Friday, November 25, 2016

finding magic...

Keeping my eyes on the sink, watching that it won't overflow as the pump fills the aquarium.  Good thing I love my boy so much.  This turtle is a lot of work. And I have a feeling the pump is on it's last leg, they seem to last about 5 to 6 months.  And I spent a full thirty minutes coaxing it to drain the darn thing.

I told Hubs to go lay down, his back is really hurting him.  I can't wait for them to finally get a good MRI and decide what happened and how to fix it.  Doc seems pretty positive it's a herniated disk, doesn't think it's ruptured as he can move.  Unfortunately, the original MRI was done of his pelvic area.  Who hires these docs?  I feel we would already have him feeling better if we'd have insisted on taking care of it ourselves instead of letting work comp handle it. They sent him for an MRI of his back and spine.  They did one of his pelvis?  Unreal.

So while he's snoozing/resting, I decided to tackle the turtle solo.  It's something that can be done.  I've done it many times, especially since we moved here. It's just not easy or fun.  The poor guy needed it though. So... here I sit within view of the sink as it fills.

Hubs decided to go walking with me today.  I am not so sure it was a good idea.  We picked a super flat course and only walked a two miler.  And even though he tried to hide it, I could hear the flat slap his foot makes on that left side when he's done too much.  Hopefully the rest will get him feeling good again today.

I love the peace and quiet of the day after Thanksgiving.  At least around my house.  Once upon a time Hubs and I tackled Black Friday shopping.  Sort of.  I'd never encountered it having grown up and spent most of my adult life in Europe, I was curious.

As we are early risers, it was no big deal to scoot out and check things out.  Until I saw the lines around every store on our shopping list.  The people bundled in pop up tents, sitting in folding chairs, hovered around their coffee cups.  Waiting.

I guess I really envisioned more of a Christmas Market kind of feel.  Happy families and couples wandering around shopping.  The pushing, shoving, clamoring for stuff... Yeah, it didn't work for me at all!  I am fairly certain we never even got out of the car.  We simply looked at each other, both of us looking a bit wild eyed and decided that breakfast at Bob Evans looked to be the best idea we'd had all day.  We finally got our shopping done, many hours after those folks that had forsaken sleep had drifted off to their beds for a long nap.

Since then my contributions to the insanity of Black Friday have been items I might need at the grocery or any online shopping.  I hate shopping, that kind of insanity makes me more stressed than I ever want to be.  I am not sure how folks can focus on the joy of selecting the perfect gift for a loved one in all that chaos.

Today, I will complete some minor online shopping, nope, I don't want to wait for cyber Monday when my computer speed will be super slow.  And shortly, when my hands are completely dry, I will head out to the garage and take care of some minor wood working, so that I can finish a few gifts.

After that, I am fairly positive that I am going to fix a pot of hot tea and head up to my sewing room.  I have presents to finish and quilts I've been commissioned to make.  Later this evening, I will be down in the man cave.  I will be bouncing between paint and thread, more gifts to complete and quilting to get done. Hopefully Hubs will feel like either helping or watching some television while I'm working. I love the company.  And working on projects with him.

I am so blessed.  Just when I start to take my life for granted someone quietly reminds me what a great life I have.

As Hubs and I were walking along the Meramec this morning, my girl called from Iowa.  As we chatted away she made an innocent enough comment, but it is still echoing in my head.  Hubs and I are a team.  We enjoy each other's company.  He is my best friend.  So many times we've both uttered words to the effect that we wish we'd gotten together so much sooner in life.  I honestly feel that it's because we didn't that we have such a great life now.

So much time to make up for, so we don't miss a minute if we can help it.  We spend our mornings walking together, sitting on the deck having coffee, talking to each other on our separate drives into work. We take care of each other.  When I am cooking a meal for him, I will be lost in thought, making sure it is delicious and nourishing.  He spoils me rotten.  I try hard to spoil him just as much.  I don't believe that either of us tries to make life just about ourselves.

It's really magical.  I've walked down that one sided path in the past.  So has he.  Maybe that is why we always meet in the middle.  I don't believe our relationship is 50/50, more like 100/100.

The Christmas carols have been playing for weeks now.  Sometimes simply softly in the background, other times loudly.  Not at all because Hubs loves them, he's a Jazz guy, but because I do.

