A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

TMI Tuesday, Giving Tuesday & World AIDS Day all at once!

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is TMI Tuesday, which from the posts so far, seems to have a chafing theme. It is amazing the number of places you can chafe! I had no idea until I started running, truly. As a chubby girl, I was of course aware of chafing between my thighs and actually never wore skirts without some kind of tights underneath before I lost weight because the chafing would be too bad otherwise. Thus, I was good about using BodyGlide on my thighs when I started running but I am continually amazed at the other places I’ve found burning in pain when I hop into the shower post-run!

Places I’ve chafed that I wasn’t ready for:
  • ย Under my stupid Coast to Coast challenge arm band at this year’s Wine & Dine race: If it’s super humid, be sure to BodyGlide anything that might move on your wrist like an arm band, Magic Band, Garmin, etc.
  • Between my breasts and my chest wall: Squooshing from a bad sports bra fit left me raw in a couple of weird places! I knew I could chafe at my shoulders from the sports bra and at the band, but if I’m not careful about positioning, I can get skin to skin contact that causes problems in other sensitive areas. Ouch!
  • Toes: In the summer, I get chafing between my toes if I’m not careful, so I’m diligent about BodyGlide there as well.
  • Between butt cheeks: Wow was that an unpleasant surprise the first time! This only happens to me in the worst of summer, and rarely now that I have better wicking fabrics, but was a real problem when I first started running.
  • Under my butt cheeks: This is uniquely a winter problem for me, caused by my inability to pull my winter running tights all the way back up after a mid-run bathroom break. If I don’t get them all the way up (hard when my legs are cold and clammy!), I get skin to skin squish thanks to my saggy butt skin and it is NOT pretty.

More than you wanted to know about me? Probably but aren’t we all closer now? Where’s the weirdest place you’ve chafed?

A couple of other things going on in the world today that I wanted to shout out. Today is the World Health Organization’s World AIDS Day, with a theme this year of “The Time to Act is Now.” We have the technology and medicine now to have a huge impact on HIV in this generation. We have made huge strides and actually have the potential to contain and even eliminate the spread of HIV. We need to continue to raise awareness of the importance of testing and providing resources for treatment to those that need it. Check this out for more information about how you can raise awareness and what you can do to help.
World AIDS Day. December 1.

Today is also Giving Tuesday.ย  I love the description of the day on the Giving Tuesday site because it really says it all:

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Itโ€™s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.”

2015-gift-never-waster-graphic-300x300

Today, Oliver and I will be giving back by sponsoring my sister’s classroom in a fundraiser for playground equipment and by buying a family dinner tonight at Village Inn. We’re also wrapping gifts together tonight for the family we’ve adopted through his school for Christmas. He and I have already talked this morning about how important it for those of us who have a lot to share with those who haven’t been so fortunate. If I raise a child who understands that we have a responsibility to help our fellow man, I will have truly done well.

Thanks as always to Patty, Marcia and Erika for hosting the Tuesdays on the Run link up!

ToTR logo

 

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Reminding myself of the important things about some bad choices . . .

Remember how we talked about the struggles of Thanksgiving week beyond just the one day? I fell into a bit of that trap yesterday and had two cookies I didn’t need, as well pancakes and three pieces of pizza I didn’t need. Catastrophic? Of course not, but I feel Blech this morning anyway. So that I don’t let that feeling carry me into poor choices today and on into tomorrow, letting this bad momentum build, I’m going to remind myself this morning of my Make the next best choice mantra and focus on what’s coming today rather than what happened yesterday. I’m also going to remind myself this morning of all of my good, important things rather than dwelling on the negative:

  • This time last year, I was still recovering from being hospitalized for that weird lymph node thing. Now I know that was part of this whole lupus process and while having lupus sucks, I’m so grateful that my medication is working and I don’t have any complications of the disease so far. I’m happily sitting at the annoying end of the chronic disease spectrum and all in all, that makes me very lucky.
  • I have fantastic support from my husband, my son, you guys and my awesome Lovely Ladies Losing It crew to keep me motivated and healthy every day. I can’t tell you enough how much that means to me. You guys are all like having this invisible cheering squad in my head every day and you rock.
  • I get to be part of the most fantastic little family on the planet. Being Darrell’s wife (counting the hours until he gets here tonight!) and Oliver’s mother is such a privilege and I hope I never take that for granted.
Last night, I was out in the dark with a flashlight because he'd lost one of these little cars. Love him anyway :)

Last night, I was out in the dark with a flashlight because he’d lost one of these little cars. Love him anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have coffee.
Also, I have fabulously comfy pajamas and the ability to cross my legs. And a kid who is sleeping in :)

Also, I have fabulously comfy pajamas and the ability to cross my legs. And a kid who is sleeping in ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have running shoes, so when the extended family time (and the politics – oy the politics) gets to be too much, I can escape.
  • The world is an increasingly scary place, but I have a degree of safety and security so many people don’t have and have never had. I hope I never lose sight of the privilege that is my life. I’ve done nothing to earn it, I know, but I’m grateful for that blessing.

