It’s getting to be another crazy time of year, but honestly is ever not crazy? We just got back from our mini vacation out in the North Dakotan badlands. We have spent the past few Veterans Days unplugged out it nature and it has been a trip we both look forward too each year. This year we decided to go someplace farther away since we had adopted Anna out (yay! more on that later) and don’t have any other obligations right now. We usually find state parks in Minnesota to go to since we haven’t completed visiting them all yet. However this year I just want to see what would pop up in a North Dakota search and that’s when I remembered about Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I have always wanted to go but summer tourist season was always too pricey to justify. The winter off season however is completely affordable and while there is significantly less to do, there is still plenty to see. We only go to experience about a third of the Southern unit but that still kept us busy for two days. We hiked some of the trails available and got rewarded with some awesome nature moments like spying a herd of bison on the mountain next to use and we were able to take a break and sit and watch them. The pictures don’t show just how close we were, we could here their snorting sounds as they chomped on the grass. We also hiked up to the highest point near Wind Canyon which was my favorite. I love being up high and seeing in every direction…that’s not always Mitch’s favorite part especially if he thinks I’m too close to the edge it makes him, well edgy haha. The rest of the time we drove around the park stopping to take pictures and look at all the animals when we wanted to. My favorite was seeing the wild horses however M was the camera man for that excursion and they didn’t turn out! Back at the hotel we got lucky with a free upgrade to a king suite and a Jacuzzi tub. The first night we took some time for ourselves. M watched cable tv on the couch with Jackson sipping on some beer playing on his phone while I was in the bedroom taking a tuby by the fireplace, reading, and having a drink as well. I had pre-made all of our food for the weekend plus I bought a bunch of snacks so we had more than enough food. We had a bunch of M’s favorite since it was him that we were celebrating and all. I made his favorite soup, potato salad, a vegan queso dip, and bought Daiya Cheesecake (which was amazing). It was a wonderful weekend and we were both sad to get up and leave early Sunday morning.
On Sunday we also picked up our newest foster animals. They are actually the cats my mom is adopting but since she can’t come get them until next weekend they let us bring them home for the week. Speaking of adoption, Anna is now adopted into her forever home. I am so sad to see her go but also it’s nice to lighten my responsibility load especially as we near the holidays. Jackson has also been missing his playmate a lot too. I am thinking mid December we will take another dog home. The two new cats are sweet as heck and playful but Snickers and Wink haven’t been all that thrilled about it. No fights have happened and we’ve been doing the slow introductions that are recommended by the cat experts but, I don’t think they’ll be playing all together anytime soon.
For the past two weeks we’ve been taking care of our newest foster puppy. She is a pit bull/terrier/lab mix who is about 8 months old. She has been a handful at times as she is still full of puppy energy. We are working on teaching her basic obedience, proper leash walking technique, and building her confidence. She has brought us both stress and joy. She has definitely helped me keep my exercise goals. We have traveled many miles already.
I’m glad that she doesn’t let me have my excuses. Cold, warm, windy, or tired we still get outside for that walk. I’ve enjoyed all the lovely walks. We’ve gone hiking in the hills, on the shore of a lake, around the city parks in town, and in the local neighborhood.
With that kick in the pants to get out and move comes a natural balance with food, more cooking less going out. I’ve also made a habit tracker to eat as much as the pcos and fertility friendly foods as I can.
For more information on adopting Anna go to www.marshmallowfoundation.org and if you don’t live in this area be sure to check out your local animal shelter!
I had mentioned in another post not long ago how fall is an exciting time in my life but October is a hard month for many others. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I have quite a few family members and friends that sadly know all too well what this means. For them October can be a somber month. For those of us lucky enough to have not experienced this pain we need to be aware of how sensitive this issue is and how important it is to remember all those angels lost. I was recently tagged in a Facebook comment on a meme that was meant to be funny but really missed the mark and was really insensitive. It really bothered me that I was tagged in it but as I had come to find out you cannot remove yourself from a tagged comment.
Some people will also comment to those that have lost a child, “well at least you still have your other child”. But children are not replaceable. You can have love for more than one person and child in your heart but just because you still have one or more other children doesn’t mean that the one(s) you lost don’t matter. Just because you may not have had a chance to hold your child in your arms doesn’t mean that it wasn’t your child. A mother’s love (and a father’s too) doesn’t require a certain number of birthdays. It is deep and pure and nothing compares to it. So please don’t minimalize someone’s loss “because they weren’t born”. Be aware that many of the people you know even if they haven’t talked to you personally about it have suffered these losses. Be mindful of what you say and what you post….other’s are seeing it and are affected by it.
So if you have time say an extra prayer for those that walk this path; it’s not an easy one.
We’ve had a lot of questions lately about what we can and cannot eat. We actually bounce back and forth between two “diets” which is why I think it is confusing for others. We are supposed to be on a whole food plant based diet which means no animal products, no oil, and no overly processed foods. It is a starch based diet not just “carbs”. Starches are things like brown rice, potatoes, squash, corn, peas, and whole wheat pastas. Carbs can be anything from white pasta, white bread, to cakes and cookies. The McDougall starch diet is also low in fat and has zero oil. The only fats allowed are ones that occur naturally like in nuts, nut butters, avocados, etc. Oil added to anything even marinara sauce, vegetable stock, almond milks, and most store bought hummus are not allowed.
A comment was made recently to us about cheating. “You’ve worked so hard have a burger as a treat just this once.” Well for one thing we go away from the house for special events a large portion of the month. Yes I haven’t seen this particular family member or friend in a long time but you all come and go in our lives often enough that just this once would end up being all the time. Secondly we do cheat! I’m not advocating for it as I know our progress would be much better if we were stricter but that’s the truth. We just don’t cheat all the way. When we cheat our goal is to keep it vegan and the only stipulation to being vegan is no animal products and as we have found these foods to be the biggest issues we’ve had with our bodies that is why we don’t cheat all the way.
