Grateful: this week

One: I’ve been able to run three times in the past ten days. I am so grateful for being able to run without pain.

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I love the slanting light edge-of-day on these thistles. Nothing resets my head quite the way an early-morning run does.

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Two: Sam hung our patio lights!  Immediately, SweetP asked if the dragonflies were going to come back.

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Three: I’m grateful for the Doo’s and Donts (sic) Hair Salon, conveniently located at the top of the stairs.

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Four: for summer food.  Peas from the garden, garlic scapes, lettuce, and cherries.

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Five: that Sleeping Beauty woke up. And even more, that she had a wonderful week at backyard theater camp.

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What are you grateful for this week?

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: It’s finally Summer!

Pretty: With all the rain we’ve had, Colorado is more green than I can remember.  This was especially evident when we went camping last week.  Between the green meadow and blue sky, I was overwhelmed.
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Happy: My baby is fifteen. Seriously?   How can that be?  Despite a torrential storm, we managed to have a birthday dinner with hamburgers, cake and paper hats.
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Funny: The girls had a great time paddling around- in the lagoon, and in the bigger lake (with a bigger boy) to discover an island. (I’m sure no one had landed there for at least 15 minutes before they “discovered” it.)

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However, when the kayak tipped, SweetP raced her godfather out to rescue it. Guess who won.

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Real: I rode my bike to work for Bike to Work Day.  I felt pretty smug about it until I realized I had no nice shoes, so I had to look like a clown all day in my linen pants and running shoes.  The good news was that most of my patients were under the age of seven, and they didn’t care.

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For more {pretty, happy, funny, real}, go check out Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Daybook: late June

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Outside my window: windy and overcast. It’s only seven o’clock and my clothesline has already blown over.  I’m hoping the wind will blow some of the cool morning air into the house before I have to close it all up again.

In the kitchen: sleeping bags. We went camping this weekend, and the sleeping bag that kept sticking in my face while we slept smelled terrible. I’m not sure if it was actually the feet inside or the bag that stank, but the feet have all been washed and the bags are in line for the washing machine. Hopefully tomorrow I can think about food again.

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In the school room: today’s schedule includes “Design Thinking” at Owen’s STEM camp, the first day of Momo’s theater camp, dance class for the girls, and swim team. If I can make it out of the car, I hope to take a deeper look at our fall once-a-week class offerings to formulate our autumn.

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On my mind: how I should be fighting racism in our country. It’s not an easy question, and I’m sure the answer won’t be easy, either. But it’s not right that so many people in our country have no choice but to experience it every day, while I can sail by and choose not to think about it if I’m not in the mood. I don’t want to be complicit simply by standing by.

Grateful for: roses. our camping trip: for sailing and canoeing and  That Owen’s laceration wasn’t worse (he cut his hand).

Praying for: families in Charleston, refugees and IDPs all around the world. Those affected by Ebola. Mandy, Judy, my dad. Foster parents and kids. The Neals and Simons.

The OTHER Benefits of Exercise

Our health clinic started participating in Walk with a Doc, a national volunteer program in which a doctor (or other health care provider) meets at a park on a weekend to give a free informational talk and to spend time walking with people from the community.  (All the better if her own patients show up, too!)  We started in the autumn, and I’ve given a few talks that I thought I would share here, too.  This month: The Other Benefits of Exercise.  Next month I’ll share about a little bit about diabetes and how to prevent it, and in August I’ll share my talk on Exercise: how much is “enough”?

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Cousins getting exercise in 2013.

The OTHER Benefits of Exercise

We’ve all heard about how exercise can help with heart health, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and weight loss.  Exercise can decrease your risk of cancer.  But even in a healthy person, exercise – whether it’s a daily walk, a run, a swim, or a yoga class—provides a myriad of benefits.

  1. Bone strength.  Weight bearing exercise (walking, running, soccer, basketball, volleyball, Zumba, dancing…) helps prevent age-related bone loss.  Even before menopause, weight-bearing exercise adds to the strength of our bones, so that when we start losing bone mass, we’re starting our downhill roll from higher on the hill.
  2. Improved sleep.  Exercise (especially in the mid- to late afternoon) raises the body temperature, which can improve sleep at night.  If you sleep poorly and have a hard time waking up in the morning, a thirty-minute morning work-out can be enough to reset your body’s clock.  This is true for those suffering for jet-lag, too.
  3. Prevention of dementia.  Aerobic exercise increases blow flow to all parts of the body, including the brain.
  4. Self-esteem.  Whether it’s the happy-inducing effect of checking something off their to-do lists, or the endorphins secreted when they exercise, people feel better about themselves after they exercise.

