minneapolis!  Not sure what he'd be doing at our gym, but still....it could have been him.  Now, if I could just catch a few glimpses of a Vin Diesel look-alike....