Friday, January 05, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge

We went down to Great Wolf Lodge Wednesday night to Thursday, and I am happy to say we had a great time, and no one in our family got sick!  Two years ago was the last time we went, and that was a nightmare vomit-fest from the pit of hell, such that I had no desire to go back last year, so we didn't.  But by this year, the memories had worn off enough that it seemed like it might be a fun idea again!

When Bob was checking in, they gave us a really nice magnet commemorating 10 of something, which really puzzled me.  I knew we hadn't been going there for 10 years, since that would have been the winter of 2007-2008.  We had 6 kids, with Nathan being 10. Anna was not 2, and Grace was a baby--I knew waterparks were the last thing on my mind!  I remembered that the first time we went was the first year Rivendell started (December 2010), when I was pregnant with Micah.  Christine said it was probably for the 10th room reserved (10th "visit"), which makes more sense.  The last 3 times we've had to use 2 rooms, so that adds up quickly!

This was the first year we have not had to bring a pack-n-play, or swim diapers, which was so nice!  No diaper bag!  All we have to do is get Drew and Verity swimming confidently, and then we will be on easy street!  Woo-hoo!
 Christine and I met up and sat at the foot of the Howling Tornado so we could take pictures of our groups when they emerged!  I found out my camera hates the lighting at GWL and basically refused to focus, lol.

 It was so nice to have Nathan, Luke, and Isaac all back from college and with us.  What a special treat!
 The little kids spent a lot of time in the hot tub.  Since it was so cold outside, it just felt cooler everywhere, and the littles kept getting blue lips.  Our room never felt all that warm to me either, even though I ran the fireplace whenever I was in there.
 We made our usual late trip to Golden Corral for dinner after a full day of swimming.  There were 29 of us, including a bunch of teen boys.  I don't know that we're going to be able to keep doing that though--it cost over $120 for all 12 of us!
 We did get to enjoy Caleb McC's rendition of Beowulf using gummi bears, which is also a tradition!

As we left the restaurant, there were flakes of snow blowing around.  We had all seen the weather reports of the "bomb cyclone" that was coming in, and we wondered how we would be affected.  It seemed like really it was the coast that needed to worry, and we were still inland enough that it seemed like we would be able to get back to 95 the next day to get home.  I tried not to worry about it Wednesday evening, and it was really relaxing sitting on the couch with the fireplace going, looking out the patio door at the snow falling on the parking lot!  The older kids played games until really late, but the little ones were sleeping.  Unfortunately, Micah and Verity were both up from around 1:30-3:00 with various complaints--thirsty, needed to pee, couldn't find doggie and blanket, wanted a nightlight.  I tried to just be grateful they weren't vomiting, lol.  At least everyone slept in!
 Thursday morning was interesting.  Bob got the younger kids down to the park around 10:00, and I stayed behind to help with breakfast for the older boys, who also had to clear out their room, since we got a late checkout only in the one bigger room.  I decided I would take a shower because who knows when there would be a better chance, and as I stepped out and started to get dressed, the fire alarms started going off.  Of course, you always think it is your own fault, right, so I was grumbling that I really didn't take that long of a shower, etc.  When Nathan and Luke started yelling at me to leave, my first question was, "Is it just our room, or is it everywhere??"

I wasn't going to go outside in the freezing cold and snow sopping wet, so I went ahead and put on my jeans and blow-dried my hair.  Then bearing in mind our emergency landing experience, I also gathered up my and Bob's wallets, cell phones, etc, since I didn't want to be caught unprepared again!  Nathan and Luke kept texting me to hurry up, but I really was not that concerned--I was sure someone had cooked their microwave popcorn for more than 2 minutes or something like that.  As I finally was leaving the room to join Nathan and Luke in the stairwell (since they wisely decided not to wait outside),a cleaning lady came by and said to head to the water park.  We did that, but I was NOT prepared for that, lol.  It is quite warm in there when you are dressed for the freezing outdoors! We all stood around for awhile, sweating, until finally we were allowed back in the main hotel.  Something smelled like it had burned in the Dunkin Donuts in the lobby--but then again, they sent everyone right through the lobby to get to the water park, so who knows.  At least there was no big problem, and it wasn't more than a small inconvenience!
 The park was pretty crowded with families with toddler-age kids, as well as college students, since most other places had started back to school.  We used to go in earlier December, before schools let out, and then the place was empty!  But now that doesn't work with high school classes, or with college breaks.  Alas!

