I am a myfitnesspal dropout. Because you might be, too, I put together 31 alternatives to myfitnesspal.
You will heal. I will help.
I am a myfitnesspal dropout. Because you might be, too, I put together 31 alternatives to myfitnesspal.
After waiting almost 2 years, yesterday I was matched – I Run 4 LilliAnne.
Almost 2 years ago I applied to be part of the I Run 4 Michael program. I never forgot about it, but honestly thought maybe my information had gotten lost somewhere in their massive pile of people wanting to participate in the program.
And then about a month ago I got an email that I would be matched soon.
Yesterday was the day.
It has all come at the perfect time.
What is I Run 4 Michael? Their mission sums it up well,
Here at IR4, we foster relationships. We want to see runners and buddies alike experience the profound power of encouraging and being supported by people who were once perfect strangers. Running can just be about health. Or it can be about dedicating our miles to and creating awareness for our buddies with special needs whose conditions span the spectrum from total physical disability to developmental delays to autism spectrum disorders, as well as myriad rare conditions we’re only now learning about thanks to our participation in IR4.
Today the group is over 22,000 members and nearly 7,000 matches, with 3,500 athletes waiting, within 18 months. (That timeline is pretty accurate based on my wait.) (I actually think those numbers are much higher than what’s stated on their website because the Facebook group is over 43,0000 people.)
The girl I was matched with is almost 10 (next month), and her name is – you guessed it – LilliAnne. She is high functioning autistic, and has femoral anteversion in both legs.
According to her mom, Amanda, (who has raised her on her own, even though she has milk cerebral palsy),
She loves people, and she will talk to anyone. She is always the first to try to get the smaller kids involved, but just because she has an outgoing personality doesn’t mean she doesn’t struggle. I’ve had to take her out of public school twice because she gets stressed out, breaks down, and refuses to go.
Here is a picture of Amanda and LilliAnne.
About the picture, Amanda said,
This was taken while we were waiting for her to be seen at the ER the other day. We were there for six hours because of chest pain she was having while breathing. This picture captures her silly and sweet side perfectly.
(And YES, yes Amanda gave me full permission to share this and their picture here. I would never, ever do it otherwise.)
So what does it mean anyways when you are matched?
It’s very simple. The idea is just that we are forming encouraging relationships between buddies and runners.
Each week, I will post (in the private Facebook group) a minimum of three (3) times weekly whether or not I have run so LilliAnne knows I’m still around.
They aren’t picky about the workout – running, walking, cross fit, yoga, or strength training – as long as it’s done in honor of your buddy. Many choose to devote races to their buddies, too.
In other words, you run for someone who can’t to help inspire them while realizing that they will ultimately inspire you as well.
Everyone says that running is “so hard.” Or that working out, in general, is “so hard.” I love that there is an organization that celebrates children who could only wish for the so hard that we are afforded the luxury to do each and every single day.
Running (<– if you click that link you can see all the posts I have written on running and my journey with it) has never come easy for me, and yet I have accomplished things through it I never thought I would.
Originally, I wanted to do it for accountability (that was around the time when I started getting really consistent with running again).
Like everything else in life I live and breathe by Ecclesiastes 3:11,
Everything is beautiful in its time.
Being matched wasn’t supposed to happen until now.
I’ve been in my own drenches for a couple months now, but this has (once again) opened my eyes to, “…..but I still can – run, lift, all of it.” There is nothing so great in my life that limits what I can do. The only thing limiting is myself. Which brings me to the second reason this was supposed to happen now….
Matt Fitgerald published this post on Monday, “The Goal of Becoming a Better Runner is Highly Compatible with the Goal of Becoming a Better Person.” In it, he states,
Because the mind truly is the athlete, the goal of becoming a better runner is highly compatible with the goal of becoming a better person. Addressing the weaknesses that limit your success in running will make you happier and more effectual in other parts of life. Likewise, becoming a stronger person through crises outside of running will pay dividends on the racecourse.
