Friday, January 28, 2011

Pickles....nom, nom, nom!

Winter colds have hit!  Both the kids are sick, my husband has a stuffy, runny noise, my noise is running, and we're all a little lacking in the energy (and sleep) department.  Gotta love Minnesota winters!  They're long and hard and they seem to drag on and on and on. And on.  Our marriage therapist has added one more type of depression onto my list of things to deal with....Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Thankfully, he's got some suggestions for how to cope with it.  My regular doctor is writing me a prescription for a light box and is going to test my vitamin D levels to see where everything is at.  We'll have to see how all that goes!  In the meantime, this is my third day in a row off from the gym because of my darn cold!  Tomorrow, I'm determined to be back at it! Until then, I just had a quick tip I thought I'd share....

Reyna posted a little bit back about Pickle Wraps.  I know she gave credit to someone else who had posted about it, but I can't for the life of me remember who it was right now.  I'd completely forgotten about how yummy pickles are when wrapped up!  Since Reyna's post, the wraps have been a regular snack for both of the kids and me.  And we've even come up with an improvement on them that I thought we'd share with you...Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese wedges!  Each little triangle of cheese has 35 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein.  Easy to spread, flavored in just about any way you can imagine.  Healthier for you than cream cheese.  And each triangle is the perfect size for spreading on a slice of deli meat in preparation for that pickle!  Perfect!

I know, it was a super-important tip to share.  I think this cold I'm coming down with is making me a bit loopy.  It's off to bed for me, where I will hopefully get a little bit of healing rest!  But only after I test Lily, who was 136 an hour ago....Fantastic number (it's like winning the lottery!), but it makes me nervous that she's going to drop!  Oh, how I wish diabetes was easier!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Seriously, gotta say this before I start on tonight's ladies are so incredibly amazing and wonderful!  I was so nervous about posting about my problems with depression and PPD and all of the emotional baggage that I've been left with, even after accepting help and medication for it.  You have no idea how much it means to mean to read the supportive words, the admissions of dealing with PPD as well and experiencing similar things.  Meri, you're so right about it being more common than we seem to think it is.  It's a sad thing that so many people go through it and believe themselves to be alone!  I have to tell all of you, the post was inspired by something that our marriage counselor and I talked about....the difference between shame and guilt.  Shame is a destructive emotion.  It convinces us that we have to hide whatever it is that we're ashamed of and leaves no room for correction or acceptance.  Guilt, on the other hand, inspires us to be better, to make more of an effort, to change so that we won't be stuck hiding anymore.  By posting about my depression and PPD, I'm trying to get rid of the shame so I can work on making myself a better mom, a better wife, and a better person.  Thank you so much to all of you for allowing me to do that and for being here to support!  I only hope I can do the same for all of you!

Exercise update....I'm still going strong!  I've fallen into a pattern of going to the gym for 3 days in a row and then taking one day off.  I tend to start feeling a bit run-down and tired by the time that day off comes around.  My husband calls it a feeling of being "over-trained".  For him, I think it is.  He lifts weights in the hard-core, testosterone-zone of the gym (not the machine weights, but the ones with barbells and big round disks).  For me, I think it's more a lack of sleep than being over-trained.  Whatever it is, I'm starting to listen more to my body and what it's telling me to do.  I haven't dropped any clothing sizes yet, but my clothes are fitting me better now.  I came to a very important realization today: I don't want to be skinny!  Really, I'm serious on this one!  I have no desire to be "skinny".  I've discovered that what I truly want is to be "athletic".  I want that sleek look that athletes who run get.  The strong, muscled legs with sleek muscles, not the ones with veins popping out because they're JUST THAT MUSCULAR.  Think "panther" instead of "housecat".  Oh...and the pregnant boob lady?  You know how some women look like they've swallowed a basketball when they're pregnant because they don't put on weight anywhere but their belly?  Well, Boob Lady looks like she swallowed a torpedo!  Seriously!  No fluff anywhere on that woman, but her belly has this pointed look to it.  So funny to see!

