Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve of Past

I've spent New Year's Eve many different ways and only a few of them stick out in my mind.  As a single woman many were spent alone watching movies and going to bed before midnight.  As a dating woman I remember one New Year's Eve spending it with a group of people watching my rock star boyfriend play in his rock star band at one of the Twin Cities premier New Year's Eve celebrations.  As a married woman I don't remember our first New Year's Eve, but I remember my first as a married mother going to sleep early in account for the numerous endless night feedings.

Today, I am remembering last New Year's Eve, 2010.

The day prior I packed a bag and left for my hometown three hours away, praying I wasn't going to be too late.  My Grandpa was sick, having another heart attack, holding on for life so dear in the Emergency Room. 

I remember sleeping in the hospital for three nights, spending New Year's Eve with my Grandpa.  Taking care of him, talking with him, praying with him.  What a blessing to have been able to pray with him. 

I remember being sad leaving the hospital to come home to my own family, wondering if that was the last time I'd see Grandpa.

He was so amazing.  He amazed us all that time too, he pulled through one last time.  I've been thinking of him a lot lately.  The other day, I almost asked my Dad on the phone how Grandpa was doing.  I miss him.  Grandpa left me with so many memories of my childhood as well as my adult life.  I miss him.

I took this photo last summer as it reminded me so much of my own childhood.  My grandparents owned a grocery store in a small town.  The buildings were close together much like this picture.  The only difference was that we had to walk single file because the buildings were much tighter.   Sophie reminded me of myself.


Remembering those we love on New Year's Eve....

Tina

The Hat, The Heart & 2012 Thoughts

"Hailey, do you want to be the Hat?"  Me, I liked to be the Horse.  Tonya, she liked the be the Shoe.  Oh, what memories that brings for me.  We have my sister's girls this weekend while she is on call at the hospital.  The kids have so much fun when they get together.  We have a few things planned but for the most part they just play.  On our way home from getting the girls, we stopped at Wally World.  I felt like the mother of a large family with five kids in tow.  I did hear something about a "tribe of kids". 


Advent was somewhat sad for me, until I met with my Spiritual Director.  I thought I had failed miserably but He helped me understand what I should have been looking for, what I really did receive and how to accept those graces.  To slow down, take time to reflect.  During our conversation he showed me how God had worked through the people in my life, the support I received, all the grace I'd been given.  I too often overlook this.  I need to see the miracles of grace in ALL things, right there for me.  It is, by the grace of God, that I listened to the whisper in my ear nudging me to make that call a year and a half ago asking for spiritual direction.   Thanks be to God {and SD to his Yes}!





During Advent I wrote about heart troubles I was having.  I am very happy to say that mechanically everything turned out fine.  I unexplainably, regularly, have PVC's and some PAC's??  And I can hardly believe the results of my lipids.  I really wondered if they were my results.  This is great, however, it's not a green light to eat bad.  I am still going to eat more fruits and vegetables.  {I'm very bad about this for myself, what can I say, I like sea salt potato chips.}  I'll be watching animal fats, switching oils, limiting cholesterol and focusing on better foods in general.  I hope to be posting more about what foods that will be.  For example, I've heard time and time again one teaspoon on cinnamon a day is great for your heart.  I've added that with my coffee {1/4 tsp is about all I can do, but it's a daily start}.  We don't eat terrible, but definitely room for improvement.

For a matter of record here are my lipids:

The first number was taken in November 2010, the second in December 2011 {I'd also like to add for the record, I am on the low side for my weight range but my BMI is still high.  I'd still like to shed eight pounds to be at an optimal weight.  This is what you'd call family history.}

HDL Cholesterol:  58/50
LDL Cholesterol:  164/125
Triglycerides:  144/112
Blood Sugar:  NA/92
Total Cholesterol:  251/197

Now, somehow, I need to work on my blood pressure as that is high.

I'm making lists, or rather still formulating on how to shape the next year.  That sounds funny, like I have control or something.  Really what I mean to say is that I am deciding on what books to read {somewhat}, how to spend my time {somewhat}, what bad habits I'd like to try and break, what good habits I'd like to start.  In doing so, I've been hearing the words of my SD and then read a great article that gave more insight.   More on that later, I still have a few hours to form this all up!

Time to get crack-a-lackin'.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ice Skating

My sister and her girls have a holiday tradition of ice skating at my parents house.  This year we were able to join in now that our kids are getting a little older.  I am hoping to be able to get some ice skates myself.  It's been many many years since I've been in a pair of skates, but now that the kids are getting into these activities, I want to be THAT Mom, who is active with her kids.  My parents were always active in different sports and got my sister started when we were young. 

For Christmas my parents got all the kids tennis rackets, a ball hopper filled with balls and the big kids received golf clubs (even lefties for Karley) and golf bags.  I see us frequenting the court across the street and the driving range not far from our house.  It's going to be a fun summer!  But for now, we'll enjoy these days while we can.



Grandpa Jim & Henry














Those are my boys!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas

All is quiet.  The bustle of the day will soon begin.  Kids will play with all their new Christmas toys and my two year old will transform herself into a little Spanish girl with a friend named, "Boots". 

We had a beautiful Christmas.  Very different from any we've had thus far and probably won't for some time again.  We celebrated with my families the weekend prior and with McGyver's family the day after.  That left Christmas Eve and Day just us.  No traveling. 




future tennis star with an excellent smash at the net





It felt a little odd to not be with our extended families on the actual holiday, yet very peaceful.  If I were to pick which way it would be for next year, I'd pick getting together with some family on the actual day of Christmas.  I say, some, because in order to fit my families in we have to travel three hours each way.  That is hard to do with the little time we have with work schedules. 

Christmas Eve was spent playing with the kids, hanging out, preparing cookies for Santa and then Mass at 4:00 PM.  In years  past we've been in the last row and the kids lose interest when they can't see what is going on.  So we left extra early to make sure we could get relatively close to the our usual seating, which we did. 

Our church was decorated so beautifully.  {I really should see about taking some pictures.}  The children were invited to come up front to sit around the altar.  Henry really wanted to but Karley didn't.  Sophie did but that just didn't seem like a good idea.  Henry wouldn't go by himself and I couldn't see if there were any kids in his class up there, so he didn't go.  I have to say, I am looking forward to next year when he will go by himself or either of the girls can go. 

After Mass we had dried up delicious spiral ham, twice baked potatoes and broccoli for dinner.  Then kids and McGyver finished making Sugar Cookies for Santa.  He's so good like that, making cookies with the kids, how blessed I am.

Henry, Karley and Sophie were all very excited for Santa to come.  The made sure he had plenty of cookies and that the reindeer had enough carrots for their long night.  This season really is so special through the eyes of our children.

Wow, they were very, very, excited the next morning!  I don't even know how they managed to have breakfast before opening presents.  I can so remember being a kid and just being sick about having to wait.  It just killed me.  {So really, I've come a long way on my patience, really.}  I do think Henry is a little like me. 










We ended up getting Chinese appetizers for lunch.  It's almost unbelievable that we could even get such a thing on Christmas Day living in the boonies, on Christmas Day.  We did though.  It was good too, until, I think the MSG content put me in a horizontal position for two hours while the kids played and McGyver watched Kung Fu Panda or something of the like.  Dinner hardly seemed possible but we managed to have walleye from Grandpa Jim, along with hash browns and beans.  Isn't that an interesting combination for Christmas dinner?

McGyver's family celebration was on the 26th.  It was a very nice celebration and a very scrumptious dinner.  Salmon, filet mignon and ribeye, with twice baked potatoes, salad, fruit salad, followed by a blizzard type ice cream birthday cake for Jesus.  I'm still stuffed two days later!






Christmas was special indeed.  We all feel very blessed and thankful for all we have and were able to give.  Most of all we are thankful to God for the birth of His Son and Mary's "Yes".   I'm reminded of what that means to all of us and what little God asks of me in light of all that he gives.

 I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cookies Cookies Cookies

Last week the kiddos and I gathered twice for cookie baking.  Both a success for the fact that we have plenty o' chocolate something or another type cookies to eat.   It was great to spend the day with my sister-in-law one day and two other great friends just a couple of days later.  I do cringe to think about all the calories as I lack self control.  The last picture is definitely why!














Hope you are enjoying your Advent season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Confessions from my Heart

Last Friday morning, I woke a little earlier than my normal rising time, I had to get the girls to a friends house by 7:40 AM, drop Henry off and leave his school by 8:00 AM in order to make it to my echo cardiogram by 8:30 AM.

I've been having chest pains for awhile now.  It's really hard to explain them.  The chest pains were usual becoming usual to me, which can't be a good thing can it?  Then a few weeks ago I was very sweaty and had different kinds of chest pains.  I sat down, started formulating a plan in case these pains didn't go away.  I sat for five minutes, then was fine.

A week and a half ago when my Mom was here I was having chest pains again.  Adam & Tonya (my sister) said I should go in.  I decided it was a good idea and it worked out perfectly because my Mom was here and I could actually get in right away. 

{I had an emergency c-section with Henry.  After his delivery and I was closed up, I was immediately taken to be monitored for PVC's.  I had never heard of this and was very worried about all that was happening to me.  My husband didn't know what to do, where to go, with me or the baby?  I urged him to go with the baby.  I was monitored for an hour and that was that.  Nothing ever really came up with it again.}

I figured these heart palpitations were from the PVC's.  My sister said I don't really drink very much caffeine so I should get checked.  I agreed for that reason and the pains the day I had to sit down were a different.  I have also been thinking about running a marathon June 2012, so I figured it would be a good idea to make sure all checked out.  I am actually taking advice from the marathon trainer to make sure I am heart fit before this undertaking.  I've had high cholesterol, family history and basically, I am older now.

At the doctors office we talked about the pains, family history, my blood pressure {sadly this has been creeping up more and more...ever since I was on bedrest with Pre-Eclampsia with Henry}.  He listened to my heart and did hear the PVC's.  I had x-rays, a blood draw {can't remember what for} and an EKG while in the office.  He talked about a few possibilities and suggested an Echo cardiogram next and then we'd go from there.

There was one week in between the two appointments.  During this time I thought about what I eat, what I don't eat, how much I really exercise and my life in general.  Talked with my Dad, learned more about his heart health.  I did some research on-line, found some things ideas on how to change things.

On my way to dropping off my kids, I felt ever so grateful to our Lord for giving me these precious babies.  Tears I hid from their innocence.  I wondered if things would be so drastically different when I picked them up or would I get a chance to correct some of my slothful ways?  I would be so grateful to feed my kids better, feed my husband better, care for myself better, and run.

I dropped them all off, and prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries, asking God to let this cup pass over me, if it's His will. 

I wasn't sure what to expect other than what I knew from a pregnancy ultrasound.  It was much the same but in order to get a good picture of the heart he had to get my lung out of the way.  This meant a lot of exhaling all the way out until there wasn't anything in my lungs, inhale or exhale and stop when he said stop.

The appointment sheet said that the results would be given to my doctor.  I was hoping that the ultrasound tech {seems odd to say tech because I am sure tech isn't a deserving enough title for what he must know} wouldn't make me wait.  I was able to see a few pictures, in color, but really, it didn't mean anything to me.  And he did say that structurally my heart looks really good. 

He asked if I felt the PVC's {I did not} and that I have them regularly. I also had PAC's.  Both being singular, begin and that I stay in sinus rhythm.  He couldn't answer my why this was happening.  A cardiologist would review the information and send it to my doctor. 

My doctor mentioned that this could all be muscle-skeletal and simply wanted to rule out the other things from the echo cardiogram. 

I also had my lipids checked and my fasting glucose tested.  My lipids were high a year ago.  I wanted an accurate bench mark for my new heart healthy life-style. 

In addition, I've been asked to monitor my blood pressure for two weeks.  I haven't been having the best results, according to the American Heart Association.   Yesterday I did have one reading in the 120's.  Promising?

I do wonder about sharing so much, as normal I don't think that I do.  I have decided to share as I want to keep a record of where I am and where I am going.  Plus, if this helps anybody else along the way, all the better.  And this is one of the things currently on my mind and what I hope to be some major lifestyle changes.

So, I will most likely be sharing some do's and don't I learn along the way, recipes I adjust, running I hope to log, and stats of my progress.  I should be getting my results any day of all the tests.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tulips in December

We've had our first snow and won't see things flower for quite some time.  I always miss happy flowers. 

When I was a hair stylist after Christmas the salon seemed so dreary until my birthday when flowers would come.  So one year middle January, I decided I would get fresh flowers each week to bring that happy flower feel to my corner of hair.  I so loved going to the florist to see what she created for me.

Being a stay at home mom of three, when I have an extra five dollars out and about, it's generally for coffee to keep up with my Littles.  My husband is so kind to bring flowers out of the blue every so often, so I do get that happy flower feel once in awhile.

Then last week Silk Plants Direct was kind enough to send me one of their beautiful silk flower arrangements.   Tulips are one of my favorite flowers.  I wish they lasted all summer long, now they will, all winter long too!  It's white outside but inside I view these pretties.



Silk Plants Direct also has gorgeous poinsettias if you are looking for something for Christmas and, if you're like me, a blog to help you with ideas.

Thank you Silk Plants Direct!