March 31, 2017


What's that saying about March weather? "In like a lion, out like a lamb"?

Ha! Usually, it's February weather that makes me wonder why on earth I choose to live in Michigan; but this year, February was gorgeous. Sunny, and even very warm on some days--73 degrees--and pleasant. I was totally in the mood for spring when I was sitting outside without a coat on mid-February ;)

Then March happened. The weather this month has been unbelievable! Yesterday and today, it's been raining all. day. long.

This is how hard it was raining all day!

Yesterday, Eli had an appointment to pick up his orthotics, so we spent the day together playing hooky from school.

The appointment was in Detroit, which is normally about a 35 minute drive. However, there is a huge construction project going on, so we left with plenty of time to spare (well over an hour).

Driving in the rain is never fun, but yesterday it was awful! We had to take an alternate route, so it was going to take longer anyway, but with the rain coming down so hard, I was a little nervous at times. Semi trucks were spraying water all over the place, and there were sheets of water pouring down. At some points, traffic was going about 25 mph on the expressway.

The last three times I've gone to a hospital we've had a storm: 1) When Lucas was born, and I drove to the hospital in Toledo, we had a crazy windstorm that was so bad it caused several semi trucks to literally tip over on their sides; 2) When I took Noah to Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago, we had that huge snow storm and counted about a dozen car accidents on the way up to the ER; and 3) The drive through the rain storm yesterday to Detroit Medical Center Children's Hospital was actually just as bad as the snow storm!

Thankfully, Eli's appointments at DMC are done now (at least until his feet outgrow the orthotics). And Noah's foot is healing well, so we don't need to go back to U of M anytime soon.

Anyway, it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get to DMC yesterday, but once we got there, everything was fine. Eli's orthotics fit well, and he was (surprisingly) excited about wearing them. He's supposed to wear them for a couple of hours a day to start, and gradually increase the time he wears them until he wears them all the time.

He's been doing really well with physical therapy, too, and his range of motion in his ankles has improved quite a bit. I really like his physical therapist! He really knows his stuff, and Eli is comfortable with him.

After we were done at the hospital, I told Eli he could choose wherever he wanted to go for lunch, and he chose La Pita. Obviously, that sounded good to me! ;) It was fun spending time with just Eli, and he gave me the scoop about what's going on at school and with his friends. I felt the same way when I took Noah to Ann Arbor, and we spent the whole day together just the two of us. Spending time with both kids is great, but one-on-one time is special.

Thankfully, the ride home was a little better than the ride there. I picked up Noah from school, and then we had to go to Eli's physical therapy appointment. On the way home from that, it was pouring again, and there were several traffic lights without power. There was SO much flooding from the rain, too--the ditches that are usually empty are completely filled to the top with rain water.

When we got home, we got cozy in our pajamas and watched an episode of Flashpoint (one of our family favorites). The rain stopped toward the end of the show, and I started thinking about how maybe I should go for a run. I was SO comfy, and really didn't want to move; but, I had been chatting with Colin (who I ran with in San Diego) the day before, and he all-but dared me to train to try to get back in shape enough to run (or even run/walk) the Indy Mini instead of walking the whole thing. There is nothing wrong with walking it, of course, but he was encouraging me to think a little bigger.

I didn't want to think that far ahead (and still don't), but I figured it wouldn't hurt to go do a short run and see how I felt. I put on some water resistant running clothes and a hat, and hoped that the rain would stay at a stop while I ran a mile or two. Once I started running, I felt better than the day before--still out of breath, but the "normal" kind, and not the kind I described in my previous post. My heart rate was high, but I expected that after not having run for a while.

I had only planned to run a mile or two, just to say that I did, but I felt good enough that I did a lollipop route that was about 3.4 miles. I managed a 10:45/mi pace, which was a whole minute faster than Wednesday's 11:45 pace at the same heart rate. Afterward, I was SO glad that I did it! I came inside just as it started down pouring again, and took a hot shower.

I miss feeling good like that after a run! I can't even remember the last time I felt that way after a run--probably when I was 10K training a year ago. I felt very accomplished, even though it was "just an easy three-miler". It boosted my confidence a little.

We had more thunderstorms last night, and it's still raining today (although nothing as hard as yesterday). Driving the kids to school this morning, I saw so many yards that were flooded with rain water. Some people's yards even look like they have huge ponds in them! It's supposed to be in the 50's this week, so I'm glad it will be warming up, but it's still supposed to be very rainy. I'm just hoping that the "April showers bring May flowers" saying holds true ;)

Since today is the last day of March, I have my 1 Second Everyday video ready to share. This was a big month--wind storm, snow storm, and rain storm; my nephew was born!; my parents came home from a two-month trip; Noah had the mother of all splinters in his foot; Eli has been going to physical therapy; and I have probably driven more miles on my car this month than the last six months combined (going to Detroit, Toledo, and Ann Arbor several times over).

I'm hoping for nicer weather and less hospital visits for April ;)  Have a great weekend!

March 29, 2017

Maybe new weight goals?

On Monday, I was texting John, and we were talking about lack of motivation to run. I told him how I hadn't run in nearly five weeks since I decided I needed a break from training (I had planned to continue to run a couple of times a week, but so many factors have come into play where that goes--I'll explain more below--but basically, it just didn't happen.) John said that he was going to try to run after work on Monday, so I made him a deal. I said that if he went for a run on Monday evening, then I would run on Tuesday morning.

Anyway, I started my new medication (for depression) only a few days before my last run about five weeks ago. I remember having a terrible run--feeling tired, lethargic, and very out of breath. I hoped it was just a coincidence, but each time I've tried to run over the last five weeks, I feel the same way. I've also experienced a HUGE lack of motivation, which is the last thing I want. I don't know if this is from the medication or not, but it seems to have gotten much worse since starting the medication.

Yesterday, I headed out for my run with high hopes. I really wanted to have a good run and not feel like a lazy bum! Again, I just felt awful. At around mile 1.7, I took a walk break, and then ended up walking the rest of the way home. Because of this, I started feeling bad about myself and talking down to myself (which I know is of no help). I was just disappointed that I wasn't able to get in the three miles I'd hoped.

So, I made another appointment with my doctor to see what he thinks about this as a possible side effect. I also called to check on the waiting list to see a psychiatrist, and they were able to get me in on May 1st--much sooner than September! Hopefully, the psychiatrist will be able to help me find a good treatment with minimal side effects. Meanwhile, it's frustrating not being able to "just fix it" already.

Anyway, I have still been doing well with eating and staying binge-free. Today's weigh-in:

I was at 146.2, which is down 1.6 pounds from 147.8 last week--I'll take it! Like last week, I didn't count calories; instead, I just tried to eat as if I was counting calories.

I've been thinking more and more about maybe trying to maintain a higher goal weight--something like 140 or 145, instead of trying to get down to 133 again. The truth is, I'm caring less and less about the numbers and more about consistency and doing what makes me happy.