Over-testing?  Bet some of you think there's no such thing.  But there is!  Please understand that I'm only talking about my experiences with Lily's and my diabetes.  Maybe this doesn't apply to others.  But, in my mind and experience, over-testing is a serious hazard and something we should all be aware of.  I'm going to explain what I mean and why it's a hazard.  Last night, Lily had swimming lessons.  Before her lesson, she was comfortably in the low 200s (217).  I don't see this as a problem since she's going into the pool and I don't want to risk her going low while she's swimming.  So, no correction.  When she got out of the pool, I tested her right away.  472.  What the heck and where did that come from?  I wondered if maybe her infusion site had crapped out on us, so I waited to give her the correction until we could get home and get a new site in.  Got home, tested her again...508.  Yuck!  Gave her the full correction and tried to get her to eat some protein for dinner.  My husband tested her 30 minutes later, as he was getting her ready for bed.  492.  Pump said to give her another 0.675.  I backed it off to 0.4, thinking that I didn't want her to stay high, but didn't want her to drop low either.  Tested an hour later....349.  The pump said to give her more of a correction.  I didn't.  An hour later, she was 82.  She tends to trend upwards at night, so I decided to give her a few more minutes and check again.  Fifteen minutes later...65!  Oh my!  I hate waking her up to get her to drink enough juice, but it's what we have to do.  So, half a cup of orange juice and back to sleep she goes.  I, on the other hand, stayed up an extra hour longer, just to keep testing her and making sure she was stable and steady for the rest of the night.

So, here's the thing...the pump is not infallible!  I know, horrifying fact, isn't it?  Seriously though, here's the thing with the Insulin On Board (IOB) feature....everyone's body is different, everyone's metabolism is different.  I know you can adjust on the pump how long insulin stays in your system.  It's a great feature.  But, that doesn't mean that we all metabolize insulin at a set, same rate.  Lily and I both burn through our insulin in 3 hours.  But, I know with my body, my insulin peaks at an hour and a half after bolusing.  That means that the majority of my insulin has already done it's work if I test an hour and a half after a meal.  Lily's body, on the other hand, seems to hit peak-point for her insulin closer to two-hours post-basal.  But her pump doesn't know that!  So it tells me to give her more insulin.  On a normal day, I try to make sure I'm not testing her within that two-hours-post time.  Unless she seems like she might be going low, I try really hard to not test.  I do get caught by this mistake a lot though.  Because it's very rare that we have a "normal" day.  If she's running high and I want to make sure she's coming down, I tend to over-test.  My husband over-tests all the time.  We just want to try to make things perfect for our children, right?  Can't help but over-test sometimes.  But, we've had quite a few instances lately where we've over-tested.  And then she drops low.  And still has IOB.  And we have to try to get sugar into her to absorb that extra insulin so she won't keep going low.  It's so frustrating!

Anyway, I just wanted to share our experience with over-testing with all of you.  I know how incredibly driven we all are to make things as good as we possibly can for our kids, to keep them within that magical "NORMAL" range so that they can feel their best and go about living active, happy lives.  It's such a hard balancing act to keep!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breaking the TABOO

Before I get into the heavy stuff, some pictures!  The kids and I have been busy making healthy changes.  We're eating tons of apples, raw carrots, fresh fruits and veggies.  Yum, yum!  And in the nighttime hours, after the kids go to bed, I've been busy with my crochet hooks and yarn.  Just thought I'd share some of things I've finished....

Okay, now into the "muck" I go.  You see, I have some emotional vomiting to do tonight.  Kind of.  I've been holding onto some hurt and resentment and shame over a really big problem.  My husband and I have been doing marriage counseling for a year now and I still haven't brought myself to face this one major problem.  It's a problem that people don't generally talk about.  It's not talked about nearly enough and for those suffering it, it often feels like a taboo subject.  Depression.  It's not secret that the diabetic life can often include depression.  No medical professional can find a good reason why.  Those of you living the diabetic life with your child can probably clue them in.  The day-to-day life of a diabetic is stressful at times.  It can wear you down.  It's no wonder people get depressed, right?  Not only have I dealt with chronic depression, but the hurt and resentment that I'm holding on to have a whole lot to do with a very special kind of depression.  Postpartum depression.  Forgive me if this gets a little long, but I feel like I need to start at the beginning and get it all out....