Today, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the holiday preparations or last day of work chaos or travel or the misery of having to work when everyone else is getting ready for a little break, I hope you can find something good to reflect on and I hope that you know that you’re part of the good in my life.

Thanks to you all!

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An update after the rheumatologist . . .

Thanks to all of your for your kind words and thoughts yesterday. Things went fairly well at the rheumatologist’s office. I got to laugh at myself answering the question “Have you fallen in the last year?” on the intake form – Of course! But that has everything to do with me being a klutz and not the arthritis. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thankfully, they didn't make me wear a gown.

Thankfully, they didn’t make me wear a gown.

I also got to laugh myself when I got rescued by the nurses before I accidentally walked into the wrong room returning from a restroom break. I didn’t faint when I saw the number on the scale (although that scale stinks – there’s no way that number was right). All good things.

Most importantly, I got some information. They think I’m on the lupus spectrum (and spent a while talking about how we don’t really have a good test for lupus so it is hard to ever say anything more definitive than that unless you have biopsy proven kidney disease – gotta love academic types! Totally speaking my language!) but I’m on the milder end. As he put it, this will be annoying but I’ll probably die from something else. Good, right?

I got major kudos from the fellow (a doctor training to be a rheumatologist) for being a very good historian and she laughed a little as she asked me what other symptoms I’d blamed on the stress of my job and being a mom. It turns out, a lot of little things that have been going on this year like fatigue, hair loss and mouth sores are actually lupus symptoms, not just getting old and stressed. My husband was especially excited because my super cold hands are likely part of this too. They seriously radiate cold lately – we just assumed it was the weight loss.

The part I found most intriguing is that they think my lymph node back in November that got me admitted was actually the first big flare of this, a rare phenomena called Kikuchi syndrome. Gotta love being rare and special right? That episode has always bothered me because it was so odd. I’m sort of relieved to know that there’s an explanation for it.

So what are we doing about all of this? First and most importantly, I feel a lot of relief just KNOWING. Knowing I’m not nuts and knowing that there’s a name for what has been going on. That means we can treat it and who knows how I’m going to feel once we start that? I’ve assumed that being tired and achy was just getting old. I’m only 37 – that’s not old, it turns out. Maybe I’ll get to feel a little younger again. That would be lovely. At this point, I’d settle for the arthritis settling down. Everything else I can handle.

They’ve put me on medication, which I will likely take for the rest of my life. That’s okay. It’ll take a couple of months to see if it works or we need to try something else, so this will be a definite test of my patience. In the meantime, I’ll keep taking the arthritis medication I’ve been on. I need to work a lot harder at drinking water while I’m on the arthritis meds as they can have kidney side effects, especially if I get dehydrated running.

I filled my 32 oz water bottle as soon as I got to work and promise to refill it at least twice more today!

I filled my 32 oz water bottle as soon as I got to work and promise to refill it at least twice more today!

I get to keep running! Even more importantly, they WANT me to keep running because it will help. I’ll confess that when I first thought this was rheumatoid arthritis, a HUGE worry was that I wouldn’t be able to run as much if at all because that can be much more joint destructive. I’ll also keep my focus on healthy foods. I need to work on getting more sleep and managing stress better. Looks like the yoga and meditation that are always on the back burner of things I need to work on incorporating in my life need to come to the forefront. Today I read this article on SparkPeople about “8 ways to put yourself on your priority list” that I definitely need to start actively working on.

 

Sunscreen is also going to be key. Not only can I get weird lesions from sun exposure (already have some of those this summer unfortunately), but the sun exposure can trigger my other disease symptoms.

All in all, I’ll be okay. I have a plan and can move forward. I’m fortunate in that some of the most well-respected rheumatologists in the country are here in Omaha at the University. I’m in very good hands. For my whole little family, this has made us pause and both appreciate what we have and re-evaluate how well we’re doing in taking care of what we have. I’m so blessed and have to remember that.

