The snow weighs down the branches outside my window. The ice makes each branch heavy so that it cannot hold itself up against the weight. The snow is beautiful but has put our little world into a tizzy, with this being the third day schools are closed.
Sometimes my brain is like one of those branches. Gets weighed down with the ice of shame. Just when I think I've dealt with it once and for all, it shows up again. And that's a bummer.
Won't drag you through the muck of it all. Will just reinforce, to myself mostly, that I have learned a lot of good stuff, have changed my thinking in many ways, and extending grace and compassion to myself is always a worthwhile idea.
So, back to the drawing board. Looking forward to this new day. Thankful for all my blessings. Off we go.
Recently, I began a second blog to chronicle the sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane events in my quest to become stronger and more fit. I would like to cordially invite you to visit Feelin' Stronger Every Day.
I plan to include tips on how to stick with an exercise program, how to use nutrition to your best benefit, my own experiences with successes and failures, and my steadily lowering weight and increasing strength.
I hit the ground running this morning, hopping around in a tepid shower thanks to my teenage son who thinks "shower" means "forever," driving Val and Joel to PEP at 7:30 and coming back to start homeschooling with Eli and Anna-Jessie. After a few hours of that, it was time to take Eli to do his paper route, then dash back for Anna-Jessie to do hers, then run up to PEP to pick up V & J, then back real quick to get Kepler ready to get on the bus, and leave right away to go to my personal training appt. Eli and I JUMP in the car with the newspapers and I back out, carefully as always, lest you are worrying that I go too fast with so much to do. Put it in drive. Hmmmm. Something doesn't sound right. So I see a flat, back up into the driveway and proceed to decide what to do.
This is not convenient timing. In case you didn't notice, I had places to go and people to see. But, convenient or not, a flat tire fell into my day. I could wait for AAA to come and change it, but they usually take awhile to get there. I could go ask my neighbor whose truck is in his driveway, but wait! I CAN DO IT MYSELF.
Yes, I have never changed a tire in my whole life, nor ever watched that I can remember. Yes, it is snowing and I have shorts and a light jacket on, but after all, I AM in the driveway so I can change if I want. But, yes, surely I can read a manual and since this IS a Toyota, it should be clear and complete. I seem to remember the spare tire is under the car. I go in and get a dropcloth to lie on as I check out the situation. Well, there isn't anything that looks like it can be loosened to release the tire. Call Greg and he tells me you go through the top. Read the manual and it says the same thing. Look in the car and I DO NOT see any way to make this happen. Call Kings Toyota and get the very very helpful service guy who explains to me that there is a U-shaped cut in the carpet that I pull up which will expose the bolt that needs to be released. Brilliant!
With the help of Eli, my official photographer and spare tire removalist, I find myself ready now to actually jack up a car and change a tire. Second photo is me consulting the manual as I try to figure out where to put the jack, etc., etc., etc. Third photo I am placing the jack ever so carefully, and ever so backwards, under the car. Have to pull it out and put it in frontwards.
Ah, but this is where it gets exciting. Yes, I got the car jacked up safely. Got the tire off after standing on the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Was trying to figure out if I should somehow switch the hub thingys when up walks a good samaritan to help me. So he helped me get it back on the car, but oops, we got distracted after we lowered the car so didn't tighten the lug nuts again after the tire was on the ground. And neither one of us noticed! I give myself plenty of grace here, having never had to remember before to tighten the lug nuts when the tire was back on the ground.
And this is where it gets really exciting. So I'm driving to my personal training appt and something just doesn't sound quite right in the front end of the car. Sounds like something is . . . wobbling. I pull over and it dawns on me that we didn't tighten those nuts. Nuts is right, I think, on the side of the highway. Out I go, striding purposefully forth to the back of the car to retrieve the lug wrench and I proceed to tighten those puppies as tight as I can. First of all, THREE OF THEM are loose enough for me to first FINGER TIGHTEN them. Eek. Eek. Eek. So, I'm leaning on the lug wrench with one eye directed toward the cars speeding by me, to make sure I can nimbly jump out of the way should one get too close.