Lily was born May 11, 2007, just before Mother's Day.  When she was born, there was a risk of her blood sugar being too low because mine had been high during the labor and delivery.  My doctor wasn't very experienced.  As soon as Lily was out, they took her off to the NICU for sugar-water.  I didn't get to touch her or hold her and I got only the smallest glimpse of her.  I have a strong belief that this is where my issues started.  I believe in the power of touch and the amazing bond that is cemented between a parent and child in the moments after birth (look up "IMPRINTING"'s not just a Twilight thing).  Two days later, Mother's Day, was the date we should have been discharged.  I spent the day terrified, bawling, and confused by all the "baby blues" feelings.  The next day, we went home.  And the troubles really began.  Lily had a sensitive gag reflex.  She was tongue-tied (severely-the end of her tongue looked like the top of a heart) and couldn't latch on.  I was pumping exclusively and feeding her breast milk by bottle.  She would gag on the bottle nipple at the end of a feeding and the entire bottle would come up.  We would have to start all over.  New bottle, new outfit (for her and me), followed by a deep-cleaning of the floor.  It got frustrating.  I remember a moment very clearly.  Lily was four-months-old and the puking thing happened again, for who knows how many times it'd been.  Vomit was everywhere.  Breast milk and formula vomit are probably the most disgusting things ever, right?  I put Lily on the floor so I could get us both cleaned up and clean up the vomit.  And as I walked by her to get all the supplies, I had the very distinct urge to kick her.  My four-month-old baby.  I sat down on the floor and I sobbed.

I wish I could leave it all there.  I'm crying already, just remembering all of that.  Just remembering those feelings.  You can't imagine the shame that goes with them.  But it didn't end there.  As Lily got a little older, other things happened.  Whenever I turned on the stove, I had an image pop into my head of her hand on the burner.  I had no control over the things I saw in my head.  I never again had an urge to harm her in any way, but the images made me question my own value, the contents of my heart and mind, my own existence.  It was disturbing to see these things.  I knew I was having problems.  But I couldn't talk to anyone about them.  The only times I was able to bring myself to talk about them was when I was trying to explain to my husband why I didn't want to do things he wanted to do, visit family he wanted to visit.  I know he didn't intend for it to seem like he was putting me off or making light of it, but his response was always the same....I was using it as an excuse and it wasn't real.  I was alone.  And deeply bothered by everything that kept popping into my head.  And even more disturbed by the urges I had to harm myself.  I didn't take care of my diabetes.  Driving down the road with my husband and daughter and I'd have an urge to open the door and throw myself from the moving car.  Driving the car and wishing I could just drive it right into brick wall.  And then I got pregnant again.  It didn't stop my depression.  In fact, it made it worse.  Uncontrollable emotions.  Weeping, anger, fear.  But, it gave me a new purpose.  I had to take care of myself.  I had to keep going, if only for the baby.  And when Leo was born, I was smart enough to know that I needed medication.  I needed a strong anti-depressant if I was going to be any kind of a mom to my children.

Medication helped.  It's made an enormous difference in my life and in the quality of care I've been able to give my children.  It's made a difference in the quality of my life!  I'm not ashamed to say that I will be on medication for the rest of my life for depression.  I'm not willing to go back to what I was.  But, I haven't forgiven and I haven't forgotten.  I was so deeply hurt by the lack of understanding, the lack of support, the lack of care.  And I didn't tell my husband that I was carrying around that deep hurt until just a couple of nights ago.  I know he's dealt with deep depression in those he cares about throughout his life.  His mom is depressed.  His grandmother has a very difficult time with depression.  He has memories of picking her up off the floor and helping her to bed because she just wasn't able to get up on her own.  It's draining for him.  And no matter how much he's dealt with it, it's not something he can understand.  Until you deal with it yourself, in your own brain and body, you just can't imagine what the reality of it is or how deeply it affects your life.  But when I explained to him all the hurt I'd been holding onto, how even now, even with medication, those images and those urges are still burned into my brain.  I've seen them and I can't take them away.  They will always be there and I cannot forget them.  I can only balance them with the cuddles, kisses, hugs, tickles, giggles, and LOVE that I share with my children.  All I needed to start the healing process, to get over that deep hurt, was to hear my husband tell me he was sorry for not being there for me, for not understanding and taking me seriously.  Hearing that has helped ease some of the shame I have been carrying around and it's helped me to understand my husband a little better as well.  And now that the healing has begun in that area, hopefully it will lead to better things in others!