This also means I’m not going to set any time goals for my remaining races this year. I don’t want to stress myself out and beat myself over failing to meet time goals in my races (well, really the Des Moines half marathon – the only race I had a real time goal for in the remainder of this year) when my body is clearly doing other things these days. I still want to stick with my training plan – although in full disclosure I was NOT in the mental space to speed work Tuesday evening because I was stressed about the doctor’s visit and didn’t do my tempo run today because Oliver asked me to stay in to talk with him instead of running in the storm. I think getting through this training plan with its increased mileage is going to be good for my sanity and its own kind of achievement this year, as this is a lot more running than I’ve ever done in a training cycle. However, I’m going to treat my race as a victory lap to celebrate getting through a rough summer and the fact that I’m hopefully feeling better if the meds have kicked in by then.

I apparently make stellar scrambled eggs :) He was right about staying in instead of running - the hail started a few minutes after I took this photo!

I apparently make stellar scrambled eggs ๐Ÿ™‚ He was right about staying in instead of running – the hail started a few minutes after I took this photo!

Thanks to all of you for your support and your kindness! Having this community has been really helpful as I’ve struggled with these symptoms and the binge-temptations brought on by the stress I’ve had this summer. You guys rock!

PS This is all just my experience, not medical advice. Definitely seek out medical care if you having any concerning symptoms of your own!

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Thankful Thursday: A week until Christmas!

I am thankful that I only have four working days left until Christmas for a start. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so worn out from lots of big projects for the last few months, illnesses and general chaos. I’m really looking forward to a few days off and am very thankful I have a job that allows me vacation time at the holidays (this year at least).

What else am I thankful for today?

– I’m thankful that the universe sends you just the gifts you need at just the right time. Monday night, when I got home after a long day that started with Oliver vomiting at 2:30 am and then a day FULL of work, I came home to find my card from my running blogger exchange buddy, Katie (at From Ice Cream to Marathon ) complete with a much appreciated the Starbucks gift card. I’m not sure what I appreciated more – the happy card & note or the promise of caffeine. The exchange was coordinated through the lovely ladies at Fairytales and Fitness – definitely join the holiday card swap next year if you didn’t this year!

Thanks Katie!

Thanks Katie!

– I’m thankful I finally got an email from RunDisney about the Star Wars weekend races. I booked the trip through a travel provider this time and thus haven’t been getting any RunDisney emails until the travel provider released their final roster (I guess?) to RunDisney. I confess I was a little worried that somehow things would fall through until I got the official email and printed my waiver. ๐Ÿ™‚ A month to go! (Don’t worry – a whole spiel about working through a travel provider will be coming).

Yay!

Yay!

– I’m thankful that in the midst of all of the crazy this week, there have been some beautiful moments. We were at Target Tuesday evening restocking on Gatorade and Lysol (as you must after the stomach bug roars through the house). We passed the card section and Oliver insisted that we stop to get a card. He wanted a singing card for Baby Jesus’s birthday. He spent 15 minutes choosing the perfect card, that sang a song and wasn’t scary (because he’s just a baby after all and we don’t want to scare him – this came up when he debated a card that had a dinosaur and race cars on it).

Definitely a moment of sweetness that melted him mama's grouchy heart.

Definitely a moment of sweetness that melted his mama’s grouchy heart.

He was so sweet and so earnest about the whole thing that it undid so many of the bad feelings I was carrying around about how behind I was on things at work and home and for the holidays. I am so thankful for the innocence and goodness of my child.

I think the card he picked ultimately was exactly what I needed too, even if Oliver wasn’t choosing it for me.

The gift of patience is one I really need. :)

The gift of patience is one I really need. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m wishing you all a bit of peace in the midst of the week before Christmas madness! What are you thankful for today?

PS We’re mailing Baby Jesus’s card to my parents, who will be sure to bring it back for me to keep. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Thankful Thursday: A dose of lightness

I am seriously glad I decided to keep this goal, because sitting here thinking about what I’m thankful for in my life is giving me a much needed dose of perspective after the angst and anger of this week. To start with, I am thankful that I have not lost my sense of humor, nor apparently has the universe which gifted me with this when I opened my mailbox yesterday:

Yet again, Let It Go coursing through my mind!

Yet again, Let It Go coursing through my mind!

Given that I’d written that venting post yesterday morning about anger and promised to remind myself as many times as it to took to just “let it go”, I had to laugh when the universe decided to jump on board with that plan and remind me yet again of my goal when I got home.

– I’m thankful for the Sara Lee light oatmeal bread that has shown up in my local grocery store. It has a much richer, toastier flavor than the other breads in the light line and we are really enjoying it!

Of course, the ever present grapes are in the shopping cart below the bread.

Of course, the ever present grapes are in the shopping cart below the bread.

