My Love-Hate Relationship with Cows

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Funny Farm Stuff / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

Cows. You can’t live with them and life would be so boring and sad without them. Also, without cows there would be no butter.

I am pretty sure I’ve met every neighbor on this mountain at one point or another due to my cows visiting them. You see, lots of things will make cows wander. First off, cows like to push fences. They look for weak places and find ways to push through. If you’re blessed enough to have Highland Cows, you know that they have the thickest skin in the world. Barbed wire doesn’t bother them and most electric fences don’t either.

Cows have a very strong sense of smell. They can detect odors six miles away. They can smell their friends, and especially potential lovers from a long way away. They can smell a babbling brook long before we can hear it. Cows are herd animals, which means they like to hang in groups. Two cows is great for company, but if there are eight more cows three miles away, they might as well wander that way to visit.

This is where I finally picked them up today. They had been having quite a little party with their new friends.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. This phrase was invented by cows and passed down from generation to generation from grandpa bull down to baby calf. Cows emerge from the womb, eat a snack, find their fence lines, then immediately decide what is beyond it that they must get and that becomes their life goal. We have six acres of vegetation for two cows to share, but that’s nothing compared to a neighbor’s tiny manicured lawn– that’s the good stuff.

In my opinion, if a cow can find a way to embarrass you with your neighbors, she will. Not once have had I had to go get my cows on a day when my hair and makeup were done nicely. Nope. I usually show up looking like a hobo and wrestle my bovine babies into ropes and head on home leading them with the 4 wheeler at 3 mph. I do get a lot of lovely time to look around and take in the scenery and views.

Today, my idiots were out. If you ever meet someone who says that they don’t call their cows names they are lying straight to your face. Until you’ve tried to push or pull a 900 pound animal, you might not understand the name calling, but it’s quite therapeutic and highly necessary. Anyways, a neighbor called to say his neighbor told him they were near her house and described them and they ‘sound like yours’. Spoiler alert: They’re ALWAYS MINE. I jumped out of bed and flung on sweats and a sweatshirt and my farm boots. I put on my heavy coat too because just because it’s not raining this second doesn’t mean it won’t rain exactly the second I hook up the cows and settle in for an hour ride back home. I grabbed my favorite cow gathering ropes. Everyone has different preferences but they all give you rope burn on your palms just the same. I checked where I was originally told they were. “Oh no, they haven’t been here for at least an hour.” Cool. Bopped on down the dirt road on my 4 wheeler over to the neighbor who called to see if they made it across the massive field/mountain/hillside to his property. He said he hadn’t seen them yet but I was welcome to drive through his field and up the hill looking for them. Halfway across the bumpy terrain driving over rose bushes and stumps is when I wished that I had taken a moment to put a bra on. But it was fine; everything was fine. He said if I went all the way across the open space I’d come to a road and could take that down to between two properties over on the other side. A side note: in the country, when someone says road that could literally be anything. Below is said road. Oh, and by the way I had already cruised through it once before I took the picture so it didn’t even have tracks to help identify it as a road.

After driving through the field and brush back and forth long enough to get smacked in the face with my boobs several times I decided to head back for home and wait for the next sighting. But I know exactly where they were.

I’d bet the farm that Claire and Jamie were hanging out in this rose bush thicket. They were laying very still and Claire was whispering to James, “Hear the 4-wheeler? That’s mom. Be very quiet and don’t move.”

Cows are smart. Don’t ever let someone tell you that they aren’t. I finally gave up and headed for home. I told Mr. Kind Neighbor that I hadn’t seen any sign of them and he said he’d let me know when they arrived at his house (and to visit his cows). I got home and turned off the 4-wheeler and came inside. I went to the bathroom, got a drink of water, crawled into bed to relax for a moment and that’s the exact second my phone chimed to tell me that the cows showed up in the neighbor’s front yard. Cows are smart. Up I got to go get those amazing little critters who I love so dang much.

I arrived to break up the party. I got James hooked up first. Claire is the tricky one. She moves QUICKLY for a big girl. The second I get off the 4 wheeler with a rope in hand she immediately starts planning her escape route. She dips, dodges, dives, and ducks with great skill. I outsmarted her today and slipped the rope around her neck to the cheers of Mr. Kind Neighbor who said I could come help him with his cows anytime. That made me feel proud for a tiny moment. Then he told me that his cows got out yesterday and it made me feel good knowing I’m not alone. In fact, I learned his name today and this is the second or third time he’s dealt with my cows. I bet if I called him in the middle of the night with a cow emergency though, he’d jump in his truck and come help. Weird huh? I guess country people really are as crazy as all the songs make us out to be.

