Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Winter Blahs Guide to Survival.

The winter blahs.
Or the winter blues, as you may call it, but I don't often feel blue, I feel blah. I'm not convinced colors have feelings.  Does one ever "feel" purple, or maybe burgundy?  Haha, anyway...  So many of my friends are telling me that they are piled under feet of snow.  And, just about the time it melts, or gets shoveled to a manageable level, more snow.  We haven't had any snow here in my corner of Arizona, but we have had TONS of rain.  The only thing worse than winter snow, is winter rain.  Cold, wet, gray outside.  Well, if you read my blogs (of course you do right!) then you know how I feel about rain.  No sir, I don't like it!  It makes me feel like I am trapped inside a cloud myself, and not a nice, white, puffy one.
Too make matters blah-er, it has been so cold!  Now I know what you are going to say "It's Arizona, how cold can it be?"  Well, first of all, most people don't know that the year-round warmth that Arizona is so famous for, is reserved for those who live in the Phoenix area, and south.  If you live north, or east of  "the valley of the sun," you will not have a 70 degree winter.  That being said, mid 30's is about as cold as it gets at my house, but cold is relative.  The reason people can survive in nothern Canada is, that -40, while indeed cold, is the norm for them.  They're used to it. But they would die in the 115 degree heat that we love, we're used to it.  It' been cold here, and wet, and gray, and I feel blah.

I suspect that you too have felt less than stellar these last few months, low energy, low motivation, feeling well, low.   So, today I offer a few winter weather, snow trapped, gray skies, froze from your nosies to your toes-ies survival tips. 

1.  Our bodies need vitamin D to survive.  It improves our mood, our energy level, our heart function, and it helps us absorb calcium into our bones.  Vitamin D comes from two places- the food we eat, and from a chemical process in our bodies when we are out in the sun.  So, get out in the sun! I know, I know, it's C.O.L.D.  Here is what I suggest:  Bundle up in some warm clothes, go outside and scrape off a chair, (or a swing weeeeeee!).  Take a hot cup of coffee, or tea, and sit with your face in the sun.  Do this for about 20 minutes on each day that the sun comes out, and you will see a great improvement to your mood, guaranteed!  If you have kids, 20 minutes of peace and quiet with a hot cup of joe may be just what you need.  This is also a good time to catch up on some much needed time with God.  Sounds good eh?

2.  Get some exercise.  If your streets are paved, go out and take a 20 minute walk.  You don't have to hoof it, just take a walk at your normal mall-walking pace.  (Doing this could knock out point #1 also!)  If going outside just isn't an option, strap on your ipod to some jammin tunes and just dance around the house a bit.  Your kids might enjoy this too!  Crank up their favorite tunes and get silly! 

3.  Have a cup of coffee.  Caffeine can give your mood a boost, but don't over do it, you don't want the shakes!  Also, beware, this boost is temporary.  Try a new coffee creamer!

4.  Try an herbal remedy.  Have you ever heard of St. John's Wort?  It's an herb that helps "support a positive mood" as it says on the label.  St. John's Wort doesn't work for everyone, but I have taken this herb every day for years instead of an antidepressant.  This herb won't make you giddy.  What it will do is take away that shoulders sunk, *sigh*, kind of feeling, and it never makes me jittery.  I highly recommend it.  $4.00 in the vitamin isle at Walmart.  (*A note of warning.  St. John's Wort may reduce the effectiveness of Birth Control pills, or other types of hormonally based birth control.  you're welcome.)

5.  Make a lunch date with a friend.  Many of us really need a break from the hum drum of the day-today.  Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom like me, or you're locked up in an office all day, you could probably benefit from a great lunch, and some time to connect with a friend.  Why don't we do this more often?  Well, it takes effort.  Effort to find a babysitter, to take an extra half hour from work, effort to set a time and place with an equally busy buddy.  Make the effort.  It will exercise a social  part of your brain that may have been sitting dormant while we have been stuck indoors.  No man is an island, we need each other!

