healthy

Like most adults, my niece, Machelle Moore has struggled with her weight over the years. It’s a tough place to be, and one that many people can fully understand. Then she discovered Keto, which is a high fat, medium protein, low carbohydrate diet. Many people think it is a new or fad diet, but it really isn’t. Keto is the correct way to eat Carbohydrates, especially sugar are not necessary to our diets, and sugar rally isn’t good for us. The body works much better when it burns fat for fuel, and not carbs.

Keto is unique diet, in that each person can adapt it to their own style and tastes. Machelle used protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, and limited her carbs. Machelle just went quietly along, not telling anyone what she was doing, and since she lives in Powell, Wyoming and most of the rest of the family lives in Casper, Wyoming, she was able to pull off an amazing transformation, while remaining almost hidden for view. As of August, she lost 60 pounds,and she looks absolutely stunning.

No diet is ever totally easy, but I think that Keto comes very close to that place. There is such a good variety of foods that work with it, and the necessary exercise can be fairly minimal. Machelle and her family love going camping and rock hunting, so hiking through the mountain is largely what she does. The nice thing about Keto is that it works well with exercise. Your energy levels are well sustained, and you can go longer before needing the next meal. Machelle has worked hard and stayed with her plan, becoming more active as she went along, and now, she looks absolutely fabulous.

There is really nothing quite like taking back your life and feeling good about yourself again. She is able to hold her head up and be comfortable standing next to her husband again. Machelle’s husband, Steve has always been slender, so I know that it felt uncomfortable, because I have been there myself, and I know how it feels to stand next to your slim husband, when you are not. Now that Machelle is slim too, she and her husband can look forward to lots of great camping and hiking trips. I know that it is a great feeling for her, and I am so proud of all her hard work. Today is Machelle’s birthday…a great beginning to the next chapter of her life. Keep it up girl. You rock!! Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For most of the time I have been writing about my grand-niece, Katie Balcerzak, my stories have been centered around her love of children and her work at the Montessori school, her happy marriage to my grand-nephew, Keifer, and her desire for a family, but this year is simply different, because this year is all about the baby. The baby, who goes by the name of Reece Victoria Balcerzak, has completely taken over her parents’ hearts. Their whole life centers around her, and for good reason, because Reese is a sweet, smiley little girl with smiling eyes to match her beautiful smile. She is a happy baby, and that makes her mommy so happy. For Katie, life is complete… at least until they decide to have another baby, at which time, they will wonder how they ever could have been a family of three, because they will have two babies to love then.

These days, Katie spends her free time…the time when she isn’t taking care of home and baby…taking pictures of her little gem, and who can blame her, because Reece is a total cutie. Really, all Katie has ever wanted was to be a mom, and she is such a great mom, so that in itself is success. Of course, as we all know, being the mom of a baby does have its challenges too. Babies get crabby when they are hungry, wet, teething, and tired…among other things. Sometimes, they are just in a crabby mood, and why should they be different.we all get crabby sometimes. Nevertheless, even if Reece is crabby, her mommy loves her bunches, and usually knows how to fix it. Katie prides herself in the care she gives Reece, and wants to be the best mommy she can be…I mean, which of us moms don’t want that.

Some of the things that Katie has learned in her journey from new mommy to seasoned professional,have been kind of funny, or should I say her sense of humor was clearly showing, because she points out the long list of today’s parenting Dos and Don’ts List, and how according to these “professionals” just how amazing it is that yesterday’s generation ever survived their parents. When you read the list, you find yourself laughing, because no parent could possibly live up to that. At first glance, you might think she was serious, but then you read the rest of it, and find out that she was really being funny. The only aren’t who would really try to follow that list would be one that will soon find themselves trying to avoid the nut house!! Thankfully, Katie has seen through the craziness, and focuses more on the simple ways to be a good parent and raise a happy, healthy, child. Today is Katie’s birthday, and the first one she has spent as a mother. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely is a complex woman, who leads a busy life. She is an obstetrics nurse by trade, but that is just her career, albeit a very satisfying one for her. Jennifer knew when she was just 17 years old, that she wanted to be a nurse, and before long, she knew that she wanted to help bring life into the world. She has never changed her mind about that, and has been a nurse at Wyoming Medical Center for about 36 years now. That adds up to a whole lot of babies who can say that Jennifer was there the day they were born. She was the nurse who assisted in the births of all four of my grandchildren. It was very comforting to have her there.

While nursing is Jennifer’s career, exercise is her passion. She loves all forms of exercise, both indoor and outdoor. I think that like many of us in the family, she loves to hike. She takes trips to different areas to hike. She has been to New Zealand, Colorado, and today, she and her boyfriend, Bryan are on their way to Arizona to do some hiking there. She hiked a mountain with Bryan a while back in Colorado that was 14,000 feet high. That is an amazing feat for anyone. I have done quite a bit of hiking, but I have never gone to that altitude, so I am curious about how I would do. Jennifer and Brian did very well, but they saw people around them who were having some difficulty breathing deeply. I suppose it all depends on the shape you are in and the lung capacity you have. I don’t know where in Arizona they plan to go hiking, but since I have been in Arizona a number of times and hiked there too, I would absolutely recommend the Grand Canyon. We didn’t hike very far in, but the areas we were in were amazing. The next time I go, I want to hike down to the river. I know that wherever they hike, they will have a great time.