Micah and Drew didn't ride any water slides Wednesday, but as we left the park that night, we finally got the colored bands on their wrists that showed what rides they could ride (Micah could ride everything with an older boy, and Drew could ride most).  So Thursday morning the older boys took them on the rides.  Micah was a little hesitant (it turns out he is scared of heights and didn't like the big towers or stairs), but Drew was THRILLED to ride on the slides he could ride!  I saw him come out of one, holding Nathan's hand, and skipping with glee!  Drew rode all the ones he could go on.  Micah didn't, although he has said since that he *might* try the Howling Tornado next time.  MIGHT.

Even though we hadn't started back, other co-ops and classes did.  Before we left, I realized I should see if Jonathan's geometry class was starting up on Thursday, and let the teacher know he wasn't going to be there if it was.  I emailed her--but I COMPLETELY forgot that we always carpool with another family to and from that class, and I never let them know we weren't going to be there!  It didn't even cross my mind!  Instead, the mom found out by seeing my facebook posts from Wednesday, so she texted me to find out if we would be back Thursday morning for carpool!  Whoops!  Clearly I am not ready to start back, because my brain is still most definitely on break.
 Here's a group shot of the kids right before we left.  I wanted to get a family picture, but that did not happen because it took forever to gather everyone back together--like herding cats!  In this picture, you can see the start of a massive meltdown by Drew, whom Nathan is holding.  He became convinced that Micah had stolen his crocs (they are the same camo design, but Micah's are clearly bigger, so he was totally and undeniably wrong, but he was beyond reason . . .), and so he proceeded to throw a massive tantrum for the next hour or so.  We packed up the room to his howling, where he was joined by Faith's wailing, because she couldn't find a pair of underwear to put on.  Somehow they had disappeared from her bag, and none of us could even find her pair from yesterday.  Fortunately Grace had an extra pair, so she could wear those, but she was not to be consoled.  So our room was no longer the place of peace and solace it had been the night before, lol.  We made a very ungraceful and noisy exit, and Nathan had to wrestle Drew into his car seat to be buckled (after we wrestled him into his clothes, as well as socks and tennis shoes).  Not our finest moment, ha!

I made tortilla roll-ups with lunch meat, cheese, and spinach in the car for everyone to eat once we got going.  I was so glad we had packed stuff for lunch, because clearly we were not able to be going into any kind of restaurant to eat!  Once everyone had full tummies, everyone fell sound asleep except Bob, me, and Caleb.  Then the sound of peace and quiet reigned once again . . . ahhhh.  So we had many hours of fun, and just that last hour of not-fun, lol.  I was glad we went back!  And the roads were indeed just fine, so we made it back with no issues at all.  

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas was a lovely one, and not just because there were no lice to be found!

 Nathan finally got home Wednesday, Dec.20,and on Thursday, Bob took Faith, Micah, and Drew to a production of Mr. Popper's Penguins at the Kennedy Center with a big homeschool group. We had read that book aloud a few months ago, so this was a perfect play for them!  Afterwards, they walked around the monuments for several hours with friends.  Everyone came home happy but exhausted, except Faith, even though she was the oldest of our kids out there, who was whiny.  Still, fun memories!
 That night we had Christmas at our house, where we opened presents from the kids to each other and also from us.  Micah and Drew were so happy with these sweatshirts I picked up on clearance at Walmart a few months ago.  They look like knights!  I was happy they were $3.00 each, lol.  We had a small Christmas, and I will admit I was worse than usual with gifts because I've just been so distracted, but we did get the kids 2 electric rip-sticks from Costco, which were a big hit.

But there was no time to really play with anything, because Friday morning we were off early to Ohio!
 We stopped in PA to visit Bob's parents.  We had a nice time with them, and Bob was able to help give his dad a bath.  It's been awhile since Nathan was able to be there, so that was really good. 

We made it to my parents' house about 7:30, where my brother and his family were eagerly awaiting us!  The kids were so happy to see Emily and Elia again!  Everyone really played so nicely together this time--they are growing up! 
 Even though we weren't there for as many days this time, we still made time to cut out and decorate cookies!  This time I made the dough before hand and brought it with us, so the kids could just do the fun stuff.  Once again we used kittencal's sugar cookie and frosting recipe, because it is hands down the easiest I've found to work with, especially for a bunch of squirrelly kids. 
 We went to the candelight service and had our traditional family picture taken.  The guy holding my phone was off to the side, so you can't see my mom very clearly, and I want to get a copy of the picture from my dad's phone!  When I was reading my blog post from last year, I noted that none of our kids had to get taken out of the service.  Alas, this year Bob had to take Verity out because she was being a little pill.  Also, I dripped wax on my good black pants, which I still haven't gotten all the way out, so we definitely regressed this year!

