Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Now taking nominations....

One of the things I've been doing during my silence is thinking.  To be specific, thinking about the direction I want to take my knitting and crocheting in and what kind of items I want to add to my Etsy shop.  I don't have much in there right now and it's taking me some time to add pieces.  I've come up with a few pieces for friends (mainly, infinity cowls), hats and blankets for babies, and Christmas ornaments for friends and Lily's preschool teachers.  One of the things I've really become interested in is the more expensive, unique yarns.  Wools in lovely shaded ombres (where it switches from color to color), fleece-like yarns with spots, silks, soys, sugarcane, and so many more!  I love the different textures of the fibers and the way each one takes color differently.  They're all beautiful.  So, this is the direction I'm concentrating on taking my Etsy shop yarns, unique pieces, glitz and glam at a more affordable price and some just plain expensive, I-deserve-to-be-pampered pieces.  Here are some examples of the things I've been working on:

Cabled hat

Scarf and hat set

Stocking ornament

Baby giraffe hat

Now, there are several reasons why I've decided to do a nomination-style giveaway....first and foremost, it's FUN!  I enjoy coming up with pieces for people and I most especially hearing that those pieces have been received with delight.  Second...there are some fantastic people out there who really deserve and need something special.  Third....I don't know everyone in the DOC and maybe there'll be a few nominees who would be great to connect with.  And fourth....because I love the DOC and everyone in it!

So, here's the one and only can't nominate yourself.  Other than that, anyone in the DOC is eligible.  PWD, d-moms, d-dads, friends of the DOC....anyone!  You can nominate someone in the comments section or by emailing me HERE.  Give me a name and tell me why you think they deserve to be nominated.  If there are too many nominees, I'll have one picked randomly.  If not...maybe I'll pick based on your reasons for nominating them.  And maybe I'll pick more than one!  I figure it's a good way to pamper a few more-than-deserving people and give my Etsy shop a bit more visibility all at the same time. 

I can't wait to see who gets nominated!

Monday, December 26, 2011

In the silence.....

I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that there are a few bloggers who've been MIA for the last month or so.  Some you worry about, some you miss tremendously for the dose of humor and real-ness that they give us all, and some just slip from the radar for a bit.  I'm one of the last category, I think.  I've been missing, silent.  My heart just hasn't been in blogging for a bit.  I've avoided it.  For a number of reasons.  Tonight, I thought I'd jump on and write up a quick update on all that's been going on....

My fitness journey....ended in a train-wreck.  Sort of.  I've come to the conclusion that I may have been severely over-training.  I'd lift weights, push myself hard and feel the soreness in my muscles the next day.  I'd go to the gym that day, intending to take it easy and just do a slow, light-weight workout.  And then I'd get on the machine and slowly inch the resistance up and increase the time bit-by-bit until I found myself doing an hour-long workout with major resistance and find that my legs were like jelly when I hopped off.  I hit a wall eventually.  I just couldn't do it anymore.  I've tried to go in a couple times a week.  I'd intend to go in the afternoons and then, around 1:00, I'd find myself so exhausted that the only thing I could do was pop a movie in for the kids so I could have a nap on the couch.  It was frustrating.  It made me want to cry.  I've never wanted to be that absent from my children's lives as I was for those afternoons.  Now, a month or so later, and after being treated for two sinus infections and having massive bloodwork drawn, I'm starting to feel like I'm capable of going back to exercising again.  I'm itching to go back! 

About that bloodwork......a few months back, it was discovered that my testosterone levels are about twice what they should be.  My doctor decided to run a few more tests in an effort to figure out what was going on.  Turns out my progesterone levels are also much higher than they should be.  The current suspicion is that I have an adrenal disorder that is preventing my body from making cortisol.  Funny thing about actually need it in order to deal with daily stresses.  You hear all this bad stuff about having too much of it, but having too little is not a good thing either.  Little things like trying to get your child to preschool on time are enough to drain you.  Cortisol also plays a big part in keeping your blood sugars stable.  So those afternoon naps....when I clawed my way out of the oblivion of them, it'd turn out that my blood sugar was in the 30-40 range.  Not good.  I have an appointment with an endocrinologist who specializes in the adrenal aspect of things, but it's not until January 23rd.  Hopefully she'll have some answers and solutions for me!

The kids are doing great.  We had a rough few weeks where Lily's blood sugars just wouldn't come down from the stratosphere, but it's passed now.  She's doing fantastically in school.  The teachers tell us that they're finally starting to get full-sentences from her!  She's absolutely amazing.  I know I'm completely prejudiced as her mom and all, but she makes such interesting observations and asks some fantastic questions sometimes.  Tonight, she asked me if the water that comes out of her (pee) is the same water that she just drank!  Leo is still a naughty little thing.  He's finally sleeping in his own bed and as much as I miss snuggling with him all night long, it's turned out to be a good thing for him and Lily.  They're sharing a room and every now and then, we'll go in to test Lily and find this:

Aren't they cute?  Leo asks Lily if he can sleep in her bed sometimes.  She always says no, but as soon as we leave the room and Leo is asleep, she crawls into his bed with her.  It's just too cute!  They spend time playing together each morning before they wake us up.  It's especially a good thing since we can't seem to get them to sleep past 5:30!  On Christmas morning, we heard Leo call out at 5:15, "There are presents all over under the tree!"  Lily's cry of, "Santa came!" wasn't far behind!  I've got to share a few more pictures of them since they're so darn cute and are my whole entire world!

My little dancer!

My basketball player!

My Christmas cuties!

On the crafting are a couple pictures of the many, many things I've been working on lately:

Blankets for a friend's twin babies

Mohawk hats!

There's a whole bunch more, but I think I'll save it for later.  I'm thinking of doing a small giveaway, nomination-style, and asking for nominations from the DOC for a couple of moms who are in need of a tiny little something for themselves.  I'd say moms who deserve, but everyone in the DOC is deserving!  Anyway, that's for another day.  For now, I'm heading to bed.  Night, all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This, that, and the other thing...

October sucked.  It was just plain awful.  Between Lily starting preschool and the changing of seasons here in Minnesota from not-winter to nearly-winter, we've been hit by one bug after another.  My whole fitness journey came to a screeching halt.  Colds knocked me on my ass time and time again.  I barely made it to the gym enough to get our health insurance kick-back on our gym fees!  And then November started and it wasn't any better.  More colds, more headaches, more pains, less energy.  We went from nearly-winter to fudge-it's-cold!  We've even got a bit of snow on the ground.  The fitness thing wasn't going anywhere still.  I finally went in to see the doctor.  I've had a few minor sickies going on for a while now.  The doctor started testing my testosterone levels about six months or so ago.  And they came up fairly high.  Well, this time, she added another test on and she's come up with a "tentative" diagnosis of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.  To be honest with you, I'm not exactly sure what this means or what all it entails.  I know it has something to do with not having enough cortisol because of a deficient enzyme in the adrenal glands.  Who know?  Whatever it is, I have to go see a new endocrinologist.  One who doesn't specialize in diabetes.  Nothing like adding some more complications on.  In the meantime, I'm heading back to the gym and trying to at least move my rear end from my sick bed and out in the world with my children again!

