Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Another Day at Home

This day was odd - everyone woke up earlier than their normal time. I applaud the trend...but it threw off my daily rhythm. Its a challenge to adjust to the new norm...as far as my morning routine. LOL

We homeschool under a state charter school.  I haven't turned in a single receipt all year. Today, I got them ALL in...two Sonlight orders,  two Rainbow orders, nine months of Internet, and eight months of Japanese lessons for two students. I didn't procrastinate - I was saving up that money for a quarantine.  rainy day. It will be nice to have it hit our account in a month or so.

Krista made three more videos for her class.  Stacia served as the cameraman as I was determined to get a work out in.

Michael worked on a sermon.

I plodded away on the elliptical during President Trump's press briefing on Covid19.  I started rice in the Instant Pot and the girls and I walked down to get the mail. I came inside at the house - 1 1/3 miles...they continued on while I got dinner in the oven.  The dirty snow on the side of the road, the clear pavement and the snow everywhere clearly mean - it's SPRING.
Krista, Stacia, Me
We  discussed the boys' situation as employees at an "essential business." We have two high risk members in our home. The spread rate is 80% if it enters a family. There are 3 documented cases in our town. I really find it hard to believe my son should risk his health and ours at minimum wage so that another can have a drive through burger or coffee. Seriously, I KNOW why they are deemed essential...I am JUST SAYING...Alex had asked to cut back hours until May. This would allow him to finish high school strong. He was cut back to 26 hours. As of today, he's been removed from the schedule. He will focus on finishing all his work by May 1st.  This allows him to focus on school AND cuts the chances of covid entering through the front door.

Nolan is a manager and will continue to work - as it IS deemed essential and he doesn't feel right leaving the other managers to pick up the slack when they are already down so many employees and managers.  He comes home and IMMEDIATELY showers, changes clothes, and douses self with sanitizer. He stays downstairs in his room. We will sanitize all surfaces a couple of times a day. He skipped dinner last night...but we told him if he makes sure to do all that....He and Alex will eat at the counter so that they are more than 6 ft from Dad and Michael. He'll be mindful of social distancing INSIDE our home.  We KNOW Alex may already be exposed. We REALIZE Nolan could be exposed before we know it - but it's where we are now. It's the best we can do.
The new dinner time look 

The girls and I are talking about making masks for the crew....at least the drive through crew.

We had our first Zoom Bible Study tonight. I miss my peeps! We didn't all make it - but eleven of us did. I miss the natural flow of a discussion without mute buttons, though I suppose the power of the mute button could be handy. ::snort::

Dad and Michael are watching Football. No, there aren't any new games...but evidently this one is worth re-watching. Fans will be fans.

Everyone else is in bed - we all work or have school in the morning.

There are 14 new Covid cases in Alaska tonight. Our total sits at 133.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Barely Normal - A Year Later

I know this seems frivolous in the midst of a pandemic. However, I've worked hard for a full year now - and I want to document the progress...yes, I AM talking about my health journey today.

My Doc insisted I come in yesterday. She had new labs to discuss with me.   Here's the health side of thing.... I'll post all the photos at the end of the post.

March 2019 
  • Cholesterol was near 200
  • Triglycerides were way, way, way over normal
  • Kidneys and liver were showing signs of taxing
  • My A1C was 7 (Type 2 diabetic)
  • BMI was 34.3
  • Weighed 199.8 

March 30 2020
  • Cholesterol is 98 (LDL is a few points down, HDL went up a lot!)
  • Triglycerides are normal - low normal 
  • Kidney and liver function completely normal 
  • My A1c is 5.6 - 3 months ago she told me I had gone from diabetic to pre-diabetic....today she said I'm, "barely normal" but normal. She cautioned me to consider to think of myself as diabetic if I want to control this via lifestyle...otherwise I WILL be diabetic again and the next time I will have to begin meds. 
  • BMI is now 26.9
  • Weigh 156.8 - a loss of 43 lbs this year
  • SURPRISE my thyroid is out of kilter...I am now hyper thyroid. She said we should have thought of this as I've lost 23% of my body weight and so it would impact how much levothyroxine I should take. I haven't been able to sleep so.....as soon as express script arrives I will be taking a lower dose. 
Sustainable Changes
  • Had been a vegan for 9 years; fairly high complex carb diet
  • Changed to Mediterranean/Blue Zone at Shelly's recommendation 
    • Added lean protein (Salmon, Chicken Breast, eggs, Greek yogurt and feta cheese)
    • Kept carbs under 100g a day - usually around 30 - 40 which makes me low carb by the doc definition but not by "keto" low carb definitions. 
  • I eat NO sugar - I use stevia 95% of the time and use a blend of stevia/erythitol or monkfruit when I can't use stevia.  
    • With that said - Shelly said I could have sugar once a month and so I do that from time to time...like the day after an A1C (back in July) or birthdays. 
  • Intentional to add meaningful movement to my days 
    • Gardening, walks, hikes
    • Shelly started by recommended 30 min of cardio "most days of the week" 
    • 3 months ago she suggested adding some strength training 
    • Today she suggested training for a 5K run because I messed up and told her I'd started jogging a "tiny bit" on the tread mill. 
  • I track it all with the WW ap (blue plan) as that plan mirrors and encourages the choices my doc told me to make. I would have used itrackbites - carb plan if I'd seen it first. 