I got them back to our property eventually. We had words. Names were called. Threats were made. If you told me I could give up my cows and move to the city and never have to go wrangle a cow again… I’d never take that deal. I love these big hairy idiots so damn much. I can call them names and make threats, but if you ever hurt my babies– my threats to you will be promises. Don’t mess with mama bear (mama cow?)

Lilac Jelly

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Cooking with POTS & Pans / Funny Farm Stuff / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

I’ll chat a bit after I give you the recipe info because everyone hates having to scroll or jump down a long way to a recipe. This recipe is from Dianesfoodblog.com

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups lilac blossoms and buds, tightly packed
  • 2 1/2 Cups boiling water
  • 3 Cups sugar
  • One lemon
  • One box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
  • One vanilla bean sliced lengthwise, optional

Instructions

  1. The night before, prepare your lilac infusion to soak. Tightly pack two cups of lilac blossoms and place them into a large jar. Cover them with the 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. (The blossoms will immediately lose their color.) If you are using vanilla, slice the vanilla bean in half and at it to the infusion. Cover jar and let sit overnight.
  2. The next day, pour the infusion through a cheese cloth into a sauce pan (or dutch oven, or whatever you are using for your jelly making). The original recipe called for pouring through a strainer but I don’t have a strainer with tiny enough holes to be able to keep all teeny tiny bugs out. I’m not into bug jelly so I used cheese cloth. side note: cheese cloth is not in the cheese section of the store or the fabric section. Should you ever need to find it, it’s in the craft section.
  3. Note- if you are water bath canning your jelly, get your jars in the water bath canner and start getting that water to boiling now.
  4. After pouring it through the strainer you should have about 2 1/4 cups of liquid. If you don’t, add water until you’re at that amount.
  5. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice (through strainer) into the pan. Or just pick out the seeds after you juice it like I did.
  6. Add the Sure Jell and stir. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  7. Add all of the sugar at once and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil at a full rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat and skim off any foam from the top using a metal spoon.
  9. Pour or ladle the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars. Use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe off the rims and grooves of the jar. Center the lid on the jar and screw the ring to ‘finger tight’ (I take that to mean not wimpy and not Hulk).
  10. Lower the jars into the water bath and once the water is boiling (with at least an inch of water above the jars) start your timing, according to the Sure Jell packaging. (For me that was 10 minutes), but it may be different for you with altitude adjustments.
  11. If the jars don’t seal properly, move them to the fridge or freezer.

See additional notes and photos below.

Find a pretty lilac plant to do your harvesting. It’s ideal if you can find one with a cute goat posing in front of it.
When removing blossoms, try to remove as many tiny stem pieces as possible. See the tiny stem with the bunch on the left? Remove it! Sure, it’ll all be strained out, but it can affect the flavor of your jelly.
I used a large Ball jar to make my infusion.

It’s as easy as that! I have a goal this year to actually harvest and use more of the blossoms, plants, fruits from our property this year. Lilac bloomed first, so it was the first to check off my list. If my year goes as planned I’ll also be making something with the Saskatoon Service Berries, the Buckwheat (if Claire doesn’t eat it all), and the Elder Berries. Wish me luck!

Honestly, lilacs have a very strong smell and I can’t even have a pretty bunch in the house without getting a headache. Outside in the breeze I love their scent. I mostly thought this jelly would be terrible because I thought it would have that super strong headache-y flavor. Truly, it’s very good. It’s a sweet flavor, but I don’t know that I can really taste the lilac. Maybe the vanilla from the vanilla bean a bit, but either way it’s a light and happy flavor. I’m pretty sure it would be delicious with butter on biscuits (when I say biscuits I usually am thinking scones). Either way, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor.

Kittens, Goat Babies, New Apiary and More Spring Things

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Funny Farm Stuff / Smile Makers / Uncategorized

It’s been a busy Spring around here! I haven’t checked in for a while and I thought I’d whip up a little post about doings and goings on here.  I dawdled in getting Bonnie taken in to the shelter to get fixed and got to learn a lesson about that.  Oops.  I found teeny kittens out in the shop a couple months ago.  Four teeny, tiny and adorable kittens.  They have since been relocated to new happy homes and barns to live in.