Okay, now my real purpose in writing tonight.  I need to ask for prayers and positive thoughts for a friend of mine.  I have a wonderful friend, Christy.  She's got two gorgeous boys, ages 7 and 4.  And about a year ago, she and her husband decided that they wanted "just one more baby".  Life had other ideas for them.  Their adorable pair were born three months ago now.  A beautiful little girl who will be tremendously spoiled by her three brothers and a handsome boy who will no doubt be as much of a joyful handful of trouble as his two older brothers!  But, life has handed them something else to deal with in the midst of the pregnancy and new babies.  Christy's husband was diagnosed with colon cancer.  A very aggressive form of it.  He's finished up chemo, but the type of cancer he had is particularly prone to re-occur.  I'm remembering them in my prayers each night and I'd like to ask those of you who believe in the power of prayer and positive thoughts to remember them as well.  They're such incredible people and their four children are such sweethearts.  I'm hoping life has many more wonderful, amazing things in store for them!

Off to bed for me!  Sleep is such an incredibly precious thing, isn't it? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Picture Overload!

I keep meaning to hop on here and do a "one-year-later" post about the whole fitness journey.  I promise I'll get to it soon!  But for now, I have tons of pictures to share.  I'll start with the funny one to give you all a good laugh!

Little kids have an obsession with stickers and love to put them everywhere and anywhere in our house.  I find them on doors, tables, chairs, walls, and floors.  The one below is on my kitchen floor and every. single. time. I walk into the kitchen, I see it and have a certain thought that pops into my head.  I won't mention the thought because I want to see if anyone else picks up on it.  Let's just say that when you combine this sticker design with the new Buzz Lightyear and Belle sippy cups that Disney has out, you figure Disney just might need to rethink some of their products!

The close-up

Next up...we did our ADA Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes this past Saturday.  I sucked royally at fundraising this year.  Less than $100, which was a huge bummer.  But, we did do the entire 5k walk this year!  Yay for the Roerig family!  We had some friends catch a quick family photo.  I'm usually the one behind the camera, so it'll be one of the rare pictures of all four of us!

The Friday before the walk, the kids and I took a little bit of a trip.  We drove 45 minutes each way to go to a special animal rescue shelter in the amazingly beautiful town of Hastings (beautiful, historic, gorgeous).  We came home with two new family members who can usually be found curled up in my lap at night!  Lily has decided their names will be Gilbert (courtesy of Caillou) and Miss Bella Fuzzy (no clue where that one comes from).  They're beautiful and cuddly and so entertaining!  They gave me quite the giggle the other night.  Gilbert was cuddled in my lap and Bella came to join him.  She started burrowing in and I couldn't figure exactly what she was about until I started hearing the sucking noises...she was trying to nurse on poor Gilbert!  It sounded like a little squeaky toy.  I nearly died laughing!  Gilbert's the handsome black (4-months-old) and Bella is the tabby (2.5-months-old).

And last, but not least, I've taken up knitting!  I've been wanting to take a class through the community center, but it just didn't work out.  Only offered on Saturdays and those are pretty packed already!  So, I looked up a few sites on the internet and finally came across this one HERE.  They have some fantastic basic videos to show you how to do the stitches.  I'm actually doing pretty well with it, I think.  It's not as quick as crochet, but it is relaxing.  And the kittens are even beginning to learn to leave the yarn alone while they're curled in my lap!  Love that!  I decided to work on a skirt for Lily to start.  She needs more church-appropriate clothing!  I'll have to post on that one a bit later too.  But here's how far I've gotten so far:

No designs just yet, but a pretty variegated yarn and simple stitches.  We'll see how it turns out!

Last Pirate and my Princess.  They had a blast on Halloween and hearing Leo say, "Arrrr, Maties.  Yo, ho, ho!" and seeing Lily twirling in her pretty dress made my night.  Love them!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I can take it....

Deep, deep breaths.  In and out.  In and out.  Keep breathing, but dammit, I want to hit something.  I want to let loose with a stream of profanity so vulgar, it would make a pimp blush.  It's been one of those days here.  Normally, I can take whatever D throws at us and just keep going.  All the highs for Lily don't bother me so much.  Throw some insulin at them and they come floating down within a couple of hours.  But the lows!  Oh, the lows terrify me.  I hate seeing her low!  I was exhausted this morning.  I wanted to just lie down on the couch and sleep.  I fed the kids breakfast, dosed Lily, and turned on a cartoon.  Some days, that's about all I can find in me to do.  Within an hour, Lily was hungry again.  I asked her to hold off.  I usually try to wait until it's been two hours since that morning dose because her blood sugar floats up in the higher stratosphere in the mornings and I want to make sure her insulin has peaked.  Today, she didn't want to wait.  She was hungry and wanted something more now!  So, we tested.  Good thing too.  That mid-morning bg that usually hangs out in the 300s was somehow 39.  I pelted her with juice and carbs and she bounced all the way up to 464 like one of those evil super-bouncy balls.  Gave her a correction and an hour later, she's back down to 104 with insulin still on board!  Fed her lunch, gave her insulin for only about half the carbs and she still hung out in the low 100s.  Brought them to the gym and loaded her up with a full Horizon carton of milk and a cookie, no insulin for any of it.  Picked her up an hour and a half later and her bg was only 164.  Great number, but the milk and cookie would normally have her up in the 400s without insulin coverage!  And now, the icing on our cake.  Fed her dinner, dosed her for half the carbs again.  Tested her two hours later, as she's sleeping not-so-peacefully.  She's back down to 37.  F*ck, f*ck, f*ck.  My sensibilities don't let me type out the whole word and as many times as it's going through my head.  But seriously, f*ck this disease!  This shit is f*cked up!  I know Lily is most likely hitting another growth spurt.  That means we get a lovely couple of weeks of chasing her around with sugar, trying to cram unhealthy crap into her body because it's the quickest way to get sugar down her throat and into her blood stream.  I'm sick of this bullshit right now!  I just want her to be able to grow without worrying that her body is going to take everything she has and it won't be enough.  I want her to grow and be safe and healthy!

Now for the funny little kicker to end this whole bit....her bg being that low makes my body go into the "fight or flight" mode.  I get frantic to get her bg up.  And so, at the end of treating her massive low, I get to treat my low!  Fun, fucking fun!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Set adrift...

A little clarification first...on my last post about pumping vs MDI, someone commented that they thought pumping was safer than MDI.  I'm not sure if my post gave the impression that I think one is "safer" than the other or not, but personally, I don't think it's a matter of which is "safer".  Neither option is "dangerous" on its own.  But both can be lethal if they're not carefully used, but used correctly and with the thought, they're life-giving and phenomenal tools.  We each just choose what we're most comfortable with.

On to what's been bugging me for some time now.  I'm lost.  I feel lost, drifting along and not sure what the directions are, let alone which one to head in.  The story behind it is a bit of a long one.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on here before or not, but I actually have a college degree.  I graduated in 2003 with a degree in Elementary Education.  I took a position as a paraprofessional/teacher's aide in an elementary school for the next school year.  I applied and applied and applied.  There were no openings and no job offers.  Until I applied for one randomly at an education job fair.  I got one offer for employment.  In East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.  My husband, who was still my boyfriend at the time, was still in grad school.  I have no doubt that if I'd taken that job offer, I wouldn't have married my husband and wouldn't have my two gorgeous children.  I've never regretted turning that offer down.  Instead, I spent the next school year taking whatever substitute teaching jobs came up while my husband finished his schooling, worked three jobs, and applied for permanent positions in the Twin Cities (we were in a college town just south of Minneapolis back then).  When he got his first major job offer and moved up to the cities, I followed.  I found a job doing before- and after-school child care.  And when I was fired from that job (conveniently, the day after I turned in a fellow co-worker for showing up to work "three sheets to the wind"), I applied for a secretarial job.  I never regretted that move either.  I made some great friends, we managed to buy our home, get married, and conceive a child.  When I was five months pregnant with Lily, my supervisor, whom I adored, went on leave to take care of her husband while he battled cancer.  As he slowly lost his battle, I watched "the big boss" take away all of my supervisor's most enjoyable job duties.  He stripped her position down until it was nothing more than a glorified receptionist and my position, as her assistant, was switched over to be supervised by someone who had told me before I announced my pregnancy that I "shouldn't bother having children because they're not worth the trouble".  And so, at six and a half months along, I quit my job and decided to stay home until Lily was born and then look for a new position after.

