Monday, October 5, 2015


I had the best coaching partner to help me do Day 2 of my run yesterday afternoon.  

Check out my sweetboy!

On Thursday night, I didn't have the wherewithal to document Kathleen and I starting up the Couch to 5K program again after Book Club.  Though hard, we did a good job.  I think though, running this Day 2 was actually harder than doing Day 1.  My body objected.  About halfway through Chris and I had technical difficulties with the ipod. I downloaded a podcast (check me out, so 21st century!) to tell us when to start and stop running.  We had a little trouble with it.  Plus we were sharing headphones, one ear for me and one for Chris, so that kept us close and hopping.  And I sweated.  It had gotten back up to 75 degrees yesterday, and I was in long sleeves and pants for running.  It had been different weather when I had left for church at 8 in the morning for my Vendor Blender event, chilly.  And I'd slept since then.  We worked it.  But Chris wanted to come with me, and he is already talking about when we're going to run again.  He doesn't have any fat to make angry by sweating, but he was an enthusiastic partner, and just what I needed.  I'm so Thankful!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sweat once a day!

This week I've made huge strides in taking back my health.  Kathleen and I started the Couch 2 5K.  I've been tired of being a lump, a couch potato.  And as much as I hate running, it does the trick, it gets me healthier, and helps me loose weight.   Time to get serious!

I started a support group last month and lost 8 pounds.  We did a study of Colossians, and I drank a gallon of water day, and walked at least a mile for about 2/3 of the day.  I lost a week there at the end due to allergies gone wild.   But I still felt good, and realized sweating once a day was working for me.  My friend Karin used to say Sweat Once A Day.  That was her key to good health.   And I can see why.   This month I started a different group, but it's small business based, so it's a little harder to do it without purchasing a bunch of products.  I've been using Young Living Products instead.  There's a protein drink mix I'd like to order, but don't have yet.  Maybe I'll get there next month.  This round, I'm drinking my Ningxia daily, and Eric and I just started the Cleansing Trio on the 1st.   So far so good, it's pretty gentle, I was worried about being on the pot all day, and it's not like that.  

 So I wanted to kick up my exercise regimen, and so did Kathleen.  So we're doing it.  We're running again.  Just like old times!  Too bad we don't have this to think about while we run.

 Running the 5K under the ball was our focus point when we trained in 2011/12.   This time we're simply running for our health.  Perhaps there's a Thanksgiving 5K I may be up for... maybe.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


A couple weeks ago a friend of mine mentioned on FB that she was going to be doing an online challenge with her church, 1 mile a day during the month of September, STEPtember.  I signed up, and found that on top of 1 mile a day, and a study of Colossians, we were going to drink a lot of water.  What a wonderful opportunity for me to take back my health.  I'd been working on it slowly since the boys went back to school.  Through August, I've been getting over the Y about twice a week.  That has been feeling great.  But it hasn't made enough of a difference for my weight loss, and I'm weighing what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with Jacob!
Forget that!  
So, this week, I started getting out to exercise once a day, and drink 1/3-1/2 my body weight in ounces of water.  For me, that's about a Gallon!  It's a lot of water.  I've been using my old Ningxia red bottles and downing about 25 ounces at a time, so 5 of those in a day gets me my gallon.  I'm good with 4 of them, plus other cups all over the house.  I have to pee all  the time.  I've also noticed my back doesn't hurt as much as usual. Huh.   And the best compliment of all, my friend Cindi saw my Thursday afternoon, and asked me if I could be Pregnant.  Not to doubt the powers of God, but that would be a pretty huge Miracle. So, No.  But she said I glowed.  I didn't walk Thursday, but according to the rules, I'm allowed a day of rest, so I guess that was it.  Apparently, the triple cocktail, of getting into the Word daily, drinking lots of water, and moving my butt everyday is quite good for me.  I kind of love it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Epic Vacation, Day 16 - Going Home

We weren't in an enormous rush.  We actually took our sweet time getting ready in the morning.   We slept in until 9.  We barely made it to breakfast in time.   Then we moseyed back to the room.  Man, that Ramada was nice!

We let the boys go back downstairs for one last swim before we packed up.
Packing up didn't take long.  We were not in a hurry to get back home.  
But we needed to.  Lunch was Subway, and I was getting excited to see my little dog.  

I love driving at naptime.  It's quiet.  I listened to my Book on playaway, Paper Towns, it's a nifty young adult book about a Florida and Road Trip, and I had no idea when I picked it up from Book Club how perfect it would be to be listening to it on this trip. But I got a big kick out of it.  

They are building a new bridge as we cross the Ohio, going Back Home Again in Indiana.  
I had to take some pictures.  Because it's going to be completely different the next time we travel to Florida.  This trip was so huge, so epic, it will be a long while before we tackle another one like it.   

But it was so good to get home. Jacob ran around the house, chasing Princess, yelling "Isa Daw!"  He missed her.  Initially I don't think she missed us, she was skitchy about all our noise.  But then she came around let Jake do all his mischief, and she didn't leave.  She may have been happy to see us come home too.   It was evident she got a little spoiled, she looks a little thicker than when we left 2 weeks ago.  But she was good while we were gone for Miss Macey, so it's ok if she got a little spoiled.   Then the boys didn't want to go to bed at a reasonable hour, or go in their own beds.  They were crazy, they may have been spoiled too.  School Starting may be a rough adjustment for them!   But I'm happy to be back and sleeping in our own beds.  After 2 weeks of varying levels of good and bad and horrible beds, I find there really is no place like Home.  

Epic Vacation, Day 15 - The Space Center

What a great day!
We focused on spending most of the day at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. 
And the boys were so excited when we drove towards it, and we could see rockets from the highway. 

A nice gal offered to take our picture.  She had the Nikon equivalent of my camera, so I knew she wouldn't mess it up, and she didn't.  I like to find folks that are not intimidated by my camera when we ask for photo help.  Of course, I set it all on automatic, so it does the work, but sometimes, that's not enough.  But this gal was really nice, and we ended up following each other all morning.  

I was really thriled that our Indiana State Museum partner pass got us in here for free.  As soon as we entered, the boys wanted to see this exhibit, The Robot Zoo!   I wasn't sure if our free pass would allow for it.  Luckily it did!   So the kids were thrilled right from the getgo.  Frankly, I think that if I had paid full price to get in here, I'd have been less than festive.   But for what we paid, the price was right!  The restrooms were two stairs down unless we went outside.  I'd feel bad for someone in a wheelchair here.  We had enough trouble with just a stroller.  

Still, the boys thought it was really cool to go outside in the heat and check out all the real rockets.  Most of them are real, some just outsides, a nice mix, and real enough.  

I tried to take pictures of the boys with the rocket, but it was too wide.  Life size! 

Do, Re, Egon. 
Three boys, three rockets.  They look so tiny. 

Right next to the rockets they had a play area.  There was a climby thing, like we'd find at McD's or Chick Fil-A.  And in the center of the room, one of these rocket blast off things, but smaller than some I've seen.  They had an attendant, so I just let the big boys play while we snacked and drank.  When Jake was done snacking, he wanted out of his stroller, I thought he'd go play on the climby thing with his brothers.  Nope.  He ran for this, and snuck through while the attendant had the gate open.  There was no height requirement posted.  And we all watched as Jake climbed up by himself.  We shrugged, figuring we'd let him.  The attendant told us he could stop it at any time if there was a problem.  So we let him go.   He hung on with one hand for dear life on the cross bench, and the other to his seat and seat belt.  Once he bounced a couple times, he lost the Oh $@^! look on his face.  And he had fun.  

Christopher was not going to be shamed by a baby, so he hopped on afterwards.  He says he likes rides now, but is not so happy about heights.  But he figured if Jake could do it, so could he.  
And Chris had a wonderful time! 

Back outside we found a helicopter that we could just walk right into.  The boys thought this we really cool.  So they insisted on buckling themselves in.  It was dark and hot, but they were tough.  Just like real soldiers.   

All my boyz with the helicopter.  Though calling it a helicopter doesn't do it justice.  
It's a Chinook. 

Lastly but not least, we had to find the Space Shuttle. 
This one originally was not built to fully function, just for show.  They sent it to Japan for a museum.  Then they sent it back.  So we modified it so the outside looks real, even though the inside is like wood, so it couldn't be really sent into space.  Still, it's a life size model, and freaking awesome.  
Daddy was very excited to see the Space Shuttle, he was reading all the history the night before.   

Astronaut twins!  Those outfits are so huge you can fit two sweetboys back there! 

It's a Alien!  

No, just my boyz and I taking a walk on the moon. 

We were able to have lunch at the Mars cafe, which made the boys very happy.  And after the Space Shuttle, we made our way back to the front, and the car to hit the road.  We got on the road about 2.  

Happily, it only took a couple hours to get out of Alabama, through Tennessee, and into Kentucky.  
 We decided to stop for the evening before dinner.  We wanted a relaxing evening, since we were going to go home the next day.  In theory, we could've made it home in another 4 hours, but we just didn't want to.   We needed one more relaxing night.  Eric decided he was going to make sure he had a bed, no more sleeping on the rollaway.  We stopped in Bowling Green, KY because we saw a bunch of hotels and a restaurant we liked.  But apparently, it's hard to find something to hold 5 people in Bowling Green.  All they had were 2 queens, and rollaways.  No suites to be found!  Even the boys were looking all over the signs for the word 'suites'.   And a pool.  We had to have an evening swim.  We checked out like 4 different hotels.  And none of them could hold us.  We were getting tired.  I was even considering moving on to another town... I sent Eric into our last shot, the Ramada.  They told us they only had 2 fulls and rollaway too.  But wait, they also had the Presidential Suite.  Well, Eric thought, there's no way we could afford that.  But the gal gave us a deal we couldn't refuse.  And she offered to send up a rollaway, just to be sure there'd be room for 5.  Since it was labeled a foldout couch and a king, but the couch was in a separate room.  Eric went up to check that we'd all fit.   Um Yeah, it wasn't going to be a problem.  It was 2 full rooms, a full king size bedroom, and a foldout couch, a spare couch, full kitchen, and they did indeed send up the rollout.  

It was so spacious, I couldn't even fit it all in one shot.   The boys were THRILLED!  
They hadn't been this happy since we arrived in WDW.   I was worried they'd like this better than the Grand Flo.  Not quite.  But still pretty freaking Awesome!  

So we went out for our last dinner, at Chuy's.  It's a Mexican restaurant that they used to have in L.A., a friend of mine took us there, because she adored the tortilla chips.  And it was Awesome.  The kids loved the festively retro decor.   We had a great dinner, and went back for an evening swim. It was an outdoor pool, but the weather cooperated, and the kids were able to get a good swim in before the sun set.  It would've been great at the heat of the day, but it was a little chilly for me.  Still, the kiddie pool kept them happy.   And it was nice and relaxing.  From here on, it was all going to be easy to get home, so one last relaxing evening and nice night sleep was a great note to end on, so we did.  

Epic Vacation, Day 14, Into AL

I like the state of Alabama.  They have trees, it doesn't seem to get to humid, and the folks are really nice.   We woke up on Friday, in Valdosta, Georgia.  The boys learned the word "Suites".  They really like sleeping in their own space, and not sharing with Daddy.  So we had crashed at the Comfort Inn AND SUITES in Valdosta.  And it was nice, Chris and Sam had  a half wall and fold out couch to share.  They liked it.  And they've decided that staying in hotels with suites is pretty sweet.  Ha Ha! 

It was a nice morning to be goofy.  We'd had a long day the day before, and we slept in!  
Rather refreshing to do so.   

All we had to do on this day was get to Alabama.  
Initially we weren't sure, if we were going to go for it, but we decided to turn left in Atlanta, and head into Alabama.  We wanted to go to Hunstville, to the Space Center there.  We thought the kids might get a kick out of one last fun stop before heading home.   

Turns out we like Alabama.   
They have pretty flowers blooming along the roadside.  
And lots and lots of pine trees.  Pine forests are Eric's happy place.  
Sometime I'd like to just go down there and Stay.  

We also discovered Whataburger!  
We thought it was a Texas thing.  But apparently, they have Whataburger in Alabama too!  
That was a great stop for supper.  Olaf approves too! 

Jacob likes a good shake, and this root beer milkshake made him very happy!  
It was like a root beer float.  This kid loves his carbs!  And when he sees a milkshake, he doesn't want to share with me any more.  He had been content to take turns.  But he got to the point now, he doesn't want to share anymore.  He just says "My!"  Even when it's not.

It's a bit hard to see in the distance, but there are rockets hidden in the trees, as we exit the highway to go to our hotel for the night.  The kids didn't see much we went by so fast.  We knew they'd have a great time the next day!  We got settled before dark, that left the boys enough time for an evening swim and some trashy Disney channel tv with shows like Jessie and Dog with a Blog, which I can't stand, but it's what they like.  I'm just happy they're happy.  Just the way we like it.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Epic Vacation, Day 13 - Beach Day

