No More Rhyming, I mean it.... Anybody want a peanut? Ahhhh!

Wow... there is a lot to share... Not sure where to start... so I will start with my immediate thoughts and go from there... Today I got up early and hit the gym.  As the 100 day challenge has progressed I have thought about wanting to go to the gym in the mornings... because it won't be long before I will want to be kayaking in the afternoons, after work, and I have decided that kayaking is not going to count as my 30 minutes of activity.  I need that for a few reasons... mainly because it is joy for me... and I do not want it, in any way, to become something I have to do, or while I am doing it don't want to be thinking about how hard I am paddling... I want it to remain joyful... so... in order to be able to kayak in the afternoons without having to decide between working out and kayaking, I want to get my workouts done in the morning.  I knew I wanted to start my morning workouts after my February vacation... so today was day one.  (It's day 59 of the 100 day challenge!) My plan was to be at the gym by 5:00 a.m and workout for about an hour of cardio and then weights.... but I didn't leave here until 5 a.m.... and did only 40 minutes of cardio and did not do any weights.  I had time... but I was tired... I did not sleep well, partly because I was excited and anxious about changing my routine, partly because I was tossing and turning and got caught up in blankets, and the cats were all about being too close to me... and the morning workout was hard... I think it took a bit for my asthma medicine to kick in completely too... so I think I am going to start with weight training and then do my cardio.  So... I have decided for the week, to let myself off the hook a bit... the goal this week is to get to the gym every morning, before work.  Period.  (Well... and do 30 minutes of activity while I am there.)  

I am very proud of myself for maintaining my activity level... 59 days in a row is a lot.  I think my body has decided that it is an active body and wants to accommodate that.. so... the weight is coming off... I was really worried about being away last week.  I was nervous about making sure that I got my activity in, but was more worried about food.  I knew that the boys would want to cook with Betty and that there would be delicious food around... I am pleased that there were not a lot of snack foods around and the sweet stuff, cinnamon buns and pancakes, were easy to portion... I did give in at the end of the week and buy Mrs. Dunster's doughnuts for the boys who came grocery shopping with me and spied them a million miles away... I had two of the doughnut holes and that's it.  I ate fruit each day and some veggies... The activity wasn't too hard... especially Monday and Tuesday.  The weather was beautiful and both days were spent outside, all day.  I was able to walk back and forth across the lake and definitely got my 30 minutes in.  Wednesday was a bit cooler, but I managed to get out and walk in the morning with two of the boys, then later in the day went for a sunset walk with my middle nephew, just the two of us.  It was wonderful.  He brought his hockey stick and ball and as we walked we talked.  He shared so much with me, nothing specific, just got an even better idea of who he is... how smart he is, how big his dreams are... I loved it!  Thursday I was worried... it was pouring!  It poured all morning.  That was the day Meg came to visit.  Once she got there and we played a few games.  We decided that even though it was raining it was lightening up and getting outside was an option.  The problem was that the water was deep on top of the ice from the rain and the road was icy, not safe to walk on... so we went to my high school and walked around.  Two of the boys came with us, not so much to be with me, but to be with Meg's dog, well... Meg's landlord's dog that came with her to visit... which was fine.  We walked for about 45 minutes.  The toughest day proved to be Friday.  I took several trips out to the truck loading up all of our stuff because we were leaving... and I am sure that burned some calories... on the way home I had thoughts of going to the beach to walk before going home... but the sky was growing gray and bad weather was predicted... so I decided to walk on the treadmill once I got home.

I have to say that the boys were great about me being active.  I told them I wanted to do it every day and they, most days, tagged along, at least one or two at a time.  It was great.  My reward... was coming home and getting on the scale Saturday Morning... I had recently bought a scale and last weekend had weighed myself... well... Saturday morning, I was down 8 pounds... in less than  a week!  I was thrilled.  But there is a part of me that wants that same number this week and know that giving myself permission to just get to the gym and do my 30 minutes won't necessarily get me there... but that's ok... this is a marathon, not a sprint.

While I was visiting Dad and Betty, I got to see one of my friends from high school, Jaime.  She has done the half marathons with me... although she jogs parts of them, so she finishes before me.  I told her, out loud, that I was doing the half again this year.  Yay!  I have decided.  I want it.  I need to do it again... why? I have already done two, proved that I can do it... but for some reason, I need to do it again.  I don't know what it is I need to prove to myself, but there is something...

The visit with the boys and with Dad and Betty was amazing!  I had been really excited about the week and didn't fully know what to expect... and it exceeded all my expectations.  The boys are at really good ages.  They love to talk with adults and loved hearing stories about our family... they were curious about the deer antlers hanging on the wall... which belonged to a deer that Dad had shot when Sis and I were kids... Dad joked with the boys and told them that he let the deer go after he cut the antlers off, and there was a moment when Jack believed him... or at least wondered if Grampee was telling tales.  It was cute.  The part of the story that they were most interested in was that Sis played with the brain of the deer... played with may be the wrong word... she was curious about it.  Wanted to see it, explore it, touch it... that creeped the boys out, yet they were kind of impressed.  It reminded me of one of the things I loved about visiting my grandparents, Dad's parents... the stories.  My grandfather was the best storyteller.. the way in which he unfolded the story was always creative, giving enough information that would later tie into the conclusion, often a punchline of sorts... I remember listening to him... and I hope the boys have similar memories with Dad.  They picked up on some of his... humor.  Dad, much like his father, has a dry, Maine, sense of humor... Mom used to go grocery shopping with a list and would often have to figure out what things on the list meant... for example... she would stop and think about what things meant... I cannot think of an example, but for eggs, he may have written chicken offspring... he's a man that when you ask how he has slept, he responds with, "With my eyes closed."  They started saying things like that throughout the trip... and on the drive home at one point one of the boys asked Jack how to say something video game related, and Jack said, laughing, "You say it with your mouth!"  I love seeing that they want to be and are not just a part of my sister, but such a part of us... I love that.