Below are a mix of Dr. McDougall compliant whole food plant based meals and our cheating meals the meals we eat when we are with friends and family or out to eat at a restaurant.
In conclusion don’t feel bad for us if we don’t eat the hot dogs and pizza . We are already having a delicious naughty alternative like potato chips or French fries and that is plenty of cheating already.
The crickets have stopped chirping and the sounds of crunchy leaves falling have filled the air. The mornings are crisp and cool. And the afternoons are golden and warm.
I love living in a climate with all four seasons. Yes, I do wish that winter wasn’t the longest of them but I don’t think I’d want to live in a warm climate all year long. Fall for me, always reminds me of falling in love. M and I wrote friendship letters while he was away at basic training camp in Georgian the fall of 2007 but if you look back and reread those letters you can tell that we were crazy about each other. He would call me every single night from a buddy’s phone to tell me about his day and ask about mine. But after AIT when he moved to Korea we drifted apart. We both had very different separate lives happening at literally opposite times of the day. But the next year when he was deployed to Iraq his military job allowed for much more communication opportunities. (He was very lucky in that sense). And what used to be mailed letters became emails everyday. Instant messages through Skype and butterflies in my tummy. We officially called each other boyfriend/girlfriend in October of 2009. The bright colored leaves and frosty mornings remind me of those same fall days walking to the mailbox (in the country it was about a mile long walk) to check for a letter or sending pictures of Gooseberry Falls to him in an email.
Fall always feels full of possibilities and change. I feel excited to make changes. Three years ago that meant planning a December wedding, two years ago that meant moving into our first home, last year it meant adopting a kitten and fostering dogs, and this year I think it means fostering a child and perhaps a baby of our own soon.
Go out in nature and soak up the last few warm days before the snow swirls. Here’s to fall and the sense of change in the air!
What’s the worst thing about death? For me it’s not knowing that that last day we had together was the last. I have a very strong and deep spiritual faith and I do believe that my loved ones are still with me just in a different way. That faith is comforting and free of doubts. However I still look back on our last day and wonder if I showed them or told them just how much they meant to me. I wonder if I should have visited or called more often. It has been a sad week especially with the massive loss people are dealing with in Las Vegas. I admit I don’t even like to hear about it because it is just too much sadness.
On a personal note (and one significantly less traumatic/tragic) my mother had to put her dog down. Archie became suddenly very ill on Sunday and after taking him to the emergency vet they determined there was nothing that could be done for him. Mom didn’t want to delay his pain and went through with it. While he was a 13 year old dog you would have never known it. He still acted and looked like a young pup save for his white face. Just the other week he managed to get up onto a four foot counter, walk around the sink to the other side, and steal cookies from a container which he then proceeded to bury in couch cracks and between guest room sheets. I knew he was old and my mom and I had talked about his end of life plans but we both thought there’d be more time. I had always planned on driving down and being there when the moment came. I didn’t want my mom to have to do it alone and I wanted to be there to say goodbye to this dog I’ve loved so much. But the swiftness of it all robbed me of that choice.
There is a different kind of sadness that comes with the death of a pet versus human. And I think that is because they love so purely and innocently. We are heartbroken over his loss and I wish I could have one last day playing with him and teasing him. My memories and pictures will have to be enough for now.
May all those suffering through heartache find solace in their memories.
I have been spending the time since Mike and Ashley left at home sicker than the dog (which is a literal phrase in this case). After I dropped them off at the airport I came home to a nasty surprise. Jackson had diarrhea in the house, something he has never done before. He has never had any accidents in the house except for barfing up some grass occasionally. (If you don’t have a dog I bet you want one now haha!) Anyway this was really some nasty stuff and I was gagging the whole time. It was terrible. I cleaned as much as I could on my own but I knew we would have to rent a carpet cleaner from the hardware store. The point is I’ve also spent my time being very sick. I’m plump full of mucus which gave me horrible sinus pressure and an inability to breath through my nose. Luckily today my throat is no longer sore but I am ready to be done with this bout of sickness. On the positive side this is the only time I’ve been sick since going plant based and that is a real win for me as I have always been a person who gets chronically sick all year.
I woke up today feeling ready to take on the world. The sun is shining and it is a gorgeous fall day here in Fargo. I feel like I have some control over my body thanks to OvuSense. My chart yesterday gave me hope that maybe I had ovulated. It still hasn’t confirmed it yet but I feel so good about the way my chart looks already. I even decided to take an OPK just to see what it would say. I know that with PCOS I can get false positives but in the past two years I haven’t had one positive result so I wasn’t too worried about that. I know that for the OPK to be positive the testing line has to be the same darkness or darker than the control line. I took one and while it wasn’t as dark as the control line…there was still a line! Which would make sense if according to my chart I had ovulated a day or two prior. I was as excited as if I had just gotten a positive pregnancy test. I feel in control of my body, a feeling I don’t feel very often. Between my chart and the sort of postive OPK and reading all the other positive posts in the OvuSense Facebook group I’m just feeling so excited.
I was also very pleased with how pictures turned out from Mike and Ashley’s trip. I thought I looked good…like I can actually tell now that my body isn’t as bloated as it used to be. I ate a lot of yummy vegan foods but I am so ready to be done being sick so I can go back to a whole food plant based diet with no oil and I’m also feeling ready to exercise. I feel energized and ready to take on the world. This feeling of power over my PCOS is incredible. The weight gain, the facial hair, the dark patches of skin, the long hellish cylces…I’ve started to get good control over all of those symptoms. I feel inspired and that a spark has been lit inside me. I’m hoping this feeling lasts!