Anyway, if you're still reading, thank you for sticking with me and allowing me to purge all this crap.  Shame isn't a very productive emotion.  It can be so incredibly destructive.  I'm hoping that by acknowledging my problems with depression and bringing the details of it to light will help me get rid of those dark places in my brain.  I don't believe depression should be a shameful thing for anyone, but until we start talking openly and honestly about it, we live in the shame and dark.  I hope, if any of you are dealing with depression, sharing my experience with you will help convince you to seek help, to open up and not live with shame any more.  Seeking help, for me, was like walking out of the cold, dark, damp shadows and embracing the warmth of the sun!  It's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recognizing destructive behaviors...

I've noticed something lately....I have a disturbing behavior trend.  When there's a thought in my head that I really feel the need to get out, but think might upset other people, I avoid my blog.  I procrastinate.  Horribly.  But, the thought eats away at me a little bit and eventually, I know I need to stop procrastinating and get the thoughts out.  So, here I am....

My family is doing a "biggest loser" challenge.  My sisters, their husbands, some of their children, and my mom are all doing it.  They asked me to join in.  My first response?  "But weight isn't the problem!"  I have decided to join in on the challenge and my husband has signed on for it too.  But, it goes against the understanding that has been forming inside my mind.  The incredible realization that WEIGHT is not the problem.  Please understand that I'm only speaking from my own experiences and there are always exceptions to everything!

I used to be skinny.  Incredibly skinny.  My family lived miles from town, we didn't have cable, and I spent most of my time trying to escape into my own little world.  Books and bike-riding were my two main escapes.  Occasionally, I'd go for a walk along the river that our home was located on.  I didn't snack much back then and I kept my activity levels up.  So I was skinny.  I had a great metabolism.  And then, my mom and step-dad divorced, my mom started dating men I didn't like.  I started becoming more self-conscious, I exercised less, ate for comfort, read more.  And you know what happened?  I gained weight.  I know!  Totally illogical thing to happen, right?  The more weight I gained, the more I ate for comfort, the more self-conscious I became.  When I was 14, I weighed 96 lbs.  When I was 15, I weighed 125.  By the time I graduated high school, I weighed 180.  I nearly doubled my weight in four years!  It became a vicious cycle.  And it just kept going.  Because I didn't stop it.  I didn't change it.

Here's the point I'm trying to get across...weight is not the problem.  Weight is the product of a lifestyle.  It is not the problem.  The problem is the lack of activity, the choice of nutrition, the daily life that leads our bodies to the condition that they are in.  This is why I object to the biggest loser challenge.  I'm doing it, because I think it could be a good motivator in some ways (who doesn't want to win a $200 jackpot?).  But, I object to some of the ideas of it.  You see, my sisters all did this same challenge last year.  I have no idea who won.  But you know what happened?  Once the challenge was over, they all reverted back to their original way of life.  The weight came back.  Plus some, for many of them.  Their habits didn't change, but they did work to get the weight off.  Once the weight-loss challenge was over, they went back along their merry ways.  Nothing changed.  Life didn't change, habits didn't change.  So their bodies reverted back to what their lifestyles dictated they should be.

This was a huge revelation to me.  The whole idea that my body is a result of my lifestyle.  I've spent so much of my life making excuses for my weight.  I used diabetes as an excuse for why I weighed what I did, for why I gained weight.  I tried to trick myself into believing that I did eat well, that I did get a decent amount of exercise.  And at times, I even believed it all myself.  But, with this whole fitness challenge, I'm learning that I need to be accountable for my own choices.  I need to open my eyes and see where I went wrong, what behaviors I engaged in that made my body the way it is.  I need to come to the realization that I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDITION OF MY BODY.  Yup, that's right.  I became fat and overweight because of the choices I made.  Diabetes may have made it easier to gain weight.  Or it may not have.  But, I gained weight because I didn't move enough, I ate too much and too much of the wrong stuff, and I stopped paying attention to what my body needed.

