Wednesday, March 14

Getting Stronger

I've been meaning to get back to the gym for, oh, two years, now. Oops. First, I had to get my brain back. (That took about a year.) Then I had to get the kids back on track. (Yeah, that was another year.) And now, it's time. I'm so excited!

I stopped by the gym and filled out a health history form, talked with one of the trainers, and made a plan. Then the schedule won't work for this coming week. Heh. As long as it doesn't take me an entire year to get it going, then we're good, and at least now there is a plan ready to implement. I'm hoping to lift twice a week and do something else a couple times a week. Once the weather gets nicer (for that brief, glorious window before the hot 'n sticky descends!) I can get out and move with the kids without too much muttering under my breath. Plus, the Littles are big enough now to get me actually moving. That's gonna be weird!

James and his roommate have been trying to play racquetball about once a week. They'd like to play more often, but chemistry is trying to kill them both, so it's mostly just a stolen hour over the weekend. I love that they're trying to pay attention to the holistic aspects of their health. It's hard, and it's weird, but they're doing it! Perhaps over the summer they'll be able to make more use of the gym. For now, though, I'm pretty impressed. Now, to get them to eat more ...

Tuesday, March 13

Cooking and Juggling

I've been trying to pin down the schedule so that I can catch James in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon (or any other day, I'm not picky) when we're both here, motivated, and hungry (because it's fun to make things more challenging), in the hopes of guiding him through kitchen basics.

Now, before you think, "Wait, he's how old? How does he not know how to cook?" I would like to point out that he KNEW how to cook. He did, and for several years he was a very good cook. But through either a particularly rough chemical upheaval during adolescence, or perhaps an undiagnosed brain injury, or just an increased focus on other things, he has forgotten. It's simply gone; replaced, perhaps, with philosophical inquiry, or scenes from Dumb and Dumber. I don't know. As with much of parenting, it doesn't, at this point, matter much how he forgot how to cook as it does that we remedy it. So, we've been working on that. I'm still cooking seven days a week, and I have no clue what he eats most of the time, but we've managed to get together about once a week (or once every other week, because we're both busy and disorganized) to cook together.

Last Sunday, I made beef enchiladas and he worked alongside me, making a keto version of the same thing. He did a fabulous job. They were delicious and beautiful! Then he ate them all in just a couple of sittings, and there went my plan for him to have ready made food to eat at his place. Next time, we'll double the recipe!

So, since we're often scattered to the winds during the week, we need quick foods, or foods that can be eaten on the go. Since we're all busily engaged in the work of learning, doing, and living, we need foods that are nourishing and that support our endeavors. And, since there are roughly eight billion of us, we need foods we can afford (which means not eating out, even if we find a place that meets the first two requirements!)

This has become my favorite go-to for quick meals on the go:

I found the recipe here, at FlavCity. They do a lot of Starbucks replications in low-carb versions, which is fun (and dangerous - I have an unrepentant sweet tooth)! So far, everything we've tried from this site has been delicious and easy. Kudos to their team for putting together a great resource!

I will readily admit (and those who know me would think I was lying if I didn't just come out with it) that I don't always follow the recipe. This one is very forgiving of additions and slight alterations. (So, if you don't have gruyere, you can use apple smoked cheddar, asiago, Lustenberger (which tastes very earthy and bakes up nicely), or straight up shredded cheddar from Costco. Seriously, use what you have and eat it like you meant it. Life is better that way.

John hates the taste and flavor of cheese and cheese products, so I add jalapenos and cracked black pepper to his. If all he tastes is HOT, then he's a happy camper. It's our unspoken agreement. Well, either that, or he's going to move out and never eat here again. I'm not sure. But he knows he's loved, so there is that.

In the meantime, I've also been thinking up meal options for a dear older lady so that I can cook for her. She's dairy-free, and it was at this point that I realized I cannot just make extra of what we eat and share it with her. We eat a LOT of cheese! Never have I been so thankful that none of us is lactose intolerant in my life! Wowsa! I'm drawing a lot of blanks on that one, and about thisclose to buying diary-free cheese ("cheese"?) to see if our recipes are adaptable for her.

I hope you try something new this week! And I hope it helps you juggle what you've got going on!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, March 12

The Last of the Projects

When Z came out, he picked up our trailer and took it to the Forever Home to load up a few last things. (There were a lot of things ...) It was a good thing he was here, because we discovered the water line had broken where it crossed the creek! Oy!

Fortunately, we'd turned the water off at the main since we weren't down there to turn faucets on and off when the temps dipped low. (Low for here. I know there's a curve - but when your water line is above grade, it doesn't take much!)

So he got that fixed and reinforced. He'd have done it regardless of who was buying the house, but knowing the family he was fixing it for made a difference in his overall cheerfulness level while he stood in the creek and flushed the line.