In many ways, Jennifer’s love of all things healthy has made her not only a nurse helping to bring life into the world, but also a person keeping her own life as strong and healthy as it can be. It’s a great way to live and one that will keep Jennifer, the grandma, in the lives of her three little grandchildren, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen Parmely, for a long time to come. Today is Jennifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Bob and I went on the first hike we have taken in a very long time today. We used to hike 8 miles a day at least 5 days a week. Now our days are filled with something different…caring for Bob’s parents. His dad has Emphysema and his mom has Alzheimer’s Disease. It takes time to care for another individual…much less 2 of them. Something has got to give when you are caregiving. There is no way to spend the amount of time necessary to keep a person healthy and still spend all the time you normally did on yourself.

When I was able to walk 8 miles a day, I was not only in great shape, but I was at my ideal weight. Now, I have learned to forgive myself, and to know that I cannot “do it all” and still take care of my aging mom and in-laws. I may not be in the best shape ever, but I could not look myself in the mirror if I did not take care of them. Besides, I love them, so I’ll set my needs aside for a while and care for theirs.

Our hike today was harder than I am used to, but it felt so good, and I want to be able to do more of it. I know that the road I have chosen to take will limit the hiking or even the after dinner walking I will be able to do, but…well, life happens, and we have to follow where the road takes us. Many times it is more important to set aside our needs for a time to do something that is more important for someone else. People do it all the time. Raising children is a prime example of it.

I will get back to having time for me again. I’m not worried about that. It is the way that I will get time for me back that I am trying to avoid. They will need help for the rest of their lives, so as long as they live my time will be less mine…and that is ok. I’d much rather have the parents I have left be here a while longer, than have the time for me.

Yes, our hike today was lovely, and it took the work of 5 other people to make it happen. Corrie, Amy, Josh, Brenda, and Jennifer gave of themselves to give Bob and me a vacation, and it is a gift I will never forget. I know it was extra for each of them and their families sacrificed too. I want them each to know that I love them and I appreciate the time I have been given to rest and get my strength back. I will be forever grateful.

Most kids have things they like to eat…usually sweets, and things they don’t like to eat…like vegetables. It seems to be something they are just born with. And it seems like every family has one child who is an extremely picky eater. My daughter, Amy was one of those. Amy hated breakfast and still for the most part, doesn’t eat breakfast. It was a struggle for a mother of a one year old child to find that it just didn’t matter what I tried to give her for breakfast, nothing would entice Amy to eat breakfast. I tried cereal, eggs, pancakes, even pop tarts, but nothing worked. Finally in desperation, I bought Carnation Instant Breakfast, because she would drink chocolate milk, and at least she was getting some nutrition.

I wasn’t alone in my child feeding dilemma. My sister-in-law, Jennifer had the same problem with her middle son, JD a number of years later. He didn’t seem to like anything. I felt like my struggle had been small, watching her struggle, because at least Amy would eat pasta, so I could get her to eat meals as long as they included pasta. To this day, sweets are not her favorite thing. She would much rather eat vegetables. Jennifer struggled with JD’s picky eating habits, and since he was born prematurely and was small, he couldn’t afford to skip meals.

I remember Jennifer’s struggle and worries very well. She told me that she didn’t know what she was going to do. And of course, since all kids are different, the things I suggested…things that had worked for Amy…were no help with JD. It was a frustrating time for Jennifer, filled with genuine worry. As a nurse, she knew what he needed, and tried her very best to get him to eat. Of course, it was a serious fight, with a very uncooperative one year old boy. He would taste the food she offered, make a horrible face, and act like, “You’ve got to be kidding!!”

The good news is that JD is now a healthy grown man, whose appetite has vastly improved. In reality, he can out eat most people in the family…no, all the people in the family!! None of us worry about his wasting away from lack of food these days. Nevertheless, I will never forget the day when Jennifer told me that she had started feeding him M & M’s…because at least he would get some calories!! I think she decided that the best thing to do was put some weight on him, and she would work on the nutrition later. Probably not a bad plan, but as baby food goes…pretty funny anyway.

My sister-in-law, Debbie was born 3 months prematurely. She was so little that she could fit in a shoe box, and she was immediately dubbed, Little Dab O’ Debbie. While very small, Debbie was healthy and grew strong. Before very long, she was a healthy full sized baby and the initial concerns for her life were behind the family. Debbie remained small all of her life, growing up to be only 5′ 2″ tall. While that isn’t terribly short…maybe that is my opinion, in that I am the same height…it did put her the second shortest of her sisters and brothers.

On June 8, 1974, Debbie would marry the love of her life, Lynn Cook. It was at this point that her height…or the lack thereof…became really noticeable. Lynn is 6′ 6″ tall. It really became the tall and the short of it. Even when their daughters were born we knew that it was unlikely that Debbie would be taller than her girls for very long. And sure enough, Machelle and Susan are close to 6′ tall. Her oldest grandson, Weston is already taller than she is, and I’m sure Easton won’t be shorter for long. I suppose it is possible that her granddaughters, Jala and Kaytlyn could be her height or shorter, it is very unlikely. No, I think Debbie will find that before long, she will be Little Dab O’ Grandma…just like she could have been Little Dab O’ Mom, had her girls thought to call her that.

While Debbie is short, she has been a big help to her parents whenever she is down to visit them. They have had health problems over the last few years, and while she is unable to do very much heavy work, since injuring her back a number of years back, she cooks many meals and freezes them for her parents, so that all they have to do is thaw them and heat them up. That is a huge help for her dad who has been the main caregiver for her mom since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease a number of years ago. It is an exhausting job for him, and those meals make his life a little easier after a hard day. I am so thankful that we have our Little Dab O’ Debbie, she is a blessing in so many ways. Happy Birthday Debbie!! We love you!!

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