6. Finally, as the song goes "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!"  I won't go into detail, you know what I mean.  Philippians 4:8 says-"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Let's do it together shall we?
I'll start.  Here are a few of my favorite things!
1.  When a new magazine comes in the mail.
2.  My favorite coffee cup.  It' pink with lady bugs, and really holds 2 cups!!  Haha, I know, girly.
3.  Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry Herbal tea. Yum!
4.  Reading a Francine Rivers novel.
5.  Going to Target.
6.  The dollar spot at Target!!!
7.  A colorful new pair of socks.
8.  Kung Fu Panda, in HD.
9.  Pretty new jewelry, even if it's super cheap!!
10.  Fresh flowers, I don't buy them, I just look through them at Walmart.   Sometimes I buy a potted flower and plant it outside.
11.  Iced Mochas
12.  XM radio, The Message, 90's on 9, and Flight 26.
13., to focus on things that are lovely.
14. The Chaos Diaries, when you need a good laugh!
15.  Hearing from you.  Please comment and share any winter blahs survival tips you have, and some of your favorite things!!!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sick kids

The kids coughed all night last night.  Karis coughed until she puked.  Karis' coughing was like an trying to sleep through an alarm clock going off every nine minutes.  We heard it, and had to listen to hear if she threw up, if she didn't we'd go back to sleep for a while untill she coughed again.  If she did puke, well you know... 
Keaton coughed probably just as much, but since his room is a little further away, it didn't keep us awake.  He was really not feeling well.  His voice was getting more horse, he was cuddly all day and didn't want to play much.  Karis seemed ok other than the cough at night.
We took the kids to the doctor today.  We aren't ones to immediatley rush off to the doctor, but Keaton seemed to be getting worse, not better, so off we went.  Everything went well there, no shots, or stuff shoved up their noses (like in October when they both had H1N1).   As it turns out, Keaton has an ear infection.  He was sent home with antibiotics and cough medicine.  Karis, who we didn't think was that sick, has fluid in her lungs, and was sent home with steroids and albuterol for breathing treatments. (Lucky will still have the machine from last March when she was hospitalized for pnuemonia.)  The doctor said we caught this one early, this could have easily turned into another hospital stay with pneomonia for her.  Thank you Lord that that didn't happen, You are faithful and good to us!  We are supposed to take her to the ER if she develops a fever.  But, I really think she's going to be fine! 
I hear from a lot of you that your kids are sick too.  If you are up at 3:00am, leave me a comment and let me know how you all are doing (probably not so good, if that's the case).

Here's hoping for a less coughing, no puking, more resting kind of night for us all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rain and Pain, Inspiration for a Wednesday.....

Well, as you can see, the rain has returned.   This is a picture taken of my back patio this morning (I use the term "patio" loosely, it's more of a concrete slab).  As I was browsing facebook statuses this morning, the rain was a hot (but a really cold) topic.  "Loving the rain",  "Isn't the rain beautiful?", "Thank God for this rain!"......Hmmmm, I'm not feeling it.  I know, I know, we live in the desert, and the rain is good for us, we will be glad later, blah, blah, blah, blah blah.   Thankfully, Keaton didn't have school today, so we can "enjoy" the rain from inside our semi-warm house (it's almost impossible to keep the house warm when the sun's not out).  But, fear not, I'm ok.  I have a cup of coffee, and the kids and I are snuggling up in front of the TV with a movie, soaking in our time together and a day off.  Plus, since Keaton didn't have school, I got to sleep in.  He even crawled in bed with me to cuddle once Tim got up.  I LOVE that!  It's been a great day so far, despite the rain, I'm in a good mood.
The rain, however, is NOT the topic of my ramblings today.  You see, I'm back on my diet/fitness plan, and I know I am going to have to get off this comfy couch and get a work out in.  I usually go to ladies aerobics on Mondays and Thursdays, and the other days I use my treadmill.  I do all of this during the two hours that Keaton is in school each morning.  Otherwise, he interrupts me too much.  (Mom's you know!)  But Keaton's home today.  I'm not sure how this work out is going to, well, work out.
Are you guys watching "The Biggest Loser" this season?  I never miss it.  One of the things I am hearing this year more than ever is the idea, "get out of your comfort zone", "be uncomfortable," "if it don't hurt, it don't work."  I am reminded of my favorite childhood movie, "The Neverending Story."  This movie is really a story within a story, about a boy warrior named Atreyu.  Along his journey he meets many interesting characters, suffers hardships, and learns lessons on his quest to find the Southern Oracle, where he intends to uncover the dying Empress's new name, which will save her life and, in turn, save the world of Fantasia.  This movie produced a number of one-liners that my family has repeated for decades now.  "Your books are safe", "They look like big, strong hands", "We don't even care, whether or not we care."  Just thinking about these quotes makes me think of my dad and smile!   Toward the end of the movie, Atreyu reaches the gates of the Southern Oracle, where he meets it's gate keepers, Enywood, and Urgle.
Aren't they cute!
Engywood, finally having an audience for his musings, begins to fill Atreyu's head with all that he knows about the Southern Oracle, being the self proclaimed expert on the topic.  And Urgle, being the mothering type, sees that Atreyu is quite beat up from his travels and sets out to mend his wounds.  She applies some home brew of a remedy to his cuts, and as he winces in pain, she says one of my favorite one-liners, and perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom this movie has to offer.  "It has to hurt if it's to heal."               How true.   
I think Bob and Jillian would agree.  If Jillian were in my living room while I was half-heartedly dragging along on my treadmill, she would tell me, "turn that thing up, get uncomfortable, it has to hurt if it's to heal."

