Friday, November 21, 2014

Random Five on Friday November 21st

I've had quite a productive week so I hope you'll forgive me for bragging a little bit with this week's random five post.

1. Last weekend, I bought a bunch of produce (20 lbs of apples and 18 lbs of cranberries) and decided  that I should learn how to can. I have pretty jars of homemade cranberry sauce lined up in my kitchen now.

2. I raced along with Lauren while she was riding her bike Wednesday morning and managed to sprint for a mile at a pace nearly two minutes per mile faster than my usual pace.

3. On Thursday night, a bunch of the ladies from church went to a Zumba class. I kept thinking of the line in Mandisa's Good Morning song: "You do the Zumba but I do not." It was a whole lot of fun, but I'm a bit sore today.

4. I've been working on a baby blanket for Lauren to give to her physical therapist. It's over halfway done, and I realized that I might want a second skein of one of the yarn colors. It must've been my lucky day because I was even able to match the dye lot when I went to Hobby Lobby for more.

5. Our other big blanket project was done primarily at church last weekend. We gathered and made about 20 blankets to give to our adopted school children, and many of us took fabric home with us to make more. I managed to get the fringe for one cut this afternoon and Lauren tied all the knots. Only one more to go.

6. I just have to share a bonus picture. My dad came to visit me a week ago. Isn't he awesome?

If you'd like to join the Random 5 on Friday fun, you can either click on the cute birdhouse button below or visit The Pebble Pond.

The Pebble Pond

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

C is for Christmas Dinner

In just a few days, I'll have to make up my mind as to what I'm going to fix for Thanksgiving Dinner. I already know, however, what we'll be having on Christmas Day.

Our Christmas tradition dates back to my senior year in high school. My dad was an Air Force pilot and left to go overseas in support of Operation Desert Storm just a few days before Christmas. Not wanting to cook a big dinner for just the three of us left in town, my mom made plans for us to go eat at the dining hall on base. They were having a big holiday dinner with all the trimmings, and we wouldn't have to do any of the cooking or cleaning. What could be more perfect?

We woke up Christmas morning, though, and none of us really felt like going to eat dinner with a bunch of random people we might or might not know.

My mom started hunting through the freezer and found three steaks. It was too cold in Oklahoma to put them on the grill outside, but the stovetop had a grill insert to cook them indoors. We threw a few potatoes in the oven and had a nice relaxing Christmas dinner at home with just the three of us.

Ever since then steak and baked potatoes has seemed like a perfect Christmas dinner. It's special enough to be a holiday meal, and it doesn't require me to be in the kitchen for hours.

Years later, when Lauren was not quite a year old, she spent a few weeks of December hospitalized in Philadelphia. I had almost resigned myself to spending Christmas away from home when the doctors decided that she was stable enough to go home. Tim's family had come to visit for the holidays and were staying in Virginia with Addison and Brennan. As we left the hospital on Christmas Eve, I called them with directions to the grocery store and instructions to get steaks for all of us. It would have been a special Christmas without my traditional steak dinner, but it was even more special to be back at home and able to host dinner for my guests.

Last Christmas the steak dinner story came around full story. Tim was deployed to Afghanistan, and I was faced with making plans for the four of us staying here in Tucson. We had lots of dinner offers, but I'm a traditionalist at hear -- we stayed at home and grilled steaks.

Addendum: My dad was visiting last week, and I was telling him about how the steak dinner tradition started. He knew that my mom, my sister, and I usually serve steaks for Christmas, but he didn't really know why. I reminded him of the year he deployed just a few days before Christmas. For all these years, I assumed he spent his Christmas Day on an airfield in the Middle East. He confessed that he was actually in Hawaii. Perhaps it's a good thing we didn't know that when we were grilling steaks indoors because it was so cold in Oklahoma.

For most of the past year I've been sharing a "Years Ago" story as I've been Blogging through the Alphabet. There are so many stories left to share that I've started over again. This time I'm linking my posts with Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy

Blogging Through the Alphabet

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Wore Blue Today #worlddiabetesday

I wore blue today for World Diabetes Day.

It was just a regular day, though.

My insulin pump started alarming around 5:30. The continuous glucose monitor thought my blood sugar was too low.

It also alarmed at 4:46 am, 3:01 am, 1:51 am, and 11:57 pm. Apparently I silenced those alarms without ever really waking up.

The continuous monitor really doesn't work well when there's something pressing up against it. Since it has to be inserted in my belly and I sleep on my stomach, it rarely works well at night.

I knew I was going to wear a blue shirt today and decided to grab a yoga skirt to match. I picked out the gray one because the waistband on my favorite black skirt tends to sag with the weight of my pump.

I then grumbled a bit about the way the pump sat on my hip like a pager was horribly obvious with my outfit. Sometimes I'm not bothered by the pump hanging on my hip, other days I am.

I saved at least 10-15 minutes in the bathroom this morning because I didn't have to change out my insulin set or the sensor for the continuous monitor.

I had my standard diabetic-friendly breakfast -- high protein, low carbs. (Note: I do what works to make me feel best. Diet choices are vastly different among diabetics.)

As I rushed out the door to run some errands, I doubled checked to make sure my glucose monitor was in my not-very-small purse. Monitor -- check. Test strips -- check. Lancets -- better grab a few more. I dumped a handful of used test strips in the trash can and a few used lancets into the sharps container in the bathroom. Doesn't everybody have a sharps container in their bathroom?

I ran back inside to grab an extra snack in case lunch was a little bit later than usual.

The next pump alarm was while I was fabric shopping. I had my arms full of fleece when it alarmed saying I needed to check my post-breakfast blood sugar. I juggled my full arms and managed to silence it.

I forgot to check my blood sugar after finishing at that store so it alarmed again in Wal-Mart. Thankfully, I wasn't carrying anything around and could do a quick finger prick in the middle of my shopping trip.

Starbucks was calling my name, but I decided it wasn't worth it. My favorite drinks are too high in carbs to splurge on often, and I didn't want to be feeling lousy later in the day.

There was another finger stick to get an accurate blood sugar reading at lunch and another bolus of insulin to cover the carbs. Lauren offered me a bite of her dessert, and I programmed my pump for a bit more insulin. Apparently, I guessed wrong on the carb counts because my blood sugars ran a bit high all afternoon. (Not scary high, but higher than I'd like. I'm a bit obsessive about my numbers.)

I had a healthy dinner and am now considering whether a bedtime snack would be a good idea. Sometimes it'll help my blood sugar stay at a better range overnight. I'm running in the morning so it might be a good idea to find something healthy before bed.

Like I said -- it was just a regular day.

My regular days happen to be filled with the responsibility of being my own pancreas.

That's why I wore blue today.

I'm hoping for a day when there is a cure for diabetes.

I'm hoping for a day when regular days don't include insulin pumps, glucose monitors, and carb counts.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

B is for Ballet {Years Ago}

Apparently, when I was teeny tiny I walked with my toes pointed inward. It was so bad that I wore corrective shoes for a while. My mom tells about when I was in kindergarten and my pediatrician suggested that I take some ballet classes. Perhaps turning my toes out for ballet would help correct my pigeon-toed tendency.

If you fast forward about a decade, I was still taking dance lessons. In fact, I danced in the Nutcracker with a regional ballet company for a few seasons. I remember long nights of practice and dress rehearsals -- nights of crazy costume changes, hours of dancing, and trying to squeeze in homework while sitting backstage stretching my legs into the splits.

During one of those busy dancing seasons, I walked through the kitchen and Mom noticed how I was walking with my toes out. It wasn't necessarily a graceful ballerina style, more just waddling around.

Perhaps we overdid the ballet lessons a bit. (I'm pretty sure I don't still walk with a ballerina waddle though.)

For most of the past year I've been sharing a "Years Ago" story as I've been Blogging through the Alphabet. There are so many stories left to share that I've started over again. This time I'm linking my posts with Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy

Blogging Through the Alphabet

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

If He Had Not Come {Schoolhouse Crew review}

One thing I really appreciate about the Schoolhouse Crew Review team is that we all actually use the products with our children. All too often I find a toy (or homeschool product) that sounds absolutely fabulous . . . until I give it to my children. I'm thankful for bloggers who use their children as guinea pigs and see what they really think of a product. Our latest review product is one that I absolutely loved, but didn't really work well for Lauren.

Christmas Book Review

David Nicholson remembered hearing a story told at Christmas time nearly thirty years ago and has shared the story with his family every year since then. Recently, the short story found in a 1938 anthology was published as a beautiful children's book titled If He Had Not Come.

The forty-page hardcover book is beautiful. The illustrations bring the story alive and evoke the feeling of a simpler, more peaceful time. I can only imagine the long ago days when a young boy could leave his house early in the morning and walk by himself to a factory next door, to a five-and-dime store, to church, to a hospital, and more.

