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Intentions

Intentions sometimes get a bad rap i.e. he had the best of intentions, but….. Nevertheless, intentions are a powerful tool for creating the life you want. It can start small like setting an intention for your yoga practice or workout. Or it can be as large as setting intentions for the new year. As we start 2023, I looked back at the intentions I set for last year as inspiration for this year’s focus.

Last year the biggest intention I set was to reclaim my health by losing the thyroid weight. As I approached the ebbing months of my 42nd year, I felt a new sense of urgency regarding my health. While my family has been blessed with longevity on some sides, it’s been cursed with premature cardiac issues (plumbing not electricity). Consequently, I sat on the doorstep of high cholesterol and pre-diabetes, I knew a big change was in order.

In late January, I joined Calibrate after reviewing my options with my endocrinologist and primary care physician. Calibrate is a bit different than other weight loss programs in that it’s medically supervised and a full-year program. The first step is completing the lab work and establishing a baseline. It’s during this phase they also qualify patients for GLP-1 usage. Due to my family history in combination with thyroid disease and troubling blood sugar and cholesterol trends, I qualified for the medication.

Calibrate is great because it focuses on reclaiming your health by using resetting your metabolism through behavioral and dietary changes. Over the last year, I’ve made major improvements to my sleep hygiene. Additionally, I’ve made major shifts in my diet. Thankfully, the Calibrate program was the kick I needed to stop using poisonous artificial sweeteners. Moreover, I’ve hit become more intentional about what I eat and when. For example, I’ve started eating fruit seasonally. This also brings a nice variety to my diet. Lastly, the program reinforced that my workout routine was a point.

So what do I want to achieve this year?

I want to maintain my weight and health as I taper off the medication. Thankfully, the doctors designed the Calibrate program, so that their patients to come off the medication. By sticking to the programs, the changes in our biology should help us maintain the lower set point (aka our new weight). Naturally, I’ll need to maintain the healthy habits I created in order to maintain the weight loss.

Now that the enchanting holiday season is over, it’s almost time to go back to work and school. This, of course, is the lamest part of the holiday season. Nonetheless, I find myself excited to embark on my goals and intentions for 2023. 2022 blew chunks in so many ways. For me, 2023 will be a year of redemption and reclaiming the life I want to live. To that note, I’ve listed my goals below.

Goals for 2023

  • Maintain thyroid weight
  • Get back to top 10% at work
  • Run 5k
  • Run 10k
  • Blog regularly i.e 6 out of 7 days per week
  • Organize and de-clutter my closets
  • Practice yoga daily
  • Read daily
  • Complete Sweat HIIT programs
  • Complete Every Day Yoga Shop 21 Day yoga challenge

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Ran 2 miles and completed day 1 of the yoga challenge
  • Book: Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: Metallica’s Until It Sleeps performed by Apocalyptica

In With the New

It’s that special out with the old in with the new time of year. Personally, I can’t wait to wave 2022 goodbye. At the same time, there were definitely some bright spots, 2022 of as an emotional roller coaster punctuated by gut punch after gut punch. Unfortunately, I know I’m not alone in this. 2022 was a rough year for so many people that we know and love. To say I’m looking forward to the hard reset that the new year new you offers would be a vast understatement.

One of the highlights of 2022 was Goalielocks’ graduation from high school. It was fun to take part in all the end-of-year/end-of-high school rituals that go with graduation. My folks and Luke’s dad stayed with us for the week. Unfortunately, my older brother and his family couldn’t make it due to the late scheduling by our school district. Nonetheless, it was a great time to celebrate Goalielocks and an important right of passage.

Second, we went to the Bahamas to celebrate our friend’s 50th birthday. We had one rainy day, which was okay. It gave us a much-needed chance to chill. Goalielocks and TK enjoyed their newfound ability to legally drink and gamble in the Bahamas. Both boys came away with some great memories (albeit some may be fuzzy) and some extra cash courtesy of the casino. They also enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Nobu to celebrate the birthday boy. It was a wonderful trip.

No sooner had we gotten home from the Bahamas when we turned around and headed west. Jake was home!!!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my boy. It was like the anticipation of first seeing your BMT graduate tuned up to the nth degree. I had hoped he would be home in time for Goalielocks’ graduation, but current events and world leaders had other ideas. Nevertheless, that first post-deployment hug hits differently. I think Jake worried I’d never let him go. But honestly, would you blame me if I didn’t let go?

The boys and I spent ten days out west hiking and getting Jake re-acclimated to live in the US. There were a couple, okay, maybe a few unpleasant surprises awaiting him stateside. The cost of living had soared tremendously while he was overseas. Particularly, gas prices, rent, and food prices were problematic. His post-deployment rent was almost double his pre-deployment rent. It was absolute insanity. As always, we had a blast exploring and hiking Utah.