Everyone had fun playing with presents and toys.  It was really cold, so the kids didn't spend much time outside, BUT we had a white Christmas!  Not too much snow to cancel things, but just enough to look pretty and festive!
 This travel connect four game was not even a Christmas gift, but for some reason, it was the popular go-to game this year!  Every time I turned around, a different pair of people was playing!  Next year we will have to splurge and get a full-size one for Grandma's house, lol.
 Lots of books were read.  Elia was so sweet to read to Verity and Drew! 
 The girls spent a lot of time coloring each other's hair with chalk that Elia got for Christmas. A very festive look!  Verity is wearing a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt that she adores and wears over all her shirts now.  Elia picked that out, knowing the Verity loves Minnie Mouse!
 We were able to finish a Thomas Kincaid Christmas puzzle that was really difficult because a lot of different areas had the same dark shadows. But we were up to the challenge--with only one missing piece!
The five girls got matching shirts from Grandma that were so cute!

On  our last day there, I was able to go out to breakfast (if you can call staying at a restaurant talking from 9:30-1:15 "breakfast", lol) with Amy--we had a lot to catch up on!  Bob, Dan, Melinda, and my Dad took the kids bowling at the base, which is always eagerly anticipated.  We were able to fit in a Young's trip before Christmas, so we made the most of a short visit!

Bob had tried to get Grace and Jonathan new ID cards Tuesday morning, but pass and ID was closed for a family day.  As we were driving out Wednesday morning, we decided to stop by there again to see if it might be possible to get them, since it takes sooo long, and it so far away, to get them here.  It took 30 minutes, which is an amazingly short period of time for 2 walk-ins!  Jonathan's ID card has been expired since June, and Grace never got hers since her 10th birthday in May, so having that checked off was a big relief!  The other kids and I just stayed out in the van and listened to an old Veggie Tales Christmas album.  Wee called it "pre-sitting"--just a warm-up for the big drive to come!  We were all jammed in there with backpacks, jackets, duffel bags, etc. all around, so it was hard for everyone to get in and out.   
On our way back home, we stopped in to visit Bob's sister Jane before she had to leave for work.  Our time at pass & ID slowed us down, so we had to drive straight there with no stops so we didn't miss her!  She fixed us a delicious lunch, and we had a lovely visit to break up our trip.  She also gave us a big sack of presents!  When we got home, the kids eagerly dove into the bag and had a ball opening everything and playing with them.  It was the perfect thing after a long day of driving!  The kids have happily spent the past few days assembling erector set cars and other projects, and playing reading games and other things from her and Uncle Terry, so they picked out some excellent gifts!

Now that we're home, and we've *pretty much* found places for all the new stuff, I'm contemplating taking down the Christmas tree today.  I just get tired of it taking up so much room in the family room!  I love all our ornaments so much, but I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the actual tree itself, lol. 

I hope you all had a merry, lice-free Christmas this year as well!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Our Christmas Tree Comes Full Circle

 Wow, I haven't posted since November??  We decorated before Nathan and Luke went back after Thanksgiving, so it's felt Christmas-y around here.  This may be the last year for our tree, though.  I thought I would commemorate it here, in all it's glory!
When Bob and I got married in 1993, he brought this much smaller tree pictured above into the marriage.  When we were stationed in Colorado, before we had Nathan, we got permits and cut down our own trees for 2 years in the national forest, which was fun.  (But we decided dealing with a live tree really wasn't all that much fun, so we have never had a live one again, lol.)  So we kept putting up the same small tree.  (And isn't Luke adorable here in 2005, in his footie pajamas!  This was an actual printed off picture from an actual roll of film, which is why I couldn't tell I had cut him in half, lol.  I never was that great of a photographer, but at least now with digital cameras, I can try again!)

The small tree was really hard to assemble, the lights were a total hassle to string, and taking it all back down again was the absolute worst.  I grew to loathe that tree, although as I look at this picture, it doesn't seem as bad as it does in my memories, lol. 

Finally, in 2006, we bought a new tree!  It was so easy to assemble, and you just plugged the different cords in different places, and voila, lights!   That was great for quite a few years, but then about 4 years ago, we started noticing that one section just wasn't lighting up when everything got plugged in.  And the next year, another section . . . and another one.  When we plugged everything in this year, there were huge swaths of darkness all over, including the entire top 2 sections. 

