Monthly Archives: February 2012


I’ve spent the last seven months making lemonade.

It was just over seven months ago that our daughter was born.  That was the biggest odyssey of the last year and she is the defining characteristic of our lives during this time (you can read about our journey in my previous blog posts here).

But that wasn’t the only thing that went crazy during these last eight months.  My grandfather-in-law was hospitalized while my daughter was still in the NICU (he’s in his 90’s and his heart has been compromised from heart attacks for nearly twenty years). My niece had her appendix out. My grandmother, who raised me along with my mother, was in a car accident. Again, all of this was while my daughter was still in the NICU. Then two weeks after she came home that same grandmother was walking across the street to church, which she has been doing for decades, and was hit by a car. In the face – the rear view mirror hit her full on in the face at full speed.  She was being escorted across the street by a gentleman from the church who was untouched. I can’t go into details because the insurance company hasn’t settled yet, but it was and has been horrendous.  She’s 92.  Then two weeks later, a couple of days before Thanksgiving, my husband was informed that he would loose his job at the end of December because he was unable to fulfill his teacher licensure requirements as a result of our time in the Ronald McDonald House at Duke with our daughter.  We were expecting a pay raise and had planned our family budget around it. He lived in a hostile work environment for the next month and was then denied unemployment because they offered him another position (a teacher assistant position which paid too little to justify a 45 min commute each way).  It seemed as though it was all over until the second week of January when my father-in-law was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

There you have it. I feel like the lemons have been falling from the sky for the last half year.

But what do you do when life gives you lemons? You make LEMONADE.


For everything that’s happened, nothing has been devastating. That may seem crazy but it’s true.

  • Our daughter is surpassing everyone’s expectations. Including ours.
  • My grandfather-in-law has slowed down a little but is doing great.
  • My niece is minus one small organ but is otherwise an awesome teenager.
  • Grandma is still with us! There are long term repercussions from the accident, but she is alive and home. That’s just amazing.
  • My husband and I are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate our vision and change our lives.
  • My father-in-law had his kidney and the tumor removed at Duke and the cancer had not spread!

For all of the struggles and hard choices and seemingly insane turns of events over the last few months, we are all still here.  Our family has been through the fire and we’re stronger on the other side.

So on this leap day, I’m taking this extra sunrise as a sign that life is beautiful and a gift. Raising a glass of lemonade to all of the strong people in my life who inspire me and to the miracles that I’ve been blessed to witness.

Categories: Stories from My Life | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

20 reasons to exercise

  1. You will NOT live to be 100 if you don’t.
  2. It’s addictive.
  3. Workout clothes have come a long way.
  4. More exercise = less cancer.
  5. Our bodies are meant to move.
  6. It involves oogling hot guys at the gym.
  7. Your children.
  8. Your grandchildren.
  9. Your great-grandchildren.
  10. Fewer real sick days (so you can use those sick days for fun)
  11. Your body is real – your TV is not.
  12. More exercise means more food!
  13. A little goes a long way.
  14. Your friends will be impressed.
  15. Lower medical bills.
  16. Better sex.
  17. A sense of accomplishment.
  18. Being able to shop anywhere in the mall.
  19. You will feel better. (even if it sucks at first)
  20. No more guilt about not exercising!


Categories: Exercise, Motivation | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Brief History of Workouts

A Brief History of Workouts.

What a great blog post! Just had to share.

I am a big fan of the Beachbody systems (P90X, INSANITY, Yoga Booty Ballet).  Just like anything, you have to actually follow the system.  Seen lots of folks fail at these systems because they didn’t really buy in and do them as they were prescribed.

Gaiam has some really wonderful dvd’s out there. Their Pilates Mat workouts got me my body back after my second child.

Workouts from books is old school but awesome. I did yoga in high school from this horrible book that looked like a middle school health text. The pictures in it could have been of Debbie Gibson.  Then when I got married, my father in law turned me on to Hittleman’s Introduction to Yoga. Amazing book.  One of the best yoga programs I’ve ever seen. It’s out of print but you can find it readily online.

Hittleman's Yoga

Categories: Exercise, Product Reviews | 1 Comment

Product Review – Morningstar Sweet & Sour Chik’n

So I was in the mood for something a little different tonight and, frankly, a little processed.  Thankfully I had this green box in the freezer, as I’d gotten several of these on sale a while back.  Perfect.