And Betty... WOW... she handled it all so well... maybe handled is the wrong word... it has a bit of a negative connotation to it.... like I handled having knee surgery... she was, is, wonderful.  I had hoped that she would not exhaust herself with the boys around, feeling like she had to push every day to come up with activities for them to do, to keep them busy... I hope she didn't feel that way... I don't think she did.  I think she enjoyed doing the things with the boys, with all of us.  She is patient, kind, loving, energetic, sweet, and I can see why Dad loves her.  I have known this about her... all along.. since she was my teacher even... but... I don't know... I guess this visit, to me... really made it feel like family... I like that.  She even took me for a ride on the four wheeler. (Before I got to learn how to drive it myself!!! Which I LOVED!)

Every day was filled with activity... cooking, sewing, fishing, kite flying, 4 wheeling, hockey playing, walking, laughing, game playing movie watching, reading... filled...

I got to introduce the boys to one of my favorite movies.., The Princess Bride,  which also happens to be one of my Dad's favorites... (Okay I may be bending the truth just a bit... Dad may not LOVE the movie... in fact he may despise it because over the years he has tolerated us watching it over and over and also have listened to us saying the lines along with the movie and saying the quotes long after the fact!)  The boys LOVED it.  In fact we watched it two nights in a row.  (The subject line is one of the quotes.)

I am lucky.   Very lucky.

My sister is someone who I have always admired... someone whose opinion of me has always been highly valued...and there were years where I felt like I had kind of lost her... felt that there was distance between us... that I did not understand... I understand now... and feel like she is back... that I have her in my life again... and I am lucky that she entrusts those boys to me and to Dad for a week at a time.  I see her in those boys... in their looks, their freckles, their expressions, the inflections in their voices... but also in their persons... their creativity, their ability to focus on details, their desire to love and be loved... she has done well... is doing well, raising those boys... I am proud of her.

I have three amazing nephews... all of whom have very different personalities... all with stubborn streaks, which I say come from our side of the family... with senses of humor, with dreams and ideas... they are smart, thoughtful, kind, affectionate... and really value their family...

I have a father who is the strongest man I know... who loves so deep that it is immeasurable, who has survived a lot of tough times... and has decided to continue living... with Betty... who is a wonderful part of our family.  She and Jacey both.

The week was just what I needed... I didn't know I needed it... I knew I wanted it... but I needed it...
I am very grateful.

And I have to share this picture... and then the story behind it... 
I cannot write something about my family and my love for my family without thinking of Mom... How much she would love that we had the time together that we had last week.  She would be thrilled with the projects Betty did with the boys, passing along skills that she would have hoped to pass on... And I have to say, that perhaps she has had a hand in all of this... in some way... 
You all know I hate the phrase, everything happens for a reason... because I do not believe that.  However, I think that throughout life, events happen that are not coincidental.  
That mouse up there, on the moon... is a gift that I gave to Betty the year she was my homeroom teacher, the year she was pregnant with Jacey.  Mom made it.  Jacey has saved a few things from when she was a baby... those things shown in this picture and hang in her bedroom, have been hanging there for years... Of all the things she hung onto through the years, she saved something Mom made... in a way... Mom was part of Jacey's life... in a small way... but still... somehow it feels like things are intertwined... I like that idea.. 
Here are some pictures of the last couple of days with the boys... Davin doing some stained glass with Betty, The lake covered with rain which made for beautiful reflections of the sunset... a sunrise, and time on thin ice with the boys and Gracie Dog... (The rain froze in the night, but not thick enough for it to hold much weight... Jack ended up soaked!) 


More Pics!

Some more pictures... took about three hours to upload... but here they are.. anther great day! 

Vacation So far...

 So Far... Vacation has been a lot of fun.  I have had a great time with the boys and with Dad and Betty.  The hardest part has been uploading pictures here... I blame my mac... that's why I am a PC!!! 

Here are some pictures so far... These are from just the first two days... and the order is off... (again.. MAC!!!)  I am not going to add many captions at this point, as they are pretty self explanatory...  but will perhaps revisit some of these pics.  I must say that in addition to the wonderful family time.. I did something new... I drove a 4 wheeler!  Yes I did!  And... LOVED it!  It was so fun to drive across the ice... and we have been lucky to have mild temperatures.  Today was a mostly indoor kind of a day, with boys sewing fleece pants with Betty... but I did get outside with the boys, and walk for about 40 minutes this morning and a half hour with Jack tonight... so I have been able to keep up with my activity... today is day 54!!!  Having Fun in Maine!!!  Enjoy the pics!

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place