– I’m thankful that my little guy is still small enough to hold in my lap and rock some nights. Last night, he said he “didn’t know how to get to sleep” so we rocked for a while and it was so nice to cuddle his warm little self. Today I had to be at work for a 7 am meeting and have another at 6 pm, so I likely won’t see him at all. I’m grateful for those extra few minutes of bonding time last night.

What are you thankful for today? Do you ever think the universe is sending you messages?ย This is the first time I’ve felt like it was happening through the mail, but it is a reasonable route for a message. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thankful Thursday & Slow Cooker Posole

As a working mom, my slow cooker definitely stays near the top of my gratitude list. Rarely does a week go by without using it and this week, we’ve used it twice so far!

My hardest working kitchen tool. :)

My hardest working kitchen tool. ๐Ÿ™‚

I thought I’d quickly share the first slow cooker recipe I made this week because it’s ridiculously easy and tasty. It’s a posole-inspired pork soup and could not be easier. I just combined all of these ingredients in the slow cooker, with no browning or pre-cooking:

2 cans drained hominy

1 jar salsa verde

1 onion

1 green bell pepper

1 bag frozen corn

1 pork tenderloin (1 – 1.5 lbs), cut into bite size chunks

1 can fire roasted tomatoes with garlic

1 32 oz box unsalted vegetable stock

Cook it all on low for 8 hours.That’s it. If you wanted to get more complicated and boost the flavor a bit, you could brown the onion, bell pepper and pork before tossing them in the slow cooker but I got great flavor without that extra step. The classic topping would be thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, but we weren’t that fancy on a Tuesday night. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

This week, I’m also very thankful that my bill from the first ER visit was a lot cheaper than I was expecting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m also thankful for my Under Armour Cold Gear tights that allowed me to run last night amidst these glorious Christmas lights.

These flash in a fantastic dancing pattern among the trees!

These flash in a fantastic dancing pattern among the trees!

I hope you find many things to be thankful for this week!

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Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

This is of course an especially important day to express thanks for the many blessings in my life. I truly hope that I can carry these things and this awareness of gratitude with me every day, not just today.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I wasn't part of this glorious little family of mine.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t part of this glorious little family of mine.

– Today and every day, I am so grateful that I get to be wife and mother to these two wonderful guys. They challenge me to be my best self in the best ways and make my heart swell with a kind of love that I never imagined. Knowing that Darrell is always, always on my team empowers me to do so much I could have never imagined and knowing that Oliver “loves [me] more than Batman” carries me through the toughest moments. I am not sure there are thanks enough in the world for the gratitude I feel for having been blessed with these two.

– I am grateful for my work, which challenges me intellectually, provides for my family financially and lets me make the world a better a place, which is all anyone can ask for, isn’t it?

– I am grateful for my home, which keeps us safe and warm. So many people, no less deserving than I, don’t have a place to call their own. I hope I never get so comfortable in my life that I forget how fortunate I am in these things.

– I am grateful for this space, that allows me to talk to myself and connect with so many lovely people all at once. Thank you all for your support, your ideas and your virtual friendship!

– I am so grateful for my health, especially after my brush with the hospital this month. I am glad that I finally took steps to improve what parts of my health I can control, in terms of diet and exercise, a little over two years ago. It’s amazing to think how much my life has changed in such a short time, in terms of decreasing my diabetes risk and getting rid of high blood pressure medication.

I'd really like to avoid this patient thing again for a good long while!

I’d really like to avoid this patient thing again for a good long while!

I hope you all are having a day full of peace today. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thankful Thursday #3

I can’t believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving! This month has literally FLOWN by with all that’s happened. Given how fast things are going, I’m especially grateful for this little gratitude goal for the month because it makes me stop and take a much needed pause in the week to look around at the bounty in my life.

This week, I’m grateful:

– That I’m finished with the steroids I was prescribed for my lymph node swelling. I’m also incredibly grateful that I don’t take those medications all the time, like I know many people do. I felt like my eyeballs were vibrating I was so jittery on the steroids. I’m so thankful for my health, that it allows me to avoid the side effects that come with many medications.

image– That I had a lovely dinner date with Oliver this week. Speaking of time flying, he’s growing up so fast and I know I’ll blink and he’ll be in college. I want to absorb every second of these days when going out for a dinner date with your mom is the height of cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sharing edamame at the sushi place

Sharing edamame at the sushi place

– That peppermint mochas made with soy milk are still very yummy. I’d hate to miss out on one of my favorite holiday treats just because of lactose issues!

image– That I’ve got plenty of winter running gear and layers to keep me warm so I can head out in the cold to run. Of course, while I have the gear I don’t always have gumption to force myself out in the cold, but at least the gear is a nice start. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve been working on talking about the things we’re thankful for at dinner, to attempt to model the idea of gratitude for Oliver. It’s a surprisingly difficult concept to explain! He seems to be getting the hang of it, but so far he’s mostly grateful for cookies. It’s a start, right?

