Friday, September 30, 2011

Pull-Ups: My Body Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Life has been a little busy and it has taken a toll on both Steve's and my energy sources, so we chose to take about three weeks off from working out to let our bodies have time to rejuvenate themselves.  We started back this week, but this morning Steve wasn't able to join me.  So, I decided to try something I have been wanting to do for a while now but was a little afraid I would never be able to do - pull-ups.  Generally I use the resistance band while Steve does pull-ups, but after checking out Everyday Paleo's tips on doing pull-ups, I decided to give them a try and I did them!  I didn't do a lot, but I did several and it feels great!!!  My body and mind are both jumping for joy at this new little feat.

My body never ceases to amaze me.  It always keeps working to get stronger and perform better.  Thank you body!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Am I a Bragger? - Health Central

One year and one month ago, my life changed dramatically. I began giving myself Enbrel shots and tweaked my diet once again. The combination brought very good results for me. All the sudden I could see tiny little changes happening in my body. I was reaching up and putting dishes away without having to consider the pain that would come with this chore. I was hugging my family without wincing in pain. Soon I was walking up the stairs without any problem. Then I was riding my bike again and before I knew it, life as I had known it before rheumatoid arthritis was a part of me again.  To read more of this post, visit MyRACentral.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Attachment Parenting: Letting Go

My husband and I have always practiced attachment parenting.  It is a concept that has always felt right to us. We co-slept with both of our kids until they were ready to move into their own bed in our room and then eventually into their own bedrooms.  I tandem nursed both kids until they were ready to wean at ages that would surprise many.  We have lived life together as a family watching TV together, grocery shopping together, playing together, and making decisions together.  Through attachment parenting we learned to listen to our hearts and to the hearts of our children for direction in parenting rather than the "experts".  Through following our hearts, we have learned to trust our children.  We know them well and we feel a geniune trust in who they are and the decisions they make.  Most importantly though, our children have learned to trust who they are and in the decisions they make.

As attachment parents we have had to put aside fears and anxiety as our children have transitioned to teens.  Just as when they were infants/toddlers and had the need to nurse or the need to have me by their side as a seven year old playing with friends, we have had to listen to their needs as teens when they are ready to show some independence from mom and dad.  By holding them too close, we are not allowing them to be who they want/need to be. We are not trusting them to trust themselves.

One of the biggest concerns I have with the homeschooling community is a need to control children.  I see children who their entire lives have had their needs met when it came to sleeping in late, playing a little longer, choosing the outings for the day, and other decisions that affect the entire family.  However, when these children become teens, parents hold on tight.  They become fearful of stories they hear on the news or insecurities they hold themselves.  Teens must check in every hour they are away from home.  We must know every place they go.  We want to know what they talk about.  We make decisions for the teens without discussing these decisions with them.  I have even heard of some parents who read their teens text messages and emails in fear they are being mislead by friends or strangers. How does this foster independence and a feeling of trust?

Where do things go wrong?  Why are we not allowing our children to grow up making decisions for themselves?

I think one problem is that we have enjoyed being with our children for so many years that it is difficult to let them go.  We have allowed them to make decisions, but only within the context of things we can still control.  When they become teens and need to explore life alone, we don't know what to do without them.  Perhaps we have become dependent on them. Hmmmm.....

Fear seems to be another biggie.  We listen to news stories of terrible things that happen to people on trains, in malls, and even at the homes of friends and we become fearful of the same things happening to our children if they are out of our sight.  What we don't think about are how many people this doesn't happen to.  How many teens explore life with absolutely no problems at all and have amazing experiences? 

My daughter will be taking off on Sunday for Not Back to School Camp.  I asked her the other day if she is afraid to fly alone.  She said, "No, why would I be?"   I could have filled her with a million reasons why she should be afraid, but really, why?   Her passion is to spend her adult life traveling.  I asked her how she felt about spending the night with a good friend of my mom's that we have never met but who will be transporting her to camp.  She said it is a little weird but fine. I admire her courage and ability to go after the things in life she wants.  She doesn't hold herself back with fears of the unknown.  She has strength and confidence in herself that she can handle whatever comes her way.  I like that about my daughter.   

Letting go is hard.  As attachment parents we have had the luxury of time to know our children in very intimidate ways.  We have had the pleasure of spending countless hours watching them grow and helping to meet their needs.  However, a time comes when our children are ready to take all that we have shared with them and move on without us.  Well, not really without us because we are always a part of them.  All of those years we spent together have allowed them to become wise in their decisions.  It has allowed them to be caring people that expect and demand good things for themselves.  Letting go is hard but at the same time very exciting.  I am filled with excitement for my daughter and the experiences she is going to have next week.  As I told the camp counselor, "I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see all the fun she is having, yet I know this is her experience."  She will share what she wants to share and will keep the rest to herself.  Sounds pretty natural and healthy to me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Acoustic Neuroma Similarities - Health Central

This Labor Day I traveled to my hometown of Wichita, Kansas.  I took an eleven hour train each way by myself so that I could spend two days with my sister Stacey and her family.   Two months ago, Stacey was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a benign brain tumor.  Less than ...Read the rest of this post .
*An update since this posted on Health Central.  Stacey is now home bound receiving occupational therapy.  I was able to talk to her on the phone for the first time Wednesday.  It was so nice to hear how she is doing first hand.  She is slowly progressing daily.  Her strategy is to focus each day on any little thing she did today that she wasn't able to do yesterday.  My hero!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reupholstering for the First Time