My weight has always gone up and down, so it's hard to say what my "ideal" weight is. To me, I believe my ideal weight will come through not binge eating, staying consistent with eating patterns, eating what I truly enjoy, and not eating too much or too little.

I think I'm mostly afraid of rebound weight gain, like what happened last year when I became very depressed; and perhaps by maintaining a higher weight on a daily basis, I won't have that rebound effect. This is total speculation, so I have no idea if what I'm thinking is accurate--but it can't cause any harm. Would I like to weigh in the 120's again? Of course! But not if it just means I'm going to gain 30 pounds the next time I have a rough patch with depression. I think I look okay at this size, too, so I wouldn't mind choosing a higher goal. I'll think about it some more and see what happens!

I just have to share this picture, because I think it's cute. Eli was doing his homework on the couch, and Joey clearly couldn't stand that Eli's homework was getting more attention than he was, so he made himself comfortable by sprawling right across Eli's back :)

Also, I took this picture of Estelle yesterday. She sits in this basket which is perfectly cat-sized, and I turned on a YouTube video for her to watch (birds and squirrels). She was mesmerized! hahaha

March 27, 2017

It's been three years...

Well, that was a fun weekend!

I really didn't have many plans, but Jerry and I hosted a party on Saturday night, so we stayed very busy getting ready for that, and then recovering all day yesterday ;)

On Friday, we spent the whole day cleaning the house--so fun, right? BUT, it felt sooo good going to bed on Friday knowing that my house was crazy clean. There is nothing more motivating to clean than expecting company--I really ought to plan a get-together once a month, if only so that my house is clean!

Saturday was nice, because we actually got to have a pretty relaxing day. Since we got the cleaning done the day before, we just prepped food and drinks for later, and then hung out and had a relaxing afternoon. The whole point of having people over was to have a "game night" and play fun board games--I adore board games, but don't play them nearly often enough. So, I was looking forward to it very much!

We arranged two big folding tables in our living room so that we could fit 16 people around, and it surprisingly worked out really well. I'd never played games like Cards Against Humanity with that many people before, so I wasn't sure how it would go. I think a better number would be about 8-10 people, but we still had a blast and shared a lot of laughs. We also played Guesstures, which has been a family-favorite for years.

I am only a tiny bit sad that I don't have any pictures from the evening. I had the idea to have people put their cell phones in a basket at the door, so that we could all interact face-to-face without phones being a distraction. I even made it very enticing with this little prize basket ;)  Anyone who kept their phone in the basket was entered to win this very cool prize:

Why do airplane shots seem so much more fun then regular sized bottles?
It worked out very well! As a result, we have no photos--but sometimes that's a good thing, right? I would hate to be in high school or college right now, where everybody takes pictures and videos of EVERYTHING and posts them on the internet. I think everybody does stupid stuff in their teens and 20's. The difference between then and now is just that now, someone is always filming and posting it on social media. I try to drill it into my kids that when they are in public, they should behave as if the entire internet is watching them ;)

Anyway, the whole evening went by SO quickly. Before I knew it, I was in bed at nearly 2:00 in the morning. I woke up at around 7:00, when my mom called and told me that Noah was sick. I picked him up and took him right to Urgent Care. They said he has a sinus infection and he's starting to develop bronchitis. When Noah gets bronchitis it's BAD. I hope that we can stop it by acting early. 

When Noah and I got home from Urgent Care, the whole family decided that it would be a lazy Sunday. We put on pajamas and watched the entire Divergent trilogy together! It was the perfect day for being lazy, too--overcast and drizzly/rainy all day.

It wasn't until I was going to bed last night that it hit me--it was the anniversary of Mark's death. I simply cannot believe that it's been three years since he died. I still think about him all the time. It hasn't really gotten any easier to talk about him, either.

Jerry and I recently drove someplace that was near where Mark's nursing home was (where we made MANY trips to visit in 2014); and when I realized how close we were to it, I noticed the McDonald's that I would buy his strawberry shakes from and the Long John Silver's where I bought his hush puppies. And "fancy" coffee at Starbucks :) (I will never be able to see those things without thinking of Mark)

I've thought several times (and I even brought it up to my therapist) that maybe I could go to Mark's group home where he spent most of his life, and befriend someone there who doesn't have family or friends. Someone that I could do fun things for, like my family did for Mark. I love the idea of doing this, but it's so far out of my comfort zone that I just haven't brought myself to do it yet. And I'm not sure how I would feel going back there. I've been there a couple of times to drop off treats for the men on Halloween (Mark's birthday), but I haven't stayed. It's hard. 

When Mark was dying, I felt like I had true purpose--I was so determined to make him feel loved and happy when he died! I liked doing something with meaning, even if it didn't have meaning to anyone but him. But, I know that our visits with Mark had a big impact on my kids in a positive way. It taught them compassion and selflessness in a way that I couldn't have taught them otherwise. And I'm pretty sure that Mark knew how we felt about him when he went "home home" three years ago. We all miss him dearly!

This was the last photo I took of Mark and me

March 23, 2017

A Thursday weigh-in and a new job

This month, I have developed a whole new respect for working mothers. Jerry's been working day shift, so he's gone when the kids and I wake up in the morning and he doesn't get home until evening. On a normal day, I pick up the kids from school, come home and help them get their homework done, cook dinner, and we eat at around 4:00.

With all the appointments we've had lately, we just haven't had any "normal" days lately. Eli has art club after school once a week, and he has physical therapy twice a week immediately after school. Noah had baseball tryouts after school this week for three days. And then with Noah's monster splinter, and Eli's orthopedic appointments, we've had things going on every single day.

We've eaten out way more than I'd care to admit. If we were permanently going to be this busy, I'd probably figure out a plan to eat later in the day and make good use of my crock pot; but I think in about a week, things should go back to normal. Anyway, even though I technically have a job (stay at home mom and blogger), I still have the benefit of being home to cook dinner. If I had to drive to an office every day, I would have such a hard time getting dinner on the table! I'm in awe of the working moms who do that. But I guess it's just something that we adjust to when we have to.

But, speaking of jobs, I accepted a job working for From Fat to Finish Line (the company that is based on the movie). I am going to be their "Senior Writer" as well as lead a training program for the Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in Vegas for this November. The program will be six months long, so it's a big commitment. I'll write more about that later, but I'm pretty excited about this opportunity! I'll be writing several blog posts for FFTFL each month (on the FFTFL blog; not here, obviously). This job will keep me very busy, but I love that I will still have the flexibility to do all the work at home.

Yesterday was Wednesday Weigh-in, but I felt SO bloated that I didn't even want to post--I knew that the number wasn't my "true" weight, so I just figured I'd wait until today to do my weigh-in. That said, the scale read 149.8 yesterday morning! That was after having eaten Mexican food with Jerry the day before, and feeling very bloated. This morning, sure enough, my weight was back down.