You want to know what the great thing is about coming to that incredible realization?  Now that I've recognized it as being the truth, I am free to change it!  My behaviors aren't holding me back anymore because I'm not busy trying to hide them anymore!  My weight is no longer my problem and my behaviors aren't either.  Because I'm changing them and making the effort to improve my health, not just lose weight!  And that is making all the difference this time around.  Who knows, in three months, I may just take that biggest loser jackpot!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In all honesty...

I have something big to say tonight.  Bigger than anything else I've said in any other blog post I've put up.  I'm sure it's no secret that there's been a huge outbreak of "diabetes burnout" in the DOC in the last couple of months.  Not sure what "Diabetes Burnout" is?  It's when you reach that point where you're so fed up with all this disease requires that you just want to scream.  Or bang your head against a brick wall.  Or beat diabetes into a bloody, spineless pulp.  Oh, I so understand that feeling!  And anyone who has ever gone through even a day with diabetes can relate to that feeling too.  I get it.  I have moments when I suffer from the burnout too.  Especially since Lily was diagnosed and I'm dealing with not just my own diabetes, but hers too.  I get it.  But here's the thing....Diabetes is not our enemy.  Seriously, I mean that.  It's not the enemy.  And neither is our faulty immune systems or the various other factors that may or may not have contributed to our being diagnosed with diabetes.  Diabetes sucks.  It does.  But, so does being short.  Or being fat.  Or a million other things that we could be.  And here's the thing I want all of the other parents of CWDs....I cannot separate myself from my diabetes and your children won't be able to either.  Diabetes is a part of them.  Diabetes is a part of me.  It's a part of who we are and it will be a part of how we define ourselves.  That is a truth.  I am a person living with diabetes.  If you take diabetes away, it doesn't take away my history with the disease or the manner in which I've had to live my life for the last 24 years.  Diabetes is a challenge.  It is something I have had to learn to deal with.  It's not easy.  Challenges aren't supposed to be.  But the degree of difficulty it adds to my life does not make my life worth any less.  If I'd known my child would develop diabetes, I still would have chosen to give birth to her.  We, as parents, need to embrace the challenge that diabetes offers.  I'm saying this because of the whole "what we teach our children" thing.  If we, as parents, accept the challenge with grace and determination, then our children will learn to do so as well.  If we approach diabetes with resentment and anger, they will learn that from us as well.  My suggestion....when you're nearing the "diabetes burnout" point, do something that goes against what diabetes usually requires.  Push it to the back burner for the day and take your little diabetic out for a cupcake.  Let both of you forget about diabetes (for the most part) for a few hours while you enjoy just spending time together.  Burnout is going to happen, but we can try to hold it off and circumvent it as much as possible.

Here's the other really big thing that goes along with the whole "diabetes burnout"....there's a big misconception in the DOC.  At least, from what I can see, there is.  I've been diabetic for 24 years.  Self-managed since diagnosis at 9.  I can tell you, in pure open honesty, that there was no hope of "controlling" my disease until I finished growing.  Once I became and adult, I was able to control my diabetes in a way that was inconceivable before.  Part of it was a new level of intellectual maturity.  But a bigger part of it was just that my body was done growing.  When I was a child, I remember my A1Cs running in the 9-10-11 range, or even higher.  My two older sisters remember this too.  Insulin pumps have made huge improvements on that, but the fact is that a child who is still growing is not one whose diabetes can be controlled.  I think as parents (and I'm guilty of doing this too), we assume that it's our job to make things perfect for our child.  We feel like we should be able to "control" diabetes for them.  Oh, how I wish that were possible!  But the fact is, it's not possible.  Every day brings something new.  A new germ, a new growth spurt.  A new tiff at school.  Heck, every little thing upsets the balance in those little bodies!  Stress hormones, sleep, activity, etc.  It all throws a kink into the line.  And as much as we might like to, we can't force our children to grow up in anti-social little blow-up bubbles to keep them safe.  They're going to have extreme feelings, extreme activities.  They're going to be kids, first and foremost!  And we have to let them be kids.  Controlling diabetes will definitely become more important as they get older, but until they reach puberty, diabetes complications shouldn't be a huge concern.  Until then, we need to just live in the moment with them, correct the highs, treat the lows, and keep on chugging towards that magical time when they're grown up, capable of controlling the worst of their emotions, and mature enough to know that diabetes is a part of their lives that they need to pay attention to and care for, without allowing it to hold them back from life.