Last night after dinner, he didn't demand I help him clean up, he knew I was a bit tired from cooking all day, so he made sure "my" kitchen was ready for more abuse this morning.  I am a messy cook, I know it.  I get completely wrapped up in what I am doing and little spills can wait.  He doesn't complain, just says he's never met a great cook that was neat.  Yes I know he's humoring me, but I also know he loves to be pampered with home cooked meals and he doesn't take it for granted.

Life isn't perfect, we've been beat up and knocked around more than once.  We've survived many hurtful and terrifying things.  There have been times when we didn't know if we would or even could survive.  Two years ago started a very dark period for us, when we didn't even know if he would survive.

Each time we remembered what was at risk.  We found a way to survive it.  I pray that everyone has that kind of magic in their lives.

My girl is big about saying that what you put out into the universe comes back to you.  It's about karma.  I agree with her.

Sometimes it takes a good long while, but it will come back.  As we embark on this magical time of year I pray that people take a few minutes to really think about it.  To really consider what they are putting out into the universe. Spread love, give joy and simply be the person that you want others to be.

Pretty simple.  Pretty sure that is why Hubs and I are so blessed.

Wow, maybe a bit too philosophical for Black Friday... time to go and create...

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Christmas carols are playing softly in the background.  The sun has long ago set.  Hubs and the boys have headed off to bed and I am sitting here a bit nostalgic for holidays past. Half expect to see the Ghost of Christmas Past come strolling through.

As my kids get deeper and deeper into their own lives I know things will continue to change.  Today was an odd one for us.  Daughter and Grand Daughter are out of state, visiting with extended family.  The Boy is on the coast.  It looked a bit bleak.  Our youngest Grandson has to work tomorrow so he's still in town, and he joined us for dinner.

I'm deeply rooted in my immediate family, having been military they are my heart.  Not having them here... sadder than I expected.

Last weekend the girls, Hubs and I went to Arkansas to have an early Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  It was wonderful!  So nice to have everyone together. It'd been four years since we'd done that. All families change.

Since being home Hubs and I have puttered about, working on Christmas gifts and spending some quality, quiet time together.

With his injured back Hubs is still not really able to walk with me, so I set off for my morning walk alone.  I look forward to that together time, it's a chance to talk without distractions.  It's not we solve world hunger or anything, but we both know we have each others undivided attention as we power through.  So the silence (conversation wise) is deafening.

Hubs knows I love my Christmas music, he also knows I hate ear buds, so he has brought me two different pairs to try.  Yesterday's were a definite no go, I could hear each step as the cord swung back and forth, they hurt my ears and basically made me miserable.  Today's were better.  I don't love them, but if I have to walk alone at least it's not in total silence.

I can't wait for him to be healed, I miss having him there.

My mind goes crazy places as the miles fall away under my feet.  Staring at the gloomy early morning sky today only made the melancholy stronger.  Sweet Hubs tried to make it less noticeable, but... I know I shouldn't be so whiny.  I have friends that will always have an empty seat at the table. That guilty feeling didn't make the grim cloud cover any easier to take.  As I searched for the silver lining and the beauty in this day of giving thanks I slowly realized it was all around me.

In the unique morning light the trees that still had their leaves glimmered.  The brilliant reds and golds stood out in sharp contrast.

Every step had me falling deeper into thought.  I cherish Christmas carols, I could listen to them year round. I'm not sure why.  The soft beauty just pulls at my heart.  They calm me.   And so I walked/ran and felt the calmness returning.

Hubs knew today would be tough, he met me as I returned with the perfect Bloody Mary and we sat outside in the chilly air and talked.  I actually spent quite a bit of time spoiling myself this morning.  My heart needed it.

I am thankful that Hubs and I have our children and grandchildren.  And that even when they aren't near, they are in our hearts and thoughts. Sitting outside we talked about them, Christmas with them, and how each year seemed a bit different.

I was so pleased to be sure my suited up Grandson had a great holiday.  Maybe not the holiday he'd expected, but plenty of food and love.  He's 17, that is not often an easy age.  As he showed up in a suit and tie, helped set and clear the table and ate to his fill, my heart was filled with peace and love.

Hubs and I spent the day fixing a healthy meal, unsure if he'd show up.  I had his favorites, but the majority of the meal I focused on more of the foods we eat now.  Hubs and I didn't start a diet to walk away from whenever we wanted, we started a lifestyle change.  As I chopped what felt like millions of veggies today, altered recipes to how we eat now, I was in awe of the changes.