So what else was there to do but string lights??  Now we not only have the hassle of stringing lights,but also we're working around the old, non-working ones!  It does look pretty again though.  I don't think it's going to make the trip back down to the basement again though.   Some of the branches have broken, so they just fall down, instead of sticking out, so if you really look closely, it looks pretty shabby.  I think an artificial tree lasting 12 Christmases is pretty good--although our original small tree lasted 18 years. 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Curse of the Suit

Nathan and Luke both made it safely back to college on Sunday.  Luke flew back on a direct flight, so we thought there would be no problems.  When we took Luke down to college back in August, he decided to leave his suit here and just take down a pair of dress pants, white shirt, and tie.  Since being there, he decided there were some occasions where it would be nice to have a suit, so on the way back, he checked a (plain gray) suitcase to bring the suit and some other stuff back down with him. 

But unfortunately, the suit did not make it onto the plane with him.  Never to fear, though--it would arrive Monday, and they would bring it out to him! On Monday, a suitcase was indeed delivered to his dorm:

 So, clearly not a plain, gray suitcase.  Instead it belonged to some guy from Sweden.  At this point, the story began to feel like de ja vu . . .
 Last January, Nathan and Luke went to a big homeschool dance.  This picture was taken right as they were leaving.  At the dance, they all had their jackets off, draped on the back of chairs, and someone walked off with Luke's.  So they waited until the very end, and Luke took home the extra suit coat, which was pin striped, so clearly not his.  After numerous emails to the evite recipients and several moms homeschool loops, someone finally came forward who had a pinstriped suit but took home a black jacket that night. 

So we made the switch--and while this new suit coat was black, it wasn't the right brand name to go with his pants, and it also wasn't the right size.  So again, not the right coat.  After more fruitless emails, it seems there is still some clueless young man out there with a suit coat that doesn't match his pants.  In fact, it is probably laying in a crumpled heap on the bottom of his closet floor because clearly he never checked it, like all my emails implored everyone to do!  I threatened to pin a huge pink boutonniere on his jacket the next time he went to any sort of dance!

But we actually had a pressing need for a matching suit.  Luke was competing in the state mock trial tournament in March, so we finally bit the bullet and bought a lovely new charcoal suit.  It served him well for both the state tournament, as well as nationals.
It looked fine and distinguished . . . and it was the suit that didn't make the plane, and didn't get delivered on Monday afternoon.  Ack!  I was seriously wondering what kind of crazy bad luck made people careless about making sure we got the right suits. 

But hallelujah, this story has a happy ending!  The airline employees were able to figure out where they went wrong, and Monday night, Luke's actual boring gray suitcase was returned to him, with his charcoal gray suit inside, looking rumpled and definitely not like we had it dry-cleaned before we left.  But hey, we aren't having to go suit shopping again, so that is a huge win in my book!

And now Luke has 2 interesting airline stories to tell, the first being our emergency landing when we went down for a college visit! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Break

I am always so ready for Thanksgiving break, and this year was no exception!  It was a busy week, but also a lot of fun.
 Nathan came home last Friday night, and on Sunday, he and I did a joint presentation.  He is required to do a recruiting presentation, and I suggested doing it to homeschoolers, instead of finding a local school to go to.  We sent out an email to local groups, and people forwarded it to other groups.  We had a good turnout of very interested families!  My part was on applying for ROTC scholarships and the academies as a homeschooler, with helpful tips for the mom, who has to be the guidance counselor. It was very well-received!