Running is a metaphor for life. I have so many things to work on in my own life. Now I get to work through them, while dedicating all those miles and hours to a girl, somewhere in Texas, who might hang on to my messages and activity daily.
When we learn to get out of ourselves, out of our own heads, and lean in towards something and someone else is the point at which healing (for us and them) happens. Helping is healing.
I figured I’d end this post with my planned summer and fall race schedule. I’ve been working with Michelle to set these races, so they have been intentional. I wanted to wait to share them until I had my match.
These are all trail races, and I’m so excited to experience them in Minnesota. I’m not opposed to 5-10K road races along the way (or even an awesome half marathon) so if you’re in Minnesota and know of some, let me know, mmmmmkay?! (By the way, this image makes me miss my friend Tami so dang much.)
I hope you love sharing the journey with me, LilliAnne!
Month one in the new year is coming to an end today, which means that it’s time for the January 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth.
Can you believe the first month of 2018 is through already? Even when time seems to creep slowly, it passes so quickly.
Usually, when I give my month recaps on health, it’s primarily gut and hormones related. And that’s because I rarely ever get sick. Until of course this past month. I have been sick – from normal illness – more days this past month than in the past several years combined.
I got a touch of the weird flu bug the kids got (bad stomach ache, but throwing up just once) early in January and then last week I got the sore throat and cold leftovers from the kids’ strep, touch of pneumonia, and general cold. Not fun, at all. I’m on the other side of it, though, and so thankful.
From a gut and hormone standpoint, I had another amazing month, though I will admit that last night I had a stomach ache that I haven’t had a long time. This past week I took a lot of Advid and ibuprofen and even NyQuil one night, and I’m guessing my system is just cleaning through it all.
I still remain bloat-free, and I’m still waking up around 4 am every single day with energy for workouts and to power through the entire day.
I was supposed to complete the QuickSilver (heavy metal and mercury testing) and the Genova test (for more in-depth thyroid information) in January, but they have not been done yet. February hopefully.
I worked out even less in January than I did in December due to illness. I do push through sometimes when I’m not feeling 100%, but I definitely know the difference between should and should not push it.
I barely did any Burpee sessions, but I am almost done with the second round of Jess’ program. I can’t say it enough – the program rocks, and even though I have a gym membership now, many days I choose to just workout in our garage with nothing but treadmill and dumbbells because many of the workouts in her program only require those two things (if that).
One of my fears about moving to Minnesota in the dead of winter was losing all motivation for working out because…..cold. I’m happy to report, though, that the cold has not impacted my motivation levels at all. If you follow my Instagram Stories, I share a lot of these early morning garage workout moments – yesterday it was 2 degrees (yes, TWO) when I was working out, but I put a hat on, a couple shirts, my sneaks, and got to work. And I didn’t die.
I’m enjoying the gym on the days I go as well, and when I feel 100% again, I’ll get back to the squats and deadlifts and pull-ups there – three of the main reasons I wanted a gym membership while our home gym is out of use.
I did not get into the Superior 25 KM that I so desperately wanted to, and after sulking for awhile about it, moved on. I will lock down my racing schedule this month hopefully, and am considering one of them to be a Brazen in California 🙂
Work is busier than ever, but with all the January chaos, change, transition, and illness, I’ve had to know when and how to separate good enough and above and beyond.
I spent the month creating recipes, doing photo shoots, running a large campaign, playing match-maker, writing copy, and planning future copy. At the end of this month, I started planning all things Expo West, and those tasks will explode in February. It’s the biggest consumer show in the Natural Food Industry, and my favorite work event I attend all year. More on it soon….
My Beautycounter business grew again, and I am considering attending the May Leadership Summit which happens to be in Minneapolis this year. I’ll never stop growing this business, and as always, if you want to learn more about it or join our mission contact me HERE. Because listen, I also certainly didn’t set out to sell shampoo (though the conditioner is fantastic)!
I continue to get contacted daily for professional opportunities and new contract work, but right now, in this moment, it’s not feasible. I am still working to find my studio space (I have another new possibility that I am excited about) and once my VA and I get The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut 3.0 finished and released, I’ll need to consider upping her weekly hours to allow for personal breathing space and then more professional growth.