As we sat for the meal, I was worried.  Gone were the marshmallows and fat laden treats of old.  I didn't make a fruit salad, traditional stuffing didn't grace the table either.  And yet, it was fabulous.  The grandson that doesn't eat any vegetables tried everything except the cauliflower stuffing (which is delicious by the way).

After he headed out and we'd cleaned up the kitchen and dishes, it was time to relax.  Unusual to say the least. The boys in a turkey coma slept while we caught up on so many missed episodes of Madam Secretary. Hubs in his recliner, me sitting on the sofa with my Gator knitting away as the sun set.

Around the neighborhood several homes glowed with the fullness within.  Streets were lined with cars. Down near us, it was quiet.  Hubs and I were making new traditions.  Tomorrow I will probably decorate, today it was emotionally too much.  This Christmas will be the first one ever without my boy.  I will deal with that later.

I am thankful for much.  I am blessed by much.  I have a daughter and son that I love so much and am very proud of.  Grandchildren that fill my heart with love and joy!  A new one on the way.  A Husband that blesses my life in so many ways that I cannot count them.  I still have both my boys. I have a family that I love.  Friends that I cherish. And even though I am enjoying this small window of downtime, I have a career doing something I love.

I truly am blessed. Things will always be different. Change isn't bad, it's just change...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

dealing in memories...

Sitting here watching the dying embers of the fire Hubs built for me, I realize yet again  that I'm not feeling so hot tonight.  Actually, I'm feeling quite hot.  That is what has me a tad concerned.  Sure hope I'm not catching a bug.  I simply don't have time right now to be under the weather or out of any loops.  I have a lot going on both at work and at home.  Illness... bah... I simply don't have time!

Hubs and I got up this morning and hit the walking paths again.  I sure wasn't running, in fact I didn't want to be walking.  But I missed too many days last week between work and the election.  So walk we did.  It was a whopping 27 degrees.  Bundled up, I even wore a hat and I detest hats.  Funny thing is that with my hair all chopped off, I needed one. Brrrrrrr....

Between his measured limp, that darn back is really giving him fits (note to Hubs... when wifey says maybe you shouldn't... it's because she loves you and doesn't want you hurting) and me feeling like a truck had plowed over me I was rather surprised that we had a great pace.  Must have been the cold motivating us to hustle a bit faster.  It sure was biting at my toes, time to invest in winter work out shoes, or heavier socks.  And even through double layers of alpaca my fingers were chilled ever so slightly.

It's been a busy and fulfilling weekend just the same.  After a nice walk yesterday morning, we got around and met up with my two youngest sisters and most of their families for lunch.  I am almost feeling like we should have gone with their first selection of Steak and Shake.  It's been a good long bit since we've been to a Cracker Barrel, it's going to be a good much longer bit before we go back to one to eat.  It was fun to visit, even though I will be in Arkansas next weekend to see them all again.

I was already feeling a bit yuck so we headed home to rest up.  I didn't manage to rest.  Too many things pleading inside my mind for me to take care of.  Some never did get my attention.  So while Hubs napped I got busy on some quilts that I've been commissioned to make.  I do enjoy making t-shirt quilts.

The first one I had started a while back, it's actually a gift.  I've been stalling, for a myriad of reasons. Mostly, because it is a memory quilt of the sad kind.  The bits and pieces of someone gone.  While those often are my favorites, this one was too close to me.  The top is finally together and as soon as I buy the correct backing I will finish it. It's going to be a Christmas gift, so I have a bit.

The next one is celebratory, my next favorite kind.  Working with memories is so rewarding.  It's not mine, but it is for a dear friend.  I have made several for her to gift other's with, so the joy of finally making hers is very special.  I know that she will cherish it.  In fact I know that each one I have made previously for her is loved. It's easy to get lost in the piles.

I have two more that are commissioned so I figured it was time to get busy.  Hours of today were spent snipping and ironing, measuring and cutting.  Tomorrow when my hand hurts, I will not remember what I spent the day doing.  I will be puzzled.  I probably wouldn't have stopped when I did, but I ran out of lightweight interfacing and frankly, I just didn't have the energy to go out and buy more. My goal is to have at least the top finished before this weekend.  I will complete it next week when I am on vacation.