It isn't a huge drop from last week (I was at 148.2 last Wednesday); but again, I'm happy as long as I'm not gaining. And like last week, I chose not to count calories again and just eat AS IF I was counting calories. I even weigh out my portions of some foods (like breakfast cereal) so I don't get heavy handed, but I don't log my food. If I could make this work forever, I'd be thrilled! I will definitely take the slower weight loss if I can manage to do it without having to log my food; but, even if I have to log my food to keep the weight off, I'm certainly willing to. I'll just see how it goes on a week-to-week basis.

I'm currently on Day 29 of being binge-free (the longest streak in a while). I think it's been very helpful that I've been so busy with the kids--it's hard to find time for regular meals, let alone a binge!

I am REALLY looking forward to this weekend. On Saturday, we have friends coming over to play board games (there will be about 16 people coming, so it's going to be fun)! I've been cleaning like crazy, because a few people will be staying the night, so I need to get the kids' bedrooms ready for guests (if you have tween boys, then you know how big a project that is, haha).

At least the rooms will be pretty easy to clear out once our new carpet arrives, though. Lowe's said they'd call us in a couple of weeks (when the carpet comes in) to set up an installation date. Over spring break, I want to get the house SUPER clean. I feel like I'm always in a great mood when my house is clean. Besides, I actually really like spring cleaning--I put on some loud music and dance while I sing along and clean :)  The weather is supposed to be in the 50's and 60's starting tomorrow--I'm so excited about that!

If I don't write tomorrow, enjoy the weekend!

March 20, 2017

Motivational Monday #140

Happy Motivational Monday, Friends! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. My weekend went by crazy fast--I'm just not feeling ready for the busy week ahead ;)

Anyway, I have a couple of fun stories to share with you for Motivational Monday. Hope you enjoy!

I'm always happy when I hear from a male reader, because I don't seem to have very many of them ;) This is Dave. He completed his very first half-marathon yesterday--on his 56th birthday! He works crazy hours, and considering the weather and the fact that this was his first half-marathon, he is thrilled with his finish time of 2:04:42. To round off his exciting week of "firsts", on Friday, Dave is actually going to be meeting his biological sister for the first time! They talked for the first time last month, and now he is looking forward to seeing her in person. What a fun week! (Dave, I'll be thinking of you Friday--I hope you'll let us know how the reunion goes!)

This is Megan (on the left). She admits that she was never an athletic child, and she's been self-conscious of her body for as long as she can remember. She even remembers having to run the mile in gym class (don't we all have that awful memory? Haha!) and she was the last one to finish. The boy that finished first ran back to Megan and completed her last lap with her so she wasn't doing it alone. At 26 years old, she still says she is not "athletic", but she wanted to give running a try again. She tried Couch to 5K before, but always found it too difficult--until she learned to slow her running pace. She slowed down and found she could run almost a full mile--and last Sunday, Megan and her wife completed their first 5K race! They even ran the entire race without stopping. Megan has a goal to run a marathon one day, and checking this 5K off the list was a big step in that direction :)  (A big congrats to you, Megan! And to your wife as well.)  (Megan blogs at Meg on a Mission)

As for myself, I have been lacking the motivation to exercise. When I stopped running a few weeks ago (I'm just taking a break, not quitting altogether), I had every intention of doing other things to stay active. But this weather has been so awful in Michigan this month that I just haven't made myself exercise. Occasionally, I feel the urge to go for a run; but usually, when I feel that urge, the weather stops me. I think I'm going to give myself the rest of this month to slack off a bit, but then on April 1st, I'll start with a schedule.

I loved the idea that a few readers suggested about having a list of activities, and choosing from the list based on how I feel that day. I will make a generic exercise schedule, so that I am sure to get in a good amount of exercise, but I won't restrict myself to particular exercises. My whole goal is to be happy and healthy, so I don't really mind if my exercise comes from running, or a bike ride, or just a long stroll in the park.

Interestingly, though, I don't feel bad about taking a break right now. My eating has been very good (I haven't binged in 25 days (maybe more, but that's when I started counting). The weight is coming off, but I am not in a big hurry as far as that goes. I've also been staying very busy every day, so it's not like I'm sitting around doing nothing instead of exercising. I think this break has actually done me some good!

I think my new antidepressant is doing its job, too. I still have good days and bad days, but the bad days are getting fewer and further between, and not as intense. I've just been feeling more focused on a day to day basis, which is nice. Even though I know that I'm not going to hit my 10,000+ steps per day goal for March (I need to choose a month with better weather and try again), I decided to go ahead and order the Brooklinen sheets I wanted. After the last nine months of struggling with deep depression, I thought a set of cozy sheets would be a great way to do something nice for myself. (And the timing is perfect, because we are getting our bedroom carpet installed soon).

The sheets are SO comfortable!

Anyway, my life seems to be moving in the right direction now, and I'm just hoping it continues that way. Hopefully April will bring better weather, too, so I can start riding my bike! I've been looking forward to that :)

If you would like to share a successful moment on Motivational Monday, you can read how to submit your story here. I will post them on Mondays as I get them (I like to wait until I have 2-3 before posting). Thanks to Dave and Megan for sharing their accomplishments with us this week!

March 19, 2017

A quickie post

Man, this March weather has really put a damper on lots of plans I made this month! Yesterday morning, I had planned a get together with about a dozen From Fat to Finish Line fans. We were going to meet at the State Park for a walk/run, and then go to Cracker Barrel for brunch afterward. When I planned it out last month, the weather was so nice that I was imagining a warm and sunny walk in the park.

Instead, it rained the night before, which then froze overnight. And in the morning, more rain--which gradually turned into snow and it snowed pretty hard all morning. I asked the group if they still wanted to get together or if we should reschedule, and I'm not surprised that we voted to reschedule. So, we're going to attempt it again in a few weeks. Maybe then we'll have some good weather!

This is a tree branch that was down by the water at my parents' house. It was totally covered in ice! I thought it was really neat looking...

Friday night, Jerry and I were supposed to go (with our kids) to our friends' Jake and Emma's house to play Euchre, but they ended up having to cancel because their entire family (they have four kids) is sick with the flu. The flu has been going around big time, and thankfully, my family has managed to avoid it so far! But some of my friends have not been so lucky.

Speaking of Euchre, Jerry and I are hosting a game night with some friends next weekend. I'm really looking forward to that! One of my favorite things to do is play board games with a group of friends, and it's been a long time since I've done that. I had an idea to put together a little prize basket to give away. When everyone arrives, whoever wants to participate can put their cell phone in a basket by the door--the goal being to keep their phones in the basket the entire evening. At the end of the evening, I'll pull out a random phone and that person will win the prize basket! It's just an incentive to interact without phones being a distraction. I miss the days of hanging out without distractions (and without worrying about photos winding up online later--haha!).