I very much enjoyed playing with them and cuddling those tiny furballs, though.

kittens

kittens2

New Apiary

We successfully overwintered our swarm of bees that we caught last year.  We’ve ordered two new nuclei of bees for our two other hives as well.  Tom built a stand for the hives to make them higher up off the ground.  We’ve moved our apiary up closer to the house and the boys fenced it in with cattle panels, which gave us the opportunity to plant trees that maybe wouldn’t be destroyed by goats eating them or cows scratching on them.  Our new apiary includes a cherry bush, a red baron apple tree, a peach tree, a quince tree, a sour cherry tree, a blackberry bush, and two honeyberry plants.  I’m quite happy about it.  I can already tell it’s going to be a very happy place for me.

apiary

apiary tree planting

While I was down supervising tree planting in the apiary I took this neat picture of one of my hard working ladies resting on my finger.

bee close up

Goat Babies

I don’t think I even took the time to introduce y’all to Cheyenne.  She’s a Kiko mix goat who we bought a few months ago.  She was pregnant when we bought her and due to kid around May 18, 2020.  She’s very pretty and we’ve been faithfully stanchion training her right along since we brought her home.  She knows how to be led from her pen right to her stanchion to jump up and put her head through to eat treats.

Cheyenne

She learned quickly that daddy gives all the good treats (dried apricots and apples).

Cheyenne and Tom

She also learned that mama takes a LOT of pictures.

Cheyenne sunglasses

Anywho, as we were preparing for her upcoming birth we gathered supplies that we would hopefully not need.  Goats have been giving birth without the help of humans for a long time, but we wanted to be prepared to help if needed.  As part of the learning process for Carter I had him watch a video about detecting goat labor signs with me, as well as a few goat birth videos.  (This face just kills me!)

Carter goat birth videos

We kept a close eye on miss Cheyenne and watched for signs of labor.  On May 17 in the afternoon she released her mucus plug and her tail ligaments had completely vanished (which is the most effective sign of knowing labor is imminent).  Tom still figured it would be later that night while he was at work, but while I was in the kitchen cutting up an apple I looked out the window and saw the first kid on it’s way out.  I yelled to Tom and Carter that she was giving birth and ran out the back door in my workout clothes and my (what used to be, indoor) slippers.  I didn’t wanna miss the first birth on my little farm.

I’m going to post a few birth pictures and videos below, so if that freaks you out for some reason or you aren’t aware of where babies come from, avoid this next section.  Josh- avert your eyes. 

This adorable little boy was born first. 

danny birth 1

Next, Cheyenne pushed out this perfect little girl.  I love this video where you can see her mouth and nose moving.

This little girl arrived kicking and screaming and basically pulled herself out into this world!

goat birth

The birth was really a family occasion and it was so fun to all be there.  For a bit Carter thought he might be able to get away with staying in the garage but Tom informed him that it was not optional.  Afterwards, he was really happy that he stayed to watch.

carter and fiona

Tom and fiona

goat mama

We decided to name the little babes Fiona and Danny Boy.

 

Fiona

Danny Boy

All in all, everything went really smoothly and Cheyenne is a great mama.  No problems with delivery or recovery for mama or the kids.  They are now six days old and already running around like crazy and climbing and jumping on everything.

In Other News…

Claire is still pregnant.  She is not due until the end of July, but she is already pretty round and uncomfortable.  We’ll just be doing our best to keep her comfy and cool as we come into Summer.

Claire belly

We got the garden planted and I’m already looking forward to harvesting. I recently learned how to water bath can and I’ve been canning all the frozen fruit that has been in our freezer for a year.  So far I’ve made cherry jam, cherry butter, raspberry jam, vanilla raspberry jam, peach jam, and chocolate covered cherry jam (which is incredibly delicious and after Tom tried it he said he would like it put on everything he eats in the future please).  Canning has been a new favorite hobby of mine and I look forward to more preserving this year!

chocolate cherry jam

I think I’ve caught y’all up on the recent activities around here.  Plenty more happy things to look forward to this year!

My Honest Review of One Month with a Health Coach and Using Optavia

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Deep Thoughts About POTS / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Physical Therapy & Exercise / Uncategorized

So, my husband recently lost 101 lbs using a health coach and the Optavia lifestyle change program.  But, more importantly, his energy level skyrocketed.  He became less impatient.  His motivation to do projects and get creative jumped too.  His heartburn disappeared completely.  His blood pressure and resting heart rate are now perfect.  His skin became clear and eyes cysts dramatically reduced to almost never.  Basically, his whole body became healthier and well regulated in a lot of ways.