Here’s the nutritional breakdown:

  • 340 calories
  • 14 grams protein
  • 6 grams of fat, .5 g saturated fat
  • 56 grams of carbs (yikes!)
  • 550 grams of sodium (double yikes!)

So the calorie count on this little diddy isn’t too bad.  340 calories is a diet meal. But goodness the carbs and the sodium are both insane.  This definitely falls into the “treat” category.

On the upside, it’s vegan and as vegans know, Morninstar usually isn’t.

It tastes really good actually. Processed and just a hair bit bland, exactly as a TV dinner should be. The texture of the “chik’n” is nice. It’s made from that nice mix of tofu and wheat gluten that has become so popular because it’s so tasty. The rice has got that weird frozen rice texture, but the sauce and veggies are great.

Also in the plus column is that I can cook it in my oven, as we haven’t had a microwave in years.

Overall – something that we’ll keep in the back of the fridge, especially when I can get it on sale!

Categories: Product Reviews | Leave a comment

How to stay hydrated

Water. Your body is mostly water – about 60%!  Arguably one of the most valuable resources on Earth, water is as essential to your ability to survive as air or food. But in our modern society it gets a whole lot of lipservice with folks mostly drinking sugary drinks.

Just. Plain. Water.

First and foremost – just drink water. Learn to develop a taste for it so that you crave it the way that you crave your favorite foods.  Don’t sweeten it. Don’t add things to it to make it more palatable. Buckle down and decide to make a change.  Anything else is really cheating and you’ll find yourself reaching again for that Coke (or Dr. Pepper or whatever).  While sugary drinks do indeed count towards hydration, the hydrating benefits that you’re getting are not outweighed by the negative affects.

Diet drinks are as bad – because they trick your body.  When you drink a diet anything your mouth is sending the message to your brain that you’re getting calories but then they don’t appear in your stomach.  Your digestive system is easily confused so don’t try to play games with it. People who drink diet drinks actually tend to carry more extra weight than those who don’t.

Same goes for sports drinks.  If you’re looking for electrolytes, check out my recipe for a homemade 0 calorie sports drink. You can certainly use sports drinks when you’re training, but don’t rely on them for hydration.

The only exception here is ice. There is some research that shows that cold water actually increases your metabolism. It can also make it more palatable if you’re not used to drinking water.  I often put my metal water bottle in the fridge to get it really cold – I find that it’ll slake that craving for something sugary and sweet and carbonated.

How much?

The eternal question – how much? The conventional wisdom is 8, 8 ounce glasses per day. That’s 64 ounces. It’s kind of hard to vizualize that, so here’s an image for you.

two liters = 67 ounces

That’s right, a two liter a day is roughly equivalent to eight, eight ounce glasses. How easy is that? Pretty easy I’d say.  That’s a half gallon. It’s not much for a bare minimum.

While pregnant with my first child, my midwives instructed me to drink a gallon of water a day.  WHAT?? A GALLON? That sounds like oh so much. They said that the lighter your urine, the better. In fact it’s was a point of pride to have it be almost completely clear.  The darker your urine, the more unhealthy your hydration level. It’s really not that bad! At first you’ll feel like you’re constantly in the bathroom, but after a while your body will adjust. So my recommendation – twice the conventional wisdom if you want to be truly healthy. Aim for a gallon every day.  Especially if you’re pregnant or nursing.

A gallon? How to get there.

  • Get a good water bottle, one that you love, and keep it with you all of the time.  Stainless steel, pretty design, whatever keeps you interested. Don’t rely on disposable bottles or glasses. Invest ten or twenty bucks in something you like – it’ll make all the difference.
  • Drink on schedule at first. If your bottle holds a quart, then aim for a quart every five hours. If it holds a pint, then a pint every two and half hours. Down it at the end of your allotted time if you haven’t finished it yet.
  • Good tasting water. My tap water tastes horrible, so I know I won’t drink if that’s all that’s available.
  • Give yourself a week and see how you feel. You’ll notice that you’re more alert, awake and you feel better!

Love your water bottle!

Categories: Exercise | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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