With the weather being so crappy this weekend, I've spent much of the weekend doing some "spring" cleaning. Yesterday, I cleaned out all the cupboards in the kitchen and arranged things in a way that seemed more efficient. I love how organized it all looks. I should've taken before and after photos, but the before photos probably would have been pretty embarrassing. My Tupperware cupboard was pretty horrifying, haha. (I'm in awe of anyone who manages to keep Tupperware organized)

Jerry and I decided to spend some of our tax return money on new carpet for the bedrooms, something we've needed for years now, so we finally placed the order for that. Usually, buying "adult" things is super boring (like the water heater and furnace we needed last year)--but carpet is very exciting to me! My bedroom carpet is burgundy right now, so it clashes with everything big time. The new carpet will be a light gray--much better.

Of course, getting new carpet means we have to clean the heck out of the bedrooms and move the furniture. A big project, but I will be so happy when it's done! The kids are pretty excited, too.

Well, Becky and Luke are going to stop by, so I've got to take a quick shower. Hope everyone had a great weekend! (By the way, if you have a Motivational Monday post for me, please send it over so I can do a post tomorrow).

March 15, 2017

This and that

Sorry for the lame title of this post, but I sat here for 10 minutes trying to think of something to title it! I finally gave up.

What is with this weather?! It's like winter finally arrived, but a few months too late. The wind chill was in the single digits this morning. It's hard to believe that last month, it was 73 degrees on a few occasions!

Thank you for the nice comments on my last post. Noah is doing MUCH better now that the "splinter" (there really ought to be a different name for a splinter that is as large as his was!) is out of his foot. He went to school today, and when he only has to walk a short distance, he hobbles instead of using his crutches. I'm guessing that by the end of the week, he'll be walking normally again. That was such an odd thing to have happened! I'm so glad it's taken care of now.

On Saturday, I was supposed to take the RRCA Level II coaching course in Detroit. Currently, I am a Level I certified coach. Since I don't have a coaching business, it's not really necessary for me to be certified at all--but I like to have that credibility to my name when I write about training plans and give running advice, and things like that, so I thought it would be nice to get the Level II certification.

When I saw the course was going to be in Detroit, I signed up right away. On Friday, I was checking out the website to see what to expect at the class on Saturday, and I noticed that I was totally wrong about the certification process. The in-person course that I'd signed up for was only one small part--in addition to that, I'd have to take 15 more online courses to get the Level II certification. The total cost would be $650! If it was just the one class, for $250, then I think it would be worth pursuing. But I just cannot justify spending $650 on a certification that I don't really need.

I was debating all day on Friday whether I should go to the class or not; but then Noah kind of decided for me, when we took him to the emergency rooms on Friday night. There was no way that I could have left him all day Saturday to go to the class when he couldn't even walk! So, I won't be getting the certification, but I'm totally okay with that. If I ever decide to open a coaching business, then maybe I'll look into it again; but for right now, I'm able to do everything I want with my Level I.

I had another loss on the scale for my Wednesday Weigh-in today:

I weighed in at 148.2, so I was down 1.2 from last week. Not bad! It's funny--I really haven't been that excited about losing weight this time around. I think the older I get, the less I care about the numbers. Even if I didn't lose any more from where I am right now, I'd be okay with that. I care enough to work on getting my weight back down to where I'd like to be, of course, but it really just isn't very important on my list of priorities. Hopefully that makes sense.

When I saw my doctor at my last appointment, he said I really don't need to lose any weight. He was very happy with my health numbers, and said that I look like I'm a normal, healthy size. It was kind of nice to hear that from a doctor! I'm so used to doctors telling me to lose weight that it's refreshing to hear that he thinks my weight is just fine.

This week, I tried something different... I didn't count calories. I didn't count anything, actually. It was kind of fun! I ate exactly the same way as if I was counting calories, but I didn't actually log anything. I'd tried to do this before in the past, and wasn't successful at it, so I don't know that it'll last long; I had a ton going on this week, with Noah's ER visits and being away from home so much, so that is probably why I was able to get away without counting. (I spent SO much time driving this past week.) But, it's nice to see that I didn't gain weight even though I wasn't counting.

In other news... Lucas! I adore being an aunt. I think the hardest part about being an aunt is that I don't get to see him every single day. I'm afraid I'm going to miss something (yes, he's only a week old). We've gone to visit three times, and each time, I just love him more and more.

He is seriously the most chill baby I've ever seen. He hasn't even cried around me yet. Brian and Becky are the most laid back people I know, so I think that must have carried over to Luke. When Jerry was holding him, he put his arm up by his head to rest against it, and my heart basically melted.

My kids love going to visit Luke, too. He's their only cousin, can you believe it?! Jerry's sister doesn't have kids, and my kids were the only two in my family until Luke was born. Eli really likes to hold him. He's always had a big heart for animals, so it doesn't surprise me that he's good with babies as well.

Anyway, Becky and Luke are both doing well. And Brian is adjusting to being a dad just fine! I'm hoping I'll get to visit again this weekend :)

March 14, 2017

Mother's Intuition: A Terrible Accident and ER Experience(s)

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a bit of an eventful weekend. I actually thought it was over, and then yesterday everything escalated.

It all started on Friday. I had plans to go out for martinis with Jessica, Renee, and Rachael for Jessica's birthday (I'm still not drinking for a little while, but I planned to get a mocktail or something). My kids were going to stay the night at my parents' house, since my parents hadn't seen them for so long while they were in South Carolina.

Just before I was supposed to go meet my friends, we got a call from my dad saying that we needed to come pick up Noah because he got a splinter in his foot. (He had been sliding around in his socks on my parents' hardwood floor.)

It was weird, because I just couldn't imagine why my dad would call me over a splinter (my dad thinks duct tape is an acceptable bandaid--and that's when he doesn't have superglue on hand to glue his skin shut, haha); but, Noah can be a little dramatic at times, so I thought maybe he was just hurting and wanted to come home.

When I went over there, I was hit with Noah screaming in agony and he wouldn't let any one of us near his foot. The bottom of his foot was a little bloody, so it was hard to see the sliver that he said was in there. He had pulled a tiny little piece of wood out, but he said there was something still in there.

When I got to my parents' house, I hadn't been planning on taking him anywhere but home, figuring I'd just clean up his foot and pull out the splinter; but after seeing the amount of pain he was in, I knew I wasn't going to be able to do anything. Jerry and I were debating Urgent Care or the emergency room. I would have felt like an idiot going to the ER for a splinter, so we chose Urgent Care.

I assumed it would be simple--they would numb his foot, remove the splinter, and all would be fine. Renee even picked me up from Urgent Care while Jerry stayed with Noah, and I met the girls for Jessica's birthday. About an hour later, Jerry called and said the Urgent Care doctor said we needed to go to the ER--I was NOT expecting that! I had Jerry pick me up so I could go with them, because I figured it had to be somewhat serious if the Urgent Care doctor sent us to the hospital.