He challenged me to consider trying the program (not for weight loss, which he carefully emphasized many times), but to see if it helped with my extreme fatigue (#1 symptom of POTS) and my many digestion issues (also a big POTS symptom).

I finally agreed to do a 21 day trial to see if it helped with energy, motivation, or my many digestive troubles.  Buying the ‘fuelings’ gives you supplies for 1 month but I still only initially agreed for 21 days.  I figured I can do anything for 3 weeks and NOT CHEAT in any way but stay fully on program and give it an honest try.

Here are my real thoughts:

Day 1: “This shit is super expensive, so I really hope it helps in some way.” I wasn’t really hungry, but I looked forward to my alarm going off every 2-3 hours for my fuelings.  Bit of diarrhea – which is very normal for my life so could be program, could be POTS.

Day 2: Still looking forward to fuelings, but not really hungry.  Slight headache (again, normal for POTS).  Feel fine.

Day 3: Figuring out what fuelings are my favorites.  Finding the ‘lean and green’ meals to be too large and starting to find ways to split them up through the day.

Day 4: More diarrhea.  Again, could be POTS, could be program.  I have energy! I am motivated to do projects, but I still don’t have the ability to actually be upright as long as I want.  But mentally, I’m engaged and interested in projects.

Day 5: In a routine.  Feel fine (still have POTS, but overall feel fine.)

Day 6: I’m surprised at how easy this way to start out.  Everyone said the first week was so hard.  It was pretty easy for me overall.  I had already been eating small amounts several times rather than a few large meals.

Day 7: Excited to weigh tomorrow.  Hoping several pounds have easily fallen off as they do in the first week for so many people.

Day 8: Damn, only lost just over a pound.  But wait, I’m not actually doing this for the weight loss and I am seeing more energy overall.  Oh yea, I also can’t restrict my salt on this program like everyone else can- which can easily affect water retention and make less weight loss.  Plus when I was losing weight on my own I definitely wasn’t losing a whole pound a week.

Week One Weigh and Measure:

  • Lost 1.2 pounds
  • Lost 1.5 inches on waist and .5 inch on hips.

Day 9: Encouraged by coach to try less cheese substitutions as meatless lean proteins as that may slow weight loss a bit.  Also reminded that the less condiments I use the more productivity I’ll see as well.  High energy, but bad tummy today.

Day 10: Working to reduce cheese and condiments.  Feeling energy and happy.

Day 11: Loving my chicken and veggie dinners.  Enjoying less condiments, sauces and seasonings and really tasting different vegetable flavors.

Day 12: I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND FELT SEXY! I can actually see inches lost on my waist and I like it!

Day 13: In a POTS flare due to a bee sting/reaction.  I’m sticking to plan though and still excited to see positive changes moving forward.

Day 14: Excited to weigh and measure tomorrow.  Struggled through eating 5 ounces of steak for my lean protein.  Would definitely split it up next time.

Week Two Weigh and Measure:

  • Lost 1 pound
  • Down .5 inch on hips
  • Down .5 inch on each thigh

Day 15: Chose to have a bad attitude today.  Cranky and pissy and mad about only losing a pound and no inches on my waist.  But wait, I am doing this to see if it helps energy or tummy, remember? Tummy problems remain but energy level is higher and mood is definitely better overall, minus my choice to have a bad mood today.  Really wanted pie.  Instead I picked up a new book and read 60 pages and pushed myself to do a baby workout to get those endorphins pumping.  Ended the day proud of my choices.

Day 16: Still feeling increased energy and mood.  My body is enjoying regular fueling with high protein and less crap.

Day 17: Reminding myself that my healthy choices directly cause progress towards my goals.

Day 18: Feeling happy and proud of myself for making these choices for me.

Day 19: Today, on a whim, I tried on the Jean Tom bought me in 2012.  They haven’t fit since 2016.  Today, I could put them on and pull them all the way up AND button them.  They are still a bit too tight to comfortably wear, but holy crap I can actually button them.  HELLO INCHES LOST.  So happy and proud of myself for working towards my goals.

Day 20: Feeling proud of my choices.  Realizing that this lifestyle isn’t that hard to maintain and is making me happier when I look in the mirror.

Day 21: Looking forward to weighing and measuring tomorrow.  Proud of my choices and don’t have guilt about anything I’ve eaten in 21 days.  Weird.