Hubs was busy all day too, he finally accomplished getting both cars and the motorcycle in the garage.  It's been his mission since we moved into this house.  While my girl and I visited this morning, he surfed Craig's list, he's been wanting a motorcycle caddy.  So that he can move the bike where ever he wants in the garage. The one he truly wanted was $350, ouch! But the garage gods must have been smiling on him today, because he managed to snag that very caddy for $120.  Yes, he was a happy man!  With it being so cold at night now, both of us will be happy tomorrow, no frosty windows, no long warm-up before heading to work. Good stuff.

He's sleeping soundly now.

Me?  I've still got a million thoughts running through my head.  I'm pondering the fact that a five year old was shot up in North St. Louis again today.  What could a five year old possibly have done to warrant that.  The fact that a popular restaurant owner was shot and killed along side a very busy highway that I travel daily, just the other day.  And then there is the fact that we have people rioting and protesting in the streets over an election.

All of these things bother me.  I'm all for freedom of speech.  Protest if you want to.  I just am puzzled as to why.  I guess I am more of a do something person, I mean physically do it.  I guess I don't have enough energy to put into making signs and marching up and down the streets yelling.  I'd rather help feed the hungry, gather coats for a coat drive. Or a million other product things that make a difference in another persons life.

I am confused and frustrated.

While people marched, a child was shot.  Somehow I guess my heart would rather believe the energy spent on one could have somehow stopped the other from even being considered.  I don't know how, heck, I'm not sure any of us do.

Maybe that is why I stayed home today and worked on quilts.  Maybe my headache was God's way of keeping me away from things I don't understand.  Hmmm...

As I was stitching today I was thinking about the fantastic evening Hubs and I had last night.  A few months back he won tickets for us to go see Jerry Lewis, he'd had to sing on the radio.  Jerry Lewis has been a part of my childhood, my teen years, and all of my adult years.  He's made me laugh.  He's inspired me to help others with his telethons, and his struggles have melted my heart.  Last night for a precious hour or more, We got to laugh and walk down memory lane with none other than Jerry Lewis himself.  He's 90, a bit frail, but still fun to laugh with.  He touched my heart when he said that he wasn't performing before new friends, he was entertaining old friends.  I wasn't the youngest person there, I wasn't the oldest.  But it felt like all of us where sitting in the living room laughing about old times and memories.

I wonder what kind of memories I will have when I am 90.  Will my memories include all the good there is in this world or will they be a reflection of the sorrow and selfishness?  I am sure they will be a mix of both.  I pray there is more good...

The embers of my fire are gone, my tea is getting chilled.  Those are all good signs that I need to climb the stairs and tuck myself in to bed.  Hopefully after a good nights sleep, I will feel better and ready to tackle the world. Can't forget to be up early enough to see the moon the closest that it has been since 1948....

Sunday, November 6, 2016

coming out of the fog...

Not only did we lose an hour of sleep, yep woke up at the usual time, but dang was it cold this morning. Hard to believe this beautiful fall day is any relation to this morning. 

Deep fog, to the point that you could not see the length of the headlights in front of you.  And so very cold. 39 is a bit cool.  Two sweatshirts, thicker sweat pants (way too big - but that is okay they kept me warm), and a set of gloves, Hubs and I set off to walk.  

We try to go to the river to walk on the weekends, it is a bit flatter, not so hard on the Hubs.  This morning it was downright surreal.  To the point that Hubs made the comment, I wonder if this is what the afterlife looks like.  I didn't disagree.  Moving just 20 feet away meant that you lost sight of the person you were walking with.  The trees and town made ghostly shadows and it was so wet!

Hubs injured his back at work a few weeks back.  And has struggled to walk each day.  We were up to an average of 4 miles a day.  Even topping out at 5 or 6 on the weekends.  Now he barely makes the 2 miles without slowing and being in pain.  So, how is a girl to get in her steps and exercise while still spending quality time with hubs?  Well, she starts putting some slow jogging into the routine.  

I am so stunned that for two days now I have been able to jog for a total of .5 or more of my three miles. I've never been a runner. Probably never will be.  I have horrible feet and we already know one of my knees feels like it should be 80. I also am fairly certain that I don't truly like jogging.  