Noah was calmer, because the Urgent Care doctor had numbed his foot to probe around for the splinter (later learned this was not a good idea). We went to Henry Ford Center for Health Services, the ER that I've always trusted and received good care from. I explained what happened to the nurse, who then explained to the physician's assistant.

When the P.A. came to Noah's bed, he didn't examine Noah's foot--didn't even glance at him!--he just said, "Uhh, we're not in the business of digging around in people's feet. If the Urgent Care x-ray showed nothing, then nothing's in there. And if there was, it would come out on its own."

That physician's assistant made me feel like I was a complete idiot for taking my kid to the ER, even though the Urgent Care doctor told us to go there. I told the P.A. that Noah could feel something stuck in his foot, and could they please do an ultrasound to see if there was something there (I assumed that wood wouldn't show up on an x-ray, and they had done an x-ray already at Urgent Care, which showed nothing).

The P.A. dismissed me with, "Oh, an ultrasound won't show anything, either." He said he would order antibiotics and that we could give Noah Tylenol for pain.

I was furious. Our co-pay is $100 for an ER visit, and we didn't even get an exam!! I didn't even wait for the script for antibiotics or discharge papers or anything. Jerry carried Noah to the car, and we drove to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, another ER (that deals with trauma). Another $100 copay, but I wasn't going to accept what happened at HFCHS (ER #1). I knew that as soon as the numbing medication wore off, Noah was going to be in agony again.

At HFWH, the staff was much friendlier. However, they pretty much said the same thing--that if there was something in there, it would come out on its own--they weren't rude about it and they explained why they don't probe around (risk of infection is high).

I asked again about an ultrasound. They told me they'd rather do another x-ray, because if something was there, the x-ray would likely show it (and having a radiologist look at it instead of an Urgent Care doctor may help). So, they took an x-ray, and it showed nothing. They said there is nothing in his foot, but we could start antibiotics if we wanted.

I can't tell you how frustrating it was that nobody believed us. I know my son better than anyone, and if he felt there was something in his foot, I believe him. But everyone just thought I was a crazy mom.

The ER didn't even prescribe him pain meds--they just said to alternate Tylenol and Motrin, even though he was clearly in agony. They gave him a boot and crutches to use (mainly just to "shut me up") until the splinter that they said wasn't there worked its way out.

(If I look at it from their perspective, I can see why they weren't very concerned about a "simple splinter"--but I wish they would have at least humored me with an ultrasound. I did not feel like "waiting until it comes out on its own" felt right, when my child was clearly in so much pain. And really, what harm would it do to perform a simple ultrasound?!)

Noah was in excruciating pain all night; and the next morning, I called his primary care doctor to see if we could get something better for pain. She prescribed Tylenol 3, which helped him get through the weekend.

I couldn't stop thinking about how we were treated at the first ER, so I wrote a letter to the director of ER to explain what happened. (Even if that physician's assistant hadn't wanted to remove the splinter by "digging around in someone's foot", it was unacceptable for him to treat us the way he did.)

On Monday morning, I sent an email to Noah's primary care doctor with a photo of his foot to see if she wanted us to come in for a follow-up. And I wanted her opinion on whether we were treated correctly.

(The dark spot by his toes is the original puncture wound from the splinter. The cut underneath is where Urgent Care poked around.)

I was surprised by her response: "Take him to Mott Children's Hospital ER in Ann Arbor right away."

She was worried about osteomyelitis and didn't like how his foot was looking. There was a snowstorm yesterday, and the last thing I wanted to do was drive all the way to Ann Arbor with the roads being bad, but his doctor was insistent and said she showed the photo to her colleague, who agreed. So, Noah and I headed up to Mott Children's Hospital.

The drive that normally would have taken about 55 minutes ended up taking 90 minutes! The roads were so bad that we were driving 35 mph on the expressway. When we got there, the visit began much like the one at Wyandotte.

The staff was all very friendly and patient, but they told us the same story--it's not a good idea to dig around for a splinter because the risk of infection is high and they don't even know if there is a splinter in there. They said it will most likely come out on its own.

I wanted to tear my hair out, because I really just wanted someone to DO something for Noah--I felt so bad for him! Again, I asked about an ultrasound. They said they could do that (basically just to humor me, because I was so insistent), so we waited for an ultrasound.

I went with Noah for the ultrasound, and I watched the screen like a hawk when she put the probe on his foot. Every once in a while, I thought I caught a glimpse of a line that didn't look "normal". I'm obviously not trained to read ultrasounds, but I'm pretty good at seeing things on them. (When I was pregnant, I even knew my babies were boys before the ultrasound tech told me, because I could see for myself).

I said to the tech, "I swear I am seeing a splinter--that diagonal line right there. Is that normal?" She kind of half-smiled and said, "We'll have to wait for the radiologist to read the results."

I took a quick photo of the part that I saw and thought was suspicious. I said, "I just want to feel like I'm NOT crazy. That looks like a splinter to me." The tech smiled again and said, "I don't think you're crazy," with a little wink. So I could tell she saw it, too (but she wasn't allowed to say anything about it).

See that diagonal line across the screen? That's the splinter I was told "wouldn't show up" on an ultrasound.

We waited for the radiologist to come into the room to confirm, and sure enough--there was a large splinter in Noah's foot. I can't even describe the amount of relief I felt.

The splinter looked large enough on the ultrasound that they called for a consult with an orthopedic surgeon. We waited a long time for the surgeon, because he was finishing up a surgery, but I was so thankful to finally get some answers and have someone that believed us!

The surgeon came in and examined Noah's foot. He said he couldn't feel anything, so if he tried to remove it, he wasn't even sure he'd be successful; but the alternative would be to wait a week or so and see if it surfaced or encapsulated, and then have it removed. I didn't want to have to go another week with Noah in so much pain, so we decided to have him try to remove it right then.

The next 30 minutes were beyond terrible. The injection to numb Noah's foot hurt him so much, but I just kept thinking about how relieved he would feel when the splinter was out. Noah closed his eyes and held my hands.

For most of it, he couldn't feel anything, thankfully. The surgeon eventually said that he doesn't think he would be able to get it, and that it was like "finding a needle in a haystack". I was super bummed that after all that, the splinter would still be in there. Noah agreed to one more numbing injection. The injections were terrible, because they hurt Noah so badly.

When the doctor got to a certain spot on Noah's foot, Noah flinched and yelled in pain. He said that was the spot where he has been feeling like the splinter was stuck. The next five seconds felt like an eternity, but the doctor must have grabbed the splinter because Noah screamed in a way I had never heard before. It brought tears to my eyes in an instant. I had marks on my hands from Noah's nails digging in to me.

I turned to look at the doctor. I saw him holding up the splinter he'd just pulled out, and my jaw dropped.


