Sunday, June 27, 2010

Me vs. The Dressing Room

Yesterday I witnessed a Darwinian struggle of survival of the fittest between a button struggling for its life and a bosom fighting to burst free.

I needed something decent to wear to Chuck's grandfather's funeral. I'm sort of in between clothes in my closet right now: they're all either too big or too small. Hate that.

Plus I'm not really in to fashion. My greatest fashion concerns are usually concerned with backpacks, hiking shoes, cargo pants and which socks breathe the best. In other words, I'm not a fashion diva.

Anyway, I went to Kohl's and grabbed up a few blouses to try on. I had in mind what I wanted to wear. I made my way to the lair of my nemesis: the dressing room. How many times have I visited this place only to leave on the verge of tears?

I decided to keep my back to the dressing room mirror only to take a peek when I finally had the clothes on to check the fit. The strategy was successful. I didn't have to stare at any bumps lumps or rolls. Win.

Unfortunately I found out that I have trouble finding any button down blouses that fit. How does Dolly Parton find anything to wear?! I did manage to button a few but the struggle between button and bosom was too tragic to witness. I broke up the fight and let them return to their corners.

I came home with a cute pull over blouse, some pumps and some adorable earrings. Oh and some shoes with cute little skulls on them but I handed them over to my daughter when I got home. I can always borrow them. :) OK, I did buy one button down blouse in a size larger. A truce has been called between the two offending parties.

I left with cute clothes and my dignity intact. Then Chuck took me out for sushi and a sake bomb (a shooter of warm sake dropped into a mug of beer and shot back). Good day. Life is good.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Run, Run as Fast as You Can.....

Sadly, Chuck's grandfather passed away on the evening of June 24th at 5:45pm. He was removed from life support and passed peacefully away. He had lived a full life in his 88 years including a happy marriage to his wife of 65 years.

He will definitely be missed. This is the last photo taken of him on Father's Day this year. The next day he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung). He never recovered.

He was really ready to go. Every day he missed his wife. I can't even imagine losing my Chuck. I'm so glad that Grandpa was able to spend all of his days coherent and mobile until the end. No suffering with a long disease. The wake is Sunday (I hate wakes with a purple passion) and the funeral will be Monday.
Friday night we had tickets for members' night at the George Observatory through the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It was fantastic! They had free snacks and drinks for us and we got a behind the scenes tour of their largest telescope. We also got to see the space station pass right over our heads!!! Oh yeah. It was cool.

Later we got to see the moon rise and then we went back tot he large telescope to see the rings of Saturn and two of its moons. It was incredible! I could have stared at it all night. Beautiful.

Then we went to the "smaller" telescope, which is still huge, and got to see the M13 globule of stars. Thousands and thousands of them. It looked like looking at a cotton ball there were so many.

If you ever get a chance to go to an observatory GO! It's amazing.

It's now Saturday morning and I hit the new jogging trail in my neighborhood. Using my Garmin I found out that it's .6 miles which drives me a little nuts because I'd like it to either be a full mile or a clean half mile. Not .6! I guess when I was a child I was touched by the obsessive compulsive angel. :D

It's a sad state of affairs when 7:15am is too hot to go for a run. Really. But I did it. Woohoo! OK, I really took it easy because it was so friggin' hot and my foot still wasn't 100%. The foot didn't give me too much trouble though. I guess that means I'm back to the running schedule now.

Hope you have a great weekend. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Good and the Bad

Don't you just love it when people say, "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" Is there really ever a good time to receive bad news?

I'll give you the good news first. At least it was good for me.

I stuck to my exercise plan yesterday even though I didn't really want to and started thinking of excuses to get out of it. But I did it! That deserves a big high five!

45 minutes of Just Dance on the Wii and about 30 minutes of strength training.

The strength training is a dumbbell routine for a beach body from June issue of Oxygen magazine. I'm a little sore today.