Week 3 Weigh and Measure:

  • Lost 2.4 pounds
  • Down 1 inch on waist
  • Down .5 inch on hips

Day 22: So happy about a week of good weight loss.  Pumped to keep going.

Day 23: Making forward progress. Little by little.  One choice at a time.

Day 24: A bit tired and sore, which tends to make me want to cheat. Didn’t though.

Day 25: Waking up with energy is still so weird to get used to.

Day 26: In the morning, when I look in the mirror, I feel like my body looks sexy.

Day 27: Still motivated about progress. Dizzy and tummy, a bit lower energy due to flare.

Day 28: Still going strong. Excited to weigh and measure tomorrow. Especially after focusing on movement all week.  Body is flaring a bit with stomach issues and increased dizziness.

Week 4 Weigh and Measure:

  • Lost 1.8 pounds
  • Down .5 inch hips

Day 29: Flaring with POTS again. Not a great day.  Tried the frosty mint chocolate soft serve fueling today though and it was AMAZING.  What have I been missing for 28 days?

Day 30: Feeling a bit better than yesterday. A bit hard watching Tom in transition these last couple weeks getting to add in fruit and oats, but I’m still feeling strong and motivated to get towards my goals before I transition to adding in those foods too.  What a crazy concept that in a few weeks I could possibly be at my goal weight. This is really not that hard considering the results that I’m receiving.  Can’t stop me now.

END RESULTS

Here are the final weight and measurement totals, but scroll below to see my final “non-scale victories”.

optavia progress

Non-Scale Victories

  • More energy, wake up feeling more alert and ready to get out of bed
  • A bit longer stamina with daily tasks
  • No need to take Pepcid anymore for heartburn (which used to be a daily need)
  • Rarely need to take a sleeping pill anymore because I sleep so much better now
  • Feeling way more confident with my body and less self-conscious
  • More mental clarity over all throughout the day

So, that’s it.  I’m motivated to do another 30 days because I’m so close to my goal then I really look forward to transitioning to adding back in more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.

My honest opinion is that:

1) it’s expensive.

2) it yields positive results.

3) It would be much harder and less effective without a coach.

4) I feel happy and proud of myself.

5) yes, I still have POTS and I still have daily symptoms.  I do have a bit more stamina in some ways though which is a pleasant surprise.

There you go.  My honest review.  If you have any questions, hit me up!

 

A Lesson from the Critters

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Uncategorized

The Governor of Idaho has officially put out a stay-at-home order for anyone who is able and not an (essential) part of the work force.  Nothing actually changed here.  I still have to go to the pharmacy and do doctory things.  Tom still has to go to work and be in close contact with the public.  The critters all still want food and such so that must still be procured and then doled out to them appropriately.

The only real change is that I am NOT getting my nails or hair done right now, I can’t go to Bible study or lunch with friends, and I can’t have friends over to watch shows or hang out, etc.  So, on the whole, our life is basically the same.

The kiddo is here off and on for longer than weekend visits which is nice.  While he is not in school he is still learning life skills like cooking, fencing, forging, beekeeping, some mechanical things, painting, etc.  Things are still happening and he therefore is learning and joining in with us.  At his mom’s house he has rabbits having babies and other such excitement.

In the world of homesteading around here people are still getting fields ready- because humans and animals are still going to need to eat, starting seeds, working animals, milking, etc.  It hasn’t changed all that much and honestly the animals wouldn’t know there is anything going on at all.  They’re all just out there living their best lives.

I kind of feel like we should be the same way. Yes, follow directives as much as you can and don’t go congregating and licking each other, but we don’t need to live in a world of fear fueled by the media.  Checking the news is literally putting people into full blown anxiety and panic attacks.

Maybe we should focus less on doom and fear and more on enjoying our grain we’ve been given, much like my babies are doing.  They truly look forward to the simplicity in life:

  • Finding a patch of grass that has popped up and is good for graze.
  • Seeing daddy arrive holding hay.
  • Finding a flower that has just bloomed and is full of pollen.
  • Drinking a sip of freshly filled, cool water.
  • Laying in a patch of sunshine and cuddling in the barn when it’s raining.
  • Watching a robin hunt for worms or Bonnie the barn cat hunt for mice.

Are we maybe making things far too complicated and in turn severely damaging our mental health?

Just my two little cents and hopefully a moment of encouragement.

35CB7ADC-E779-412E-ABEB-A3EC7241DF03

MINDSET, mindset, m.i.n.d.s.e.t.