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  1. Better sex. When we’re feeling good about our bodies, we feel more attractive.  Physically, the increased blood flow associated with exercise improves arousal in women.  Men who have healthy hearts have a lower incidence of erectile dysfunction.  Exercise can improve your endurance, flexibility, and strength, all of which… well, you get the idea.
  2. Improved joint function, especially in the setting of osteoarthritis.  We all grew up hearing about how running would ruin your knees, but studies don’t support this myth.  Instead, we know that running decreases your risk of needing a hip replacement by 50%.  Walking decreased the risk of hip replacement by 16%.  It makes sense logically that strengthening all the muscles around the knee will take some of the stress off the joint itself, but in this case we think the benefit of running and walking is mediated by the decrease in obesity among runners and brisk walkers.
  3. Reducing stress and depression.  Studies in women (though the results probably hold true in men, too) have shown that depression changes not just the function but the structure of the brain.  Exercise can prevent these changes and is part of a treatment plan for depression.  Building exercise into your daily plan for stress management decreases your risk of becoming depressed.
  4. Addiction treatment.  Studies show that aerobic exercise helps decrease recidivism in those recovering from addiction.  True, we might be substituting one high for another, but it’s unusual for an addition to a daily workout to destroy a family or cause someone to lose a job.

Things that make me happy today

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself when I can’t run. The absence of it affects many parts of my life, from how much patience I have for my kids to how my pants fit to how much I enjoy my food to how well I sleep.  So while I am feeling the absence of running, I am trying to notice all the other things in my life that are making me happy right now.  Maybe you will share some of your own in the comments?

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Yoga with Adriene

Sam and I did Adriene’s 30 days of yoga in January (though it took more than 30 days around here) and got hooked.  I like the variety in her workouts and how often she reminds me to check in with my own body and listen to what feels good, instead of trying to emulate postures that I’m not ready for.

The garden

Our garden very small, but taking note of what’s blooming or changing today makes me happy.

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My clothesline

May was so wet that I used the dryer much more often than I liked.  The twenty minutes it takes to hang (or pull down) a load of laundry is time I have to myself. (Weirdly, the kids aren’t so interested in hanging laundry with me.)

Mo Willems books

We had a stretch recently where the kids kept pulling Disney adaptations or bad series books off the shelf to read.  I asked for some recommendations and discovered Mo Willems.  I’m never disappointed.

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Being a Yes Mommy

My default answer to all kids’ requests is No. My mind jumps immediately to the mess at the end, and I say no.

But like being the Yes mommy.  Today I said yes to “Can I make pancakes?”  (daughter 1) AND “Can I make waffles?” (daughter 2).  Several hours after I put the kitchen back together, I said Yes to a tea party for lunch.  I love saying Yes.

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What’s making you happy right now?

p,h,f,r: June

Pretty:   The peony has bloomed.  Gosh, it is gorgeous.  I had three blooms this year from one plant, and the other– well, it’s dead.  It was so frightened of a recurrence of last June’s hail storms that it didn’t even bother to come back up. Which was smart of it, since we’ve had an awful lot of hail.
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Happy: This flock of pelicans was hanging out on the pond by the park where I like to run.  Dipping and stretching with their long wings and bills, they looked just like a bunch of teenaged boys on the water.  I love seeing birds when I run.
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Funny: This may not technically be funny– maybe just fun. Sam’s sister and her family drove through on their way to California and stayed with us for fifteen hours.  We had a blast.  Here is my lovely niece (now a high school graduate!)
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Real:  Alas, now I’m injured.  Apparently my glute hasn’t been firing. So instead of being pushed by a large muscle in my butt, I am being pulled by the small muscle in my ankle.  No wonder my ankle hurts.  No half-marathon for me.  I don’t have a photo either of my lazy butt (you can thank me later) or my overworked ankle. Instead, I’ll leave you with this photo of a rose the hail hasn’t managed to kill.
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For more {p,h,f,r} go check out Like Mother, Like Daughter.

“She took her shoes off!”

The girls and I had a miniature adventure last week.  We had to drop Owen at volleyball game half an hour early, and I didn’t want to spend that time in the gym..  There’s a “pretty little wilderness” at the park by the rec center, and the girls were game to take a turn in it with me.
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Can you see the white pelican?  Neither can I, because the girls were so loud they scared it away.

We ignored the infrequent raindrops and pretending it wasn’t threatening to pour.

We saw Canada Geese, white pelicans, cranes, mallards, Redwing blackbirds, and swallows.  There must have been a gazillion bugs on the lake, because the swallows were crazy.

The longer we walked, the more elongated the pond became, until I was afraid we weren’t going to back it back in time for Owen’s game.
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shortcut…

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“Finch Forest.” 3 trees, no finches.

I thought we were almost all the way around, and then the path cut steeply away from the rec center.  Five minutes till the game.  We took the gravel path toward the rec center until it sank under 4 inches of cold, flowing water.  What to do?
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The girls are still telling everyone we meet, “Mommy took her shoes off and went through the water!!”  Brrr!

Had I known what a kick it would give them, I would have taken them off much sooner.

They’re already asking when we can go back.