You want a lovely, little story here about cherishing all the moments and soaking up every last detail about our cross-country move?
Nope. Not happening.
January was a hard, hard, hard month. Most of it is trivial and temporary hard, but that doesn’t mean we have to shove it under the covers, put on a happy face, and act like all is well and good.
There was a day in January (January 4th to be exact, I know this because of my Gratitude Journal when I wrote, “Pain meds for dad.”) that was painful on my heart. I witness pain in my dad like I had never, not in almost 35 years of my life, seen. It was a physical and emotional pain, and the combination is horrible. I worried about him for quite some time after, but then he got better and stronger, and for him and us on this journey, January was overall a fairly good month. Yesterday he started the IV part of chemo. He is now at 100% IV chemo treatment and still 60% pills. Now that IV chemo has started the real test begins.
I spent most of the month alone with the kids in Minnesota while Ryan was back-and-forth from California to Minnesota. He came back “for good” on Monday night, and all felt right in the world again.
Because the kids were sick all month and I was mostly alone, it seemed like the bricks were falling one after another and then another. I caught barely any break all month, and so by the time I wrote Good Enough is Enough, I was about ready to crumble.
Samarah is still trying to adjust to her new school. I can’t fully figure out why she’s not totally loving it, but I’m giving her the space to feel it all and accept that it’s not Miss Marsha (her California preschool teacher) and that her best friends are no longer with her each week. She talks about Colbie, B, Colton, Grace, Hannah, and Hazel every single day it seems. It breaks my heart because I wasn’t expecting that. Marsha told me it will pass for her and that she has such a tender sweet soul. I know she’s right. In the meantime, it’s not easy.
Isaiah has had some weird quirks with the adjustment, and I know it’s not easy for him either. In January, I spent a whole day with him because he has been craving undivided attention. His communication has greatly improved, and Ryan said he can tell how much he’s grown every time he’s gone and comes home again. I’d agree. His stomach issues are still not resolved, and I’m still searching for the right doctor for him.
Amiya had the worst month of all of them. I think a small illness lead to something bigger for her little body, which left her screaming ferociously all day long for about a week straight. If you’ve never heard Maya’s scream, it’s hard to understand, but it’s shrill. She is loud and strong, and she has lungs. (It’s hard to believe because she’s so tiny – still in the highest height percentiles, but super low in weight.) Last night – finally – on almost the last day of the month, we had the best night with her in the longest time. I wrote, “Big risks. Huge challenge. ???? reward. She’s feisty, strong, and a child I barely know how to handle. But then we have a night like tonight, and it all makes sense. ????✨” I have zero clue how it happens, but last night I forgot about so much of the stress all month long. She was my little mama-bug princess. I didn’t want it to end.
Big risks. Huge challenge. ???? reward. She’s feisty, strong, and a child I barely know how to handle. But then we have a night like tonight, and it all makes sense. ????✨ . . . . . #amiya #oneyearold #mayathebee #fosteradopt #adoption #adopt #adoptedchild #momofthree #motherofthree #thejuggleisreal #worthit
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And even when the babies have hard days and challenging moments with all the change, they have been loving all the family surrounding us and Katie. They never ask for their old nannies (even though they loved them). Katie has been perfect for them and for us during this transition.
January was just filled with all the change challenges, but Ryan asked me yesterday if I was still glad we moved. Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.”
Later, I thought about it.
I never realized, until moving back, how lonely beautiful California felt to me. Lonely – that’s my word for it….real and raw and totally accurate.
On July 19, 2016, I wrote, “If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.”
And that’s what happened to me, I guess. I went to my version of (what I thought was – or maybe truly was) paradise. But I so desperately missed home.
With that, I’m so ready to take on February and to continue embracing change.
I’m not listing them out this month or at all during the 101-days of blogging because you can always find them below on each and every single post.
Tell me something new and good about YOUR January!