Some Just Dance news: they're coming out with Just Dance 2 on October 12th! I'm pretty excited. There will be more features including a "sweat it out" program for those of us who use it to torch calories. Check out the video here.

I also tried chicken, spinach and feta sausages for the first time. 200 calories for 4 oz isn't too bad and they taste great. Sorry, forgot to take a picture.

Today is Tuesday and I'm supposed to run for 30 minutes. My foot did give me a reminder this morning to be gentle with it. I'm going to give it a try this evening when things cool off. This heat is something else!

Monday was the summer solstice. Happy Solstice! Now we can start counting down to fall, right? I'll tell you how hot it is here: there was a picture on the news of a feeder road (you out-of-towners may know it as a service road) that had buckled up because of the heat. People said they heard noise like thunder and thought we were having an earthquake. Right, in Houston. Anyway, they think it was caused by the intense heat.

Now for some bad news. Chuck's grandfather is in the hospital and not doing well. He was down in our area for Father's Day and was returning home with his daughter to the Austin area and complained that he didn't feel well and was having some trouble breathing. They took him to the ER and it was found that he has a blood clot in his lung. He's 88 years old. I'm not sure of the full story but I do know that he was sedated and that they had to resuscitate him 5 or 6 times. I expected him to die last night but he's a tough old bird and made it.

The bad thing is that he is ready to go. He lost his wife of over 60 years about 4 years ago and has missed her every single day since. He has told Chuck several times that he misses her and he's ready to go. Poor guy. I can't imagine.

It's tough losing someone. Funerals and near-death experiences make us face our own mortality and it's never easy. But they also have a good side in that they make you appreciate the people that you may take for granted. They make you realize how short life is and how it's important to seize every opportunity for happiness. They make you want to do the things that are on the "bucket list" instead of waiting for them to happen. They make you see a sunset in a new light.

As my fortune cookie says that I have on the fridge, "Many pleasurable and memorable adventures are in store for you!"

The other fortune says, "Don't put off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today."

Hug someone you love today and seek adventure.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday and Father's Day

Friday was my sweet hubby's birthday. For breakfast I took him out for to IHOP. Did you know that they have a menu where all of the items are 600 calories or less? I got the 400 calorie Two x Two x Two for me. I chopped up the turkey bacon and mixed it with my eggs and removed the butter from the pancakes. Very good and filling breakfast and low in calories!
Chuck has been battling a stomach virus and still wasn't feeling great so we just took it easy most of the day. We did drive out to a wildlife refuge but it was so hot that we just stayed in the car and enjoyed the drive. No hiking today.

It sucks to be sick on your birthday! Chuck doesn't really like celebrating birthdays anyway.

I was having trouble deciding what to get him for his birthday. Don't laugh but I got him a big water gun and a big styrofoam airplane and a bunch of his favorite candies. He worries about aging sometimes and I wanted to get something to make him feel like a kid. I got the kids and I water guns too so we could have a big water gun fight (which he haven't done yet). Looking back on it, I guess it was a cheesy gift. Oh well. I had good intentions! That counts for something, right?

Saturday my man was feeling better so we did a short geocaching trip to Hudson Woods. We only hiked for close to two miles but the heat sucked all of the energy out of us. We did end up with 5 caches found though!

The heat brings up another topic: exercise. More specifically: running.

I have been fretting over training for this half marathon in November. I'm so worried I won't be ready. My foot has been hurt and the heat kills me every time I even think about running. What am I supposed to do? I guess I could start trying to get up before the sun even rises but I'm just not sure I like running enough to do that. For this night owl to get up that early it better be for something I really love. Running doesn't make it in to that category.

You see, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate it almost every step of the way but I love the way I feel afterwards. Weird, right? So why would someone who really doesn't like the sport want to even train for a half marathon? I think to prove to myself that I can do it. Plus the swag is a big tempter. Yes, I want the medal. I want the right to get a "13.1" sticker for my miniature van.