We had been planning on having it at our house, but when more and more people said they were going to come, we couldn't figure out how to make it work, since our only TV screen is in our basement, it's not that big, and we don't have that much seating down there.  So the L's said we could use their family room, which was an excellent set-up! 
 Luke got home around 9:45 Tuesday evening.  Everyone was very glad to see him, especially Verity!  She  sat in his lap like this, even while he ate some soup and cornbread, until we put her to bed.
 For Thanksgiving, we went over to the L's house, as usual, with other families who are like family!  I made sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, plus cookie dough brownies, ginger snaps, and a chocolate pecan pie.  We had such a lovely and relaxing time, just visiting and hanging out for hours.  Some games were played, some football was watched, and the kids all bounced on the L's new trampoline that our 4 boys had helped Amanda assemble on Wednesday!  Best of all, I made enough of my dishes to have leftovers on Friday, with another turkey.  Yay!
 Because the weekend wasn't busy enough, we decided to celebrate Drew's birthday on  Saturday, even though it's not really until Thursday. But I'll be teaching all that day, and Caleb and Jonathan have Civil Air Patrol that night, plus Nathan and Luke won't be here. . . so clearly Saturday was a better day!  We had corn dogs for lunch, since that was what Drew  has been wanting for quite some time,and we opened presents after dinner.  The only thing Drew had asked for was a "Darth Vader mask", so I found one on Amazon, and he was super happy with that, as well as with his selection of candy. 
 A lady from our church was selling some boys dress-up stuff a few months ago, and I snagged it, thinking of Drew's birthday.  We have plenty of girly dress up stuff, but our boys' selection is pretty worn or already been thrown out!  This set had a pilot, firefighter, and police outfit, and Drew and Micah have already been having a blast dressing up in them. 

After presents, we had cake.  Drew wanted a Minion cake,specifically "Kevin".  I googled him to find  a picture to use as a model, and it turned out pretty cute!  It was super easy too, since I only had to shape the top.  I had also bought a new set of frosting color gels from Amazon to use, since I was really getting  tired of my Wilton ones (hard to get out, separated easily, and my latest black one was actually dark green!).  These were a "Good Cooking Gourmet Liqua-Gel Food Coloring" set of 12 colors, and I must say I was *very* happy with them.  They come in squeeze bottles, which makes them 1000x easier to get out than Wilton.  The colors were better, and they didn't separate (although in all honesty, I made the frosting and frosted the cake Saturday afternoon, and it was completely gone by Saturday bedtime, so there wasn't much time for colors to separate, lol).  I was able to mix lemon yellow and orange to get a perfect Minion color, and I mixed the 2 blues in the kit to get a better blue for Kevin's overalls.  The colors were so easy to work with!
Drew was adamant that he would light the candles, but that ended up being a team effort with Luke helping him hold down the button.  Nonetheless, he got them all lit and quite proud of himself!  Five is such a  fun age.  He is looking forward to his "real" birthday on Thursday.  He wants pizza for his birthday dinner, and a Thursday is definitely the perfect night for that!

Nathan  left this morning, and Luke is at the airport now, so break is officially over.   We just have to make it 3 more weeks until Christmas break . . . . 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Caleb turned 16 at 1:10 this morning!  We did not wake him up to celebrate, lol.  I did make cinnamon rolls with breakfast--but in full disclosure, they were the Pillsbury ones.  Then it was off to church, where Caleb was slotted to work the infant nursery!
After a busy afternoon where another friend hung out at our house for several hours, Jonathan competed in the Cyber Patriot competition, and Bob worked children's ministry the evening service at church, we finally were able to have Caleb's birthday dinner.  He picked "chicken packets", pierogies, and cabbage.  That's his Polish/Slovak blood speaking!
We have this ongoing "tradition" (joke?) where we reuse the same birthday gift bags for each birthday.  Hey, why buy new gift bags all the time?? 
We had already gotten Caleb what he really wanted, a nice knife, so he got a giant box of Frosted Flakes (because he loves that cereal, and I never buy it), some candy (Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, and Swedish Fish are his favorites!), a new wallet (one without velcro, like his old one), and a nice dressier silver watch to wear with his blues.
He and the girls made the cake last night, while I was out celebrating a friend getting her doctorate.  We had so much fun that I stayed out way later than I was expecting, so I was glad they could mix everything up themselves!

Caleb decorated the cake this afternoon with the symbol from "Overwatch", a computer game he likes to play.  He's getting quite good at decorating his own cakes!
Here is Caleb, helping Micah light all 16 of his candles.  Caleb loves his younger siblings, especially Verity!  Good thing for her he still has 2 1/2 more years until he heads off to college!  He has really stepped up to the challenge of being the oldest one at home this year.  He is looking forward to getting his driver's license in February, the soonest he can get it.  He's already done the computer part, and we're working on finishing up the 45 hours of driving with a parent.  Then he will just lack the 14 hours of "behind the wheel" training, and he'll be done!  

I will say, it has been hard going from 3 drivers back down to just 2!  Once he gets his license, I don't think we will have another time where we will only have 2 drivers again . . . as long as the kids are diligent about getting their licenses as soon as they can!  I am really looking forward to having 3 drivers again, even though it will be at the end of basketball season, as opposed to the beginning.  