Well, one thing led to another and now, nearly five years have passed without me returning to work.  I've never regretted that decision either.  I'm so blessed to have had the ability to stay home with my children!  I'm lucky to have a husband who has not only supported me in this, but has shared in the decision and has encouraged me.  My intention when Lily was born was to return to school in order to earn a Database Administrators Certificate.  Not because I have any passion for it, but because jobs are somewhat plentiful and pay is good.  And it's what I was doing as an "administrative assistant".  I still had that intention until about a year ago.  And then, something changed.  I changed.  I became more active.  Suddenly, spending my days sitting on my rear-end at a desk doesn't sound appealing any more.  The idea has become distasteful.  And my husband has noticed.  Surprisingly, he's actually offered more encouragement.  I know he feels a huge burden, being the only one bringing in an income.  But, he tells me to take my time and figure out what I want to do, what will make me happy.  He tells me that there's no rush.  I'm not sure where he found the generosity and patience to tell me that.  I know he's disappointed in me.  I'm not the most motivated of people.  Actually, that's putting it way too nicely.  I'm horribly un-motivated.  I don't clean like he wishes I would.  I spend money way more than I should.  I don't keep myself in check and fall into depressed states randomly.  I don't hold up my end of things and he's always having to take up the slack.  I'm trying to work on that, but it's not easy and I keep slipping back into old, ugly habits.  It hurts me to know that he's disappointed in me and to know that I'm increasing his burden.  The problem is, the more I feel his disappointment, the more I feel like I'm not good enough, the more I want to just crawl into bed and hide from it all.  Ugly cycle!

Anyway, here's the thing...I'm 34-years-old and I still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up!  I have lots of ideas.  Some of them are not at all practical or probable.  I'd love to write books.  But I have no clue where to start with that and to be honest, I don't have the confidence in myself and my abilities that it would take to do something like that.  I'd love to do something with our church or something with being active and healthy.  Not sure that there are any positions out there for either of those though.  Obviously, I'd like to make enough money that we could start really paying off some of our massive student loan debt.  I have no desire to go back into education.  Not because I didn't enjoy working with the students, but because I hated working in a bureaucratic, politically-charged, under-appreciated industry.  But that's about all I have.  What do I want to do with my life?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pump Debate-For Joanne!

Blogger doesn't like me.  It doesn't always let me leave comment love for everyone.  I'm not sure why.  Bug up its bum?  Kink in its panties?  Whatever the reason, please understand that I am reading blogs and just not able to comment sometimes, no matter how much I would like to!

This post has been rattling around in my head for a few days.  I was trying to get my thoughts organized.  I'm still not there, but I'm writing it anyway.  Joanne over at Death of a Pancreas wrote this post about the pump trials she just did with her d-daughter.  It hit a spot in me and I felt like I needed to say something, so here goes....

When I got the pump, I was 23-years-old, a college student on public assistance medical, and had just moved in with my boyfriend (who is now my husband).  My biggest concern with going onto the pump, other than the intimidating amount of new d-terms to learn, was the tubing.  To be honest without going into too much detail, I was specifically worried about what to do with the tubing during those newly-in-love, can't-get-enough-of-each-other romps.  Turns out, that wasn't a problem.  Omnipods weren't available back then, but disconnecting was super-easy and made that tubing not an issue at all.  Fast forward to Lily's diagnosis and I immediately decided that she should be on a pump.  It's easier than shots, cuts down on the amount of needles going into her tiny little body, and seemed to suit our lifestyle better.  It's a whole lot easier to get out the door when you don't have to make sure you grab a vial of insulin and needles on your way out!  And here comes the "but"....

Two years later, I'm not as sure about Lily being on the pump.  Yes, it's helpful.  Yes, it's more convenient.  Yes, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the perks of the pump.  The portability, the ease, the's all great.  But, I have doubts too.  In the middle of the night, when her blood sugars randomly spike, I wonder if the pump has caused her to have a low.  During the morning, when her blood sugars soar and then plummet, I wonder if the pump is doing what it's meant to do.  You see, for me, the pump made managing diabetes much easier.  It allowed me to go about my day without worrying so much about diabetes.  It offered a more carefree lifestyle.  For Lily, it's done the exact opposite.  It brings me more worries.  More considerations.  More conflictions.  When I hear in the news that a young child has passed due to diabetes, I wonder.  Part of me is very worried that some of these children may be hitting those tremendous growth spurts.  And on shots, maybe their bodies would have been able to handle them.  But because they're on a pump...well, you see where I'm going.  I'm not saying that's the case.  You can never know exactly the reasons why or how or what.  And my thoughts are just thoughts.  But...I worry.  I worry about whether or not I've made the best choice for Lily.  I worry if the choice I made is going to cause her growth to be stunted because we're trying to control her too tightly.  I worry if she's going to eventually come to resent the pump and its limitations.  I occasionally worry that her activities will cause the pump to become an issue or that her pump will get in her way.  I worry that I was a bad mom for forcing the pump on her at such a young age.

So...for Joanne, this post is for you.  Only you can know exactly what fork in the road your family should go down.  Only you can decide what's best for your child.  Either way, pump or no pump, there is always going to be doubt and fear in your mind.  Because that's what we mommies do!  We doubt ourselves and fear that we're not doing what's best for our children.  And that is exactly the proof that shows that we are indeed doing what is in our children's best interests!  We put them ahead of our own thoughts and feelings and do what needs to be done.  Your family will make the choice that's right for beautiful girl.  And even when you do, you're still going to doubt it.  But just follow your gut and know that we're all here to cheer you on, no matter what choice you make!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Opening up shop!

Okay, I finally have a few listings up on Etsy!  Reyna, your hat is one of them!  I added a couple of cute little pompoms to it and I have to say, I think it looks pretty cute.  You can find the listing HERE.  I have a few other things listed as well and am working on getting some more done.  If anyone is interested, you can find my store by clicking HERE.  I finally got a good picture of a set that I've been meaning to post a pic of and I got that listed too.  It's cuter than cute and I'm tempted to make a set up for myself!