Sadly, this Christmas story is not about the Christmas joy Bobby found as he walked around town. Instead, his adventures are what he dreamed when he went to bed on Christmas Eve thinking about the Bible verse, "If I had not come." (John 12:22) Bobby found a world where nobody was celebrating Christmas, the church was missing, and there was no hospital to take care of the sick. Bobby eventually realizes that Jesus coming to earth was the very best gift of the Christmas season.

Like David Nicholson, I thought the depiction of a world completely without Jesus was a thought-provoking story to be shared often during the Christmas season.

Unfortunately, the story proved to be a bit too abstract for Lauren (my eight year old). At first she was confused when he woke and didn't see Christmas decorations in his living room. After a few more scenes, she started asking me if it was all a dream. The idea of imagining a world without Jesus didn't make sense to her; I don't think she ever grasped the idea that the mean parts of the story were related to not having Christ in our world. She heard about how Bobby couldn't find his church, the Children's Home, the hospital, and the homeless shelter, but she doesn't have the background knowledge to know that most of these beneficial things were founded by Christian men and women.

Even though Lauren struggled with the abstract concepts, I still loved the ideas presented in the book. I could see myself using this book as a discussion starter in a group of upper-elementary school students in Sunday School. There are several pages of questions and discussion topics at the end of the book which would make it easy to turn this short book into a full lesson. My oldest daughter read through the book and suggested that it would be a good way to start a discussion in a teen Bible class or devotional.

If He Had Not Come is recommended by the publisher for ages six and up. It retails for $18.95 (hardcover) or $3.99 (ebook).

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

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A is for Again {Years Ago}

When I posted zoo pictures last week, I was a bit sad to be finishing up the last post of my "Years Ago" stories through the alphabet. Apparently, some of my readers and family members were also a bit sad to see the series come to an end.

I am happy to announce that I'm going to continue the "Years Ago" theme for another trip through the alphabet. I have several scraps of paper with scribbled ideas on them, and I'm confident that I have another 26 stories hidden away.

Stayed tuned for stories about tap dancing in the dirt, my first year teaching, the night I dropped my little sister on her head, and more.

After five rounds of Blogging through the Alphabet, Marcy at Ben and Me passed the baton on to Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy. I'm sure she wouldn't mind having more friends join us for this round of #abcblogging.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Z is for Zoo {Years Ago}

As we end another round of Blogging through the Alphabet, it's only natural for me to write a zoo post. I almost did a think-back-Thursday collage of various zoos that we've seen around the country. Addison reminded me of at least one crazy trip to the zoo while we living in Washington D.C. that I could share instead of just posting pictures.

For our first trip to the National Zoo, I was once again reminded about how much I love my husband's obsession with travel guides. He had learned a fabulous trick about riding the Metro to the zoo. If you stay on the Metro station one stop past the zoo, then you will be walking downhill to the zoo entrance. When we finished seeing all the animals, we then walked downhill a few more blocks to get back on the Metro. No trudging uphill for these smart tourists!

I suspect the kids are chasing pigeons in the only picture I have of them from this day.

The crazy trip Addison remembered was when we went to the zoo with some friends when Lauren was about three months old. If I remember correctly, they had highly coveted tickets to see the new baby panda and invited us to join them.

We had some reason that we had to be at the Navy hospital in Bethesda that day. (My best guess is that Addison needed an allergy shot.) I knew that it would be tough to fight traffic around the beltway to the hospital and then get home before we needed to leave for the zoo with our friends. I don't have any photographic proof, but I'm pretty sure I tossed some lunches in an overstuffed diaper bag, left our car in the hospital parking garage, put Lauren in her sling carrier, and headed from the hospital to the zoo on the Metro.
I promise that I did bring Lauren with us; I just didn't take a selfie that included her riding along in the sling.
It's funny to ask my kids what they remember about our various outings. Addison clearly remembers this second trip to the zoo because "that's the one where we went with the Smiths and Ryan had seaweed in his lunch."


I know that we took other trips to the National Zoo, but these two stick out among the rest. Besides, it seems like we take more animal pictures than people pictures when we go to the zoo. Years later I find myself wishing I had more good pictures of the kids when they were itty-bitty.

For the past twenty-six weeks I've enjoyed sharing a "years ago" story (or stories) corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me.

I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I've taken the time to write down those treasured stories. Now all I need to do is print them all in a book so that they aren't forever lost on the internet.

Ben and Me
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