Over 16 years ago, Steve and I bought our first brand new couch, love seat, and chair. Before that we had always had used furniture. After raising two kids and a dog, the upholstery on our furniture has definitely seen better days.  We thought about buying new furniture, but both the chair and love seat (we got rid of the couch a few years back) are in great structural shape despite all of the years of  kids and a dog jumping on them.  For the last few years I have been covering the chair with a sheet.  It is pretty much "Izzy's chair" anyhow.  She sits on the arm of the chair and keeps a close eye on the neighborhood.  However, both the furniture fabric and the sheet on the chair are an embarrassing eyesore.

So many stories and snuggles have been shared in this chair over the years.
I have tried talking myself into reupholstering the chair many times, but wasn't sure I could do it.  Then I read this article from Mother Earth News on how to reupholster furniture.  I liked how the author referred to her chair as her "teacher".  For some reason that made sense to me- learn from the furniture. 

After reading the article, I was pretty certain I wanted to give this a try and everything else seemed perfect -  JoAnn's Fabric was having a 50% off sale on their upholstery fabric and I wasn't teaching a full load yet so I had extra time for a project.  The only thing I needed was a partner.  Alexander was the chosen one.  I knew the chair would be like a puzzle as we took it apart and he would remember how the puzzle went back together.

I love the way he studies things to memory.

We started out by measuring the chair and figured out how much fabric "we thought" we would need.  I found the colors I liked and we were ready to go.

A few things we learned along the way are that it takes a lot more time to reupholster a chair than you might imagine and when the article you are reading says to buy more fabric than you think you will need - do it!  We realized along the way we were short on fabric and after going to two different stores, we were not able to find the same fabric. I picked out a fabric one night after work that Alexander didn't approve of and after I got in the car to come home, felt was wrong too.  Luckily you can return cut fabric.  Alexander went with me the next day and helped me pick out a complementary fabric. He is actually happy with how this mistake turned out because he likes the contrast of the two fabrics and feels it looks like we planned it from the beginning.

We overstuffed the arm cushions a bit, but I doubt it will take Izzy long to smoosh them down.

Working side by side with Alexander was fun.  I think we were both fascinated with how the chair came apart and how we could put it back together.  Although we followed the directions of the article at the beginning, we did find out that the chair was our "teacher" and we took directions from it soon after getting started.  After seeing the results of our hard work, we are both excited to tackle the love seat on my next extended break from work.  Luckily I never planned to have it match the chair exactly since we obviously won't have fabric for it.   

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." - Gary Snyder

 Last weekend Alexander, Sophia, Steve and I went camping.  
Our campsite:

Our goal was to ride a bike path in Wisconsin with 1/4 and 3/4 mile train tunnels.  We ended up riding about 30 miles. The ride provided a lot of variety - cows munching on grass and making loud horn like noises, small towns, forests, and of course, tunnels.  The first time through the tunnels we used flashlights.  The second time through we didn't.  It was fun relying on our other senses. 

My pretty Sophia.

Alexander and Sophia

Steve, who did most of the work on setting up the campsite and getting bikes together!

Entering the tunnel


Whenever I am in nature I always wish it was more of my home and not just a place that is visited.   

*I used one of our photos for my new blog header.  I love using photos on my blog that remind me of happy days.   

Friday, September 9, 2011

Coping with the Loss of My Dad: Love, Memories and Strength

My 15 year old son completed his driver's education class a few weeks ago.   He and I have been out doing a lot of driving together.  I enjoy this time together and I am doing a good job.  I keep calm and give him ownership of the car.  Many times as I sit in the passenger seat, I feel like my dad has settled in next to me and is guiding me on how to teach my son to drive.  I say things like, "Switch lanes when you feel it is safe," or "Turn left after you make a complete stop."  I remember my dad gently giving me the same commands as he took me out for my own driving lessons at 13-14 years old.  I feel my dad sitting with me while we drive and I want so badly to go home and give him a call so we can share stories.  However, my dad is no longer there for me to call and share stories with.  My dad passed away in April.  He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. 

To read more, please visit my contributing post at MyRACentral.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sex: The Magic Pill That Does It All

As I was reading this article this morning I thought, "Wow, really all we need to have a happier, more fulfilled, and less painful life is to have more sex."  It is like a magic little pill that provides so much:

*It improves sleep.
*It is a form of exercise.
*It eases pain.
*It improves mood and decreases depression.
*It can reduce stress.
*It can increase your sense of spirituality.

After reading this I am wondering why our family physicians and rheumatologists aren't suggesting incorporating a little more sex into our life as part of our treatment plan.   Hey, I am always willing to experiment with alternative health. 

Friday, September 2, 2011


Thanks for all the kind words of support and love. I do believe your healing thoughts and prayers helped.  My sister Stacey made it through 8.5 hours of surgery and 3/4 of the tumor was removed.  She was still in ICU this evening but talking, sitting up, and even standing with help.  Yay!!!!  I am looking forward to seeing her soon.