This is one of those moments when I wished all of the DOC lived close.  I'd make you all go out for a drink with me so we could all relax and rid ourselves of the burnouts.  Since we can't do that, I'll suggest instead that you all take a deep, deep breath, close your eyes, send a prayer up to God (or whoever you worship) for a cure for juvenile diabetes, and then take one last breath before jumping back into the game.  Life is beautiful!  Diabetes can't take away that fact and in some ways, it may even add to the beauty and help us to remember to stop and look at what blessings we've been given!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peek-a-boo, I see you! Tales from the gym....

I've been hiding.  Kind of.  I think I'm a bit like a cat.  When I'm sick, I crawl away and hide.  I'm feeling better now though and feel like I've been neglecting my blog.  So, I have a couple of tales to share with you tonight.  For your enjoyment....

Just for Reyna: The boob-lady

So, by my less-than-educated estimate, boob-lady is about 8-8.5 months pregnant.  She's got quite the bump going now!  For those who don't remember, Boob Lady is a woman who weighs about 110 lbs, dripping wet, but has size-D boobs.  They're enormous and they DO NOT JIGGLE!  Even before pregnancy, Boob Lady had what I call the "I-paid-for-them-and-must-get-my-money-out-of-them" walk.  You know the one....the boobs go out, the shoulders are pulled back.  She even seems to have a habit of sticking her bum out in the other direction.  Maybe she's had bum implants too?  Anyway, picture that walk with an 8-months-or-so baby bump. And the duck-waddle that goes along with the baby bump!  It's really quite entertaining to see!  I struggle to keep myself from bursting out laughing each time!

Thought you might get a kick out of that one, Reyna!

Don't Judge!

You know that whole thing with someone breaking into my locker at the gym and stealing my shoes?  Well, it brought to mind an incident that happened at the gym about a year ago.  I was trying to exercise more, and failing miserably.  But, I did manage to make it in a few times.  On one of those occasions, I was in the locker room, post-exercise, and about to strip down to go shower.  Across the way from me was a fairly large, elderly woman, sitting on the bench in her swimsuit.  I assumed she'd just finished water aerobics.  All of a sudden, she calls out to me, "Miss, there's a MAN in the locker room!"  To clarify, this was in the WOMEN'S locker room.  I kind of blew her comment off and didn't take her too seriously.  So, she calls out down the hall, "Excuse me, are you a MAN?"  Yes, she did ask this question, in the women's locker room, in a very loud voice.  Very politely, a voice says, "no, ma'am, I am not."  Elderly lady replies, "but you don't got no boobies!"  Ah, the joys of being old and being able to say what you please!  One of the gym workers walked into view and says, still very polite to the elderly lady, "yes, ma'am, I am aware of that.  My mom was lacking in that area too.  Guess I just got her genes."  Now, to give the old lady some credit, the gym lady not only didn't have boobs, but she didn't have hips either.  She had a haircut that could have been found on Lance Bass in the middle of the 90s (short, choppy, frosted).  Her gym uniform did nothing to show off any female features at all.  And, of course, I assumed things about her, based solely on her looks.  I'm sure you can guess.

So, why am I telling you about this incident and how does it connect to my stolen shoes?  Well, the wonderful gym worker I mentioned above is also the same one who, when called up and told of my stolen items, immediately walked down to the locker room with me, helped me re-code my locker with a new code, and then stuck around an extra hour after her shift has officially ended the next day in order to catch me and show me to my new locker.  She was not only polite, but friendly, warm, compassionate, and just a genuinely nice person.  And it occurred to I give people the chance to be genuine or do I judge based on their looks and make assumptions about them?  I know, I know, it's natural to judge based on looks.  Looks provide us with our first impressions.  But, how often do we allow strangers to go beyond that?  To make more than just a first impression?

I think I've found my goal for the new be more open to people, more aware of how I'm perceiving and judging people, and to try to be more friendly, more considerate, no matter what circumstances I meet people under!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Body Love: An exercise update and more about what they learn....