An update on other things...I was doing pretty good last week with the exercising.  I was taking Reyna's advice and clawing and scratching my way out of my funk.  I made it to the gym and worked my butt off several days last week.  And then Saturday came.  My family was throwing a benefit for my nephew, who has chronic renal failure and is going to need a kidney transplant soon.  I decided to go and bring the kids.  Unfortunately, attending meant driving for five hours in the car to get to the benefit and then driving five hours back.  I drove roughly 640 miles in less than 36 hours.  It.  Was.  AWFUL!  Driving that much with two small kids is not a fun experience.  And it left me with no energy for exercising on Saturday or Sunday.  And ever since then, we've been battling cold bugs.  Lily's been sick with a hacking cough for days.  Leo's got a runny nose.  And I'm all stuffed up.  It makes for some fun times.  It's been five days without working out and I'm starting to see all the flabby spots again.  I'm hoping I can manage to make it tomorrow to get in a good workout.  Or at least a small strength-training session.  That might be kind of high hopes though....Lily's second day of preschool is tomorrow, if she's feeling up to it.  And Leo and I will be staying to show Lily's teachers the ins and outs of her insulin pump.  Let's hope it all goes well!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Pit, missing snapshots, and the kid hats....

If you're looking for sparkly, glittery, unicorny posts, you're not going to find it here.  Not today anyway.  Apparently the women in the DOC have synced up and we're all experiencing "Shark Week" (thanks to Reyna for the phrase) at the same time.  Unfortunately, that's not the biggest of my problems.  I'm not quite sure where it all started or when.  I'm not sure if it was a gradual slide or a falling off a cliff type of move.  But somehow, I've found myself at the bottom of the pit once again.  You know the one.  The pit where all you want to do is lie down on the couch, curl up with a fuzzy blanket, and forget the world exists.  I hate that pit.  It feels like it's impossible to get out of.  I'm at the bottom of the pit right now and trying to figure out a way to crawl up and out, but so far, I'm not figuring it out.  And there are some complications.  You see, while I'm dealing with my mind- and body-numbing depression, my husband is dealing with his high-drive-anxiety.  His is in full-force right now.  And it's like adding boulders on top of my pit.  I spend my days struggling, churning my way through the cement around my feet, trying to hold my temper and keep a happy face for my kids.  And then my husband comes home, stressed and crabby and short with me.  I feel like he's upset with me for not doing the dishes, not cleaning the house, not getting all the things done that I should be doing.  He gets frustrated with me because I stay up late and he thinks getting more sleep would help.  It might, if I could manage to get it.  But most nights, I lie there and don't get any rest.  I spend all day wanting nothing more than sleep and then all night, I can't sleep.  It drives me nuts.  And when I see him frustrated with me, it knocks the bottom out of my pit and I fall down a few more feet, another boulder on top to weigh me down.  I'm trying my hardest to fight my way out, but I just can't seem to get there.  I force myself to go to the gym and it makes me feel a teensy bit better, but there's just no magic fix for this.  No matter what I do, I'm knocked by down into the bottom of the pit and trying to fight my way out every morning.  My snapshots demonstrate the struggle just a bit:

I'm trying.  But they're not looking as full as I would like them to be.  Just need to keep on going and hope that the pit starts to fill in soon.  In happier news, I have some more hat pictures to share!  I've made a couple of hats for the benefit auction for my nephew, who is battling chronic renal fatigue and will need a kidney transplant soon.  They are super-adorable!  And...if anyone wants one, I can make up some more!  They're fun to make too!

Seriously cute, right?  I'm thinking of adding a couple little tufts to the top of the duck for a feathered look and to add just a bit more of interest.  Reyna, I have a photo for you too!  A quick warning though....the yarn you picked...for some reason, when I photograph it, the pinks always seem to show up as tans!  The parts that are showing up as tan are actually a pale, mossy green and a rose-pink.  If you still want it, let me know!

As for paying and how it's going to work...Etsy has a Custom listing option.  I'm thinking, if people are okay with paying on Etsy (using paypal), I can list the ordered hats as "custom" and you can pay through Etsy.  For those who aren't comfortable with paypal and Etsy, just let me know and we can do the old way, by having you donate through our Step Out website.  Either way works for me.

Confession for the night....I have a serious sweet-tooth!  I blame my mom.  All those years of going trick-or-treating just to have her confiscate my candy as soon as I walked in the know, the more you tell someone they can't have something, the more they want it!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gallery of Hats...they're not just for cold weather!

I've been hooking hard!  Crochet-hooking, that is.  I'm trying to get a few things done so I can start listing things on Etsy.  Unfortunately, there's just never enough hours in the day!  I should have been in bed at least an hour again, but I've failed on that again.  Oh well...sleep is over-rated, right?  Or maybe not, cause I really do enjoy it.  Wish my kids loved it as much as I do! 

Anyway, per Reyna's request, I'm putting up pictures here of some of the hats I've finished.  Some of them are obviously meant for cold winters, such as those we get in Minnesota and anywhere in the northern half of the USA.  But, there are a couple (one of them is my very favorite hat I've done so far!) that are more appropriate for just slightly cooler weather.  They won't keep you warm enough for a January in Minnesota, but a January in Florida or Arizona or California or pretty much anywhere else that never gets the pleasure of experiencing a less-than-30F-day.  I've been playing around a lot with ombre yarns.  I used to hate them.  The way the yarn changes from one color to just kind of looked cheesy to me.  But, maybe my tastes have changed.  Or maybe their techniques for dying have gotten more advanced.  I'm liking them a lot more now though.  In fact, I've stocked up on a bunch of colors and varieties.  They just have such a way of showing off textures and stitches!  I still need to figure out pricing for the hats.  I'm thinking most of them will be about $20 or so, unless I've used a specialty/luxury yarn for them.  I'm still debating on adding matching scarves or fingerless mittens to some of them.  Any input, ideas, suggestions, etc., that anyone wants to leave in the comments would be greatly appreciated!  For now, here are the pics:

Shell-stitch Cloche

Textured Cloche

Basic Ribbed Hat

Cool-weather Cloche


I'm not a big fan of berets, so I'm not sure yet whether I like that one.  I think maybe it needs a small flower or fancy button on the brim to liven it up a bit.  I'm loving the pink/brown and pink/gray color combinations right now.  And blue/brown too.  And just to show you some of the variety in yarn colors that I'm dealing with right now, I've got a couple bonus pictures:

Lots of blues and greens and pinks and purples and some gorgeous color combinations!  I need to learn to control myself in the craft stores though.  I intended to buy just the silver ribbon you see in the cloche above.  But yarn was on sale!  My poor husband thinks we're going to drown in yarn, I think.  Or debt from all the yarn that I spend our money on!  Gotta love him for putting up with me and loving me in spite of all my flaws.  I think I'll have that serve as my confession for the night...I spend way too much money on yarn!  It's like an addiction and after I go overboard, I always feel horrible. 

Bonus pictures for the night!  I'm debating finding frames and using these to decorate our new bathroom once it's finished.  Just not sure yet if it would be just plain cute or if guests to our home would find it tacky....

And one last bonus one because I couldn't resist the other night when I found this waiting for me in bed:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Observations from the gym: What I held back

I have a couple more people-descriptions that I can share with all of you.  I held them back because they're not nearly as flattering and they're a demonstration of just how snarky I can be sometimes.  If they offend you, I'm so sorry!  If you laugh...great!  If you can't laugh at things, you're doomed to be miserable in this life.  So, for your enjoyment, my snarky descriptions of The Matched Pair....

These two people are not married to each other.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that if they met, they wouldn't be anything near compatible!  But, they are the opposite-gender-equivalent to each other!  The first is one of the very first people I noticed at the gym.  She was running on a treadmill at a speed that made her cling to the front for her very life.  She kept on going though and kept hanging on!  That's an admirable thing.  Unfortunately, I immediately dubbed her The Hot Dog Lady.  You know when you go to a gas station and they have one of those things that cook hot dogs, constantly turning them?  Have you ever seen one that's been left on the grill way too long?  That's this woman.  She tans.  Obsessively.  She has long, dark hair, wears a lot of makeup (even when working out), and her skin has the color and texture of an over-cooked hot dog.  She does workout hard though! 