I hope you have lots to be thankful for this week!

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Thankful Thursday #2

It’s a definitely a health and hospital themed gratitude list this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m so grateful that I have access to excellent medical care when these once-in-a-blue moon bad luck things come up. They’ve taken such great care of me at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine this week and I’m glad to be on the mend! There are so many people in other parts of the world and even people here in the US without access to this kind of medical care. We are truly blessed.

The rolled towel animal in my hospital room was a bit of a silly touch, I admit.

The rolled towel animal in my hospital room was a bit of a silly touch, I admit.

I’m grateful that I can now swallow again! It was so panic-inducing Monday morning to realize I literally couldn’t swallow even my own saliva without choking thanks to the big mass in my throat! My goal for the shift when I first got admitted was really straightforward:

Swallow: Simple, straightforward goal for the shift. :)

Swallow: Simple, straightforward goal for the shift. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was so fantastic once the steroids kicked in and I was able to swallow by evening. ๐Ÿ™‚ Medicine is beautiful. I can even eat sort of normal food now – I love oatmeal but branching out is nice!

I’m grateful that I’m nearly back to normal and back home to sleep in my own bed. The hospital is definitely not a good place to rest! Thankfully, my mom drove up to help with O until I get back on my feet. We owe her hugely, especially since it’s super-duper cold up here this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ย She gets to hang out with this goofy guy which is probably payment enough for her services.

Fantastic goofy holiday themed glasses at Target!

Fantastic goofy holiday themed glasses at Target!

I’m grateful for my wonderful, light new Windows Surface Pro 3 that has made it easy to keep with some essential work tasks (and internet shopping/browsing) while I was stuckย in the hospital. Technology is beautiful, even if it does take away the excuse of being in the hospital to let work slide a bit. My co-workers have been so great about helping out while I’m out of service, for which I’m so thankful!

I am under strict orders from my husband to take lots of naps and get some rest this week until I’m back on my feet. Hopefully Nana will stay with us at least until Friday morning to help us out with O a bit so I can rest. I have a feeling he won’t be keen on going back to daycare today and leaving me home without him to rest, although he’s taking this whole “Mommy’s sick” thing really well. Hopefully Nana will hang around today to help me entertain him and get some rest too. ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you grateful for this week?

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Thankful Thursday #1

I think I’m going to enjoy this little exercise this month. ๐Ÿ™‚ Knowing that I was going to be writing this postย today ย made me much more cognizant of the many things I’m grateful for throughout the week. To start with, I’m incredibly grateful that I seem to have turned the corner a bit in terms of this particular virus I’ve picked up. The body aches and headaches are better today than they have been for the last few days, even if the sore throat is still raging. Truly, I’m grateful that this particular bug is about as sick as we ever get. We are all blessed with good health for the most part (knock on wood!).

I confess, I like this stuff so much I bought in bulk from Amazon!

I confess, I like this stuff so much I bought in bulk from Amazon!

I’m grateful for my husband, who has taken great care of me while I’ve been sick this week. He has helped a lot with household chores and brings me drinks and yogurt at night. He’s coming down with this bug too, so I’ll try to return the favor and take good care of him now.

imageI’m grateful for my little guy’s school, where they do a great job not only entertaining him and keeping him safe during the day, but also teaching him. He gets so much actual education in preschool and loves telling us all of things he’s learning (like how noses, including the tiger nose above, are for smelling). He’s only 3 and already writing and recognizing his letters and numbers, thanks to their efforts (and an awesome game we have on the iPad). I also love that everyone in his class seems so genuinely excited to see him when he shows up every morning. It’s like when Norm walked into Cheers. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Does that date me too much?) It does a lot for working mommy guilt to know he’s in such good hands.

Last night, I used the Random Number generator to choose a winner for the Southern Living 5 ingredientย meal cookbook giveaway:

image

Comment number 9 was from Sara M. Congrats Sara! Email me at littlemoreeachday@gmail.com with your contact information (full name & mailing address) so we can get a copy of the book to you.

Later this month, I’ll be doing another review and giveaway of another Southern Living cookbook, so stay tuned for that.

image

What are you thankful for today? At this exact moment, I’m grateful that the coffee place in the office I’m working in today offers free refills so I can go load up on vanilla coffee again. Lukewarm coffee is weirdly soothing for my throat today. It’s that germy time of year! Be sure to wash your hands!

 

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