If you don’t have time to read these posts daily, but don’t want to miss them, be sure to follow via Bloglovin’ and/or join my personal e-newsletter HERE. I am doing my best to send a once per week email recap of prior week’s posts.
If there is a topic surrounding change that you would love for me to include in this series, please just CONTACT ME.
4:30 am on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and I am sitting here with a big cup of coffee writing the December 2017 Catch Up Over Bone Broth.
It hardly seems real that today is the last day of the year. It also hardly seems real that I just looked at the outdoor thermometer which reads, “-9 degrees.” For my California friends reading this – yes, this is legit – real life, really cold.
On this last day of 2017, I am living in Minnesota, and in a much different place than I was just one year ago.
I am happy and excited, but getting here and doing my last month, December, in California, felt rough.
I finished out the last month of the year healthy as per the last several months.
If you want the truth, somedays I pinch myself because of how well I am doing. I made it through Christmas in Minnesota with all the eats, treats, and goodies, and no setbacks.
Since getting home to Minnesota, I even started “sleeping in” again. And by sleeping in, I mean that my body is now on autopilot waking up at 4:15 am vs. 3 am, and thus, my days feel better overall.
In January, I am completing the following two tests: QuickSilver (heavy metal and mercury testing) and the Genova test (for more in-depth thyroid information).
I worked out less overall in December but still kept on the same path I have been these past several months.
My only main goal was to do the 50 x’s burpee challenge 15 times in December (or every other day), and to get down to a 3:05 time. I ended up only doing them a total of 7 times, but on Wednesday, December 20, I hit 3:04. My next goal is to hit 3:00 flat, but that could take a couple more months. I’m sticking with the same goal of doing them 15 times in January.
I am currently on round two still and have almost hit week 4 of Jess’ program. And guess what? When round two is over, I’m diving into round 3! I’m telling you….results. The program gets results, and I love it!
As soon as we moved home, I got a gym membership, so that’s going to be new for me. Ryan and I have had our home gym for so long now that I never wanted to walk into a normal gym again. But for the next year, until we can have our home gym back again, I think it will be okay. I’ve already worked out there twice, and it will be just fine. (Besides, it’s nice to see familiar faces.)
Because of the gym, I’ll likely do some new things in January, but my goal for January is to continue doing Jess’ program, the burpees, solo leg and upper body days and then sprinkled in running (no more than 6 miles at a time likely). If I get into the Superior 25 KM, I’ll start true training for that in February.
Before leaving California, I did two back-to-back photo shoots. With one client, I was just on site as someone else did the actual shoot, and for the other, I did all the images.
I said in-person goodbye’s to most of my clients, and I felt sad driving away from those goodbyes.
One of my greatest weaknesses in business is that I oftentimes have a hard time separating business and friendship. I become close and attached to everyone I work with.
But also during December, I was contacted by a company whose founder became highly interested in my work. They have been back-and-forth with me for a couple months now, and finally, in early December, we had an initial call. It became crystal clear from early on that I would love the brand, team, and that they could provide me things I have never had before.
They invited me to their HQ and flew me to NY for roughly a day (this past week), and I was sold. (I’m not ready to say who it is yet, but THIS article is a nice foreshadowing clue.)
With that, I have simply shifted other client’s hours, but I did not cut any of my current clients because I don’t personally feel it’s time yet. Some of this probably goes back to that weakness I mentioned above, but it also is because I do, truly and 100% vet all incoming clients so well that I don’t want to give any of them up.
In 2017, I helped my brands grow to new levels, and all along, I have loved every single second.
Because December was so busy on my full-time+ client load, and 2018 is not about to slow down, I realized that hiring my VA for more hours must be in the works.
Simultaneous to all of the above, I still moved the needle on The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut 3.0 in a huge way. Guys — the e-book is going to be 400+ pages long. I have my assistant to thank in a huge way for this. (If you don’t want to miss its release, click HERE and make sure you’re on my Health Coaching list.)
I also grew my Beautycounter business on all accounts, which totally excites me because I believe in the company, products, and I don’t feel comfortable recommending much of anything else from a makeup, skin and body care line for my friends, family, readers, and clients. (p.s. Click HERE to see all the things I personally ordered yesterday.)