Perhaps it's too unkind to call the second person her male equivalent?  To be honest, I don't think the Hot Dog Lady is quite as far gone as this guy is.  Maybe if she were a perpetual bar fly?  Anyway, when I first saw this guy, the kids and I were outside in the pool and he was greasing up his rounded belly with some Hawaiian Tropics oil.  The first name I thought of to describe him was Lothario.  But that didn't quite encompass the desperation and extreme cheesy-ness of this guy.  I think you'd have to eat an entire bag of Cheetos before you'd even come close to building up this kind of cheese!  So, his name has become Dark Fabio.  Picture this...buzzed hair on the sides above his ears, hair about an inch or two long on the top, and then long, long, long hair all the way down his back.  Heavy gold chains around his neck.  Speedo in many bright colors, not covering nearly enough.  A rounded belly and man-boobs to which he continually applied the oil.  Greased up and that same overcooked-hot-dog texture.  It wasn't pretty.  And never any luck with the ladies.  He did keep a constant watch on the teenage girls at the pool.  It's a bit of a relief that none of them ever returned the interest!

Okay, enough being mean for the night.  It doesn't sit very well with me.  I've been busy working on a bunch of crochet projects and I'm hoping to share them on here soon.  Our Step Out for the Cure event is coming up at the end of October and I'm trying to get an Etsy account set up with a few items in it in order to raise some of our set goal for the event.  I want to do a good job this year!  I'm finishing up a couple of baby afghans for a friend who recently had twins (boy and girl!).  I'm tucking the ends in on a sugar-cane scarf, which would make a great accessory to go with a little black dress.  And I have more ends to tuck in on a cloche hat and fingerless hand-warmers in gorgeous pinks and browns.  Fun, fun stuff! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Back at it

I'm keeping this one short and to the point tonight.  It's been a bit of a long day.  I've done pretty well with the exercise this week and am feeling much better now that I'm back to the gym and getting my exercise.  I started using a Philips Direct Life activity monitor just over a week ago and it's been incredible!  It does an 8-day assessment of your current level of activity, meaning you wear the device for 8-days and it keeps track of how much it bounces around throughout the day.  Not the most accurate at times, but helpful.  The point is to see where you can increase your activiy and get more exercise during the day.  It's kind of a neat little thing.  And, I'm happy to report, it says I burn roughly 1086 calories on an average day, just through activity!  That's even more awesome.  The handy little program also comes up with goals for me and moves me through phases.  The first phase, my goal is to move enough to burn 1300 calories each day.  Phase 1 starts tomorrow and I'm really hoping to reach the goal.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the program, just click HERE.

Okay, on to the "snapshot".  I was hoping to get one last workout in today, but it's been a bit rough.  We had a bad night with blood sugars, managed to make it out to church and Sunday School this morning, and on the way to church, got the call from my mom letting me know that my grandma has finally lost her battle with Alzheimer's.  Rest of the day was spent figuring out funeral details and planning a quick trip up north for the funeral.  It's hard sometimes to lose someone, but right now, I think I'm more relieved that she's not suffering anymore.  And the sure knowledge that she's been welcomed into Heaven with open arms is definitely comforting as well.  Anyway, here's the pic:

And with that, I'm heading off to bed!  Hope you're all getting some great rest tonight!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Observations from the gym: For your enjoyment

I've mentioned the Boob Lady (who is totally awesome and incredibly sweet) and the Stork Lady (not so sweet), but so far, I don't think I've mentioned many of the "men of the gym".  I thought I'd entertain you tonight with a few of my favorite guys to see at the gym.  Please understand that none of these descriptions is meant to be hurtful or to make fun of them.  I've just come up with a few random names for some of these guys based on what I've observed of them.

The Lion:  Picture a lion in human form and you would most likely have a good idea of what this guy looks like.  Dark blonde, wavy hair down to his shoulders.  Big and powerful on top, not nearly as developed on bottom.  He works out on the inclined ellipticals several times a week.  I've only ever seen him from behind, that I can recall.  He's got great hair though!  I'm a bit jealous of the waves...

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  He's not actually hunchbacked, but he does wear Notre Dame t-shirts, along with a variety of other college shirts.  He works out on the same ass-kicker ellipticals that I work on.  And he works out hard!  Only problem is, he hunches over as he works out.  I'm dying to correct his posture!

The Rooster:  This guy is awesome!  Seriously.  He's in his mid-50s and I see him running, running, running around the track.  I'm jealous of his running ability!  I watch him run nearly everyday that I'm at the gym.  And as he runs, his comb-over slowly comes undone.  He's got this one little lock of hair that bobs along behind him, kind of like the tail of a rooster.

The Gingerbread Man:  Oh, how to explain this one?  This young guy works in the child-care center of the gym.  He's awesome with the kids!  He'd also be an example of a perfectly-proportioned, well-muscled male body.  There's just one problem.  He's lucky if his height even reaches my not-so-towering height of 5'4" (which my husband says I stretch to get to).  He's a bit sensitive about it, from what I can tell.  Which is really just too bad because it's not something he can do anything about and he seems like a really sweet guy.  He reminds me a bit of a reddish-haired Seth Green.

Those are just a few.  There are, of course, a plethora of grunters (the ones who grunt as they lift just so everyone will look at them) and runners, and lots of other people.  I'm tempted to pick up my drawing pencils and paper again just so I can capture some of them!  The gym is so much fun!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: The gift that keeps on giving....

Yup, it's another missing snapshot this week.  There really is no point of taking a picture of my journal.  I got in one cardio workout on Monday.  I took the kids to the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday, I loaded up the kids and dragged them into the Target Minute Clinic down the road.  I don't know if it was already coming on or if all of the dust from the animals at the fair sent me over the age, but by Wednesday morning, I had a raging sinus infection.  In fact, it was so bad that it actually felt like every single tooth on the upper left side of my mouth needed a root canal!  Oy, the pressure!  I spent an hour at the clinic with the doctor, $15 on prescriptions at the pharmacy, and 24-hours on the couch at home.  It was like magic!  Within 24 hours, I was feeling so much better!  I felt pretty good until I hit about the 3-hour mark after having woken up.  I needed a nap!  And another nap.  And another.  Sleep is fantastic when you're sick.  Trying to get it when you have two healthy, active children is not so easy though!

Anyway, enough complaints.  I'm recovering.  My wonderful husband took Friday off from work and let me sleep in before we dragged the kids off to the state fair again.  My husband only goes for the food.  I like to look at everything!  The Minnesota State Fair is an incredible experience.  I've heard people who move into Minnesota complain about the true meaning of "Minnesota Nice".  It's not a pretty picture they paint of it.  But....if you want to know what "Minnesota Nice" really means, you should come to our state fair.  It's amazing.  People are friendly.  The second time I went to the fair, we had a three-month-old baby.  We used the park-n-ride services where you park your car in a free lot and ride a free bus to the fairgrounds.  The buses get packed!  But, strangers were perfectly willing to give up their seats for me and baby Lily.  The next year, Lily was just over a year.  The same thing, strangers hopped up from their seats and shooed us into them.  People can be so incredible sometimes!  And an added bonus to going to the fair this year....we happened to run into our old pastor-he was leaving as we were coming in.  For those of you who remember my post about feeling lost without a church-home, this would be the pastor who inspired us to join the church where we got married and then he left for a new church.  Random meeting, but he chatted with us for a few minutes and talked up the Sunday School program and a few other things his new church is doing.  My husband is on-board with switching over to the new church and we've already registered Lily for Sunday School, which starts next week! 

So...two days spent at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, snacking on cheese curds, corn dogs, and lots of sugary, greasy, deep-fried and battered foods.  Saturday, I actually manged to make it to the gym!  I decided to scrap the rest of my intended cardio-focused week and just hit the weight machines.  I did a lower-body workout and upped all my weights.  My legs are a bit sore today!  I meant to return to the gym for an upper-body workout today, but we made a last-minute decision to haul the kids down to the Mall of America for some fun at Nickelodeon Universe and some fall-clothes shopping.  And that is the extent of my activities this week.  I wish I could report that I'd had a whole lot more activity than that, but I'm having to accept that recovering from this cold is kicking my butt.  It just keeps on going!  I think if I can just start getting a bit more rest each night, that would help a ton.'s kind of like wishing for the moon though!  They're each about as easy to get!  No matter though.  Whether I'm up to working out or not, I'm going to have to.  We're heading into a busy week.  Lily starts swimming lessons again tomorrow evening.  And then on Tuesday, she'll have her first dance lesson!  I'm so excited for her and she's incredibly excited about it too.  She's supposed to be starting pre-school as well, but we've made the decision to hold that off for a month so we can get her used to the new activities first and then get the school stuff going.

One last quick note before I go...Sarah, you might be on to something!  I'm going to have to see if keeping the tv off in the morning will help get us moving quicker!  I've been meaning to start having us actually sit down at the dining room table for breakfasts and spend the time waking up together.  This just gives me one more reason to get moving on it!  Fantastic suggestion and I thank you for it! more thing!  Pictures and a confession!  My confession....I ADORE cheese curds!  I'm picky about them, but the ones at the state fair are, gooey, yummy, thinly-breaded (none of that chunky-icky stuff).  Yum, yum, yum!  Pictures are from the Butterfly House at the state fair...the kids love that place!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Missing!

I've misplaced my camera.  Which is actually okay since my "snapshot" would not show a whole lot for this week.  This cold is kicking my butt!  I've been completely drained of energy all week.  I did manage to make it in to the gym on Wendesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Wednesday, I did lower-body strength-training and I upped all of my weights just a tad.  I skipped the cardio that I usually do afterwards.  Thursday was upper-body strength-training and again, another skipped cardio.  Friday, I managed to do my sprint-training.  I've upped the intensity to challenge myself a bit more.  Instead of doing a resting pace for 90 seconds and then the "quick" for 30, I'm doing 60 seconds of "rest" and 30 seconds of quick.  It's tough!  But it is most definitely challenging me.  I'm hoping I can kick this cold and be right back at working hard. 

Tonight, I have a very big confession to make.  This is something that I consider my greatest flaw and it's been weighing on my mind a lot lately.  I am perpetually exhausted.  That's no big news, I know, for other d-moms.  The lack of a full night of sleep for year after year after year drags us down sometimes.  But here's the problem and where my big flaw comes in....I wake up completely drained.  I can't get myself going.  I drink coffee and I turn on the tv (bad mommy!) so that the kids can be entertained by cartoons while they eat breakfast.  And then...I lie down on the couch and doze until they become sick of it and start making me move.  Yup, there's the feeling of shame creeping in.  I'm a lazy mommy in the mornings.  I can't get myself moving.  I hate that I can't just bounce out of bed, ready to face the day, with the energy to tackle it all with my children in tow.  I just can't figure out how to do that!  Even on the nights when I get a good amount of sleep, it still takes me an hour or two to get going.  I don't like rushing in the morning.  I'm lazy.  I need to find a way to force myself to tackle this issue and make some necessary changes.  I feel like I'm not making the most of my time with my children and I'm not being "present" enough in their days, their playtimes.  I want to be a "fun mommy".  I want them to have great memories of what it was like to spend their days with me.  And most of all, I want to fill our days with activities and fun and meaning.  I must do this!  They're worth the effort.  I just need to push my exhaustion and tiredness aside and get myself going.  Maybe I just need to do the same thing with this problem as I did with the lack of exercise and make myself move bright and early for 30 days straight.  It's an idea...who knows, maybe it would work!  Really, these adorable little beasts are worth that amount of effort and more!

*Pictures were already on the computer.  Gotta find that camera!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tilting the view

First off, I think I need to offer up a big apology to Reyna for posting pictures of half-naked men on her Facebook wall.  I was trying to offer up a little eye-candy, but I think I verged into the annoying.  Sorry!

Every now and then, I find myself in different stages of a cycle.  I'm guessing other d-moms go through this cycle too, with some variation.  You know the one where you see all those things that diabetes has stolen from your child's life, from your family, from you.  The peace-of-mind, the ease and carefree-ness of day-to-day life.  And then, at another point in the cycle, you see all the moments you wouldn't have had if it hadn't been for the entrance of diabetes.  The instantaneous same-connection that you get with other families who deal with diabetes.  For me, I've found myself focusing on those sweet moments that I get.  You know the ones where you sneak into your d-child's room in the middle of the night to poke a tiny finger and squeeze out an itty-bitty drop of blood.  You hope that your child's sleep won't be disturbed, but every now and then, they wake up just enough to whisper, "I love you, mom" as you sneak back out of the room.  Those stolen moments and the stolen kisses and cuddles that I get with Lily are ones that wouldn't have happened if it weren't for diabetes.  It's stolen a great deal from the carefree-ness that could have been, it's made me worry more.  It's made the low points that much lower. also makes those high points, those sweet little moments, glitter like diamonds and twinkle like the brightest stars in the sky.  Those are the moments I live for and for those moments alone, I will accept diabetes into our lives and continue on with a happy heart.

That being said, I have a different kind of thief who has been weighing on my mind lately.  One I'm particularly terrified of because I know that the chances are in its favor for it eventually striking my family.  In fact, it's already struck us twice.  My paternal grandmother and my maternal grandmother.  In 1999, not long before I graduated from our local community college, I visited my paternal grandmother as she lay taking her last breathes.  She'd been in a nursing home for a handful of years.  My Grandma Avis grew up in the Ozarks and as she grew older and Alzheimer's crept into her brain, she reverted back to what she knew growing up.  She started starving herself.  If there was any pepper on her food, she thought it was bugs.  If you gave her a bowl of Rice Krispies, she thought they were maggots.  It was heartbreaking to see.  If you've followed my blog for the last couple of months, you've probably seen the picture of my maternal grandma, Grandma Lilly, just after the Fourth of July.  Grandma Lilly is in a nursing home, unable to walk, unable to talk.  Alzheimer's has stolen her speech and her mobility. 

Last night, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, we happened to see our neighbor's dog, Jackie, racing across our yard.  Jackie is a feisty little white-with-black-spots dog.  She barks a lot, but she's actually really friendly.  Leo adores animals.  So I took him out to help chase Jackie down.  Jackie's owners, Sue and Alan, are elderly.  They've had quite a life.  They have two teenage grand-daughters that they've raised since the girls were small.  Their daughter was the victim of a homicide by her husband.  The girls' father is serving a life-sentence without the possibility of parole.  That's as much as I know of the situation and I don't dare ask for more.  It's extremely painful for them to talk about, for good reason, and honestly, I can't see how knowing anymore details would be of any benefit to me.  The girls, thankfully, are nearly grown.  They've had some rough spots and life has not been easy for them or their grandparents.  As neighbors, we've been friendly with them to an extent, but....not as much as I feel we should have been.  We've known for some time that Alan hasn't been doing well.  He's been forgetful and disoriented.  Yesterday, as we were helping chase the dog down and returning her to Sue, she confided that she's finally had to place Alan in a nursing home.  It was heartbreaking to hear and I feel so inadequate right now even talking about it.  I wish there was something more I could do and I'm searching my mind, trying to find a way to reach out and offer comfort to my neighbor.  As I sat there, watching Leo pet Jackie and listening to Sue's broken voice as she talked about what Alzheimer's has stolen from her.  Her best friend is no longer there.  The person she married, her mate in raising children and grandchildren, in making a home, has been stolen from her. 

I can see the "good" in what diabetes has done to my family, to me and to Lily.  But this is a different kind of thief.  Alzheimer's and what it does can't be twisted into something positive.  It steals and leaves nothing but a shell of a person behind.  It takes a lifetime of memories away.  I can't figure out how to bring something good out of it.  I could bake a cake or cookies, send over a casserole....but it's just not enough.  If anyone has any ideas on how to make something good of this for my neighbor, please let me know what they are.  I'm at a loss and I really would like to do something, anything to help ease some of her pain and grief.  If nothing else, please keep her and her family in your prayers.

Confession for the night.....I HATE the squeeze!  You all know what I'm talking about.  When you poke a finger and squeeze and squeeze, trying to get the blood out.  I hate it!  I would rather be poked fifteen times in each finger than to have one finger squeezed like that.  It hurts!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: A Bust

My workout journal doesn't look so great for this week:

The journal doesn't tell the whole story though.  On Thursday, we spent 5 hours at Camp Needlepoint, walking around and showing Lily and Leo off to the staff, campers, and horses. 

I didn't write any of it down because only God knows how many calories were burned in those five hours of chasing my little beasties around the camp.  By the time we got back, it was time to feed the kids dinner and I just didn't have any energy left for working out at the gym.  On Friday, I meant to go to the gym before heading up to my sister's for the journey up north.  Unfortunately, we did not have a good night.  Lows for both Lily and me and lots of tossing and turning for Leo.  So I slept in just a bit and then got everything packed for a night away.  I carpooled with one of my sisters and we arrived about an hour before the others.  The room was booked in one of our other sister's names, so we chose to spend about 40 minutes walking around the neighborhood where the hotel was located.  And then that evening, we bounced and bopped and wiggled to the music of Bret Michaels.

He was pretty awesome to see in concert.  One really very totally awesome thing I found out at the concert...Bret changes shirts and bandanas twice during the entire concert.  And then at the end, he auctions off the three t-shirts and three bandanas for charity.  I believe at least part of the money is donated to JDRF, but I'm not 100% on that.  Anyway, after the concert, my sisters threatened to write "BOOB" across the forehead of the first person to fall asleep.  I think it ended up being a draw and we all fell asleep around 1:00 a.m.  And then the snitches all woke up at 7:00 in the morning.  They're worse than my children!  Saturday was a long trip home, during which I came to the realization that my throat wasn't just itching from exposure to cigarrette smoke at the casino.  I have an awful cold.  Lots of coughing and sniffling and a stuffed up nose and a scratchy throat.  So much fun.  I feel like crap, so I didn't work out yesterday or today.  I'm hoping I'll feel up to it tomorrow morning so I can get in before Lily's endo appointment tomorrow.  It's the BIG one....two years after she was diagnosed and the yearly massive blood draw that completely freaks out a child.  And leads to tears for mommy.'s to hoping for better health! 

My confession....I'm a horrible sick person.  Biggest baby ever!  I want to do nothing and let my husband do everything so I can just sleep.  Worst sick person ever!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfect Strangers...and not-so-perfect ones!

I had an awesome encounter with a "perfect stranger" yesterday.  I'd finished up my workout, took the kids swimming for an hour at the gym, and then we decided to head to our favorite store, Bob's Produce Ranch, for brats and fresh corn-on-the-cob for dinner.  We love Bob's!  They're a very small, local store that has the freshest fruit and veggies and a fantastic butcher department.  And lots of locally-grown stuff too!  I'd just finished gathering our groceries and decided to pick up a few peaches while we were there.  I turned to grab a bag for them and noticed an older woman looking at me, kind of like she knew me.  I had no clue who she was and honestly, have never noticed her before.  But, she and her daughter were busy picking out corn and I decided to be friendly and said something about Bob's being the only place we buy our corn anymore.  And then, she said the absolutely most wonderful things to me that I have heard in a very long time!  She explained that she sees me at Lifetime Fitness all the time and she's noticed how I've changed over the months.  She says, "You are my inspiration to keep on going and to keep on working."  I'm tearing up again just remembering it!  I thanked her profusely.  I don't see myself as being all that inspirational, but to read all of your comments and to hear things like this from complete strangers is just a phenomenal thing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who comment and keep me going!

Now, on the flip-side...I had a less than positive encounter with a stranger today.  Well, not a complete stranger.  We've never exchanged words before, but you'll remember this individual as the Stork Lady (the one who lifts one leg up, bent at the knee, and rides the elliptical on one pedal while pushing with her arms).  I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that the Stork Lady doesn't like to work out next to me.  I can't really blame her.  When I'm doing the sprint-training sessions, it can be pretty annoying to work out next to me as I burst into the speedy, all-out, I-think-I'm-going-to-die 30-seconds.  I was almost at the end of my sprint-training portion of my workout today when she came up and started setting up on the elliptical next to me.  As she noticed me and started to pack up to move, I thought I'd be nice and let her know that I was nearly done with it.  Yup, I'm rethinking that urge now.  She lit in to an admonition about what I was doing, how it wasn't the best thing for my body, and I should be working out in the same way that she works out (far as I can tell, she does 90 minutes on the same elliptical equipment every day of the week, nothing ever varies).  I cut her short.  I explained that sprint training is something I've discussed with my doctor and it's meant for cardio-fitness.  I stuck my earbud back in and burst into another speed interval.  After my workout, I did stop by her elliptical to apologize "if I came off as being rude" and I briefly explained what the sprinting was meant to do and affirmed that yes, I do know that it can be annoying. 

So, here's the thing....I know that working out next to someone who is using a varying speed can be really annoying.  I know.  I purposely choose an elliptical that is not right next to any other occupied elliptical.  But, it's what I'm choosing to do for my health and my training and if you find it annoying, you can choose a machine somewhere further away from me.  I've obviously become a familiar face to others at the gym.  If you know you don't like working out next to me, why in the world would you choose an elliptical next to mine when there are 8 others open?  But, that doesn't bother me nearly as much as someone trying to discourage me from exercising in the manner in which I choose.  If you make it to the gym and are exercising, the only time anyone should ever criticize your choice of exercise methods is when it puts your life or the life of others in danger.  No one should be discouraged from exercising, no matter how they choose to do it!  And unless you're a certified personal trainer, you're not qualified to tell others how they should work out!  The mean person inside of me is really tempted to delay going into the gym for the next few days so that I can be sure that I arrive later than she does and hop right onto whatever elliptical is right next to hers!  I'm resisting that urge, but I might give in to the one that is telling me to print out an article or two on sprint training and it's benefits to hand to her the next time I see her at the gym.  If any of you want to read up on it, there's a great article on the benefits of sprint training HERE.

