Be More…active – 5 things I am going to DO in 2017

I’ve decided to embrace this blog’s title more actively.  I will be doing a series of blog posts in 2017 that focus on the idea of being more of something.  The first focus is going to be getting more active.  I’ve realized just how totally sedentary I am as a human being.  And my daughter is now also becoming sedentary.  And I want her transplanted heart to last as long as it can, which means keeping it and her healthy.  We are a tech family, so getting off the couch and out from behind the screen is a bit of a struggle.  I often have work as an excuse.  And in all fairness, I do have a load of grading to do, but I don’t have to be online to do all of it.  I also have this blog, but I don’t spend that much time on it each day that I need to sit on the couch, staring at a screen for hours and hours.

So, how am I going to get more active?  I’m thinking broadly here.  So, it isn’t just “getting more exercise”.  That is so generic and not very helpful from past experience.  So, I’m focused more on getting off the couch and DOing things.  I’ve picked five things I want to do each and every day:

  1. Walk the dogs.  They are bored and overweight and need some good exercise.  I often use the weather as an excuse, but really, unless it is raining torrentially, there really is no reason not to get them out and walk them around the block.  They love walks and are so happy when they get one, even if it is short.  But, I would like to take them on longer walks as well.  But, just walking them every single day, even short ones, would be a step up.
  2. Cook meals in my kitchen.  We eat out way, way, way too much.  And often it is simply because I’m too lazy to get up and cook something in the kitchen and clean up afterward (see number three).  If I did cook meals in my own kitchen each day, we would be healthier, save money and also eat tastier food.  Most of the time, when I do cook, everyone likes what I make.  But, I find it a struggle and I think I’ve identified for so long as a “non-cook” that it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  3. Do basic clean up in the house each day.  I’ve been pretty good about this lately.  But, when school hits and I’m gone for hours at a time and I have grading to do and other prep, I often will just forget about the basic daily cleaning.  I love this relatively simple list of daily chores to get done.  I need to ensure that the basics get done daily so I feel better about the house and don’t get bogged down in clutter and mess.  I function much better all around when my house is at least tidy.
  4. Actively play with my daughter.  This is a biggy.  I don’t do nearly enough with her on a daily basis and she spends way too much time behind a screen.  I’ve noticed that she is not as willing to sit and work on a craft or a puzzle or a coloring project for as long as she used to be.  She is still pretty good about reading for a time each day, but I want her to be creative and well-rounded.  I want her to color and craft and build legos and play outside and do…well, MORE!  So, each day, I will take at least a few minutes – 10-15 if that is all I can fit – and I will play with her.  A game.  Outside.  Buidling things.  Coloring.  Each and every day.
  5. Get active in my community.  Each and every time I see a homeless person in our city, I think that I should do more.  When I see commercials about kids and families who are dealing with food insecurity, I think I should do more.  When I see groups in our community doing good (beyond good – in some cases amazing) things, I think I should do more.  Yet, here I sit.  I could go to the homeless shelter and volunteer for mealtimes.  I could figure out how to volunteer at my food bank.  I could give blood.  There are so many simple things I could get involved in, but I sit on my couch and make excuses instead.  I don’t need to do something each and every day, but I should be able to.  Even if it is just having some homeless gift bags in my car to hand out with simple items or some gift cards for McDonalds or something so they can get a meal.  There are easy things to do.


So, there you have it.  My five things to be more active in 2017.  I believe that humans are controlled by the Laws of Motion.  And my body is at rest when not actually doing my job.  I need an outside force to nudge me along and I’m hoping this blog will do it.  I will be trying to check in on my various “be more” lists in the new year, so look for that!  I think having a simple list – Walk dogs, Cook meals, Clean up, Play and Community will make it easier for me to check things off each day.  In fact, I’m going to go and write the list in my planner so I don’t forget!

Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Days 7 and 8

Well, I didn’t even make it a week without missing a day.  😦  I don’t know why it is sometimes so difficult to get a post in, but yesterday was one of those days.  First of all, my DD woke up sick – running a fever (well, really she went to bed running a fever and was still running a fever in the morning) and with a runny nose.  So, I had to cancel our plans for selling nuts with the girl scout troop at Lowe’s, which was very disappointing to my DD.  We also found out that my MIL has to go in for surgery (again…this is her third since the original surgery two months ago) on Tuesday, so we had to make plans for my husband being gone again (he just got back from a trip last Sunday).  Luckily, our go-to sitter is available tomorrow and Tuesday because my DD is on short days for parent-teacher conferences this week, so tomorrow was going to be rough if she wasn’t available.  So, yeah, yesterday, I just never got on to do the thankful thing.  I probably really needed to considering the day.  But, today, I’m back and I’m going to do two for the price of one!


So, for Day 7 – I’m going to go with the Seven theme and say I’m thankful for our dog (whose name is Seven).  Sometimes she is a total pest and she has chewed up a lot of stuff around our house in the eight and half months we’ve owned her.  But, I really feel a bond with her.  She is definitely “my” dog.  She seeks me out and she listens to me (most of the time) when I tell her to do things.  I love having a dog for multiple reasons, but the biggest one for me is really feeling safe.  Because my husband travels so often and my DD and I are here alone, I would feel much more vulnerable without the dog here.  And when someone new comes around (our neighborhod really – not just our house), she looks very, very scary!  She is a sweet dog really and she has never threatened to actually bite anyone, but she barks like crazy and her hair stands on end and she LOOKS threatening.

There have been some minor crimes in our neighborhood – cars broken into, someone walking off with something from an open garage and even a break-in next door (although, I think there were some ulterior motives for that that were unique to that house).  So, I feel good about having a dog that is going to make a big stink if anyone comes in to our house unannounced.  I also love her face.




And now, on to Day 8.  I am so very thankful for our preschool experience.  My DD is now in First Grade, but her preschool teacher still babysits her quite often, we still are good friends with at least a couple of the families who were at the preschool with us and I feel that although my DD misses quite a bit of school because of illness, flu outbreaks, etc., she is incredibly successful because she was so well prepared through her preschool experience.  I am so very glad we “found” the preschool (totally by chance really – it was a very small, relatively new preschool when I was looking and someone in my mom’s group had heard through the grapevine that it had a spot available).  I put found in quotation marks because I really do feel like God had a hand in placing my DD there.

So, there we are – Day 7 and Day 8 of my thankfulness challenge – all in one day.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time I miss a day in the next 357 days, but I’ll try to keep it consistent.  And now, I have to go clean up a stuffing mess the object of my Day 7 thanks has made in the living room by eating the face off of one of my DD’s favorite Beanie Boos.  Thankfully, she is already in bed and probably will not notice it being gone…


Dedicated to my Dog…

Iphone May 2011 002

I’ve grown up with pets.  I’ve had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, iguanas, rats, hamsters, turtles…we’ve really run the gamut.  But, dogs have always been my favorites.  And I’ve had some fantastic dogs in my life, but Bella – pictured here with my daughter a few years ago, has been a special one.  She is smart and sweet and totally protective of the little one there.

Bella Fall 2007 002 Bella Fall 2007 007

There she is when we first got her.  She was a cute little puppy and I knew she belonged in our family when the cat would snuggle up with her and let her chew on her ears.  She loved to go on walks, play with her toys and go for car rides.  She still loves those things.

A few weeks ago she started getting finicky about eating her food.  I thought it was just her being spoiled.  She would eat good stuff – cat food, chicken, table food, etc. but didn’t want to eat her dry food.  Four days ago, she started vomiting.  A lot.  And pretty consistently.  So, I took her to the vet.  They ran some tests and $250 later told me that they couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with her.  To take her home with some prescription IBS food and see if that helped.  The next day, it was worse.  We went back to the vet.  She was now dehydrated and losing weight.  They gave her a subcutaneous fluid treatment and me some meds to give her.  That night she threw up twice.  The next day she would not drink water.  We went back to the vet.  They admitted her and $1400 and 24 hours later we picked her up with a new thing of meds and instructions.


Another 36 hours have passed since I wrote that.  Another overnight stay.  Another $1000.  A couple of new meds and no new answers.  And tonight, I flew to San Diego and my husband had to take her in at 3 a.m. to be put to sleep.  She was suffering.  She was not improving.  We had done all we could.  The next step was exploratory surgery of the abdomen despite the fact they could see nothing in the ultrasounds or X-rays that would be causing a blockage and the symptoms were not really blockage-like.  Personally, I think she had cancer.  They named it as a possibility the first time I went in, but said it was a small possibility.  There was some abnormal appearance on the duodenum.  When they said cancer, it just seemed to click.

I hate that I wasn’t able to be there to say goodbye tonight.  I hate that she only lived for seven short years.  I hate that we didn’t do more with her – more walks, more swimming, more things she loved to do.  But, we loved her lots.  She slept with us, traveled with us.  She loved Bean and protected her and worried about her.  She loved playing with other dogs.

I am going to miss her a ton.  I’m incredibly sad that I was not there to say good-bye, but I’m more sad we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her and fix it.  But, sometimes, there is no fix.  Sometimes there is no clear answer, only blurry choices seen through tears.  I love you Bella.  I hope you are playing in a big dog park in the sky and loving every minute of it.