Then the kitchen drain backed up, so he stayed a couple of extra days to get that flushed and make certain it was good and clean. (We do use a lot of grease in our cooking ...)

I dismantled the fridge and got it clean. Wiped out the oven. Stood looking around. The ceiling fans are clean. The windows are sparkly. I'll go back sometime before we close and sweep/mop the floors. And that'll be it. The last of the projects. The end of an era.

We stood together in the lower drive, hands on hips, looking at the redbuds peeking purple through the grey of winter wood, the daffodils blooming as if it's not going to freeze one more time around the first week of April (which it totally is, but you can't tell the daffodils anything - they've just gotta bloom), and we were struck by the finality of leaving. It was bittersweet. Deeply bittersweet.

I'm glad we'll have the memories and the friendships to take with us. That's what makes it all bearable.

Be encouraged.

~ Dy

Sunday, March 11

Let's Dance!

So, summer intensive auditions are over. Hallelujah! And *whew*.

Jacob auditioned his little heart out this season. He learned a lot. He was both encouraged and discouraged by the whole process. In the end, though, it's such good experience. There is growth in the striving. (This is something we manage to remember about 70% of the time. Sometimes we just weeny out and complain about it being haaaaarrrrrddd. But we're getting better.) He gave it his best, he learned from each audition. And how he grew. Wow!

At the end of auditions, he was accepted at the Washington Ballet and at Nashville Ballet. So, that was exciting!

And expensive. Gosh. I hadn't budgeted past February yet, so those conversations with Z were fun. (He's so patient with me. But it's funny how his boundless optimism craps out right when I dig deep enough to find mine. LOL. We're a good team, as we don't both give up at the same time.) Also, I need to be budgeting now for next year. It's like merchandising and fashion - gotta be planning for next year's line now. And here I was, all excited to be a month ahead on the car insurance. Ah, well. We'll get there.

Anyway, I'm still mentally trying to figure out how to make both DC and Nashville happen (because I want to be Dance Santa! And Santa Mom! And make all the good things happen!), but Jacob decided that it would probably be better to attend just one, and to attend for the longest session he can, rather than to do two much shorter sessions in different places. He figured that would be a way to really push himself, get the most out of the program, work more closely with the instructors, and come out the other end a significantly better dancer than he went in. For a 14 year-old boy, that's pretty insightful. It gives me hope.

So, this Summer, Jacob will be spending five weeks in Nashville, studying under some fabulous teachers, stretching his little ligaments and pushing his work ethic to its limit, and he couldn't be happier! (Well, he could, but we'd have to win the lottery, and we don't play the lottery, so this is about the upper edge of happy for this summer. It's still a pretty high happy!)

In the meantime, they're working on Cinderella, getting ready for Panoply in the Park, and looking forward to Spring break! I get tired just putting his schedule in my planner. It's a good thing he loves it.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Saturday, March 10

That's one way to get through Lent...

I blinked. And now it's March. But SO much has been happening!

Also, not remotely related, but sort of indicative of my response to things lately, I sat down to write and my foot hit something under the table. I poked it, and it rolled around. "Oh, there's a ball under the table." Then I realized it didn't feel like any ball we have. What was that? Of course, I tried to figure it out with my foot instead of just looking. Couldn't figure it out. It rolled, but not like a normal ball. It was hard, too, not squishy. Finally, I looked. It was an avocado. I have an avocado under my table. Why? How does this even happen? Well, whatever. The upside is that I now have an avocado!

Anyway, life is beginning to resolve a bit. I can see one of the finish lines of the marathon through my unfocused eyes and flailing arms. The cheering from the support crew, though, is fabulous! There is no way I could have kept my sanity if it weren't for the grace of God in giving us such a team.

Z came out for a visit. He brought the car Aunt B had given to us, and we sold the Volvo (we all sang joyously, except Z, who mourned a bit and then took a photo of the Volvo and The Guy Who Bought It - he's glad it's going to a good home). James now has safe, reliable transportation, and he is very thankful. I am very thankful. John, who usually has to help mechanic, is very thankful. There's just general joy and celebration all around.

The C Family has a contract on their house! That means we have a contract on OUR house! The Forever Home is going to go to a beautiful family that will love it. It will have children who will wander in the woods, play in the creek, have campfires in the upper meadow. Also, the lady of the family is a much better home decorator than I am, so the Forever Home will likely be lovelier than it's ever been!

The boys are surviving school. I guess the chemistry class is brutal. And the keeping track of things. And remembering to eat. It's hard to watch the young struggle with finding their groove. I don't remember it being as hard as it looks, but thinking back on some of my mother's comments, I'm guessing it was probably worse for her. At least my kids have sense and direction. My poor mother.

So, yeah, halfway through Lent. It hasn't been a somber Lenten season for us, but it has been a mindful one.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy