How Much Vacation Can YOU handle?

When I woke up this morning, I literally wrote a whole post in my head. It was deep, and somewhat profound.  However, being that I’m not at all a rapid riser (I wake at the speed of paint drying) by the time I made it to my computer my short-term memory loss had set in and I can’t remember a darn thing. Ok…I remember some of it, but it doesn’t seem nearly as profound now.  Whatever.  Back to the fluff and nonsense of my life.

On July 15th, the girls and I (Phil sadly had to work and couldn’t accompany us on this trip) hopped in the car and headed East.  After 9 hours in the car (with me being the only driver) we arrived at our first stop, the Super 8 in Mifflinville, PA.  It was kinda shady, but not as bad as some I’ve seen.  We spent the night there, and then visited my Dad the next morning and afternoon.

Back in the van to head to Downingtown, PA to stay with our good friends, James and Sarah, and their adorable baby girl, Sheridan. Love her so much!  They live in a beautiful home in a very wooded area.  It’s simply gorgeous!  Sarah is an interior designer, so their whole home (and guest room) looks like it came straight out of a magazine.  I felt like I was staying in a B&B.  I can’t thank them enough for letting us invade their home! I hope they don’t get mad that I shared this beautiful view from their guest room.

Saturday morning I drove another hour to meet up with a friend from high school at a playground so her little guy could play and we could chat. Good times!  The girls and I stopped at the outlet mall after that, because well, great shopping…it calls to me.  I bought these flip-flops so I didn’t have to steal borrow Bekah’s anymore.  We then met up with my Mom and my Aunt for lunch at the VERY BEST Italian deli.  I ate a real hoagie!  Oh my goodness…so good!  We even had a freshly, homemade cannoli.  Um…calories don’t count on vacation.

Sunday was spent with my best friend, Barb and her family.  Her Baby B is beyond cuteness!  Oh my word…she stole my heart!  She just turned one, and her favorite word is, “Wow!”  She points to something and says it in a breathless with wonder kind of way.  B also points to things and says, “Yellow!” whether they be yellow or not.  Ridiculously cute!  In her one short year of life, the girl has already had 4 real haircuts.  She has a serious head of hair!  The best news is that Barb just found out she’s having a baby boy sometime in December!  So happy for my friend.

Monday we were supposed to go to Hershey Park, but we woke to a full-on thunderstorm.  It was supposed to storm off and on all day, so we went to plan B.  The mall!  And not just any mall mind you, THE mall I hung out at all through my high school years.  Some things were very different, but some were the exact same! (really?? The ‘Deb’ store is still in the same spot and still in business?!?)  My Mom had taken the day off and it was great to spend the day with her (in air conditioned places.)  We went to see Toy Story 3, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and had lunch at Ruby’s Diner (which is seriously overpriced, imo.)

Tuesday…well, Tuesday started my favorite part of the trip.  We packed up all our stuff and headed to Cape May, NJ.  The beach!!  I’m going to leave you hanging on this one, but I will share one pic with you.  Tune in tomorrow for the rest of our vacation story. 

Are you suffering from PVF?

That would be “Post-Vacation Fatigue.”  It’s a rare and often mocked condition that afflicts those who have had more fun than they can handle.   I am currently recovering from PVF.   It would be great if there was some magic, as-seen-on-tv remedy for this, but as of yet I haven’t found one.  Lot’s of sleep and lots of coffee have been my RX.  It’s working, but way too slowly.

Just to sum up for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter or fb: in 10 days we drove through and/or stayed in 5 states, traveled over 1,900 miles, and spent over 33 hours in the van.  Did I mention I was the ONLY driver?  There were torrential downpours, thunderstorms, and lots and lots of sun. Much fun was had, and I have many stories to tell.

First I have to dig my way out from under this mountain of laundry.

Last Resort

I’m on a diet.  I hate that word for so many, many reasons.  The first being that ‘diet’ simply means what we eat.  So, I guess I’m just choosing to eat less and watch the calories I take in each day.  Which is really no fun at all.  At. All.

I’ve struggled with staying at a healthy weight most of my life (the parts I can remember anyway.)  From being anorexic-thin in high school, to being way overweight after having my girls.  I lost a lot when Alisha was a toddler by being a part of our church’s step aerobics group. Ah…those were the days.  Free childcare and free aerobics.  Fast forward to me having to get a job and WORK, and having to PAY if I want to be part of an exercise class, and you find my weight hitting what the doctor’s chart deems ‘obese’.  I don’t feel obese, but whatever.  Apparently 5′ 5.5″ and 200 lbs is obese.

Running was working at shedding some pounds and helping to get me healthy, but I screwed up my hip (pretty royally I might add) by doing that, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to run again any time soon…if ever.   I tried riding a bike, at least the stationary bike at the gym, and that is not my thing.  My butt hurt too bad from those uncomfortable seats!  I can’t imagine it would be any different on my bike.  When I use the elliptical, my toes fall asleep.  Weird, I know, but I can’t have my toes falling off, now can I? I’ve been trying to swim every day, which burns quite a few calories (which means I can add them to my daily allowance and eat more.)  Which is quite an encouragement to get in the pool and swim those laps!

So, this really IS my last resort.  I decided to cut calories in my diet mostly because a friend of ours lost 56 pounds in 6 months by doing nothing but changing his eating habits.  He didn’t exercise once!  Then again, he is a HE, and from what I’ve seen, guys sometimes have an easier time of losing.  Just sayin’.  I’ve downloaded the ‘myfitnesspal’ app and thanks to my (at present time) untreated OCD tendencies, I’ve been really good at keeping track of what I’m eating.  Who knows what will happen when I start back on my meds tomorrow.  I can only hope I still try to eat within my allotted 1,600 calories per day. I’ve been making really healthy choices for that 1,6oo calories though.  Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and lean meats.  Hungy Girl has been my BEST friend!

Unfortunately there have been some negative side effects from all this.  Mainly me turning into a crabby, mean person.  I’m hoping that my body gets used to this soon, and I start to see some results.  I just want to be happy in my own skin, and I’m just not there yet.

What kind of ‘diet’ are you on?  Do you watch what you eat?

Ichthus 2010: Camping With Strangers

Ichthus Symbol

Last month, the girls and I packed up our camping gear and headed south to Wilmore, Kentucky. What’s in Wilmore? Well, actually, a friend of mine lives there (I didn’t get to see her though) and there’s a college…oh, and an IGA straight out of 1965.  Once a year, a bunch of big empty fields in Wilmore become home to thousands of  campers (most of whom are happy) for what is known as Ichthus Festival.  Pronounced ick-thoose (as opposed to itch-thoose- which is how my Garmen says it.)   Ichthus is the greek word for fish, and is the name for all those little fish symbols you see on good Christian cars.  For the record…I don’t have one. For a history lesson on the symbol, you can go here.

While the girls and I enjoy a nice camping trip with some fishing, that wasn’t what this festival is all about.  Ichthus is 4 days of concerts and speakers.  The camping at festivals is not like camping in the woods or at a state park.  Basically, it’s shelter so you can not die of heat stroke, and maybe get a few hours of sleep a night.  Good times…and not for the faint of heart.  My husband, who does not care for camping or music nearly as much as I do, used the excuse of not having vacation time to stay home.  Whatever.  The girls and I do what we want and have lots of fun over the summer, and if he can get the time off to join us, great! If he can’t, we’re still having fun.

One of the main reasons I decided on this festival as opposed to others around the country was that one of my online friends was going to be attending as well.  More than attending actually.  Her husband is the grounds manager for the event, and worked VERY hard the whole time.  I’d never met the Gambrell family in person, but Shelly and I had been friends through email, facebook, and texts for months.  They made it very easy for me. All I had to do was show up.  The main gates opened to the public on Wednesday morning, but due to whom I was camping with, the girls and I arrived on Tuesday.  It was neat to see the prep work and the behind-the-scenes goings on at a big outdoor event like that.  Claude had already set up a tent for us, and they would be staying in their camper.   Many people wondered why I would camp with virtual strangers.  I mean, they could have been lying about being a nice family and been serial killers or something.  But no, they were the very nice family I thought them to be!  They are amazingly gracious and I dare anyone to try to outgive or outlove this family.