We don't like it, we don't want to admit it, but if we stay in our happy warm little cubby, nothing much in our life changes.  We have to really stretch ourselves to an uncomfortable place in order for real change to occur.  If you want to loose weight, you're going to have to work out until it hurts, and you're going to have to be hungry.  If you want to get out of debt, you're going to have to sacrifice things you REALLY want, and think you need, in order to put that money towards progress.  If you want to save your marriage, your going to have to suck it up, swallow your pride, and not say that oh-so-clever comment that will inevitably hurt your spouse, only to feed your ego.  If you want to get closer to God, you are going to have to drag your butt out of bed on Sundays (even if it is your only day to sleep in) and get to church.  You're going to have to sacrifice some TV time, to read your bible, and pray.  You may even have to give up some couch time on a weeknight to be a part of ministry.  Not that TV and couches are bad, it's just a choice between good, and better.  We have to stretch ourselves and give up something we kind of want now, for something we really want later.  It has to hurt, if it's to heal.  I'm saying this to myself, as much as I am sharing it with you.  It's time for me to make some sacrifices to get what I really want out of life (I think it's ok to groan). How about you?

So tell me internet land, what are you working toward?  What are you going to have to sacrifice to see results?  I would love to hear from you....  I'm going to finish watching Charlie Brown, and work out a way to work out.  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunshine, inspiration for a Monday

Today has been a good day, and it's only half over.
If you live anywhere near me, you've noticed the all-of-the-sudden Seattle-ness of Arizona.  RAIN, and CLOUDS, and COLD, yuck.  What's funny to me is that native Arizonans love the rain, it's a novelty.  They relish the cool cloudy skies and the free irrigation that give us a break from the burning sun. I'm not a native Arizonan, I'm a midwesterner.  Growing up in central Illinois, I've seen enough rain for a life time.  No more for me, thanks!  But in the Southwest, rain is a rare commodity that  people treasure, usually.   This amount of rain, though, well, pretty much everyone is sick of it.  And I think that most rain enthusiasts would tell you that what they love is summer rain, that cools the air and  replenishes the soil, not this cold, soggy, freeze-you-to-your-core January rain.  But today, this beautiful Monday, the sun has returned to us.  Filling our hearts with it's warmth and light, and thawing our frozen noses and toes-es.  I love sunshine, which is why I love the Southwest. 
My day started in the best way.  To preface I'll tell you that yesterday, after church, we all sacked out for a long winter's nap, which of course led to my husband and me (yes that is correct grammar!) staying up way too late.  When I groaned that I really wasn't looking forward to getting up and taking Keaton to school (another after effect of the current Seattle-like weather), my husband said he would do it.  YAY!  So, like I said, my day started in the best way, by sleeping in.  When I finally did roll out of bed. I made my way to our ladies aerobics class at our church.  I'll tell ya, there is no better way to get some exercise than with a few friends.
Now here I am.  The kids are napping, the house is quiet, and the sun is peering through the windows.  I'm in a good mood.  So, I think I'll take advantage of this upbeat spirit and tackle a few projects around the house, with the blinds way open, of course.