It was a big month for our family.
In the beginning of December, we started packing up the house and all our stuff, and at the end of December, flew back home to Minnesota for good. Ryan, if you’d like to know, is currently making the trek (for the first time – he will do it twice) back to Minnesota in my Pilot with our Great Dane (below is her on one of their stops yesterday – just enjoying the scenery and life). Slowly but surely he’s driving across the country, and I’ll finally see him again on Wednesday!
We took Samarah and Isaiah to Peppa Pig Christmas in San Jose, did our community Christmas event with the kids (carriage rides and all), and talked to them a ton about the move and Minnesota.
Samarah had her Christmas program at school, in which I cried nearly the entire time. I sat right in the front row, watching as she sang Christmas songs and jingling those bells with her friends – the best friends she ever knew. 4-year-olds are priceless. That day was her last day at the preschool and with her friends. I cried saying goodbye to all the teachers. Killed me. Also, she got her hair done one last time by LaToya 🙂
Isaiah spent a lot of time with Elisabeth in December. With us leaving, I wanted to give that to the both of them. One day, she and her mom took him to Build a Bear. She took a ton of pictures and even made a video of it and of their day together for me. He adores Elisabeth, and my heart broke when she said goodbye to all the babies. Isaiah also spent Christmas at the beach with his daddy. Love this picture that Ryan got of him.
Amiya was, well, Amiya. She is currently going through a “mommy, mommy, mommy only” phase. She screams and cries when I leave and/or if I’m in the room and she thinks I might leave. She has an attitude that my other children did not have. She hits and scratches me one moment, and then is wrapping her arms around me with, “awwwww……” the next. She can count to 10, say her ABC’s, and last night she told me, “Boy,” for Isaiah. She is super strong, and in December figured out how to pull up her way out of the pack-n-play. And yet, I love my little bee like crazy! Maybe it’s because she thinks I hold the moon. p.s. Auntie Kim did her hair and snapped this picture. When her hair is all brushed out, it completely changes her look. Just like a little angel.
Ryan and I (together and separately) did something in California in December that we had not done at all really in the 11 years we lived there – spent a lot of time with friends.
We had brunch twice with our friends Will and Jen, went out to dinner with our friends Eric and Marissa, spent a lot of time with Elisabeth, and on my last night in California, I had a dinner out with some of my favorite friends. My friends got me all sorts of heartfelt, lovely gifts, that I am still thinking about. Gifts with meaning – pictures, bracelets, California places, and memories. I feel a sting in my heart when I look at them, and I am so thankful that for the minimal friends I made during the past 11 years out West, they are the ones I did make.
All of December lead to the end – of December and our time in California. And so, wrapping up December found me sitting in the beautiful, Catholic church where Ryan and I were married, on Christmas Eve with my dad.
I was adamant that I would be back in Minnesota before Christmas. It was never part of the real plan, but when life happened, it was the only plan I’d accept. Christmas Eve and Christmas with my dad were the reason.
And guys – I would not have changed that decision for anything in the whole world. (This is my brother, JJ – who I refer to a lot here and now will even more!, my dad, and myself at my aunt and uncle’s after Christmas Eve mass.)
Here are all the posts I wrote this past month.
December and 2017 are done. The actual move has been completed, but real life with the transition and change is just starting.
This upcoming week – the first week of 2018 – dad starts Chemo, and with that I am, once again, forever thankful that Ryan let me come home to Minnesota far in advance of when he could be here for good.
I’m so glad to share the journey with you, and I could not feel any more excited about being here where friends and family surround us. Pictures like this are only just the beginning — Samarah with her cousin Sophie.
Have a wonderful last day of 2017. I’m 99% likely to stay in tonight with my children and in-laws and hoping to go visit my mom and dad during the day. I doubt there will be any crazy things happening, but honestly? 2018 is going to be crazy enough that I’m good for today.
Tell me something new and good about YOUR December!