Based on the ultrasound photo, he had guessed it was about four centimeters; but it ended up being longer than my middle finger! It was about four inches long, and it had been stuck in Noah's foot all weekend. All the other doctors had told us there was nothing there! I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it.

The surgeon gave him a couple of stitches and bandaged him up. He said it was the largest "splinter" he'd ever removed. (I don't even feel right calling it a splinter.)

We're continuing with the antibiotics, but now we know that he'll heal and not be stuck with an enormous piece of wood in his foot! I am so grateful to his primary care doctor for insisting we go to Mott, and for the staff at Mott who took me seriously (or at least humored me by getting the ultrasound I wanted). I think they were very surprised that it wasn't "just a little splinter" as well. Noah is so happy that he's finally on the mend.

While I was at the ER yesterday, I got a call from the Director of the ER's at Henry Ford Brownstown and Henry Ford Wyandotte to follow up on the letter I'd sent. I just got off the phone with her this morning, and she was very kind. She agreed that the way we were treated at ER #1 never should have happened, and said that actions have already been taken with that physician's assistant (I'm assuming they probably talked with him about his bedside manner). Or maybe they didn't take action, and just said they did. I'll never know.

I was happy with the kindness of the staff at ER #2, but I wanted her to know that the ultrasound I'd asked for would have shown the splinter--so I hope that the doctors won't dismiss it for other people in the future.

I sent her the photos of Noah's ER visit yesterday, and she was shocked at the size of the splinter--she said she's going to show the pics to the staff that treated Noah. I REALLY hope that she does. I want that physician's assistant to feel like a complete ass. She also said she will make sure we aren't billed for those copays from Friday's visits.

So, I'm very happy with the follow-up I got from the director. I understand that doctors probably don't choose to work in the ER to remove splinters, but where else were we supposed to go? It wasn't a tiny little splinter that could be removed with tweezers. And I can't even imagine the amount of pain Noah was in from that thing! The ultrasound that I requested wasn't invasive, and could have saved him a tremendous amount of pain. I won't be going to be to Henry Ford, however--I'm switching health care systems, mainly because of the way that physician's assistant treated us.

I'm so glad that Noah is finally able to get some relief. He's home from school today, because his foot is obviously sore, but he'll be fine to go tomorrow. Today, I've got to take Eli to Children's Hospital in Detroit to get fitted for his orthotics!

March 13, 2017

Motivational Monday #139

Happy Motivational Monday, Friends! I had quite an eventful weekend, and I am just now getting a chance to catch up. But I will write about that tomorrow. Today, I will share a couple of Motivational Monday stories to hopefully give you all some motivation for the week ahead :) Enjoy!

After going through two stressful pregnancies, Amanda decided that it was time to take care of herself. She started Weight Watchers at 245 pounds, which she believes is about 20 pounds less than her highest weight. She also started doing Leslie Sansone's exercise videos three times a week, as well as Zumba at the local YMCA a few times a week. During one of her Weight Watchers meetings, a woman talked about how she got started running, and Amanda was inspired to try it herself. She went out very early in the morning, so that nobody would see her, and she ran/walked for two miles. She felt "on top of the world", and at the end of the summer, she ran her first 5K--a Color Run. She met a running partner online, and they've met up to do several races together.

Since her initial weigh in at Weight Watchers, Amanda has lost 80 pounds! She is hoping to lose about 20-30 more pounds, but she is not letting that get in the way of celebrating her success. She has discovered that exercise helps her mind and her life, and she loves that it's even rubbing off on her kids--her seven-year old is very active in sports at school, and her four-year old even does plank with her. Amanda's hard work and successful weight loss has inspired several people in her life!

About two years ago, Tiffanie was at her heaviest of 212 pounds. She decided to start running, even though she was self-conscious of her weight. She would go to the apartment gym every morning to run a mile for about a month, and then she started increasing her mileage. Her first race was a 10K, and from there, she was hooked! She and a friend trained for a half-marathon together, and when that was over, she swore she'd never do a full marathon. You can probably guess what happened next... she signed up for a full!

Two weeks before her race (the Minneapolis Marathon), the race was canceled. She wasn't about to let all that training go to waste, so she found a marathon in Washington that same weekend. She and her parents took a trip across the country for the race, and she had a fantastic first marathon experience--even finishing in 4:11! She inspired her dad to start eating healthier and take up running as well. Tiffanie says that "being selfish for a while to better myself was exactly what I needed to be a better daughter, sister, and friend in the long run." Her next goal? A sub-4:00 marathon!

Congrats, Amanda and Tiffanie, on your success! You should be very proud of your accomplishments :)

If anybody would like to share a story for Motivational Monday, you can find the info here.

March 09, 2017

Holy wind!!

I'm still floating on clouds from getting to meet my new (and only) nephew yesterday! He's so amazing. I can't wait to write all about him. But first, I have to write about this wind storm we had yesterday. Lucas was born on the windiest day I've ever witnessed, and DTE is calling it their worst weather-related power outage in history, leaving over 650,000 people without power today! It's funny, my main reason for wanting to write all about it is so that one day, Lucas can read about this crazy wind storm that happened on the day he was born ;)

(When I was in college, I took the required freshman speech class, and my first speech assignment was to talk about the day I was born. I was born during the 1982 Super Bowl, so that was an easy one. Now Lucas will have a story of his own one day!)

Brian took this photo with his "fancy" camera--I love it!
If it weren't for the wind, the day would have been gorgeous, actually... it was 57 degrees and sunny all day.

At around 10:00 yesterday morning, I called my friend Sarah in Arizona to tell her about Lucas's birth. While we were chatting on the phone, I could hear the wind howling outside, and then I could hear things slamming against my house. I looked outside and saw that some branches from the dead trees across the street had broken off and fallen into the road and our front yard. Not that unusual--after a bad storm, we usually wind up with some branches in the yard.

I had no idea it was going to get much worse. At around 11:00, Brian called and said I could go visit them at the hospital in Toledo, so I took a shower and got ready, then headed out. As soon as I stepped onto the porch, I almost blew over. The wind pulled the door right out of my hand and slammed it against the railing on the porch. I heard some cracking noises as another tree across the street started to come down. I ran to my car and struggled to open the passenger door because the wind was holding it closed. Finally got my bags inside (stuff I was taking to the hospital for Brian and Becky).

If I had known how dangerous it would end up being, I would have waited to go to the hospital (even though I was dying to meet Lucas!); but I'd never seen anything like this before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Once I got on the expressway, I started seeing some car accidents, mostly from semi trucks. I could feel the wind gusting against the car, and it was seriously a workout holding on to the wheel!

In Toledo, there is a long stretch of expressway that is under construction and down to two lanes, with a concrete barrier that sits RIGHT at the edge of each lane (so there are no shoulders). That part was the most nerve-wracking, because the semi trucks in the right lane were swaying into the left lane from the wind.