I think I'm just going to do the best I can with running during the summer (running in the evenings, perhaps?) and see where I am in the fall. I should be able to give myself the permission to say "I'm just not ready" if the time should come and I'm still struggling. It's not the end of the world if I can't do it but I also don't want to let anyway down. Does that make sense?

We'll just see how it goes. I plan to run Tuesday and Thursday this week and see how my foot feels. Then, if things are going well, I'll try a longer run this weekend.

Sunday was Father's Day and Rachel made the cutest cake for Chuck!
The kids and I gave Chuck cards along with gift certificates to an online store and he loved everything. :)

My goal for this week:
Monday: 45 minutes cardio & strength training
Tuesday: 30 minutes running
Wednesday: 45 minutes cardio & strength training
Thursday: 30 minutes running
Friday: 45 minutes cardio
Saturday: off
Sunday: running or off. depends on how my foot feels

There. Now that it's in "print" I have to do it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

I am such a bad blogger. I've been wanting to update but it seems every time I sit down to make a post something happens and I'm busy again. So I'm sorry for that but I'm here now. :)

The weather here has been so hot that I'm afraid I'll melt if I stay outside too long. I haven't felt like getting out in the heat or moving at all. Sad, yes?

Did I also mention that I've been busy? Let me share a few things with you.

The kids had eye exams. It turns out that Charlie needed glasses and was so upset that he cried. But when the glasses finally arrived he was so excited to be able to see. Plus he looks adorable. No more tears.

Saturday morning we went on a field trip with the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the turtle research facility in Galveston.

It was an incredible experience! But there wasn't any AC so it was also like an oven in the barn. The turtles didn't mind but us land critters were sweating like crazy.

Sunday morning I made breakfast (I'll share the recipe in another post) and we went paddling on Armand Bayou. Yes, I knew it was going to be hotter than heck. But we went anyway along with a cooler of water.

Chuck and Charlie were in one boat and Rachel and I were in another. The temp was about 95 but the heat index was over 100. After a few hours on the water I heard Chuck call from help. He had stopped sweating and was dizzy. I asked what was wrong but he wouldn't answer. Charlie tried to ask what was wrong and he still wouldn't respond. He just sat there.
He was suffering from heat exhaustion. Quickly Rachel and I tied our boat to his and pulled him in. We did hit one section where some strong winds hit us head on and we were hardly moving. Towing a boat is not that easy in a canoe!
When we finally reached the launch site, Chuck became extremely nauseated and vomited. Poor guy. I was scared to death. I got the truck and started the AC and got him inside. Rachel and I loaded the boats on top of the truck and quickly went to a store to get some Propel with electrolytes.
Slowly Chuck came out of his state but was tired the rest of the day. I was terrified. When we got home I looked up all of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I had decided if he couldn't keep down fluids we were heading to the hospital. Fortunately everything turned out ok. I haven't been that scared in a long time. I need my Chuck. It did freak the kids out a little too. When the dad is down the kids panic.
We won't be going out in that kind of heat for a while!
Monday Rachel had her first experience volunteering at a vet clinic for her 4H Vet Science program. For 3 hours she got to see surgeries and all kinds of procedures. I'm so proud of her.
That evening we fed baby birds at the wildlife center.
Tuesday we went again to feed the baby birds. OMG, they're so cute!!!!
Here Rachel is holding a dove.
Baby blue jay
Chimney swift. These guys are so strange looking with their flat heads. Still adorable but very difficult to feed.
juvenile yellow crowned night heron