Pushing down with all my might, I slip, landing on my knuckles on the freezing cold highway. Ouch. But I got them tightened and off I went.
After my workout, I was going to tighten them once more for good measure, but my very strong personal trainer offered to do it for me. I was so glad to know they were on there tightly.
And as I drove along, all I could think about was how thankful I was that everything worked out the way it did. So thankful for all the care and protection I receive from God. So blessed.
Several years ago, Greg visited South Dakota on business. When he returned, he had this long-sleeved shirt for me. Here is a picture of the design on the front of it. "Wacipi" means something about dancing. I love the shirt. That's about as far as I went with the details of the design.
Fast forward a mere 10 years later. Greg checks a book out of the library because he likes the art on the cover. After he has the book for a couple of days, he brings me the shirt and the book and mentions that the artist is the same for both.
Here's the thing. I never even looked at the artist's name. It's kind of hard to read. But not only does he see the name, he sees the connection between the book and the shirt. This amazes me. I'm not even sure how he made the connection, but he does this all the time. And it just amazes me.
I have known for a few months that I wanted to get Kepler a guitar. He had played with his cousin's guitar and clearly enjoyed himself. He has always been a huge fan of music and he loves to dance.
I planned to get one for Christmas, but my mom wanted to get it for his birthday, so I waited. Between one thing and another, she ended up getting something else, so off I went to the store to find one for him. I walked up and down every toy aisle in the store and only found big, brassy, electric, non-Kepler-like guitars. So, I walked up and down every aisle again and scanned the shelves more closely. I saw this little one and decided it would be just perfect for him. He is a pretty small kid, so this little tiny guitar would fit him just right, I thought.
He is clearly delighted with this toy. We have already played with it for several hours and I will be posting a video of him playing on YouTube. Kepler's joy just seems to come through so clearly as he lives exuberantly.
Oooo, just the words "satin sheets" sound elegant and luxurious. So I brilliantly ordered GOLD satin sheets for Greg for his birthday (not his only gift, rest assured) and quickly put them on the bed that night for a new sleeping experience.
Yes, they are elegant. And quite luxurious. But how do you keep from slipping off the bed????? Greg and I have always had a little joke about me being a "cover-stealer" but he is keeping up with me these days (nights).
It just makes me laugh every time I think about how slippery these things are. Should I velcro the blankets to the sheets? Should I power-staple the fitted sheet to the mattress to keep it tucked in? Oh, what's an elegant, luxurious sleeper to do?
My smart daughter has been spending hours on Facebook for several months now. I got an account last summer and picked up a couple of friends, but left it dormant until just the other day. So far, I have resumed friendships with people from high school and college, and found out that one of Greg's cousins has been serving in the military in Kuwait but will be coming home this year. Everyone who is anyone is getting a Facebook! I see new familiar names and faces nearly every day.
The other day I posted about wishing I had stayed in contact with people from my past, and Facebook is giving me the opportunity to renew friendships I (or they) had let go long ago.
I just didn't get why my teenagers wanted to spend so much time on Facebook, but I see now how much fun it is! I'm new to the whole "i.m." thing too but am finding that to be quite fun. Soon the newness will wear off and I will have the chance to think it all through, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride!
I had my first workout with Jason on Saturday morning. He worked me hard, which I wanted, and I did some exercises that I never did with Mark. That's because every trainer does things a little differently. And that's the benefit of switching around every so often.
The best part is that I told him I haven't been losing weight and he jumped right on that, assuring me we would look at my nutrition and make whatever adjustments are necessary. One adjustment that I already know is that I need to put fewer bites of pizza in my mouth.
I see him again on Tuesday. Looking forward to another good workout.
We were nearing the end of a surprise pregnancy, and I was one week away from my due date. I had finally decided on a home water birth in early December, and had met my midwife at that time. Greg and I loved her from the start. The water was ready, the music was cued up, and I thought I was as ready as I'd ever be to have a baby at age 44.
Labor was intense, but so wonderful in the water. The birth was wonderful and we were on a new journey with this little guy. I could see the Down syndrome right away, but Greg and my midwife weren't too sure.
The kids were in the house when Kepler was born and they all got to hold him and spend time with him before the next day when we needed to take him to the pediatrician because of breathing issues, and we ended up in intensive care for a week.
Kepler is so full of joy. There is just something about him, the hugs and kisses he gives, his smiles, the sweet laugh he has.
There have been some challenging days trying to figure out what it means to have a child with DS. There have been many more days when there's nothing to figure out -- he's just Kepler. We love him. Forever.
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? spent a week with my brother-in-law and his wife; went to an Iowa Cubs game; participated in the Morning Glory bike ride in September; dead-lifted 185 pounds; joined Facebook.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Haven't made these for many years -- they just don't seem to be useful to me.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? Iowa. (haha)
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? a decluttered house.
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February 13 -- got my braces off; June 9 -- met with our financial advisors and began the process of getting all of our financial affairs updated, including a special needs trust; July 20 -- attended the Disability Awareness Day Reds game and had great seats!; August 6 -- day trip to downtown with Joe and Sonya, Charlie, Mom, and Valerie; the day of the big windstorm when Greg and I heard Matthew Kelly speak downtown at the CAC; December 24 -- best ever Christmas Eve at my parents'.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Managing my schedule in light of homeschooling four and having a special needs child, with all the resulting doctor and therapist appts.
9. What was your biggest failure? Managing my schedule in light of saying yes to so many things that it was difficult to complete everything.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Christmas presents this year.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mine! I am learning how to better take care of myself so that I am able to better take care of my family.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? Sorry to split hairs, but no one's behavior can MAKE me appalled and/or disgusted. I was disgusted by the decisions of Mike Brown (owner of the Bengals) because I'm tired of the Bengals being a losing team and I place the responsibility for that squarely on Mr. Brown's shoulders.
14. Where did most of your money go? to Kroger, I'd say.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Working out and lifting weights.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008? the theme from the television show House
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? happier b) thinner or fatter? somewhat thinner c) richer or poorer? richer
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? smiling
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? driving
20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? family traditions focusing on Greg's birthday and looking back/looking forward
21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes.
22. How many one-night stands? Right. Stupid question.
23. What was your favorite TV program? American Idol Feb-May, then House in the fall.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Don't hate anyone at all.
25. What was the best book you read? No way can I limit it to one. I loved Jesse Kellerman's The Genius. Loved Stephen King's Duma Key. Loved Crazy Busy by Edward Hallowell. And loved The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Annie Lennox's Songs of Mass Destruction
27. What did you want and get? personal training, video ipod, new cell phone
28. What did you want and not get? the iScrapbook program
29. What was your favorite film of this year? Fireproof
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Probably rushed around, like I usually do on a normal day. 47 years young.
31.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? Can't think of anything.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? A smidge more desire to be fashionable.
33. What kept you sane? Working out with personal trainer.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Edward Norton
35. What political issue stirred you the most? whether or not to allow payday lenders to stay in business in Ohio without interest caps.
36. Who did you miss? Not that I knew him or anything, but the circumstances of Heath Ledger's death were so sad and he was so young.
37. Who was the best new person you met? my personal trainer, Mark.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. I am perfectly imperfect.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "to want what I have; to take what I'm given, with grace."
Here are the first sentences from each of the months I have blogged in 2008. I saw this idea elsewhere. I'm going to make sure my first sentences next year have PIZAZZZZ! This year's are kind of boring, but it's still fun, at least for me. :-)
Today I am joining the bloggers club. Wow, where does the time go? My parents live one mile from us, in the house I grew up in, and have lived there for almost 48 years. While lunching with my good friend, Jean, yesterday, she commented on my dream post. Our little Kepler began speech therapy this morning with the most enthusiastic speech therapist! I'm happy to report that Joel's new planner is being USED and it is helping him GET THINGS DONE. What in the world have I been doing? Actually, 10 years ago yesterday, I was sitting in the midwife's office with Greg, 14 days past my due date with baby #4. The glasses are lost, lost, lost.