But... I love that I am able to do it.  I am beyond pumped.  In January I could barely walk.  As I struggled through therapy and multiple draining and shots in my knee, I was sure that I was never even going to go for a nice long walk again without intense pain.  I was fairly positive I would never see my calf or ankle again. And that toes and not baby sausages were going to be the norm for the rest of my life on the left side.  I limped very painfully and just walking the boys was enough to require a hot Epsom salt bath if I wanted to make it through the day.  

By May when I went to see my son, I had reached a "fake it" point.  I could force it through the day, the swelling was still unbelievable and I jokingly referred to it as my "fat" leg.  I was always worried that it was a sign of some horrid health issue.  I suffered through it, smiling, pretending.  Sucking down anti-inflammatories and praying I could make it until July/August when I could have another shot.  I was completely depressed.

This morning as Hubs moved along at his steady pace, too slow for me to get a good work out where I am now, but fast enough for a brisk walk, I took off jogging again.  I'd run until I could no longer see him through the fog and then turn and head back, going each direction that way for a few times.  Until my legs felt week and my breathing became labored.  

This morning I realized it wasn't a fluke.  It wasn't an accident.  This morning I realized as I was drifting through the early morning fog, My hair drenched from the mist, my glasses fogged up from the cold air against my warm body, I realized that I have reached a turning point.  For the first time in my life, I have intentionally made a change, a difference in who I am and what I want to accomplish. 

One of my friends posted on Facebook about accomplishments.  That really resonated in my head and heart. Am I up to a full mile, oh hecky no!, but I am going a bit further each morning.  Today, my total running was .6 of a mile.  Yesterday it was .5.  Who knows if my legs can take it maybe tomorrow will be .7, or maybe I will slide back to .5.  I am definitely feeling the exertion today.  I am always brutally aware that I have FMS, that I will always struggle to keep it on an even keel.  

Today, running along the top of the levee, through the mist, with a mix of the theme from Rocky and Happy playing courtesy of the Hubs who always loves to make a sound track for life, I felt a bit like a super hero.  I felt invincible and strong.  It didn't bother me that I couldn't run solid for the entire length of either song.  It made me feel empowered that even when my legs and lungs couldn't take it I didn't stop.  I simply slowed down to a more reasonable pace. And my sweet Hubs cheered me on!  Even when his back wouldn't let him walk further, he followed me in the car to make sure nothing happened to me, cheering me on, talking to me on the phone.  

I am reaching for those stars... I am climbing the mountains before me.  Both real and in my mind.  

I was right, 51 has proven to be a powerful year for me!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

welcome fall...

On a chilled fall evening nothing is quite so homey as the warmth of a fire in the fireplace, the earthy sweet smell of a thick butternut squash soup and the spice of hot ginger tea simmering on the store beside it. In fact, it makes me want to stay up late and make more vegetable soups to stash in the freezer.  Easy peasy dinners for those late nights that happen more than we plan on.

But sadly, I am pretty sure that I am going to finish up this current batch.  Swap out one more load of laundry and then head to bed.  Tonight we fall backwards.  And as my body clock is already naturally set for 4:15 am, it's going to be a really early morning.

I modified a Roasted Butternut squash soup recipe tonight for dinner.  Needed to bring the fat grams down to something that fit the way we eat now.  But I didn't want to sacrifice any of the rich flavor.  A bit more time roasting, a slow saute on the veggies and a healthy dose of vegetable broth base, simmered until it's thick and rich.  Sprinkle in some Ceylon cinnamon, salt and pepper... serve with some sliced pears and a sprinkle of fat free feta or shaved Parmesan and YUM! So much so the grand baby, yes I am well aware that she is definitely not a baby anymore (note: she will always be MY baby!) took a full cup of it home for her dinner and I am pretty sure the daughter wanted to, but was afraid it was our dinner.

Hubs loved it so much that he requested another batch.  And as pureed soups (without cream) freeze fantastic, I decided to make a triple batch.  Some for the girls, some for me and the Hubs.  Pretty sure my "b" will love it too, she is also a soup girl.

I'm struggling to limit the eating out we do.  Not because we haven't found some good places over the past few weeks.  And honestly if you aren't afraid to ask, you can get them to modify just about anything on a menu. It's simply not the most nutritious, and who knows what really goes into that meal?

I haven't quite made the leap to meal prepping on the weekends, but I am slowly getting there.  I am also pretty sure that if Hubs and I don't have yummy, healthy meals, we won't be as eager to continue on this path.  We are changing habits, some of them life long. You should see us in a grocery store.  We read labels like crazy and most of the time we are freaked out over stuff we used to think was good for us, and now we quickly deposit back on the shelf.

Inadvertently we have gone to a mostly paleo/clean diet.  It wasn't intentional.  We still eat frozen custard and Hubs is a hero (with me and our girls) every time he surprises us with a batch of rice krispie treats.  Other than that, we limit processed foods, things we can't pronounce and honestly I don't know the last time I ate a store bought salad dressing.

We took a vacation day to tie in with the weekend, we were going to go visit Hub's sis down south, but that didn't end up working out.  So instead, we are squeezing in a few extra walks, and taking advantage of these beautiful early fall days.  Although I am getting more worried with each passing warm day, sooner or later Mother Nature is going to make us pay.

I harvested the last 4 tomatoes from my garden this afternoon.  It was a pretty pathetic garden.  I won't be planting one next year.  But I am sure they will taste fabulous with whatever I cook for tomorrow. I have a few quilts to work on and a baby afghan to finish up.  Then it will be time to start planning for our newest grand baby, her arrival will be here all too soon.

The soup is done, the laundry just chimed and it's 8:30 pm.  Time for me to go crawl into my nice cozy.  I've missed you...

Sixteen weeks...

Wow, it's been almost two months... just a few short days away since I last wrote.  Since I've had the time to sit still and share the thoughts that have been running and tumbling through my mind.  It's been a busy few months.  It's felt like it is moving at warp speed and at the same time standing still.

I might have mentioned the changes that started happening in July.  So many... I'm not sure what was going on with my astrology sign then, but it must have been major. Personal life, major shifts.  Career, major shift. Heck even with my children major changes.

The only constant, has been change.

Hubs and I started on an amazing journey on July 12th.  Seems like forever ago.  I remember being grouchy, angry and just plain put out with him.  I didn't have time, I wasn't interested, I didn't want to face facts.  My Fitbit was gathering dust, I couldn't have cared less about making time to eat right, much less exercise.  I was in a personal struggle with my career (if that makes any sense at all) that had reached the point it was consuming me.  Frankly, "I didn't give a damn"... take that Scarlett!

But hearing the worry in his voice concerning his own weight and health.  I begrudgingly gave in.  I wasn't thrilled with my inactivity.  I was less thrilled with how I looked and felt.  But frankly, it simply felt like one more battle I didn't have the energy to fight.  Nope, no thank you... No time, no desire, no energy.

I still gave in.

We joined YDPP (YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program), both of us have a family history of Type II diabetes.  Neither of us really wanted to have to face that for ourselves.  Our insurance would pay for it.  It would meet at lunchtime, it was just at his office a 5 minute drive for me once a week.

The time commitment 1 hour a week... yeah that is what he told me.  The truth it was for one full year.

WHAT??  I seriously wanted to strangle that dear man.  Love him as I do, I was not a happy camper.  The timing stunk... my life was not going well.

We are almost 4 months into it.  Week 16 just behind us.  Thinking back to July, I still hear our leader asking me to commit to three 30 minute walks a week.  My answer... NO!  Pretty resounding at that.

I hate heat, my knee was still so swollen and painful, and just where was I going to find another 30 minutes in a schedule that barely allowed me to find time to fix dinner?

That first walk... was brutal.  I was cursing Hubs in my head.  My knee was killing me, I didn't want to walk. The plantar fasciitis that I'd developed in my right foot from dealing with the left knee seriously was not happy.  And... oh yeah... It was HOT!  Stinking, horrible, sweat rolling in my eyes, heat exhaustion threatening HOT!  After all this is the Midwest and oh-yeah, it was JULY! It was 37 long minutes, the distance... not quite a full mile.

Guess what else does not like heat?  My FMS.  Was he trying to kill me off?  I mean seriously?  I don't have enough life insurance to make that a good plan.

He was far more dedicated that I was at first.  I could easily watch what we ate.  I am a bit of a control freak about things like that.  It was almost a game at first.  That and the fact that we had to turn it in weekly.

Again... WHAT?  I hate to disappoint any one, and particularly co-workers.  And here I had to turn in my food and exercise log.  Oh Hubs... what on earth have you done to me?  That was all I could think of.