And then Chuck's birthday is this Friday and Father's Day is on Sunday so I've been trying to get ready for that but I can't say too much about it yet because I'm sure Chuck will read this. :D
Anyway, it has been so freakin' busy here that I haven't really had the time or energy for exercise. I also have had more than 1 meal on the road. Fast "food." And now I feel terrible about my lack of weight loss mojo. Last night it actually woke me up! I woke up in the middle of the night feeling bad about not exercising or eating right. Right then I decided to get myself organized and go a different direction.
Today is Thursday. I have my bodybugg on and I've got healthy meals planned. I will exercise today with the goal of burning at least 2500 calories. Gosh, this whole weight loss/fit living/exercising lifestyle is a lifelong battle. It's tough sometimes! But I'll never give up. I have to say that lapband surgery sounds appealing sometimes.
My foot is still hurt, darn it. No running but I can walk and do low impact exercises. I've hurt the same spot more than once. It's a little swollen in that little ball of an area right below the little toe so when I walk it's very easy to step on it and injure it all over again. I did get some inserts to go in my shoes to help cushion it. Hopefully it will heal soon and I'll be right back on track with running.
Sorry I haven't had time to read blogs like usual. I'll get better at organizing my time.
PS: Did I mention that Rachel starts Driver's Ed on Jun 28th and will have her permit soon? EEK!!!! I'll be sure to publish her driving schedule so you can clear the roads.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

For the Birds

Friday morning I decided to treat myself to a hike at Brazos Bend State Park. The family doesn't always share my enthusiasm for walking for miles in the summer heat so I went by myself.

Interpretation: Feeling blue? Walk or bike this way.
The trails were pretty empty. Just the way I like them.
It's the time of year when baby birds are everywhere. I got to see some fuzzy baby moor hens. Check out the "hair" on these guys. They're bald!!
A green heron let me get close while it was fishing. Very cool.
The birds were more active than any time I've ever been here. It was incredible.
Of course I got to see my standard fare of alligators.
A yellow crowned night heron caught a crawfish right in front of me. It must be crawfish season because the trail was littered with crawfish parts. Good day for birds. Bad day for crawfish.
Yellow crowned night heron.

Little Blue Heron.
Why did the moor hen cross the road?
White ibis with sky blue eyes.
Great white egret.
Pair of black bellied whistler ducks.
Doesn't this look like a great place to just sit and reflect or read a good book?
I walked 4.5 miles. Unfortunately I stepped on another rock in the exact same place where I have the stone bruise. I think I shed a tear it hurt so bad.
It was nice to get out and just listen to the sounds of nature and watch the birds. I'm thinking that I may need to do this at least once a week. It's a real mood lifter for me. Somehow the woods and wilds always erase my worries.
After getting home and cleaning up (I sweat so badly under my backpack that it was dripping from my shirt!), it was time to grab some quick lunch and pick up the kids' glasses and contacts. We opted for Freebird burritos. It's so good and I can get a low cal option.
Charlie has his first pair of glasses. He is no longer crying over the fact that he has to wear glasses. On the contrary, he was so excited to be able to see everything clearly. He said, "I didn't know I couldn't see until I got these glasses!" Poor kid.
Time for Rachel and I to feed the baby birds at TWRC. I wish you could see all of these babies. They are so cute. Some have such big personalities. The flickers (members of the woodpecker family) are adorable. They will climb all over you begging for food. So cute and curious.
Sorry I had to take the pics with my cell phone.
The baby birds change from day to day as people bring in new birds and other birds are released. Tonight they had a young cooper's hawk.
The grackle babies are not the cutest but they are so funny. And loud!
Baby doves require special care. They suck the food mixture from their mother's crop so they can't be fed like the other birds. You have to run a tube to their crop and pump the food in there. It's weird. Very pretty and quiet birds but dumb as a stump.
Tonight we had the 5pm-8pm shift and I got to work the incubators with the very tiny babies. It was heavenly. I cuddled each on e of them. This is one of my little guys. He's a baby mockingbird. And a good eater, as you can tell!
I've learned so much by volunteering here. And for 3 hours you don't sit down. It's pretty constant work. There's always something to be done but I love it.
OK. So this is also supposed to be a weight loss/foodie/exercise blog, right? I really haven't been cooking anything fancy or even new. I'm in a rut. But I'm going to try some new recipes out this week and post about them.
As far as weight loss, I'm letting it happen without obsessing on it. I really want to drop this weight but I hate watching over that scale in some sort of psycho weight loss vigil. It'll happen.
Exercise: Most of my exercise comes from walking and spending times outdoors. I want to rev it up with a strength training program I saw in Oxygen magazine. It only requires dumbbells which I like so much better than going to the gym. My gym is 30 minutes away. I probably won't get the same workout as I would at the gym but at least it's something I'd be more willing to do.
Running: I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate running but I love the way I feel after I do. But this Texas heat is killing me. Well, that and my bruised foot. But I'm not giving up. I must train for my half marathon in November.
I'm having optimistic thoughts that I will be able to run Sunday afternoon but my foot is killing me. I'm limping around and that's no fun. We'll just have to wait and see. I may be hobbling around on the track. :D
Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Faux Pas

Faux pas literally means "false step" in French. Did you know I took French for 3 years and translated an abridged version of Les Miserables from French to English then went to see the play? Oui! True story. French is such a lovely language.

Yesterday I took a false step. A faux pas, but not a social indiscretion. No, I stepped on a rock and got one of those invisible stone bruises on my foot that hurt like hell but leave no mark.

Are the running gods angry with me or something? Who are the running gods anyway? Nike? Whomever they may be, they cursed me with a gimp foot. I figure, "OK. Running may not be the best thing since it hurts but maybe I can go for a walk." Ouch! Crap!! Darn! Hell fire! Tarnation! Not fair.

There are so many sayings about the best laid plans and Murphy's Law, etc. Needless to say, I did not run last night and things aren't looking bright for today. But the weekend is just starting and I remain hopeful that if I don't do something stupid I will be able to run Sunday morning. A good 5.5 miler.

In other news, I watched Julie & Julia with Chuck last night. Does that show give you the urge to cook something really yummy or what? I think I'm going to make a really good dinner or two. Something beyond soups and casseroles. Haven't decided what just yet but the movie did inspire my inner chef.

But tonight I am going back to the wildlife center to feed baby birds for 3 hours. I am hoping that my foot will not complain too much. Oh, and I'll try to get some pictures of the babies for you to see. They're so cute!!

And if you go out running or walking today can you do a mile for me? I need the calorie burn. :) Thanks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm not Sick But I'm not Well

"I'm not sick but I'm not well."
Lyrics from a twisted little song by Lit. I think that pretty sums me up at the moment.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a weird chick who is more moody than a teenage girl. I'm just going through something right now that I don't quite understand. Blogging is a good way for me to work through things and express what I may have trouble saying.

For a few weeks I have been a little down. Sometimes it's more than a little down. Sometimes I am a lot down. Depressed even. That's not me.

Small things can send me over the edge into feeling down in the dumps. Sad. Lonely. That's not me.

I stopped wearing my bodybugg, counting calories, exercising regularly, even blogging regularly. That's not me!

I'm still watching what I eat even though there have been a couple of times when I opted for the fried shrimp instead of grilled. Yeah, not the best option but very tasty. My clothes still fit the same so I guess I'm not gaining weight. That's good. Oh yeah, the scale has been banished to my closet. I hate that thing. It's like the fortune teller from hell. Depending on what number it gives me will determine my mood and actions for the day. I don't think so.

I've been sleepy and unmotivated. I've let some things get to me that shouldn't. I've let other people determine if I will be happy or not. I'm tired most of the day but have trouble sleeping at night.

Usually when I feel a little "off" I'll do some self reflection to try to understand what the problem is and then evaluate it. A kind of self therapy, if you will. But this time I have searched and can't find the source of this moody high and low that I'm going through. There are things that happen that get me a little down but usually I bounce right back. Why not this time?

I think the best thing to do is dust myself off and just do what I need to do regardless of how I feel. I need to strap on that bodybugg and reach calorie burn goals. I'm not sure I want to obsess with calorie intake counting right now. It gets to be a bit much. I need to exercise regularly. I need to stop relying on other people for my happiness and find my own joy. I need to stop worrying about everything and just be happy.

I have a great life: a nice home, pets, great kids, hobbies, camping trips, a husband who treats me like the center of his universe. No reason to be down. Oh god! I hope it's not hormones! When do women start going through menopause? I'll have to look that up.

See? I'm already feeling better just getting it off my chest. Thanks for listening.

On the weight loss front, I did not run this morning. I had trouble waking up because I had trouble staying asleep last night. I am going to run this evening. No, I really am. For 30 minutes. True story.

Thanks for the therapy session. Believe it or not, it really does help. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Birthdays and Birds

Just so you know, I tried to make a post yesterday but Blogger was being a hater. It wouldn't let me post anything. So here I am today.

I'm finally getting a day off to stay at home so I get to catch up with my blogging buddies. Yes, it's been busy.

Sunday was Rachel's 15th birthday. I am in shock and denial. Isn't she still 5 years old? Where did this 15 come from? How in the world did time zoom past me like that? I feel like I've been in some sci-fi movie where I'm suddenly in the future. Where did all of the years go? Yes, I've got pictures of her growing up but it just didn't seem like I'd ever get to the point where she would be in high school. Then graduation?

The thought of losing my little family unit depresses the hell out of me. I know one day my kids are going to be grown and gone but I love having us all together. It just seems so perfect. In reality it's good that they grow up and start their own families, I guess. I'm just not ready for it. I'll miss them so much. Oh well. I still have a few years before that happens. No since in borrowing worry. Right? Right.

Chuck wanted to bake Rachel's birthday cake. So sweet. He has never baked before and he did a very nice job. He didn't think to get icing to write "Happy Birthday Rachel" so he used some sprinkles we had in the pantry. Realizing that writing with sprinkles is difficult he wrote "Happy B-day!". It was cute and tasty.

Sunday we took Rachel to the Kemah Boardwalk with 4 of her friends. While they rode rides Chuck and I strolled the boardwalk hand in hand. It was a nice day to spend with my sweetheart.

For lunch we went to Joe's Crab Shack and they made Rachel ride a broom around the restaurant like a horse while we all sang happy birthday. Oh, the humiliation! But she was a good sport.

Monday I took the kids in for their eye exams. Turns out that Charlie needs glasses. He told the doctor no way so they tried to fit him for contacts. Charlie tried a couple o f times and just quit. I hate that he gives up so easily instead of just committing and doing it! Hmmm, maybe I could learn a lesson there.

So, in tears, Charlie tried on several pairs of glasses. He cried and cried. We finally found a pair and ordered the lenses. Turns out that Charlie is afraid of what his friends will think. I told him he didn't even have to wear his glasses while playing. His friends don't even have to know if he's that worried about it. He finally told them that he's getting glasses and it was no big deal. Boys. And I thought girls had vanity issues. :)

Tuesday I took Rachel to volunteer at the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition's Baby Bird Program. For 3 hours we worked at feeding several baby birds including blue jays, grackles, woodpeckers, cardinals, mockingbirds, starlings and a kingbird. They also had night herons and a baby robin but someone was already working with them.

I have a new appreciation for momma birds. They work their tailfeathers off! Those birds were constantly hungry and pooping. It was fun though. I have a weakness for birds. Sadly, one of the baby blue jays tested positive for pox and has to be put to sleep. :(

Exercise has not existed this week. For some reason I've been exhausted. Not just a little sleepy but "I can barely function" tired. I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel ok. Just tired. But then at night I have trouble sleeping. What's the deal? But because I'm so tired I have not exercised. Tonight, no matter how tired, I am at least going for a walk. I must move it.