In August, we took on Arrow as a foster through Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue. As was the case with Anakin, Arrow is another foster failure. We simply fell in love with the adorable puppy and couldn’t bare to see him go. We loved his name, so we left it as Arrow. Athena took to him immediately. Unsurprisingly, Anakin was slow to warm up to the idea of a little brother. I have the feeling that somewhere Maya is getting the last laugh as she watches Arrow harass Athena and Anakin as they harassed her.

Perhaps one of the most exciting wins of 2022 was that I finally lost my thyroid weight. It was quite the battle and took over four years, but I did it. I’m so grateful for my wonderful endocrinologist and primary care doctor, who have both guided me through this Graves’ nightmare compassionately and effectively. Honestly, I’m keeping it a bit broad here as I’ll give into it more in my post tomorrow.

Finally, the holiday season has been fantastic. It was a complete blessing having Jake home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Moreover, I love having my parents here. Anakin, who doesn’t like people coming to the house, finally took to my parents on this trip. In fact, he started to greet them and open the gate for them in the mornings. Of course, the piece de resistance of this holiday season is Jake and Melly’s engagement. I love them dearly as a couple and am so glad she’ll officially be part of the family. Tonight we’ll celebrate the out with the old and in with the new (aka the new year.)

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Rest day!
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: Whiskey in the Jar by Metallica Live at Slaine Castle

The Engagement Photos Are In

The engagement photos are in and they’re absolutely perfect!!!!! Jake and Melly had their engagement photos taken yesterday by Julianna of Murano Media. (If you are local to South Florida and need photos, I’d highly recommend using Julianna’s services.). I had planned to get them photographs as an engagement plan for quite some time. Unfortunately, there were a lot of unknowns about timing that made it difficult to plan. Fortunately, Julianna came through in a pinch.

The kids met Julianna up at a nature preserve in Royal Palm. South Florida has some incredible setting for photography. This venue was no exception. For the uninitiated, the Everglades and surrounding area are exceptionally beautiful especially at sunset. Julianna blew us all away with her professionalism and efficiency. It was an awesome experience!

As of this afternoon, the engagement photos are in. They’re just incredible. I don’t think I’ll be able to pick a favorite anytime soon! Of course the photos came in while I drove back from our trip to IKEA. We spent the morning frolicking in the Swedish behemoth of a retailer getting Goalielocks ready for his move. I saw the text come in on my watch and was super anxious to get home and check them out.

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Sweat HIIT beginner week 4 full body workout. I was a bit wheezy this afternoon, so I skipped the run to give my lungs a break.
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Today’s song: Oh Darling by The Beatles

He’s engaged!!!!!!!!

He’s engaged!!!!! My oldest proposed to his amazing girlfriend this evening and she said yes! We knew the engagement was forthcoming for sometime, but we weren’t sure when he was going to pop the question. As always, the military was going to be the biggest influence on the timing. Fortunately, he won’t be going down range anytime soon, so he didn’t have to wait anymore.

We absolutely love her!! I’m so excited to see their next chapter. They’re still at dinner, so I don’t have details on the proposal. Fortunately, I’ll be seeing them tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll get the full details then. This really changes the landscape of our holidays in a glorious way. We are all so excited for them. Did I mention that we are so excited that he’s engaged?

In honor of their engagement, here’s a beautiful poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise …

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Ran two miles, walked one. Hamstring Opener Restorative practice via Practyce App.
  • Book: The Marriage Game by Alison Weir
  • Blog: almost done
  • Word of the day is chrome as is Google Chrome, which used to be a much better browser.
  • Today’s song: Carol of the Bells performed by Lindsay Sterling

Last Day

It’s the last day of the work week and my last day of work until 2023. Can I get an amen? Or maybe even a hallelujah? The week has been long as the business has been slow. Everyone that knows me well knows that I need to be busy. Idleness is not my friend. My hope for 2023 is that business goes back to booming as it did in 2021 and early 2022. We shall see. If it stays slow, I guess that will give me ample time and no excuses to not maintain the blog. Since AEP ended, our hours have been glorious. At present, I’m working a 9:00-4:00 pm shift, which is delightful. Hopefully, they’ll cut us loose early as it’s dead. I am not opposed to starting my vacation early.

As we move into the final weeks of 2022, I can’t help but be circumspect over the year that has been 2022. It began for me by bringing in the vicissitude that began in the fall of 2021. To be frank, the end of 2021 and all of 2022 has been hellacious for me. I have found myself in circumstances that one would think only exist in the movies. I mean, honestly, the shit that I have endured can’t be non-fiction. Yet here I am in the muck that is my life. Fortunately, I am one resilient bitch. And like a griffin rising from the ashes, I fully intend to make 2023 my year and reclaim my life.

To be fair, 2022 was not all negative. I have a lot of wonderful things going on in my life. My eldest made it home safely from deployment and continues to thrive in his role. Meanwhile, Goalielocks graduated high school and the Mayor continued to kill it at the rink. Throughout the year, I found myself in Savannah, Charleston, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Utah. Each of these trips was completely and utterly delightful. All three were a complete indulgence of my love of all things travel. For the first time, I went on a nature-oriented excursion and actually saw nature. Whereas usually, I go on a tour that sees nothing and only hears about what the tour before us saw. I cannot tell you how much peace kayaking through waters shared with baby sea turtles and baby sharks can bring a person. It was an absolutely beautiful experience.

When I look back on 2022, I have no doubt that it will reflect a period of transition in my life. Undoubtedly, transitions are not always easy, but changes like death and taxes are a constant of life. For the first time in years, I feel healthy. It has been a long journey back from my diagnosis of Graves Disease. Significantly, it is something I will always contend with, but it feels good to feel normal again. More than that it feels amazing to have shed all of the weight I gained post-RAI (radioactive iodine treatment.). It only took four years, but sometimes losing weight the right way takes time. Lastly, I could not be more proud of my boys. They have grown into emotionally intelligent, mature, and caring men. I’m one proud mama.

Utah Trip – Hiking

Our Utah trip this past summer was awesome. Of course, the highlight was being reunited with Jake, but we also had some great adventures together. One of my favorite things to do in Utah is hiking in the mountains. Unfortunately, I was not in great shape this time because I had just started running again. Consequently, the first hike in Utah’s heat and at a much higher elevation didn’t end well for me. I definitely lost my cookies going up the mountain. Fortunately, Jake and the Mayor took great care of me and we got down the mountain safely and intact.

The medicine I’m on with Calibrate is great, but nausea can be pretty bad, especially with exertion. Hence, I lost the cookies on the first hike. Our second hike was an easier trail with more shade, but the elevation and heat still kicked my arse. This time I was careful it take more breaks and keep my heart rate lower. I didn’t lose my lunch that time, but the hike kicked my butt. We did see a beautiful snake slither across the trail. Thankfully, it was not poisonous. Unfortunately, it was too quick for us, so nobody for a picture.

One of the most unique hikes we did was at the Golden Spike National Historical Park. This park is about an hour northwest of Ogaden on the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Rather than a hike up a mountainside, we hiked down to the shores of Salt Lake. Due to the drought, the American West has experienced, the lake is at its lowest level. Consequently, we hiked across the dried-up lake bed for more than a mile to reach the shore of the lake.

It was striking how dead birds or insects would lay preserved from the salt on the lake’s bed. As we approached the shore where the waves were breaking, there was a wide crust of salt running parallel to the waterline. As you looked out over the lake, it was a beautiful blue with haze coming off the water. It was gorgeous! Meanwhile, the waves of the lake had a bright reddish hue that made the lake look otherworldly. I was not tempted to go in the red water, but Jake and the Mayor did. They both said it felt like an Epsom salt bath. When they walked out of the lake, a layer of salt was left behind on their legs. Naturally, they collected some salt to use at home.

Beyond the beautiful hike on the bed of the Great Salt Lake, Golden Spike National Historical Park is a pretty neat place. They still have Victorian-era locomotives that travel the tracks, so visitors can see what they looked like. There is now a plaque where the golden spike used to be commemorating the coming together on the intercontinental railroad. As for the actual spike, it’s now on display at Stanford University.

There are several other hikes you can do at the park. We opted, however, to drive up to the Chinese Arch. It was a terrifying drive with a drop off of thousands feet to the right side. Meanwhile, the gravel road up to the arch was super narrow. While the arch was worth the drive, I’d probably go for the hike the next time around. I wouldn’t want to do that drive again.

My favorite hike this trip, however, was to Gloria Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I love hiking the Cottonwood Canyons because it’s significantly cooler than hiking in and around Ogden. Our elevation at the start of the hike was over 7800 feet. By the time we hit the waterfall, our altitude was almost 9,000 feet. Thankfully, this particular hike is not arduous because if it was I really would have struggled. Once we got to the falls, the air temperature was in the low 60s. The rushing water coming off the mountains certainly had a chilling effect.