When I got to the hospital, I parked in a parking structure and then was trying to find my way to the main hospital (there were several different buildings, and it was hard to tell which was which). My hair was blowing ALL over the place, and I didn't have a hair tie with me. I was carrying two bags and my purse, which were trying to fly out of my hand. I walked around a huge building, trying to find an entrance, but it was tough with everything blowing everywhere and trying to hold on to my stuff.

Shoulda tied my hair up

I took out my phone to call Brian, and the wind grabbed my phone out of my hand. I was taken off guard, and a huge gust of wind hit me at that moment and knocked me on my ass! Hahaha, that's the first time that a wind gust has ever literally blown me over. I'm hoping nobody caught that moment on video ;)

I spent a couple of hours with Brian, Becky, and Lucas, and then left to pick up Eli from his art club. I saw more accidents on the way home. After I made dinner, I had a couple of hours before Jerry would get home (we had plans to take the kids to go see Lucas), so I started looking at news online, and I saw just how bad the wind really was. Most shocking to me was seeing the semi trucks on their sides--they literally blew over from the wind!

Photo from WDIV Local 4 Detroit
There are hundreds of thousands of people without power right now--and DTE is calling it the worst weather-related outage they've EVER had! (I think the worst outage was the Blackout of 2003, the weekend of my wedding.) Detroit firefighters also battled 64 structure fires yesterday (on a typical day, they said they usually have 8).

Photo from WDIV Local 4 Detroit

There are trees that were uprooted all over the place (apparently, because the winter has been so warm, the trees were more able to uproot from the wind). Power lines down. Trampolines that took out cars and fences. I saw a video of the shell of a shed literally rolling across someone's yard and the street. There is a video that went viral of a woman trying to put the cover on her hot tub, and getting taken out by it (she was okay). The U of M basketball team's airplane slid off the runway. And now over 650,000 people without power!

Photo from WDIV Local 4 Detroit
The kids' school was canceled today because they don't have power. When we drove past Kroger last night, it was closed and pitch black. So were all the businesses nearby. I haven't seen anything like this since that blackout the weekend of my wedding! The traffic lights were out, and the resulting four-way stop caused traffic to back up for about a mile before the light. Jerry had to take the back roads home from work because of the overturned semi trucks.

Right now, I am SO grateful that we still have electricity and no damage to our house. We are very lucky! Lots of our neighbors aren't so lucky, and people all over won't have power restored for a while yet. DTE called in crews from several other states to come help with the downed lines. I learned that the winds reached 64 mph yesterday, which I believe is about what it was when we were in Virginia Beach during the tropical storm. The extent of the damage to our house is just that we lost some shingles. Several of my friends are dealing with much worse; so again, we are lucky.

Right now, I am going to pick up my parents from the airport. They've been in Hilton Head, South Carolina since mid-January, and are coming home a week early because Baby Lucas arrived two weeks early! It was killing my mom not to be here yesterday when he was born. ;)

March 08, 2017

Today is the day!

For the past couple of weeks, I've been back in the habits I was in last year, when I was in a good routine and the weight seemed to come off easily. I wasn't really doing anything "special", but I was listening to my body and trusting it.

The trust has been key. In January, I was trying to eat healthier and I was getting in a ton of veggies, but my weight wasn't budging. I'm eating roughly the same amount of calories now that I was then, but I'm eating what I really want to eat instead of what I think I "should". Instead of trying to convince myself otherwise, I just eat what sounds best to me in the moment.

I no longer have weird aversions to particular foods, either. I ran out of the fish oil supplement I was taking, and about a week later, my normal appetite came back. I have no idea if it was the fish oil that caused the odd appetite changes, but the timing works out. Now, I've been back on the schedule that I liked so much before--eating four times a day at 8, 12, 4, and 8--and keeping my calories "reasonable". I don't set a limit, but I try to eat "normal"-sized portions.

And it's working! Today's weigh-in:

I was down 2.2 pounds this week, bringing me back into the 140's. I really noticed the weight loss this week, too--I was able to wear some jeans that had gotten too small on me, and I can visibly see that my "love handles" are shrinking (that's always where I notice weight gain the most!)

So far, I have not regretted the decision to cut back on running. If I run during the Indy Mini, it'll be a run/walk. I'm really looking forward to the race, and now I don't feel stressed about it. I did volunteer to run a 5K with a friend of mine in May, because she'd like to start running again, so I thought that would be fun. I think the reason I was feeling so burnt out on running was because of long runs--if my schedule only has 2-4 miles at a time on it, I don't dread it. I'm looking forward to nicer weather, too! Today is SO windy I feel like my house is going to blow away.

I was super excited to share that Becky went into labor early this morning, so my post title is "Today is the day!" because my nephew would likely be born today. Well, as I was typing this out, my brother announced that he's HERE! It happened so so so quickly...

Becky woke up Brian at around 2:00 am, and said she thought it was time to go to the hospital. They went, her water broke, she had an epidural. I called Brian at 6:00, and he said they were both going to try to get some sleep, and that "no news from me means that nothing is happening." So, I was going CRAZY with wonder, but there was no news from Brian. And then at around 9:30, Brian announced that he was here!

His name is Lucas Charles, and he is 7 lbs. 1 oz, 19.5 inches. And seriously, how gorgeous does Becky look as a brand new mom?! (I looked nothing like that, haha)

I can't wait to meet Lucas! He looks absolutely perfect. :)

March 07, 2017

Aviator baby

(I just had to update this post with a photo of Luke wearing the hat! Isn't he adorable?!)

Whew! What a busy morning. It feels nice to sit down to write :)

I do still plan on doing Motivational Monday posts on Mondays when I have stories to share. I haven't gotten any since that post a few weeks ago, so I'll just wait and share them if/when I do get them. So that's why there was no MM post yesterday.

I spent the weekend hanging out with the kids, which was nice. It was low-key, just hanging out at home, but it was fun to spend quality time with them. I also worked on a project for my nephew:

It's a baby aviator hat with goggles! Isn't it so cute?!

Becky sent me a photo of one that she'd seen online, so I searched for a pattern that looked similar, and just used different colors for it. It's not a very practical hat, because of the yarn I used, but it would be cute for photos :)  (Here is a link to the pattern, if anyone is interested.)

The due date for baby is March 20th--less than two weeks away! If I haven't mentioned it too much already, I am SO excited be an aunt. In the baby pool, my guess was that he'll arrive March 23rd. But if he happens to come early, while my brother is on a trip (he's a pilot), then I am Becky's back-up--so I certainly wouldn't complain about being there when he's born ;)  I can already picture my 1 Second Everyday video for the last week of March--instead of my pets, it will be my baby nephew! "This is him sleeping." "This is him sleeping in his carseat." "This is him with his eyes open" "This is him crying." "This is him looking at me." Hahaha, so exciting.