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Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

Tomorrow I keep working towards my baby fitness and health goals by starting the Optavia program.  I’ll give you a quick basic of the program model.  You work on little changes each week to better your health.  Drinking an additional glass of water.  Consciously choosing to stand more (not so much for me, but maybe a few seconds).  Being mindful and slowing down to taste what is being eaten, rather than just eating to be eating.  Thinking of food as fuel for your body, not love, or happiness or a boredom killer.

The first phase is called 5 and 1.  Five small snacks (or fuelings) throughout the day and one ‘lean and green’ meal that you make yourself and includes a lean protein and a choice of a bunch of yummy veggies.  There are 2-3 hours between eating each fueling/meal.  It aims to put your body into fat burning and keep the metabolism going steadily throughout the day.  There is some science bla bla bla that backs that up, but also the results seem promising.  After that phase it actually moves to a transition as opposed to just cold-turkey stopping and then immediately regaining a bunch of weight.  It helps you add fruit back in, as well as whole grains, etc.  It sets you up for success, not failure like so many ‘diets’.

I think my body will be just fine, but my mindset will need the work.  I view food as my happy a lot of the time right now.  I need to teach my mind that I am choosing to change up what I eat, that it’s not a punishment.  That I’m not ‘missing out’.

Will I struggle? Sure.  But I’ll just have to choose to focus on the positive and my reasons.  Will I miss certain foods? Sure.  But I’ll have to keep my mental game strong and again keep my mind busy and in a healthy place.

easy doesnt change you

Basically, you’re just all here during my little pre-game pep talk to myself.  In law enforcement there were times when I had to take a deep breath and remember my ‘why’.  I think I’ll just be keeping my ‘why’ handy through this little challenge, too.

Over the last four and a half years (since being diagnosed with POTS) I feel like I’ve overcome so many hurdles that really, this is small potatoes.  But that does remind me, I love small potatoes.

So, in the words of Jim Halpert, “Lord, beer me strength”.

beer me strength

I’ll check in along the way and let y’all know how it’s going.  Have a happy weekend!

Thanks For The Permission, Moon

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Big Medical Words / Deep Thoughts About POTS / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

This quote made me happy enough that I put it up on my little message board for a week or two.

moon permission

Truth be told, are any of us ever really whole? I feel like as soon as I get one thing going well something else falls apart.  Physically, mentally, whatever.  It’s just a part of life to always be working on yourself in one way or another.  As soon as I get one junk drawer cleaned out, another overflows.  I know I’m not alone in this feeling.

Last Fall I was grown up enough to realize that I needed to go back to my counselor for some continued help with my mindset and some negative cognition’s that I had developed, and believed.  I completed that treatment and also started going to a weekly Bible study that I am really enjoying.  I feel like mentally I am doing well right now.

So, What’s Next?

Next up for me, continuing to work on my strengthening and toning, and maybe a bit more weight loss.  Transparency continues to be my theme.  Unfortunately, I’ll continue to be using my body during this effort so that may prove to be bothersome and troubling, but I’ll give it a go.  I’m going to do a trial of 21 days of the Optavia weight loss system, or lifestyle change, or whatever they call it. Generally, I don’t approve of most diets out there, but I’ve read about this one extensively and I am not horrified immediately, so that’s a good sign.  Obviously, I’ll have to modify the salt amount to make sure I keep my blood pressure from dropping, but I’m up for the challenge.

I’m a bit intrigued to see how the model of 5 small meal/snacks at exact intervals throughout the day may help with my digestion.  Then in the evening a “lean and green” which can be chicken, turkey, fish, etc. and a huge variety of different vegetables.  I’ve been watching my husband do the program since November 10 and he has lost almost 80 pounds!  But, more importantly, his resting heart rate and blood pressure have dropped.  His blood sugars have changed.  He has so much more energy and motivation.  He’s much happier.  Me, I’m looking forward to maybe dropping a few pounds that have been stubborn, but more importantly seeing if my energy/fatigue changes at all, but also really seeing about the digestion thing. 

Just a reminder, for those reading this who don’t have a form of dysautonomia, but after eating, extra blood goes to the stomach to help with digestion.  I already have problems with blood volume and pooling.  Blood doesn’t go to my head when I stand up so my heart says “oh no, not enough blood going to her head so we better beat really fast to help”, which just causes more issues.  Digestion is part of the autonomic nervous system, which if you remember, mine is dysfunctional.  Some days, it does ok digesting food.  Other days, it immediately causes excruciating pain, vomiting or diarrhea after eating.  It’s not predictable.  So, anyways, eating is a big struggle for me.  I’d like to try this and see how it goes.