And Thursday morning I will be running. You heard me say it so now I have to do it. :) It's not that I don't want to (even though running is not my favorite thing to do) it's just that I'm so darn sleepy!

We'll see if some exercise helps out with the energy levels. Maybe it will even help me sleep better. But for now, I need a cup of coffee. A big one.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Trails To You

Today, June 5th, is National Trails Day. It's a great excuse to get outside today or tomorrow and enjoy the trails that volunteers work hard to keep in good condition. You can do a small part by picking up a piece of trash you see along the way. Hey, it's a fun way to burn those calories, right?

Ironically, I will not be on the trails this weekend. Rachel's 15th birthday is tomorrow so I'm busy getting ready for that. I can't believe she is growing up so fast. Where does the time go?!

Friday we met a group at Huntsville State Park for a picnic, socializing and swimming. I brought my two canoes and a few folks went paddling on Lake Raven. Chuck and I took the boat out a couple of times and got to see several birds, two alligators, gar, several large fish, a green bittern's nest complete with eggs, wood ducks and some young wood ducks.

The wood duck young were amazing. They had most of their feathers but their heads still had fuzz on them. To hide from us they dove into the aquatic plants below the surface of the water. They can hold their breath for a very long time! Slowly a head would start to rise above the surface of the water. First just the eyes and beak then the back of the young duck would rise. Chuck and I sat motionless in the canoe and just watched the duck trying to be as still as possible.

It was a very nice day spent on the water. We didn't get home until 8:30pm. The kids were pretty tired. Swimming always wears them out. :)

I didn't get any pictures. I forget that it is my job to organize everything and I must have forgotten the camera. Oops. Of course I always forget it on the times we see amazing wildlife. Oh, did I mention that we found a nice little waterfall and came across a deer?!

Sunday we are taking Rachel and some of her friends to Kemah for her birthday. Should be a great day to burn off some more calories. I haven't been on the scale and frankly I like it that way. I'm going to gauge my progress by how my clothes fit for a while and see how that works out.

Tomorrow evening I need to run!!! Must get ready for the half marathon. So far I am on schedule on my training. Yeah!

Hope you have a great weekend. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Birthday Weekend

Friday, May 28th, was my 39th birthday. It's hard for me to believe that I've been around that long when I only feel 18 years old on the inside.

Chuck and the kids each gave me a birthday card. Rachel made her card and worked very hard on it. Charlie's was so cute. He's been having a terrible time remembering the definition of an adjective. He can give examples of adjectives all day long but the definition just wouldn't stick. After a very long day of drilling he finally got it. So on his card he wrote, "An adjective is a word that describes a noun." LOL Love it! Chuck's card was very sweet, as usual. :)

The day was pretty low key. No cakes, candles or gifts. Just a nice day with the family. I think my mom forgot it was my birthday. I talked to her on the phone twice that morning and she never mentioned it. She has never done that before. She always calls and sings happy birthday to me. We were to drive to her house, which is a couple of hours away, then do a couple of Nature Challenge missions. I guess she eventually remembered it was my birthday because she did tell me happy birthday when I got there. A little depressing but she is raising my brother's kids so she is preoccupied with that.

My family and my mom and her two kids (my niece and nephew) went to Village Creek State Park for our first challenge. It is literally around the block from where I grew up.

It was like an oven out there. We were all ready to finish this and head back to the AC in the car. We did learn about the three varieties of pine tree that grow here. Very interesting. Now I can identify them.
After lunch we headed to Martin Dies Jr State Park for another challenge. We went on a short hike to grab our last geocache for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Geocache Challenge then went to pick up mom and my niece who we left at a picnic table near the swimming area. They didn't feel like hiking in the heat. My niece had hurt her toe on a rock (there are rocks out here?) so they were not going to be able to complete the challenge.