Also this weekend, Jerry and I went to Lowe's to pick out carpet for the bedrooms. The carpet we have in the bedrooms now is 14 years old and VERY ready to go. We got a nice tax return this year, so we decided to finally get some new carpet! My kids reacted as if we'd just won the lottery when I told them they were getting new bedroom carpet, lol.

My dad was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He's had some health issues over the past couple of years, but the doctors have had a very hard time diagnosing him. He gets some episodes of pain in his chest and back that are so bad they've even caused him to pass out. That's what happened yesterday morning, so my mom took him to the ER.

Thankfully, he wasn't having a heart attack. His heartbeat was irregular, so they got it back into a normal rhythm, but they still don't know what the problem is. They are going to be doing a ton of tests today, so hopefully, we'll get some answers soon! For now, though, he's doing okay at the hospital. I just feel bad because my kids worry about him. (Update: Just before posting this, my mom said that they are discharging him. Good news!)

Speaking of the kids, last night, Noah was eating a snack and one of his baby molars cracked in half, right down the center! It didn't fall out, but I knew it needed to come out after that. So, I just figured I'd call the dentist first thing in the morning. I never had a dental emergency before, so I wasn't sure if that was considered an emergency or not; Noah said as long as he didn't eat, it would be okay until morning.

I dropped the boys off at school, took Joey to Lucky Puppy (his doggy daycare) for the day. He was so excited to go! He hadn't been there in a while, and I'd like to start taking him every couple of weeks again so he can play with other dogs.

When I left there, I called the dentist as soon as they opened at 8:00. They were able to get Noah in at 8:50, so I drove straight from Lucky Puppy to the school, picked Noah up, and then went to the dentist. The dentist said that the broken tooth needed to come out, of course, but that the baby tooth right next to it was pretty loose as well. So, she ended up pulling both of them while he was numb. I'm glad it wasn't anything major.

Eli's been doing good with his physical therapy. I'm picking the kids up after school in a little while and we'll go to his second appointment. We've been doing the exercises at home twice a day, so hopefully the therapist will be able to see a little progress.

Well, I have a lot to get done before I pick up the kids! I will write more tomorrow for my Wednesday Weigh-in. :)

March 03, 2017


Brr! It is a cold morning in Michigan today. We woke up to a dusting of snow and 20 degrees, with a wind chill of 10 degrees. Quite a bit different than the 70+ degree weather we had last week!

Yesterday, I picked up Eli from school and took him to his first physical therapy appointment. I really like his therapist, and I wish I'd gone there when I had physical therapy in 2015. At the time, I didn't realize that I could choose any physical therapist I wanted; I just went to the one that my doctor recommended, which was over an hour away. (My therapist was fantastic, but it was a long drive)

I was surprised at just how tight Eli's calves and hamstrings are. The therapist measured his range of motion, particularly in his ankles (where he has the most pain), and his range of motion is much less than normal. We learned exercises to do at home twice a day, and he'll have to go to physical therapy twice a week for a while until we can get his muscles stretched out.

Eli really enjoyed his session, and he actually loves doing the exercises at home. It was the first thing he asked me about when he woke up this morning, haha. I'm glad he liked it, though! I really hope that this will help his legs get a good range of motion so he's able to be more active without pain. The therapist doesn't seem worried, and thinks that this will do the trick as long as we keep up with it.

While we were there, I got a Facebook message from my friend Sarah's mom. Sarah is my friend who passed away in 2014 a few weeks before Mark did. She had a long battle with melanoma. Our lives went separate directions after high school, so we didn't see each other much; but we were very close in high school. Sarah's mom discovered this sticker that was stuck to Sarah's dresser, and she sent me a picture yesterday. It totally made my day!

Yes, camera quality was a little poorer back then! haha
Sarah and I had these little stickers made at the mall when we were in high school. I always wondered (particularly after she died) whatever happened to them. I love that this one was stuck on her dresser all these years! It was really nice to chat with her mom, too. I think about Sarah every single day at some point (there are lots of things that remind me of her), so it felt good to talk about her.

After putting way too much thought into it, we decided to decline going to the Ariana Grande concert this month. I really struggled with this, but after reading more about her online, I think it's for the best. I was kind of shocked by the surveillance video of her at a doughnut shop (I remember seeing that when it went viral, but I had no idea who she was). That video really bothers me, because I think it shows her true colors. I really disliked the way she treated the employee at the doughnut shop. (Licking the doughnut was gross, but I was most bothered by the way she treated the employee.) Yes, everybody does stupid stuff sometimes, but she was 22 years old at the time, and clearly knew right from wrong.

So, I showed the video to my kids, and they agreed that as cool as it would be to go to a concert, they didn't want to go see her. I was very proud of them for that! At their age, it's easy to get googley-eyed over a celebrity; but I think our values are more important. I know it won't make any difference to Ariana if we go or not; but I like to think that my kids will remember that people notice when you treat others badly, and it's not okay to treat people that way (even if you're a celebrity!). So, Jerry and I decided to plan something else to do with them that will be just as fun (I'm not sure what yet, but maybe we'll go to a local indoor water park or something over spring break).

I saw THIS at the store yesterday:

I'm not a beer person, but I do love Shandy--and this box has ALL of the best flavors! My favorite is orange, but Leinenkugel's quit making it a couple of years ago. Suddenly, it's back--and packaged with Grapefruit, Summer, and Watermelon Shandy! I was very tempted to buy the sampler, but I'm going to try to stay away from the Shandy this year (or at least until summer time!). It's too easy to drink hundreds of calories worth, so I need to be careful.

This is the time of year where things usually start getting tough for me. Summer drinks and summer foods are my favorite, and they start showing up at the beginning of March. This year, I feel a little differently, though. Instead of telling myself "no" to certain things, I'm really considering if it's worth it in the moment. Yes, those Shandies would taste AWESOME when the temps are 90 degrees and I'm cleaning up the yard. But today, it's 20 degrees outside--and that same beer wouldn't taste nearly as good.

So, I'm going to try and decide what's worth it and what isn't, and be a little choosier about what I think is worth it. If something is worth it, then I will enjoy it!

Monica and Estelle made me laugh yesterday. Estelle doesn't like the other pets very much, and she's extremely bossy. If she is sitting somewhere she doesn't let anyone else lie down near her. But when one of the other pets chooses a spot that she wants, she plays nice in order to be able to lie down there, too.

Monica was lying on a blanket on the couch yesterday, and Estelle clearly wanted the same spot. She was pacing back and forth, giving Monica the stink eye. If I hadn't been right there, she probably would have swatted Monica to make her leave. Instead, she finally just swallowed her pride and carefully made her way up there next to Monica. I was so sure a fight would break out, but Monica gave her a little glance and then Estelle settled in and got comfy. They stayed like this for a long time!

I sometimes wonder if Estelle is more tolerant of Monica because Monica is a tortie, too. Probably ridiculous, but I can't help but wonder! ;)

Have a great weekend, Friends!

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