The Drive

After our moving day, we had a restless night in a Sprinhill Suites. The children slept ok, but Matt and I had trouble shutting off our minds even though we were physically exhausted. We got up the next morning to begin the better part of our ten hour drive.

In the future, I will try not to begin a move halfway across the country on the morning of a winter storm which brings us through Pittsburgh the day of a post-season Steelers vs. Ravens game. Icy rain was our companion for a good part of the morning. I70 was closed due to trucks de-icing and spreading sand on the road. There was also a three car pile up. Seeing a minivan fully loaded with belongings, missing doors and hauled on a flatbed gave me pause. That could easily have been us.

Despite the poor driving conditions, the ice made for a pretty backdrop to our drive. The trees and grass were glistening and the freezing rain made the otherwise brown vegetation a pretty mauve color. The soundtrack of the 80’s helped keep me awake and alert as the highway passed me by.

We took our time and made it as far as Toldeo, OH (Maumee, really) on the second night. The traffic, weather, and loaded vehicles did not make for an easy drive. We checked in to another Marriott property and headed to the Outback just through the parking lot. It was the only restaurant that did not require driving. We waited for quite a while on “date night” but enjoyed our dinner.

We found a better position for Goldie on this leg of the trip. Buffered by a prized bottle of homemade smokey jalapeƱo sauce, the bowl didn’t leak at all. Goldie even got to see the inside of several rest areas due to the frigid temperatures in the parked car.

Back at the hotel after dinner, the kids swam with a bunch of other kids staying in town for a hockey tournament. The exercise was great after being cramped in the cars all day. I thought I would sleep better the second night, but my mind was still whirring. I ended up in the small roll away and got a few hours of sleep in the wee hours.

We were all excited to be on our way Sunday and made it to Michigan in good time. Unfortunately my GPS took us on the scenic narrow route to our rental home and my van and lapsed winter driving skills did not quite make it up the narrow winding hilly road. Thank goodness for a good friend with a Ram truck and a tow rope.

We finally and happily made it to our new temporary home. The setting on the lake is lovely and the house is cozy and warm. Even both of our cars have a space inside the garage. We are adjusting to cold and snowy weather, but are happy to be among old friends.

The moving truck is due tomorrow and because of the narrow road, adjustments were made for a shuttle truck rather than the semi. The boys begin school and all three will be in full-time Spanish Immersion. We have enjoyed “camping out” on air mattresses but are all excited to get furniture and belongings tomorrow. We will also get to reclaim out dog who has been living at friends since Thanksgiving.

Henry has plans to move back to Maryland soon and he surely speaks for us all when he says he misses our old life and house and friends. Change isn’t easy but we are all doing well with the challenge.

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Camping and planking and running too

Week Ten
Day 1 – Jack and I had a wonderful autumn walk in the woods. It almost feels wrong to count it as exercise, but when I am huffing up the hill at the end and come home sweaty, I know I worked hard.

Day 2 – I just came home from one of my best runs ever. I ran as far as I could, and while it still isn’t a mile, I pushed myself further than I have ever gone. I alternated shorter walks between longer runs for the rest of the time for my 2.25 miles.

A friend asked me last week what injuries I was focused on and why I thought intervals were better for me. I am not sure I articulated it very well to him at the time, but I realized what it is today. I am worried about all injuries and realized today that after running for a while my form suffers. I start to roll my ankles and feel myself stepping funny. The SECOND I notice it and I have difficulty correcting it, I stop and walk until I feel like running again. I believe for me, poor form may lead to some injury. So while I am still not running a mile, I am still running. That is more than I was doing less than three months ago. That accomplishment alone makes me feel proud and keeps pushing me out the door.

Day 3 – I volunteered today and didn’t exercise but for those of you following my squirrel adventures, I have another to add. I was walking to my car from the school when I heard a loud sound. I looked up startled and saw that a Squirrel had leapt or fallen onto the hood of the car parked just in front of mine. From the sound, I was pretty sure it was injured and the car was damaged. As I gingerly walked toward my own car, I jumped again when the squirrel ran up a light pole. I certainly got my heart rate up!