I love coming on here to tell you all how my healthiness journey is going!  I know it's one place where I can go and be perfectly honest without fear of consequences.  So, honesty....I gained a few lbs back over the holidays.  I blame most of it on the trip up north.  We stayed in a hotel with a pool, which was fantastic!  But, for those three days, I didn't work out.  Add to that the days I missed because of holiday events and wonderful germy bugs that my kids and I caught and I only made it to the gym 16 days out of the 31 in December.  Four less than the count from November.  Not too bad, but it definitely gives me room for improvement!  The trip up north also meant lots of eating out.  And eating things that we probably shouldn't.  You see, our favorite restaurant in the entire world is in my hometown.  It's called The Chocolate Moose.  Their specialty is chocolate mousse!  It's an adorable log-style building with bears, fish, moose, and other wilderness paraphernalia scattered around.  There's even a great train that my kids loved pointing out.  The food is phenomenal!  Seriously.  Raspberry Bread Pudding with Whiskey River Sauce!  Vanilla and cinnamon french toast with real maple syrup.  Blueberry pancakes, biscuits with fresh country sausage gravy.  And my absolute favorite, the reason I live to go to that specific restaurant: fresh, lightly battered and seasoned walleye fillets as big as my forearm!  Oh my, their fish is the best!  Listening to all's entirely understandable how the scale suddenly fluctuated upward, right?  All of that left me itching to get back to the gym today.  I'd had three days off and refused to make it a fourth!  I had a little bummer moment when I got there....while I was gone, someone managed to crack the code on my permanent locker.  They broke in and stole the pair of Asics that my husband bought me a couple of months ago.  And helped themselves to my face wash and lotion while they were there.  I'm trying to look on the bright side....they left my brand new Mizunos that my husband gave me for Christmas.  And most of the rest of my stuff was there.  And hey, it's not like I'm going to miss the Asics.  They were awful and gave me blisters on the inside and heals of my feet!  Whoever has them now is more than welcome to the blisters!

Body love....any idea what it is?  If you'd asked me months ago, before all the exercise, what I liked least about my body, I would have had a million answers for you.  My wide rear end.  My flabby arms that continue to wave goodbye long after I've stopped.  My triple chins.  My blubbery knees.  My fat thighs that rub together when I walk.  The list goes on and on!  But now that I've started exercising, those parts are taking on new meaning.  My knees are holding up to all the exercise incredibly well.  They aren't nearly as blubbery and they don't pain me at all.  My arms are slimming down.  My rear end has more muscle to it.  My triple chins have downgraded to double chins.  I'm actually finding it in myself to love my body, just as it is, because of what it's capable of doing!  My body can do more than an hour of hard core exercise!  That's pretty incredible  But there is one major problem.  Remember when I mentioned those eczema patches on my feet?  They're currently flaring up to the point that it begins to feel like someone is holding a lit cigar to my feet while I workout.  It's PAINFUL in the extreme!  And no matter how much I'm marveling at what the rest of my body can do, I'm cursing my feet.  I can't find it in me to love that part of my body right now.  I'm seeing a dermatologist in a few days and I'm praying for a magic cure.  I'm tired of telling my feet to suck it up and deal with it while I work out.  Darn feet!

So, body you ever look in the mirror and wonder at the beauty you see there?  Or, as most people do, do you stand in front of the mirror and pick out the flaws that you see before you?  Most of us just pick out our flaws, right?  We don't spend much time at all focusing on the good things we see.  That's what Body Love is.  It's focusing on what we like about our bodies, not what we don't.  How sad is it that we focus on our flaws and don't take the time to appreciate the beauty we can find in ourselves?  Exercising has helped bring me to a point where I am starting to see more of the beauty and less of the flaws.  So here's why I'm bringing this up....think back to that post I wrote about our kids learning from what they see us doing.  We're fools if we think they don't notice us picking out our flaws in the mirror!  They see it and they catch it all.  They learn it!  This is all part of the life that I was leading that I really do not want my children to lead!  I don't want Lily to look in the mirror and pick out bits and pieces of herself to tear apart.  I don't want her and Leo to be weighted down with insecurities, picking apart their self-worth based on a few physical features that in the end, mean absolutely nothing.  So, one of my goals this year is to look at the beauty.  I need to quit picking at my flaws and open my eyes just a bit wider so I can see the whole of the beautiful picture that is my life!

Okay, gotta lighten things up now since that was such a serious post!  Here....I dare you to look at this picture and keep your lips from turning up at the corners: