Thursday, May 8, 2014

There and Back Again

The week after Easter, we traveled to Tennessee to visit Ryan's parents.  They live in a tiny town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, two miles up a windy little road, in a house nestled right into the side of a mountain.  We left Monday morning bright and early, and stayed until Saturday.

 So happy to be out of the van, after a 10 hour drive!

 We mostly hung out at the house, and this was one of the things the boys were looking forward to.  Their yard is a valley, and perfect for shooting with BB guns and bows and arrows.

 We did a lot of chasing after this little girl.

 I know they were being safe, but I'm not gonna lie, I can do without this type of extracurricular.

 Exploring on the first night.  This is the hill that leads to their driveway, along the whole side of the property.  You get quite a workout!

I loved this whole series of photos of Sebastian and Genevieve! 

 Traveling clothes and sloppy hair.  She looks like she's been in the car too long.

We took one day to go have some fun.  The guys all go-karted, we spent some time at an arcade, and went out for a splurge meal at Buffalo Wild Wings. 

Always goofy faces when I ask someone to pose. 

On the way home from our day out, we visited the Elkmont Cabins.  It's a ghost town that was once a resort community of summer homes, started in the late 1800's.

This girl loves her daddy, and doesn't mind how he holds her, as long as she has him. 

 I could picture all the children that must have run along these roads at some time, excited to see their summer friends, their mamas catching up with each other in rocking chairs on the porches.

This was a tiny, cozy little cabin. 

Made me want to pick it up and plop it on some acreage somewhere in Michigan, for a little hideaway for me and the Mr. 

 One of their favorite things to do, throwing sticks and rocks in the river.

Back at the house.  You get an idea of the elevation change from the yard to the house here.  That's it up there on the left.

More shooting. 

My mother-in-law does some really cute stuff around her house.  They built this retaining wall along the side/back of the house, to keep the mountain from eroding right into their living room, and she's been dressing it up with flowers and knick knacks. 

We had so much fun watching these hummingbirds all week. 

They'd come right up on the porch next to us to eat from this feeder.  I almost got dive-bombed a couple of times trying to get these pictures. 

Another favorite pastime - metal detecting.  Old nails and pennies were never so exciting. 

Blake kindly taking Sebastian back to the house when he was done for the evening. 

I loved the view and the light here - taken from the driveway toward the back of the property. 

The end.  Til next time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday

At the beginning of last year, I decided I had had enough.  Enough excuses, and enough of letting myself go.  I didn't feel good, I didn't look good, and I knew it wasn't going to get any better unless I did something about it.

I don't "diet" well.  I'm almost always pregnant and/or breastfeeding, and that requires a certain level of intake to maintain.  I don't have time for fad diets, or patience for special food preparation for just me.  I have learned a lot about moderation in portions, and about certain foods that just shouldn't be on my radar.  Besides that though, I knew if I were going to fix things, I was going to have to get physical.

I started running.  Well, running would be a generous term for what I was doing, but I called it that.  I shuffled along as best I could for as long as I could, and I kept doing it.  Soon, I could go a little faster and a little longer.  After that, I got more comfortable in my own skin doing it.  As I got into better shape physically, the running got easier and I actually started to enjoy it.

By June, I ran a local 5k.  By August, the scale was 30 pounds nicer to me.  By October, I felt like I had blossomed into a new person.  It's amazing what can happen when you make the choice to do something good for yourself.  Running became an outlet for me, and I hadn't felt so good everyday in years.

We're in Michigan.  The weather turns us into cave-dwellers for six months of every year.  November came and I couldn't get out to run anymore.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sebastian's medical crisis.  Extra food and extra stress.  We lost our dear Monsignor so unexpectedly on December 29th, and found out two weeks later that I was pregnant.  RSV and eight solid weeks of morning sickness fog.  It's been a very hard winter.

One day a few weeks ago, it all caught up with me.  It was late afternoon and I hadn't even showered.  I handed over toddler duty to the older boys, and locked myself in the bathroom.  I decided I really needed to tune out the world for a few minutes, so I did something I hadn't done in months.  I grabbed my phone and clicked on my running music.  I chose the playlist for a 5k run, which was what I had been using when my daily run hit 3 miles.  Suddenly, I was transported to a different time and place.  I could feel the fall air on my face, the energy in my step.  I could remember the confidence and joy I had found once, that I had somehow already forgotten.

Five minutes later, I was tossed back into my current winter.  The numbers on the scale are rising again (as they should be), and I know I'll have a fight ahead of me.  I had felt it though.  Now I remember that I am strong, and now I can see that spring will come again.

I wrote this a while back and wasn't sure I was going to post it.  I decided to send Margaret some love and join her link-up, even though I'm not really "weighing in".