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Weight (Non)Loss Update

So to recap, I did a Whole30 in April, 2016 (here's my starting post) and lost about 12 pounds by the end of it (here's a post from day 26).  Then I went through the summer of 2016 trying to have a really short eating window, and by the end of that summer, I had lost about 19 pounds.  Yay!

The only problem was, all that focus on what and when I was eating was simply not sustainable through the school year.  So although I tried to eat less carbs, I just pretty much slid back into regular eating habits.  Also, I exercised pretty much not at all last school year.  It just didn't happen, not even walks in the evening with Bob.  So as you can imagine, buy the end of the school year, I had regained all the 19 pounds I had lost, plus an extra 2 or 3.  Then in March I read The Secret Life of Fat, the most depressing book I've read for awhile, and I realized it would be very, very difficult for me to ever actually lose this fat permanently, so maybe a better approach would be exercising and feeling healthier, and just come to terms with my perpetually pregnant belly.

With that in mind, I contemplated asking my homeschool email loop if anyone could recommend a gym where overweight, middle-aged, frumpy women who look pregnant might possibly not be mocked.  But then!!  A homeschooling friend that we have known for years posted that her daughter, an exercise science major who had just finished her junior year of college, was looking for clients to do personal training for, at just $15 an hour!  I felt like that was a direct answer to prayer, so I emailed right away.

I met with Kaitlyn for the first time right before we left to visit my family in Ohio in June.  She had me do some exercises as an evaluation of where I was, and where my weak areas were, including running on a treadmill for a few minutes really fast.  As I was getting on the treadmill, I joked about how I've wanted to start running again, but each time I run, I end up having to go to the chiropractor 3 or 4 times to get my back and hips right again.  Haha!

Well.  Two days later we left to drive to Ohio, and by then I literally could not stand up straight.  I spent the week in Ohio on my back, stretching 6 ways to Sunday and taking motrin around the clock, but I was in so much pain.  I could not wait to get back here to see my chiropractor!  I saw him 2 times, and then I started really feeling better.  I was sooo discouraged though.  Here I am, trying to get healthy, and now I can't even move?!  I was so ready to throw in the towel already!

But Kaitlyn encouraged me to hang in there.  Best of all, she was able to really see the areas that were so weak--specifically my hips, which I had no idea were the weak link!--and tailor my workouts to strengthen those areas.  It was hard at first.  My poor legs and hips!  I hadn't realized what an exercise rut I had been in (prior to 2016/17, where I didn't even exercise at all, lol).  I would walk a ton, and do a pilates dvd I really liked.  But it turns out I wasn't even doing all those moves correctly, because that way bothered me and didn't feel "right"!  So I was great at what I did--and I never did anything different or challenged any other muscle groups.  And in the meantime, my hip muscles especially got weaker and weaker and weaker.  Kaitlyn was so very helpful, and I really enjoyed all my times with her, because she was always so encouraging.  Just what I needed!

I exercised with Kaitlyn twice a week all through the summer, and I did my regular walking in the mornings during swim team practice.  I started feeling much stronger, and I definitely noticed a difference in my back and hips.  Even during all the hours of driving down to Alabama and back to drop off Luke, my hips and back didn't hurt, like they usually would!  Progress!

But I lost no weight.  None.  I felt better, but I don't even think I looked any different.  Oh well though-that was what I had decided in the spring, right??  Focus on exercising and becoming healthier and don't worry about the scale?

I had a physical the end of August, and my numbers are pretty good.  I am "prediabetic" but holding steady there--the A1C number hasn't changed in the past 2 years.  Everything else was good, although my vitamin D level was low, which was weird.

I was able to exercise every day through September, but now the wheels have fallen off that good plan, as always seems to happen.  The things I am teaching require more prep, Micah is being a real pill (more in a different post), and I am just so tired and worn out and unmotivated.  Bob and I have been walking probably 2-3 times a week, but nothing like we were doing, and I was getting up every morning to work out as well.  I don't see me getting more motivated with the shorter, darker days either, lol.  The only thing I am really doing, diet-wise, is trying not to eat much wheat.  Eating that definitely seems to cause me to retain water.  Otherwise, I just don't have the bandwidth to figure out whole30 type meals right now, and honestly, if I lose the weight but then gain it back as soon as I eat more grains--well, that just seems silly.  I'll just hang out where I'm at, and hope I can get back to more exercising.  In my spare time!  Ha!  I'm not sure if I'll ever be brave enough to try running again . . .