That first day we arrived a storm was on it’s way in, so we ended up having to lay the tent flat, and put coolers and weights on it, and hunker down in their air-conditioned camper.  I know, we had it rough.  The storm hit and passed over, leaving a very wet tent that Marissa and had to dry out with many towels, only to find out that another storm was on it’s way.  Swell.  Their suggestion wast that we just stay in the camper with them.  A little awkward considering I’d only known them (in person) for a few hours.  Some of their friends from Michigan were also arriving Tuesday night, and they were going to have to cram in the camper too.  So, we ended up sleeping 10 people in a camper that comfortably sleeps 8, only to have the storm completely miss that area through the night.  And this was only day 1.

I’m happy to say that by the end of the festival we had become great friends…no longer strangers.

Summer of Travel

Last summer was the ‘summer of surgery’ (and then recovery), this summer is the ‘summer of travel’. I’ve tried to make the most of my time off.  I am beyond tired right now. I want to regale you with stories of Ichthus Festival and the farm in Missouri, but frankly I don’t have it in me.  Tomorrow maybe.  I’ve used the term stupid tired before, and I am there yet again.  So tired I can’t think, move, or function well at all.

I’m fairly certain a number of things are causing me to feel this way.  The trip to Missouri and getting home at 9pm, then the unloading of the van, starting of the laundry, and helping Phil drop carry the old stove down the stairs and to the curb for the garbage man is just the beginning.  I drove over an hour up to Michigan to pick up our new stove today.  I had to stop at the Lighthouse mall in Michigan City on my way home (for necessary items only-like replenishing my make up and a birthday gift), and then stopped to pick up pizzas for dinner (because I am NOT helping him carry the new stove in tonight.)  Seriously, I’m begging people on facebook to come and help Phil, cause I just don’t have it in me.  No strength.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure I know why I feel like that. I ran out of my anti-depressant meds a few days ago, and since I’m in the midst of switching to a new doctor who can’t see me till the 12th, there’s not much to be done for it.  Then, I decided to start cutting major calories and caffeine out of my diet today.  Now, I’m not saying I’m a genius, but apparently I’m really stupid. Who does that to themselves? And on a day when you’re going to be driving a lot!  Combine all those things, and you will see why I am a puddle of mush, barely holding it together.

I’ve been fighting a coffee withdraw headache all day.  Even my large, unsweetened iced tea from McD’s couldn’t touch it.  4 advil and half a pizza later, I feel like a failure.  Did I mention I got a speeding ticket, my first ever, on the way home from Missouri?

My life does not suck…just the way I feel in this moment.

Crystal Clear

For the past months…maybe years…I feel as though my vision has been blurred.  Not my actual vision (lasik surgery fixed that quite nicely.)   The eyes we see with from our hearts.  Who we really are inside…the core of who we are…that’s who’s been blinded.  The reality of things and our perception of things can be so skewed.  This is where the disconnect has occurred in my life.

This morning I had what some would call a “break through moment”, but to be honest just saying that very churchy phrase makes me want to gag.  I don’t care what you call it: the stars aligned, the heavens opened, God spoke to me, a miracle…whatever. It was real, and it WAS all God.  Not sure why these moments seem to happen so few and far between (and most often in the shower), but I can tell you I am eternally thankful that they do. They bring me hope that I’m not a lost cause.

If I told you all the things that I feel led up to this one moment, you’d probably think I was nuts.  Chalk it up to mere coincidence. But it wasn’t.  It was a beautiful sequence of events, not unlike a symphony, that God was orchestrating to get me to that one place, that one moment, where my heart was ready to see.  To hear Him. To beat again.

I’m not usually poetic with my words, and to be honest, quite sarcastic and cynical in my thinking.  But today…ah, today is different.  A book, some songs, traffic, a friend, another friend, house guests, the sun, the kindness of a stranger, me paying that kindness forward to another stranger (in the simple form of a smile to a grumpy nurse who wanted to give me a hard time), a text, a phone call, a last minute whirlwind trip planned…all working together…all being orchestrated, just for me. Just for MY moment.

My hope and prayer is that I am not lulled back to sleep. That the blindness and darkness are gone…for good. Forever.  I want to see again. To feel again. To really live.