Okay, something fun for my confession tonight....I have a serious crush on Vin Diesel!  Incredibly serious crush on him!  I'm guessing he's probably not the nicest person to meet and my crush actually doesn't have much to do with his face, which is just moderately attractive.  It's not even because of his phenomenal physique.  It's the VOICE!  Oh, his voice just sends chills down my spine! that gravelly, rough, manly sound!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

My ego took a couple of hits last week.  I had my regular A1C check/3-month doctor's visit.  The scale at the doctor's office said 5 lbs more than the scale at home.  I hate that!  Scales are evil.  Seriously, they are!  They have this way of destroying your good feelings about all the work you're doing and making you feel like that work isn't making any difference.  The number on the doctor's scale kept me down for a few hours.  And then I realized doesn't matter what the scales say.  It matters what my body says.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that.  And turn my back on the number screen when they take my weight at the doctor's office!  The other A1C registered in at 9.0.  Ick!  I'm so not happy with that!  And neither is my doctor.  I hate the lectures they give.  Yes, I know all of the risks associated with it.  I also know that having a blood sugar of 36 at 1:00 in the morning is a greater danger to life.  That number kept me down for a couple of days.  And then I realized something else....that number just tells me I have some more work to do and gives me a new direction for health to focus on.  I need to work more on my diet, making sure I'm eating the right things, getting enough protein, and that I'm testing and dosing myself at the right times.  When it all comes down to it, those two numbers are just information to take in.  I choose what to do with them.  I can let them bring me down or I can use them to motivate me into new directions, new efforts.

So, here's something new I want to do.  I'm hoping it'll keep me honest and give me more motivation to keep working hard, keep on moving, keep on going.  Snapshot Sunday.  I have a personal fitness journal that I'm keeping.  I picked the book up from Barnes & Noble.  It was a great bargain.  Less than $6.00!  And it's got enough pages for a full year of journaling.  It's set up well, with a couple pages for entering food.  And two pages for fitness.  One for strength-training and one for cardio.  Each week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday.  Perfect for doing a quick pic of it on Sunday evenings so I can post it for all of you to see.  Not sure exactly what anyone else will get out of it, but knowing that other people will be seeing it might give me some extra oomph to keep on going, to work a little harder and to push myself just that little bit more.  Since this week was a strength-training week (I do every-other-week), I have two photos for you:

There are a few things that I don't put on those lists.  Like running around with the kids.  Today, for example, I took Lily and Leo for a visit to Camp Needlepoint since it was opening day.  I love camp!  It's like going home.  We spent a good 2 hours walking around the camp, running in the main field, showing the kids the cabins and all the places that mommy used to love when she was there.  It was great!  And who knows how many calories were burned.  Who cares?  I was moving and enjoying the day with the kids.  When I take a day off from the gym, I want to just enjoy it.  So, those days that are blank aren't completely "blank".  I just didn't bother with putting the activities down.

One more thing before I go.  I'm going to count this as my "confession" as well.  When I was still a camper at Camp Needlepoint, there was a fellow camper that I always hoped to find in my group each year.  Becky was a fellow sailor, but she always chose the in-camp sailing program while I chose the sailing trip.  She was bubbly and adorable and so incredibly fun.  One of those girls who is so incredibly cute and so incredibly fun that you just can't bring yourself to dislike her for being everything you wished you could be.  She was awesome!  She still is.  You see, Becky is now the camp director and she has the coolest story ever of being dragged, kicking and screaming, to camp her first year.  And then, at the end of the week, a repeat of the kicking and screaming as she was dragged away.  She kept going back to camp every year and, as far as I know, she's never missed a year.  She LOVES camp.  And she's still one of the coolest people I know.  I've always admired her.  Her sister, who isn't diabetic, met her husband at camp when she started working as a nurse there.  And their little girl, who's just a few months younger than Lily, is diabetic as well.  So we're all connected through Facebook.  Becky heard through her sister about my fitness and weight-loss efforts and sent me a message a few months back.  I had the opportunity to chat with Becky at camp today.  I'm tearing up as I'm writing this because it was such an amazing thing.  She told me that I inspired her.  She's dropped almost 30 lbs herself now and she said it's because of hearing of my efforts and successes that she has been working so hard and trying to be active as well.  I'm just so incredibly touched and happy to hear that! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

A book review...

I've been debating about posting a little bit of a book review on here for some time now.  A couple months ago, I picked up the book Heaven is for Real at Costco.  It came highly recommended by several people.  Honestly, I used to devour books!  When the last Harry Potter book came out, Lily was just a couple months old.  I have very vivid memories of holding her in one arm, bottle in hand so I could feed her while holding the book in the other hand!  But since Leo was born and Lily was diagnosed, I haven't picked up a book with any more substance than you can find in a trashy romance.  I just don't have the brain-power and mental ability to sit still and read a book lately.  It's so frustrating.  But, I picked up this one and cracked it open and finished it, from cover to cover in about a day!  It was an amazing story.  I'll give you the synopsis first:
A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.
Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.
Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.
Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.
Reading the story gave me goosebumps.  But it also gave me an incredible amount of hope!  I'm not an overly-religious person, but I do believe in God, Jesus, and Heaven.  I believe there's a purpose to this life and how we live it.  And like so many others, I've lost some really important, wonderful and amazing loved ones.  Reading Heaven is for Real gave me so much hope!  And it makes me want to share that hope with others.  In fact, I passed the book on to my sisters and I know it will make the rounds through my family.  Hope is an amazing thing, but it's even more amazing when you can spread it around!

In case you're not already convinced that you want to pick up this book and see what it has to say, I have a story to share.  A couple of days after finishing the book, I got a knock on my door.  You know those knocks...the local churches, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the various church organizations that come through with the idea that they're going to recruit you to their legions.  One of those knocks.  A couple of elderly men from a local Baptist church.  I have nothing against any religion, but I do have this pet peeve with many of them....the belief that their religion is the one and only true religion and everyone who doesn't follow them will be condemned.  I do not believe in that.  I don't believe in God condemning people to burning in Hell for all of eternity.  In fact, my belief in that can be summed up in one a parent, what would it take for you to cast your own child aside?  Reading the book just cemented that idea for me.  We are all God's children, no matter how we choose to worship or what form our spirituality takes, and I cannot envision a parent who would be willing to cast their own child aside.  So when these two men came to my door and asked me if I believed I was going to Heaven and how sure I was, I told them that I know without a doubt that God will not cast me aside and condemn me to the trials of Hell.  These people who knock on our doors, touting their own religion and trying to convert and "save" us, feed on our fears and our insecurities.  It felt good to have the upper hand for once!

Anyway, I hope you'll all forgive me for veering into the religious stuff tonight.  I'm not trying to convert anyone or recruit anyone for my religion and I'm asking nothing from anyone who reads this.  I just wanted to take the chance to share with you a book that has a wonderful message.  I want others to feel the hope that I do now.  I want others to know that, at the end of this life, we'll all be reunited with our loved ones.  I want others to know that death is not only an ending, but also the beginning of a new life.  That is very precious knowledge and gives the greatest hope of all!