We were able to answer most of the questions for the challenge without going on the 1.5 mile walk. The rest we found with little effort so we finished the challenge easily. The area is beautiful. They have 3 paddle trails that I must come back to visit.
The kids wanted to spend the weekend there to play with their cousins in the pool so Chuck and I headed home. We stopped for some birthday pizza before we started the trip home. Of course, pizza isn't the best for a girl who needs to lose a few more pounds. Someone told me there are no calories on your birthday and I'm sticking to that. :D
Chuck and I were supposed to do an overnight canoe trip on Village Creek but we were worried about the hot weather we've been having. Instead we did a day paddle on Chocolate Bayou. It's hard to believe but we hadn't gone canoeing in over a year! What a shame. It's so much fun and very relaxing.
We decided to head upstream. I had read that downstream was the preferred path but it was all clear cut along the channel and I wanted to see some untouched nature. Boy, did we! there were gar hitting the water, turtles, mullets jumping and birds everywhere.
We came across our first log jam. It wasn't too bad. We did the limbo in the boat and just made ourselves as flat as possible as we went under a small arch in the fallen tree. No worries. And no spiders! Bonus!
Oh no! This poor kayaker didn't make it!! Not sure about the story behind this abandoned boat but there was a pretty big hole in the side. Yikes! I think it's been there a while.
Just around this bend a momma wood duck surprised me when she flew out and started splashing in the water. She was trying to get us to follow her instead of getting too close to her babies. She was splashing around like she was wounded.
We were able to get a glimpse of a couple of the babies. So cute!
Chocolate Bayou. I wonder how it got its name.
It was a lot of fun on the water. I needed a trip like this.
Chuck and I spent about 4 hours on the water then headed home to get cleaned up. Then it was time for shrimp and crabs. Mmmm.
To end the day we headed out to Brazos Bend State Park with a couple of chairs to kick back and watch the sunset. As usual, we saw an abundance of wildlife including alligators, ducks, moor hens, fish and this yellow crowned night heron.
The sunset was spectacular!
Slept in a little late then headed back to my mom's to pick up the kids and complete a nature challenge mission at Big Thicket National Preserve. It's such a beautiful area. I plan on coming back here and hiking more of their trails. Our hike was cut short when a thunderstorm appeared. It rained very hard. I'm kind of glad that we skipped the overnight canoe trip now.
Since it was a long weekend I thought we would make the most of it and complete another nature challenge mission. This one was at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. What you can't see in the picture are the swarms of mosquitoes attacking the kids.
This place was freakin' packed! And the people were not exactly friends of nature. There was trash everywhere. People had tents on the beach and there was trash scattered all around. Someone even had a jug under the pier that he was using as a pee jug. Gross!!! We walked out on the pier to the jetty anyway because Charlie wanted to see it. Between the huge granite boulders of the jetty were small pools of clear water that the waves bathed in fresh water. In those little pools were sea anemones! I've never seen them in the "wild" in Texas. Very cool.
We completed our mission and left as quickly as possible. It was just nasty and scorching hot out there.
On the way home I started hearing comments about not doing the challenge next year and staying home sometimes. I realized that I was really the only one in the family who seemed to want to do these things. I am the one who keeps track of everything and writes down answers and collects the stickers. Oops. This was supposed to be for the kids. So I've scrapped the whole Nature Challenge. It's kind of sad. I'll find other outdoor adventures. I just won't drag the family around everywhere I go. I did join a group for outdoor women in Houston and look forward to doing some stuff with them.
Chuck had taken the day off and we were supposed to take the kids to the beach or do some more nature challenge missions. But since the nature challenge is scrapped and every one wanted to stay home we just cleaned house. It really needed it and it felt good to get some things done. I did laundry, went to the grocery store, swept and mopped the floors, etc. I also put my scale away in the closet. I'm tired of it. I haven't weighed in a while but I hate the power that thing has over me.
All in all, I'd say it was a pretty nice weekend. Happy Birthday to me! :)