July 2016
Each morning Hubs and I walked the boys, came home, grabbed a quick glass of water and started our walks.  Dust off those Fitbits, tracking our steps, tracking our time, slowly gaining speed.  Slowly moving towards that first goal. Just losing 7% of your weight reduces your risk.  Just walking 30 minutes, 3 times a week.

Those first few weeks were tough.  We finally figured out that we needed to get up earlier.  We discovered we were in this together.  When my foot or knee had me ready to quit, he was my rock.  Encouraging me, pushing me just a bit harder.  When he wanted to quit, I became his.

Somewhere in the past 16 weeks we've changed. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Somewhere in those first few painful weeks we decided together this was just something else we could do. That together we were not only going to complete this program, but we were going to adopt it for the rest of our lives. We could feel the change and we knew that the change was going to improve our lives.

Fast forward 16 weeks... this morning I stepped on the scale as I do daily.  Through blurry eyes I saw that the scale shows a 40 pound weight loss for me.  A toddler less. As I was still shivering in the early morning chill, putting on an extra layer before my walk and lacing up my shoes.  I felt so empowered.  So much stronger.

Last week, I bought a pair of jeans, they were size 14.  Sixteen weeks ago, a size 24 was snug.  Most of my closet doesn't fit me any longer, too bad.

It isn't just about pounds, I still have a long way to go.  It isn't even about the inches.  Again... long way to go.

16 weeks ago, I was in so much pain from that walk.  My leg was swollen, I was facing possible partial knee replacement at 51.  I had my appointment scheduled for the next round of shots to keep the pain at bay.  I never had to keep it.

16 weeks ago, I had no energy.  I got up, went to work, came home, went to bed.  Somewhere in there I would eat horribly unhealthy meals, probably have a adult drink and basically hate life. I was unhappy, miserable, grouchy and basically felt horrible about me.

Fast forward... my average week is almost 40 miles of walking.  I try to get more, but I've been pretty darn busy lately. I have enough energy to tackle everything that comes my way at home and at work (remember I said there were some major changes there too!).  I try very hard to cook most of our meals myself - Hubs and I have seriously discovered what caused us to get where we are at.  Ever doubt it, track your fat grams for one solid day - wow!  Eyes get opened fast! My leg is no longer swollen or painful and most days I forget about the plantar fasciitis.  There are still moments that hurts a bit, but very few.  Shoot... I even own heels for the first time in decades!

This morning walking along the Meramec River in the cold, early morning fog - to Christmas music - we managed to pull off a 14 minute mile.  I even managed to run a full half mile.  I've never done that in my life - so not a runner.
Nov. 5, 2016

Hubs and I are enjoying this journey.  We have found our joy and energy.  He forgets that he is 64, I never bothered to accept 51 (didn't even eat cake for my birthday).  He's down darn near 50 pounds.  We both cherish our power walks and will always search for new paths.
November 2, 2016

Sixteen weeks is just the start of this journey.  We've discovered joy in exercise.  Happiness in eating healthy and finding new recipes and dishes to try.  We talk as we walk.  Planning, venting, chatting aimlessly. Enjoying each other.

Oct.30, 2016
Sept 11, 2016
Aug. 2106
Will I always have time to write now, nope.  I also don't always have time for the other things I love.  Not all of that, actually very little of that is linked to the things I am doing in my personal life.  But I know that is only for a moment.

Something must have nudged Hubs.  Somehow he knew this was definitely the right place and time for us to jump into YDPP.  I give it total credit for where I am right now.  Not just physically, but mentally.  Without the structure and lessons I don't feel I would be in the right place for all the changes outside of this journey.  I am pretty sure the old me wouldn't have been able to handle this path.

Even more frightening, I think I am going to start taking Group Exercise classes next week.  It's time to go to the next level.  Before I was concerned about dealing with the heat.  Now I am planning ahead to avoid letting the cold slow me down.

I'm still cooking, but now I am looking for healthier choices. Bought three cookbooks last night.  Let's see if they are as awesome as "Clean and Hungry".  Can't wait to dive deeper into using my spiralizer.

This journey is powerful.  I'm so thankful that my sweet Hubby loved me and our life together enough to encourage us to start.  And is always there to keep me focused on moving forward, to pushing myself just a bit further and harder.

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...