Oh, November – full of shocks and surprises. November 30 got here fast, so this is my November 2017 catch up over bone broth.
Speaking of bone broth. Know what I did this past week? Made the outline for the (how to make) Instant Pot Bone Broth blog post and/or e-book I’ll release in December or early January. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – bone broth in the Instant Pot is my best version yet. I use THIS 8-quart Instant Pot so if you don’t have one yet, grab it.
I felt great in November, despite all the stress.
Next week I have an appointment with my hormone doctor to finally review the DUTCH tests I did quite some time ago. While my stomach and overall feeling is spot on, I know it isn’t so because my skin shows it here and there. It’s not the Perioral Dermatitis, but rather signs of a hormone imbalance, which all seems so odd to me because I’m feeling so well.
I know I probably should not have done so, but I canceled the endoscopy appointment I was supposed to have today. On top of canceling it, I used the one reason I am always telling people to never use, “No time.” But seriously, there is no time. Not right now. In a month-ish this will all make sense.
But in addition to no time, do you want to know the real reason I canceled it?
The doctor who was going to perform it for me told me he doesn’t think it is anything serious, but that my body freaked out so badly (sending me to the ER) because of doing too much.
I flat out said to him, “That makes no sense. How can so many people run much more, much harder, at higher elevations, for longer periods of time, with zero repercussions?”
His response was not at all what I expected.
He responded, “Why was I born short? Why did my wife have to get cancer? Why couldn’t I be an athlete?”
Yes, instead of a true answer, he threw a question back at me. And then he said, “Deep down you know the answers. You’re just looking for someone to confirm them.”
Honestly? My body has been through a lot in the past several years, and I’m not going to pretend he wasn’t right. I did two weekends in a row, back-to-back of hard trail races, upwards of 13.1 miles each time. I ran more in 2017 than any prior year. Hard for you? Maybe not. Hard for most? Likely not. But for me? Yes, probably.
I am not built the way I wish I was. Letting that go has been hard. I’d be lying to you if I told you I have let it all go. I haven’t.
I don’t believe I need to stop running and trail racing altogether. In fact, I won’t. But what this whole “health” thing has shown me is that I physically am not capable of being “in training” year round. I need to be much more strategic and smart about races and then recovery periods. Which brings me to….
I did a lot, and yet barely anything (it feels like) in November, from a fitness standpoint.
I spent November doing a burpee challenge. My goal was to do 50 burpees every day in November. Results?
I absolutely loved the challenge, but I learned something very important – again – more is not better.
I never took a day off in 30 days, except for one day, and the day after that day is when I hit 3:12.
More is not better. More is not better. More is not better. 🙂
Will I keep doing them? Yes! Absolutely. Who doesn’t have a love-hate relationship with burpees?! But they are totally making me stronger.
My goal is to do them 15 times in December (or every other day), and to get down to a 3:05 time.
I spent November doing burpees, Jess’ program, and some running (up to 6 miles).
I was thisclose to running a December Brazen, but my conscious got the best of me and said, “Nope. Rest. Recover. Build strength.” So instead, I researched and think I’ve found my next race. It’s on May 19, 2018 (plenty of recovery and building time!). I’d tell you where and what it is, but then I’d have to kill you. Bwahahahah.
I did a photo shoot for one of my clients, and it was a day filled with creating, eating, and photographing beautiful Buddha Bowls. In case you’ve never heard the term, this is what they look like.
I also went on site to a photo shoot with Nutiva for a new product we have coming out in early January 2018. My favorite part was seeing all the props, organized perfectly. I have built out a huge section of food photography props this past year, and within the next year, I’m hoping to build a display similar to this (but probably half the size).
I am in the final stages of a recipe for a project-based client. They love it, but I need to make one final tweak. The version they did not choose (which is my favorite version) will be posted on my blog in December. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Beautycounter is still a focus, too, and I think it always will be. I was recently listening to a podcast – someone else who is also part of the Beautycounter team. She was talking about how hesitant she was to try the product and then to add it as part of her business. But then she started sharing how she fell in love with the product (I can relate), and that, from a business aspect – how incredible it has been. I amazed by all that has happened in less than 2 months, and I am so excited to keep growing and learning, about the business, mission, and all products.