We left Walt Disney World and went to the beach.  Every year since I've known her, my sister in law comes down to New Smyra, FL with her family.  And they have continued the tradition.  I've always wanted to see this haven, their retreat, that charges them all up for the rest of the year.  So we crashed at a fairly cheap hotel we found online, that was supposed to be about 25 minutes from them.  It seemed close enough.  It said Rodeway Inn by the Beach in Daytona.  It was 60$ a night, 70 with the rollaway.  And turns out, it was ON the Beach.  Literally.  On the Beach!   We were a hundred yards from the beach.  I could see staying here for a while, we had a little kitchen, full size fridge, and it was great.  We could hear it, and smell it when we checked in, but it was dark.  All I'd been able to say to the kids was "See that darkness?  That's the ocean."  As we drifted off, I decided I wanted to get up early, and try to go out and see the sunrise.  The last time I slept on the East Coast, wherein it was theoretically possible to watch the sunrise, I was 10, and our family was having a vacation in Sea Isle City, NJ.  At the ripe age of 10, I did not care if I got up to watch the sun rise, or at least I don't think I did.  I don't remember doing it.   I was young and stupid.  Well, I cared now!

So I set the alarm clock for 6 am, and got up and padded out to the beach.  There was no one around, our hotel was literally on the beach, we had our own beach access.  I only saw the occasional jogger and a truck labeled Turtle Patrol.

I know there are a lot of photos here, and though I did crop them, the colors that nature provided need no other enhancement.  So they are just cropped and watermarked, that's all I did to them.   This was the best day for photography.

It was so early, at just before 6 am, I could still see the moon out, as the sky was getting lighter. 
 I was up so early, that I didn't even get my coffee.

Then the sun peeped up in the distance behind as the birds flying around.  
Even though the sky was half covered in clouds, I still saw a Beautiful sunrise.  

I couldn't resist dipping my tootsies in the water.  
It was just the right level of refreshing.  I did get my happy pajama pants wet when I wasn't paying enough attention and got splashed by a wave.  

The waves were starting to pick up a little bit here and there. 
And it got Really Gorgeous out.  

This was a flower opening up as I went back inside.   It was making me wish I'd brought out my sunglasses.   Like I said, Really Gorgeous.  
I was content to go get my cup of coffee, and wake a couple sweetboys.  

After we got up, and dressed, I made the boys come out to the beach. The big ones didn't want to.  I said, We are 100 feet from the beach, you have to come dip your toes in.  They griped and griped, until I Actually got them out there.  Then they started to smile, run, laugh, and then it occurred to them, they hadn't put their suits on.  We'd done that on purpose, as we were packing up, then going down to Amy's, to swim.  But once I got them to the beach, they realized how fun it was, and that was just with dipping our toes.    

Some birds taking off as the boys came invading.   


Now, this is my new happy place.  

All my sweetboys on the beach in Daytona.  

Jacob was not a fan of the beach.  
Fair enough, it was his first visit.  

Chris likes to take pictures of me taking pictures of him. 

Selfie with my Sams.  He was probably having the most fun dipping in his tootsies.  


After our morning adventure at the beach, we packed up and drove to Ryan and Amy's condo in New Smyrna.  The whole time we were asking, where's old Symrna?  Ha Ha.  It was about 20 minutes from our hotel, and the kids bugged us the whole way, alternating between wanting to swim, and wanting to eat.  

As soon as we got there, they were amazed by the beautiful ocean views.  
And they insisted that we go swimming.  It had also gotten cloudy, so I didn't worry as much about sunburns as we would have when we'd gone to the beach earlier.  

When I was conceiving this idea, stopping at the beach, I just wanted to get pictures of the kids swimming together.   But they all took off, so excited to play.  And I wanted to join them.  So I didn't take as many pictures as I'd have liked.  And really, being at the beach with 3 iffy swimmers required both of us parents to actually be present with them.   I did get to go out and swim with the girls, we did some wave jumping, which was fun.  The water temperature was just right.   

The littles had fun playing in the sand.   Jeremiah demanded a hole be dug in the wet sand.  Jacob didn't want to be in the sand, but was pretty content with Daddy building castles. Chris and Sam had fun just splish splashing.  

Remember how I mentioned that I saw a truck in the morning that said Turtle Patrol.  According to Amy, we are in prime Green Turtle nesting season, and since all sea turtles are endangered, the turtle patrol block off the obvious nest sites, and then cruises around in the early hours trying to check and make sure no baby turtles get lost and miss their chance to get to the ocean.   Or they want to be there to block off the nests to protect them.   They make everyone turn off the lights that could be seen by the beach so as to not confuse them and have them head the wrong way.   Apparently they do it from April to October.   I loved seeing this.  It gives me hope for the future of sea turtles.  

Meanwhile, after we swam for an hour or two, we went upstairs for lunch.  It was almost 2, and we were all hungry.  Italian leftovers from a couple restaurants we drove by on our way in.  Yum-o!  If their leftovers were that good, the originals have to be Awesome.  

So after lunch, I stepped out on the penthouse lanai, and took a few pictures.  
Can you see the turtle nest way down below?  It's in the lower left hand corner.  
But the rest of the view is pretty awesome too. 

As we stood up there, the sun broke out the colors in the water.  
It was really gorgeous.  

One of the other things I really enjoyed getting a great view of from up there was the pelicans. 
There's just something primal about them, maybe I watched Jurassic Park too many times, but I see pelicans and think of pteradactyls.  Apparently, they love to just circle the same areas of the beach, around and around, diving down to get snacks.  While Eric was in the water with Jacob, earlier, a pelican dove down not 50 feet away from him.   It looked really close, but we were up on shore.  Very brave.   But I felt pretty brave getting out there and taking their picture.    What I hadn't considered was that I did not put on sunscreen when I went outside again, and this time the sun was out.  

These two went up the beach and circled back around right for us.  
I snapped picture after picture as they came back towards me.  

They buzzed right over me, right into the sun shining bright over my head. 
This was the most awesome moment.  

There was another that circled around down below our level.  The penthouse was on the 13th floor, so they were lower than us.  Amy's Mom and I watched them go by.  She thought birdwatching was as neat as I did.   I got some really amazing pictures.  But if I posted all of them here, you'd be looking until next year! 

This fella came back around a little higher than we were.   

Suddenly, as I was snapping pictures of his gliding, he shifted his head and shook, like something disagreed with him.  As quickly as he'd stopped, he moved on.  But it ended up being the oddest pelican picture I got all day.  How could he still be in the air like that?!

Anyway, after our pelican picture fest, it became clear that Jacob, and a couple other kids, were getting tired.  So we packed up, and headed out.  Our goal was to get out of Florida.  

That doesn't sound hard.  Well, they were all exhausted, but the only one that slept was Jacob.  The other two were content to watch their screens.  It gave Eric and I some time to think, to Think about seafood. We wondered if we were near any really good seafood.  There must be some somewhere since we are so close to the beach.  So since we were about 2 hours from Jacksonville, we started considering it for a place to stop.  Here's one good reason to have a fancy smart phone.  Eric looked up where we could eat that might have some goodies.  He found a place recommended, called Singleton's Seafood Shack from Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.  One of the comments said, if you like your seafood coming from a shack, this is the place!  Another comment said the place looked like it was going to fall into the water, but isn't that where you want your fish?   It's right on the river, and it's so fresh, you can see the fish boats parked right out back.  

So as we were driving towards our destination, we spotted a giant cruise ship.  The kids got a kick out of it, and suddenly, it was a race, would we catch the ship, would we see it by the ocean?  What in the world is a cruise ship doing this far inland?   Turns out we weren't that far inland.  But we enjoyed chasing the cruise ship to our destination.  

The view as we parked the car.  The Shack is on the left with all the cars parked, it was 5 pm on a Thursday, and it was crowded.  We took it as a good sign. 

All three boys explore the odd old pier area as the ship passes.  This place was old, in need of refurbishment.   But they wanted to get as close as they could.  We had to stop them from straying to far.  But they were confident and curious, and so much different from when we'd started this adventure.  

Then we went in.  There was a huge seafood counter, it all looked good and fresh.   All the seating was huge tables.  We decided to order some fairly local fair. So we started with an appetizer of gator tail, fried.   They brought it out, and we made the boys all try some.  Turns out they lovd it!  (Tastes like chicken!)   But they loved gator.  Sam had three helpings!  I got a fried sampler, but subbed out grilled scallops.  I could have slurped up the scallops.  I got some fresh fried clams, they just are no good, all rubbery and frozen in Indiana.  They were Awesome, with a nice fresh snap.  So good.  And the batter was not too heavy.  The seafood was great.  The place was a mess,  plywood fixes on top of plywood fixes.  Our waitress said, "The Captain said, if it ain't broke don't fix it."    They were clearly more concerned about serving good food.  And it was good.  It was a pile of stuff, with hush puppies, and all kinds of yumminess.   It wasn't cheap, just because it looks like a hole in the wall, I thought it might be, but it wasn't, but myohmy, it was Good.  

This was Singleton's as we were leaving, with the sun going down on the St. John's River. And as the sun went down, it became clear that I had another monster sunburn.   Turns out Jacksonville is a nifty town.  Maybe next time we'll check it out for more than 2 hours.   That was the Perfect stop for seafood for us, just what we needed.  And as we drove off, Eric made us reservations for a hotel in Valdosta.  It took us almost 3 hours to get there.  The kids were toast, and so were we.  We were so tired, we didn't even get on the internet that night!