As always, I’ll be very honest with y’all.  I plan to write a comprehensive blog post about how it goes, the good, the bad, the ugly, the great, whatever!  I’m starting on March 8, and doing 21 days for sure, but I’ll have enough of the ‘fuelings’ to do a month so most likely I’ll do a month.  Either way, I’ll report back and let y’all know how it goes.

I’m excited! I’m nervous.  I’m already feeling pretty proud of myself for losing almost 20 pounds since November on my own though, so if a few more wanna jump off, that’d be great!

Our Latest Home Reno Project: Barn Wood Wall & Old Wood Cook Stove Coffee Bar

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Bobby Pins & Bullets / Chronic-Girl Crafts / Funny Farm Stuff / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

My husband has done it again.  I know you’re wondering how he could possibly have outdone our pantry, but this is simply amazing!  We gave our coffee bar a complete makeover.  Tom had mentioned that a barnwood accent wall would look great in our house, but I really wasn’t sure how it was going to come together. Here’s the before and after to show you how amazing it turned out, then I’ll get into each step.  Oh, and let me mention that I found the exact antique stove that I wanted and all it took was several hundred dollars and a 12 hour round trip truck ride for Tom.  I can’t go that far in the truck so I got to stay home in bed while he drove all day and into the night to get my treasure for me.  I’ll never understand how I landed that guy.

before and after

First, we had to pick out the wood.  It would have been so easy to buy the barn wood style paneling/laminate stuff that Home Depot and Lowe’s have.  The paneling looks fine, but I’m cheesy and I wanted wood that had “actually seen things” and truly been used in barns.  We found a place that tears down old barns and then sells the individual boards.  All of the boards we chose came from barns in the Idaho and Washington area.  It was so incredibly fun to climb around in stacks and piles of wood and hand pick each board.

These boards have sheltered cows from the wind and elements for a hundred years.

I warned you that I’m cheesy.

Plus, we got to support a small business by hand picking barn wood locally, rather than pay for wood that is just made to look old at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

After we picked out the wood, Tom used his carpentry wizardry skills to first frame the door (and in doing so hide the pocket door forever, which elated him), and then put up the rest of the wood and have it somehow look patchworky, but perfect.  We have a mix of colors and textures of wood and I absolutely love it.

Here’s the framing and the wall coming along:

framing the door

starting wall

complete wall

Doesn’t that wall look amazing with the varied colors, distressing that actually happened with age and wear, and varied holes and textures?  I’m in awe.

In order for the stove to sit back we had to either destroy the back of the stove but cutting part of the stove pipe off, or cut a hole in the wall to set the stove back into.  That was an easy decision.  We couldn’t destroy something so amazing so Tom cut a perfect-sized hole in the barnwood and dry wall to be able to slide it back into place.

Next, we found galvanized barn lights and Tom installed them above the stove.

barn lights

They are perfect.  Tom didn’t want me having to bend down to the outlet to plug them in and unplug them so he installed a rotary switch and affixed old porcelain hot/cold faucet handles to the switch.  In order to turn the lights on, you turn the hot handle to the right (to make the lights hot, get it?)  I can reach it without having to bend down and plus it’s so stinking cool.  Not to mention I have had these old porcelain handle tops for years and never had the perfect use for them.

The handles are inset in the same flanges as the pipe shelves we designed for above the stove and the other side of the wall.

faucets 1

faucets 2

Here’s the shelf made of pipes and barn wood above the stove:

shelf

These pipes to the left will eventually have hooks on them to hang our cast iron.

pipes

Here we are sitting on the floor of Home Depot laying out all of the pieces for the pipe shelves to make sure we like it and it all works together:

home depot

Do some people not sit on the floor at Home Depot?  Weird.

Anyway, here’s the whole area all decorated and put together.  I love this so stinking much!  What do you think?

coffee bar done

coffee bar done 2

coffee bar done 3

coffee bar done 4

Have I inspired you? Has your husband blocked my blog yet? Ha! What are you redoing in your life?  Tell me!

 

 

 

Back Where It All Started

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Bobby Pins & Bullets / Uncategorized

We went on a little date last night at the same place where we had our first date.  I was getting ready and thought since I had lost weight it would be fun to wear the same sweater that I wore on our first date.  I did my hair the same way too.  When I came out of the bedroom I saw that my cute husband had on the same Sean John jacket that he wore that night too.