Finally, I have feverishly been working on The Gutsy Girl’s Bible 3.0 with my assistant. She is currently reviewing the jumbo e-book, and the goal was to have it ready for the new year. I’m still not sure that’s happening, but we are moving along nicely.
The beginning of the month was lovely. We had visitors constantly. My mom came the first few days of November, Ryan’s parents came right after that, and finally, my brother-in-law and his son came right before Thanksgiving.
My mom and I finally hit the Alameda Flea Market, which was a bucket list item we wanted to do together. I love a great flea market, antiquing, and the like. My mom and dad sparked this passion for me. My parents can take anything and turn it into something new and useful.
While Mom was here, I also invited Elisabeth over and cooked dinner one night. It was my mom who first noticed the letter Elisabeth had written, so I always wanted them to meet. We had a lovely night, and the food was delicious. I made a One Pot Thai Curry, without the curry. Don’t ask.
When Ryan’s parents came, they let us sneak off to Tahoe for a short day/night getaway.
We stayed in one of my favorite areas and packed a lot into those 24 hours. We went for long walks, had an incredible dinner, played a few slots at the Casino (adulting, you know), enjoyed drinks, sat in the hot tub outside at night after dinner (yes it was cold, and yes that’s my favorite time to hot tub), did a morning hike + run/jog, and soaked up all that is one of my favorite places on Earth – Tahoe.
No, for real. There is nothing like Lake Tahoe. The views are breathtaking. There are an endless amount of things to do and see outside. And soaking it all up with Ryan is the best ever.
Ryan’s brother and his son came for a quick weekend right before I went home to Minnesota. It was a chill weekend, and they spent a lot of time playing basketball outside and eating the dinners I made. I introduced them to my Instant Pot bone broth, and they loved it. I swear, I’d make bone broth for anyone, 24/7 if I could.
My nephew, Ashton, got the full experience of life with 3 littles. He was covering his ears a lot, and I kept telling him, “Please remember this once you get into high school…..no babies.”
Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya are growing like little weeds.
We are having full conversations with Samarah now, Isaiah’s vocabulary finally emerged, and Amiya can sing her ABC’s, count to ten, sing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat,’ and yell, “Stop it” whenever she isn’t happy.
We continued the Turkey Hands tradition, and I am working on organizing all our little hands currently.
They are the sweetest, kindest, and most adorable little beings in my life.
And finally, if I didn’t mention that November brought heartbreaking news, it wouldn’t be a true recap. I wrote about my dad being diagnosed with cancer in Finding Thanksgiving. I spent the last week in Minnesota, and I would not have traded that time for anything in the world.
I dug out this picture from last year at Christmas. One year ago.
I can’t believe how much things have changed.
A lot of things happened while I was home, but my favorite part was this one beautiful morning with Dad. I have been trying to tell Ryan the story, but each time I start, I want to break down crying, so I still haven’t been able to. I wrote about it in my journal immediately after it happened. I titled it, “Things You Don’t Know.” I’ll share someday.
Before I left on Tuesday, I gave Dad strict instructions. “Dad, please don’t argue with the doctors. Drink your water. Take your medication. Eat those bananas. Drink the tea Lan is bringing to you.” His only real response, “Well….you’ll be back in about a month then, right?”
Yes, Dad, yes. I’ll be back before Christmas.
Here are all the posts I wrote this past month.
Adios, November! I’d like to say that December gets “easier,” but it doesn’t. Like at all, not even a little bit.
Close family and friends know what I’m talking about, and soon you will, too. But December is going to test every last emotion in me. Trying to hold it all together while patiently waiting for more pathology information on my dad is hard.
Yes, this is actually hard.
Now there is no choice but to keep on keeping on.
And it’s less than a month to Christmas, family, and Minnesota.
Stick with me. You’ll see.
Tell me something new and good about YOUR November!
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