Friday, October 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday - only late - but with a doctor's note!

So I was all un-me and making lists of things I am thankful for as they come up in preparation (not procrastination) for these posts.  And then I got strep and spent a couple of days thinking that rest and fluids will magically fix me (didn't happen)  So I caved and called my wonderful Doctor at Skyline Family Practice and today I am thankful for the one remaining antibiotic I am not deathly allergic to as I am almost back to functioning normally.  

I am also thankful for my friends - there are so many people in my life who surprise and amaze me every day.  Just being sick brought friends offering help and food and asking what I need from the store.  My friend Martha took Kyle to Cub Scouts last night so I could veg out and half watch E News and not infect our pack.  Especially since my doctor's son is in our pack and he would call me out.  

Even when there are letdowns - which are so common as a Mom - why do we plan anything? - I try and remember that things are still pretty awesome.  I had plans to go hiking with my friends last week.  I was bringing Liam and Charlie to Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park and we would hike and be merry!  And I thoroughly enjoyed the drive there and refrained from stopping along 340 to take pictures every 500 feet.  But only because the inside of my windshield is remarkably dirty.  And I only once said: "Yeah - we get it. It's pretty.  Speed limit people!" 

We get to the park and this is what we see:

 And these were my guys I was going to hike with:
But the cute one in the stripes?  He decided to sit down in a muddy puddle.  And soak his shoes, socks, pants, and sleeves.  Because it was a foggy, cool fall day and what better to be than wet?  So after searching the car and realizing I could redress him several times - if  he just wasn't concerned with pants and shoes - we headed back out of the park to go home.  Liam and Charlie both cried on the way home but I kept playing the It Could Be Worse game.  We got home and had lunch and went for a walk downtown and all was well.  The mountains will still be there next week if I wish to tackle them again.  Hiking with a 2 year old isn't really all that great - but I enjoy the challenge.  And the park is only 20 minutes away. And Skyline Drive is 5 minutes away.  So I really can't complain.  I can - instead - be thankful.

And I hate to say it but I am so thankful for social media and my smart phone.  If I wasn't on Twitter - I wouldn't have known that Virginia State Parks has an app that has lots of great features for people who can pay attention to their phone without a child sinking into a mud puddle.  Or for people who are traveling and want to stop and visit a State Park.  Or for people planning a trip and want to camp or kayak or hike.  Or who know how to use a GPS.  Its probably all over my head right now but someday I might figure it out.  
And if I hadn't been searching for that app - I might never have found the Virginia Tech Tree ID App which can help me answer "what is that thing Liam is squishing in his fat little palms?" (Answer: Persimmon).  And if I remember to bring my phone on a walk at a friend's house I could identify the thing I found on the ground instead of sending it out on Instagram.  

And because I am getting my appetite back - I am thankful for food porn.  People share these incredible things they cook or eat and post them online and even though my food never looks like that - it gives me (an incredibly indecisive person) an idea about what to cook for dinner.  And I can make it vegan and leave out ingredients and I don't get stressed out by too many steps or specific measurements.  So tonight I will be making black bean salsa to toss into fajitias with vegetarian refried beans and sauteed peppers and mushrooms.  And whatever else might sound like a good addition.  All because someone had a picture of something similar somewhere in my scrolling today and its sounds like what I want.

So I am off to make salsa and be thankful and not at all paranoid about Hurricane Sandy.  Have a safe weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Thanksgiving is approaching!  I am so excited because I get to watch the Macy's Day Parade and football.  We make something gooey and terrible for breakfast and enjoy being together on a crisp fall day.  I have visions of games of football in the yard when my kids are a little bigger and love when family comes down.  My kids were never big eaters on Thanksgiving and this will be my second Thanksgiving where I am not eating meat.  Luckily Vegetarian Times has some amazing recipes so I won't be stuck with Tofurky (I always thought that was just a joke).  But Thanksgiving is still 6 weeks away and my intentions of posting about it today are to start on my Thankfulness journey.  

I have been reading books on decluttering and streamlining my home (The Joy of Less by Francine Jay) and books on finances to curb our spending and get a handle on living beneath our means (The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey).  I am also constantly trying to get a handle on eating right, drinking minimally and exercising.  All the concepts are pretty easy:  
  • Do you really need to keep that huge box of Dean Koontz books when you can get them all from the library and you have read them all at least twice?  Do you really need 22 saucer plates?  Do you need to hold onto 75+ DVDs when the only time you watch them are when they come on cable?  How many extra sets of sheets can one queen sized bed use?
  • Stop spending money you don't have and then wondering why you don't have money.  Write a budget and stick to it.  Don't use credit cards.  Use cash.  Cut back on extra expenses (like eating out - there aren't any vegan options around here anyways!).
  • Eat mostly vegetables and whole foods.  Go for a walk.  Pick up your weights - and use them!  Take the kids outside to play.  Beer is a treat - not a thirst-quencher.  Drink water.  
I know what to do and how to do it but find myself turning to other sources to hear someone say it in a way that will make it click.  Plus there could be some secret magic formula that I don't know about (right?  There could be!)

So after turning 30 last week and thinking self-improvement thoughts - I know I need to balance out making changes with self-appreciation.  While I was heading out for a meeting on a cold day - I decided to treat myself to my free birthday soy latte from Starbucks.  I enjoyed every sip and sat in my car with my warm boots, my oversized cardigan, and my heated seats and I thought - I am so lucky.  And then Wild Thing came on the radio and Liam was dancing and singing in his car seat and I thought - I am really really lucky! 

I have always been a "look on the bright side" kind of girl. I want to save the lobsters from the fish tank at Red Lobster and comfort the crying baby at the grocery store.  I want to take any animal home with me who could possibly need it.  I give the crazy lady who cut me off in my quiet neighborhood the benefit of the doubt - she could be heading to the hospital with a sick kid.  When everything is falling apart and I can't get the kids to leave the playground - I think - it could be worse!  They had a great time and I got to enjoy it with them.  Now we get to go home and finish reading the Spiderwick Chronicles.  The problem is keeping those thought from being drowned out by negative thoughts.

I am going to do Thankful Thursdays up to Thanksgiving as a way to remind myself that I am lucky - each and every day.  I have 3 beautiful boys who love me and love each other.  I have a husband whose adores me and who I look forward to seeing when he gets home from work.  I got to spend the day at the pumpkin patch with just my Zac (and pet baby cows!!!).  I get to go hiking tomorrow with my friends and Liam and Charlie.  I get to experience the Shenandoah Valley in the fall just walking out my door!  I can spend the morning drawing on a chalkboard with Liam and listening to his stories of crocodiles and Peter Pan.  I get to build Star Wars Legos with Kyle and listen to his dream of Storm Troopers taking my car without asking!  I have the best dog in the entire world and a fish who dances for his dinner. 

Isn't is amazing that this is my life?  Losing weight and making a budget doesn't seem like such a downer when I have so much already.