There have been a few little changes from that night to now:

  • We both have wedding rings on now
  • My hair has more grey
  • His hair is less altogether
  • I have 6 more piercings
  • He has a tattoo
  • He works for a different agency
  • I moved agencies then retired medically
  • We have sold two houses and bought our dream house
  • He only had one knife and one gun last night with no flashlight and stylish jeans with cute stitching on the butt, not tactical pants with three knives, two guns and two flashlights.
  • As of our first date I had shot a gun once.  Last night I had a gun on me (and it’s the third gun I’ve PERSONALLY owned).
  • He knew nothing about hockey on our first date, but now he appreciates and understands hockey now.

I think it’s fun to look at changes over time and of course there are many more.

I just love him more and more everyday.  Today is our eighth Valentine’s Day together, but we choose to celebrate each other and our love everyday.  Valentine’s Day isn’t our day for being in love, we have that day every single day.  I just like this guy so dang much.

love

 

Working Out Isn’t Beautiful, But Feeling Proud of Yourself Is

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Deep Thoughts About POTS / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Physical Therapy & Exercise / Uncategorized

I’m just here to motivate you a teeny bit.  I’m the girl who can sometimes do a workout, always modified, sometimes completely half-assed.  Sometimes I throw up putting on my shoes.  Sometimes I stop to go to the bathroom and that is the official end of my ‘workout.’  Basically I’m the opposite of the super fit and healthy personal trainer with the six pack who encourages you.

I’m just reminding you that committing to TRY at all, is everything.  If for you, a marathon is walking to the mailbox and back, you might need to start with walking to the kitchen a few extra times per day.  If that’s an awesome workout for you, be proud of yourself for trying and even for failing if you don’t make it.  If you achieve it, try to do it for a couple days in a row.  Maybe one day you’ll feel like adding in a few squats.  Baby steps are still steps.  

I know I’m rambling.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve been actively making an effort on my eating and my moving.  I can’t even call it working out, because so frequently it’s barely anything.  Transparency has always been my thing and it will continue now, as I talk about my weight.  Honestly though, I’ve talked about my poop, my sex life and my mental struggles so talking about my weight is not even a thing.  At the beginning of November, 2019 I weighed 146, which was the highest weight of my life.  Today I weighed in at 129.6.  I haven’t been in the 120’s since 2016.  I was diagnosed with POTS in September, 2015 and I steadily started climbing in weight as I adjusted to my new level of activity.  While we worked for months on adjusting medications, I physically could not be upright at all at times.

So I guess I’m just writing this to say “I’m proud of me” for all of my tiny baby steps starting to make a change.  More importantly though, I’m here to tell you that you can make little tiny steps in the right direction and they can add up to change.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  Other people might not notice your change for a while and that might be discouraging.  If you are trying to make little changes for you, then other people noticing or not, doesn’t matter.  You’re doing it for you.  Making progress requires sacrifice.  You choose what you can live without, reduce, or modify.  I’ve had barely any bread.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a few splurges here and there, but I’ve tried to not even have it in the house.

I haven’t had Taco Bell in 46 days.

BUT, I’ve saved up calories and had some high-carbohydrate days where I’ve used a soft-taco-sized flour tortilla to make my own 7-layer-burrito at home, which is always healthier.  I use less cheese, light sour cream, non-fat refried beans, etc.  So it’s like it, but don’t get me wrong– it’s NOT TACO BELL.  I’m making some progress though.  I have moved down a size or two.  Clothes fit better.  I see less muffin top.  I see less back fat.  I am starting to see a little tiny difference and for me, that’s worth my faux taco bell for a while.

So set some reasonable goals.  Make some small changes.  Take some baby steps.  Do something for you.  You don’t have to do a huge workout to be proud of yourself.  You don’t have to run a marathon to feel accomplished.  Tell me about it.  What steps are you taking? Are you proud of yourself for making progress?  I am your safe place to talk  about your victories.  I’m proud of your baby steps.  

I wanted to wait until I was at my goal weight to write this post, but then I realized that it’s alright to be proud of my part-way to goal, just like I’m encouraging all of you to be.

sweaty workout 2020 I picked this picture because you can see sweat dripping off my nose and off my everything, AND because if you look closely you can see a cow in the background.

Go challenge yourself and then be proud of yourself!