Day 4 – I had a great run and was able to go just a little further than Tuesday. Since today is Halloween and I have NO willpower when it comes to candy, I also took Jack for a short hike. This is the beginning of my yearly struggle with overeating and the holidays. I usually end the year ten pounds more than the beginning so I am really going to work on avoiding that this year.

Day 5 – much of the day was spent preparing for a camping trip with my Cub Scouts, but I also started a 30 day plank challenge. Here is the link to the details: http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/30-day-plank-challenge I especially like how the challenge starts at your fitness level and focuses on proper form. I will be taking the remains of our Halloween candy to the camp out, because I don’t need any more.

Day 6 – I did not get an official workout in, but we were camping and I was loading and unloading heavy things, setting up tents and camp and got plenty of fresh air and some exercise. I planked in the tent before bed. Tonight is the official end to Daylight Savings Time so I get to lay on the cold ground for an extra hour trying to sleep.

Day 7 – We broke camp, took down tents, loaded cars and then unloaded everything when we got home. I wanted to go for a run, but after checking for ticks and showering, I really needed a short nap. We walked around the neighborhood handing out “scouting for food” bags. It is part of a food drive we do every year. I ran a little (two blocks each way) after dropping my youngest off for a play date and on the way to pick him up. This is the first week since starting that I have’t gotten three runs in, but I really needed the rest since I rarely sleep while camping. Last night was no exception. I did stretch and got my planks in after a meeting of the Mold Task Force. I am hoping for a good night’s sleep.

Wakeful

Insomnia. It’s an ugly word mostly because of its definition. Being awake. Not sleeping. The inability to sleep. Periods of wakefulness. It is dreaded by all who suffer it and it seems to be one of those things that is contagious. Once you get it, it keeps coming back. It seems to make sense that if you are tired, you will sleep, but that isn’t necessarily true.

When my oldest child was an infant, he didn’t sleep. Since he wasn’t sleeping much, neither was I. Someone (well many people actually), told me that sleep begets sleep. I think it is a quote from one of those sleep books that never seemed to work for me. I really didn’t understand or even care, I just wanted sleep. The sleep eventually came and we went on to have two more children each with their own sleep issues, which I now understand as just trying to fit into their new environment outside the womb and trying to carve out time to feed and bond with parents.

Even when the children were finally sleeping, I still had sleep issues. If I am honest, I have always had periods of chronic insomnia. I used to get up in the middle of the night and go into the bathroom to read so I wouldn’t bother my sisters who I shared a room with. Last summer the sleeplessness was really bothering me so I talked to my doctor about it. I had been taking one Benadryl at bedtime for years just to be able to go back to sleep in the middle of the night once I woke up. The doctor offered me something stronger, but I really wanted to stop taking the Benadryl NOT take more drugs.

Her other suggestions proved more helpful. She suggested I get up and go to bed at the same time every day. I try, but sometimes nighttime after the kids and hubby go to bed, I get most of my work done. The most helpful suggestion really had to do with limiting “screen time”. No computer, tv, smart phone, iPad, etc. an hour or two before sleep and none of those things in the bedroom. Apparently the blue light interferes with our body’s sleep cycle and our natural melatonin. Getting rid of screens in the bedroom was easier for me than Matt, but he has gone along with my ban. We never had a tv in there anyway. I can feel myself getting agitated when he is using a laptop or other screen when I am trying to sleep. I just get up and wait to go to bed until he finishes, but he rarely does it anymore so it isn’t a problem.

Why am I writing about insomnia an hour before my alarm is due to go off? The answer to that is simple. I have been awake since 4 o’clock and couldn’t go back to sleep. Matt had an early train and he left the house at 5:15 so I decided to get up and shower and start writing about at least one of those things that was running through my mind. I am also going to get a jump start on my day.

Today’s wakefulness may have something to do with my three cups of highly caffeinated tea that I had yesterday, or a holdover from Daylight Savings time, or just one of those things. I do know though that I awoke instantly and a blue light was shining down the hall into my room. The computer had updated and rebooted automatically. Coincidence? Maybe. I don’t really have an exact answer, but I hope that today’s insomnia isn’t contagious and tonight will be a better sleep.