Gloria Falls, it’s absolutely stunning and worth the hike. There is plenty of space to take a good rest or eat a picnic lunch, which is awesome. If I had planned better, I would have brought lunch. The hike itself provides stunning vistas out over the forests of the canyon, the mountains, and the distant valley. It’s a popular hike, so you’ll want to head out early to find parking. Also, the last part of the trail is unmarked. Consequently, be sure to download the map from the AllTrails app, so you don’t get lost. Albeit, you’ll likely run into plenty of people on your way up to the falls. Nonetheless, this is a trail I’d hike again anytime I found myself in Utah.

One of the solo hikes I did on our last Utah trip was right next to the Weber Ice Sheet. It is a simple half-mile paved loop around a pond. While the boys enjoyed open skating, I enjoyed walking around the pond and picking blackberries. I was shocked when a beautiful doe crossed in front of me as she went near the pond to eat. When I looped around again, she was standing in the middle of the path just taking it all in. After seeing all the videos of bison goring stupid tourists at Yellowstone, I decided to give her a wide berth. Unfortunately, she was not there when I came back to run the next day.

All in all, we had some great hikes during this last Utah trip. Ones that I’ll certainly explore again. I’d love to spend more time hiking and exploring both Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Also, if my parents travel with us again, I think they’d really enjoy Golden Spike National Historical Park. Now back in Florida, I can tell you that I miss waking up in the mountains every morning. I love being up on the mountain exploring everything and every view it has to offer. There’s something almost spiritual about it! Anyway, I love Utah and I love hiking in Utah!

Deployment Diaries – The Homecoming!

I wrote my deployment diaries throughout the entirety of Jake’s deployment, but ultimately only published a few of them. After all, I think the ravings of a worried mother would have eventually gotten redundant for you all. Nonetheless, writing daily whether I published them or not brought me peace. Initially, I had expected that Jake would return in time for graduation. Unfortunately, given world events that was not the case.

Finally, this summer we had hints that he’d be returning stateside. Naturally, I held my breath because I didn’t want to get too excited in case he got extended again. After all, his and now our schedule is at the mercy of the military. And then the text, we’d been waiting for finally came, he was about to take off on his return flight home. Crazily, he had to wait until this point because until the plane is rolling down the runway, the military could change their mind and make them stay.

Like the stalker mom I am, I naturally found his flight and followed it throughout the night and the next day. I may have had a slight heart attack as his plane hit a radar dead zone in the middle of the Atlantic and fell off the screen. Fortunately, his plane was not in the dead zone for long and his plane re-emerged from the dead zone, I breathed a long sigh of relief.

Unfortunately for Jake, the journey home took several days with several stops. When he finally made it home, we were overseas. Oh, the irony. Fortunately, our trip was quick. Nevertheless, I was able to fill his new apartment with groceries from the Bahamas thanks to Shipt. His friends and Sgt helped him move in. Thankfully, his girlfriend was able to get there the Monday after he returned, which was awesome. I definitely didn’t want him alone.

Finally, about a week after he returned the boys and I were able to fly out and see him. Honestly, I thought my heart was going to burst from anticipation. It was a long day of flying, but we finally got to our Airbnb at around 11:30. On the ride from the airport, we had ordered pizza. It turns out it was the worst Papa John’s pizza any of us had ever had. Nevertheless, none of that really mattered to any of us as we were all back together.

When he first pulled up, we went out to greet both him and Melly, I think I hugged Jake for a good solid ten minutes. Or at least until his younger brothers started making fun of me. Some day when they have kids they’ll understand the emotional investment and the need for a ten-minute hug. As hugs go, I’d say it was the best ever. There’s no better hug than one from your child that just returned safely from deployment. During the course of that world record-setting hug, I could feel the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. No longer did I have to carry the stress of him being in constant peril in an uncertain world.

To all our friends and family that supported us throughout his deployment, we love you and thank you dearly. Jake loved all the beautiful cards, care packages, and goodies he received while being down range. He surely felt the love. His deployment was not without its scary moments, but he also had great command and a squadron that took care of him down range. He was also able to have some fun adventures that he’ll always relish. The one thing he won’t miss is the ridiculous temperatures and humidity of the Persian Gulf. Lastly, my heart is with all the military mothers that came before me who, unlike me, didn’t have the technology to communicate with their children regularly. I can’t imagine their pain. And this will close out my deployment diaries for now.

Deployment Diaries- Pit in stomach

So as we get through week one of deployment, I’m noticing that the pit in my stomach will not leave. It’s like I’m watching Goalielocks in net 24/7. In short, it’s not a great feeling. Thankfully, I’ve been able to chat with him via text. This has helped immensely. This weekend I’ll be distracting myself with some Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Mayor’s hockey tournament. Hopefully, this will allay the pit in my stomach even if it’s just for a moment.