The loss has been slow....an average of 3.58 lbs a month. I had a 3 month period where I lost nothing.....I'm seeing this seems to happen for a few weeks every 10 - 15 lbs. 

I DO feel the changes are sustainable. I have not given anything up (other than simple sugar) for LIFE....I'm learning how to occasionally add a treat into my plan, track it and keep going....

Health, improvement, appearance and a good relationship with food were my goals a year ago...I'm making progress in all areas. 

My Goals

I visited the military nutritionist and she suggested 130 lbs; BMI of 22.  I had been thinking 138 - BMI of  23.7...this is not a 20's weight for me....this is the weight I weighed during our Air Force life.

Photo is from 2013 
My Goal? 138
Shelly asked how I felt at this one year mark. I told her I really wanted to reach goal in a year...but I'm learning to celebrate progress. She said my health is great now...but, she would be happy if I go down to a BMI of 25; 145 lbs.  My current thought is I want to be a BMI of 24 so if I fluctuate I'm still in the healthy range. That would be 140.....basically the 138 I instinctively aimed for before being told to aim for 130. Hoorah!

I plan to continue with the changes I have made; eating well, moving daily, tracking daily.....keep my health numbers normal. 

My Goal - no idea what number on the scale that will be
  • Healthy Labs
  • BMI of 24
  • Size 8 pants
  • Guessing somewhere between 135-145
March 2019
Ugh - 199.8

March 2020

March 2019
YIKES - still can't bowl

March 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Second Sequestered Sunday

Sunday mornings are for sermons and popcorn. Church on the couch felt a bit more natural this morning. 

This morning was another great day "with" Matanuska AG - though we are distanced from Matanuska AG.  It was tough for Krista to get her topic down to 10 minutes - she nailed it! 

Pastor posted a play list for today...a greeting from Him, a message from Krista, a Kids video clip and a worship Clip. Krista was aided by the hens in getting her message across. ::snort:: 

Krista remarked it was odd to "go to church" and watch oneself preach. LOL

Michael and I are enjoying our family discussions after the messages. Today we talked about what gives our lives value...we talked about what it means to have God with us in the midst of a pandemic. We discussed anxiety and how each of us were doing...well the plan was to discuss how we each were doing but we got to Dad, Alex, and Nolan - then got derailed.

The girls headed downstairs to work on projects. Krista has all her quilt squares done already. She is playing around with the arrangement and will sew the rest of the top together. 

Stacia finished a secret sewing project, finished the masks, and today she cut out and began making quilt blocks for her own quarantine quilt.

Michael cleaned out a clogged drain. The boys and Michael played Snowboard Kids.

I made an old-fashioned Sunday Dinner. I baked a 6 lb chicken, made stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and carrots, a huge salad, gravy, and asparagus.  While the chicken was baking I worked on a few kitchen projects. I am over-hearing consistent comments about that You Tube channel. ::wink::

I got a new batch of Kombucha started.

I boiled 14 eggs in the instant pot. 

I made a double batch of Chai Tea Mix. 

Nolan helped me set the table and get a few things done in the kitchen. He also brought in the groceries I bought yesterday. I figured they'd had 24 hours for germs to die...I know the virus can stay up to 72 hours on some surfaces....in any event I needed some of the groceries for lunch. Sadly, my aloe vera plant froze in the car over-night. Ooops. 

I started a bit of broth after dinner...not as much as I would have liked to have made...but it's a chicken and not a turkey.

We have begun watching season 2 of "Lost in Space." We were in the middle of an episode when the power went out. We moved over to the table and played Farkle.

Nolan and Krista went down to bed after the game. Both work tomorrow...one from home and one in town.

The rest of us finished the interrupted episode of Lost in Space.

Alex and Michael brought in wood.

Michael and I had a nice talk.

I'm blogging...

Pandemic Thoughts: 

  • Alaska's first positive case of Covid19 was March 12th. We now have 114 cases, and 3 Alaskans have passed away. 
  • Josiah and Jamin usually came out on Sundays. We miss them. 
  •  Arielle and Benny usually visit if Cory is working. We miss them. 
  • We are thankful for all the work pastors are putting in to have online messages.  We miss church family too. I sound like a broken record?
  • We have two more friends with Covid19 (not local). 
  • President Trump announced  his guidelines will remain in place another 30 days. Most states are currently under stricter restrictions than those guidelines, at least Alaska is. His briefing gives us a sense of how long this may go on. I'd better deliver those Easter baskets to the grands now so they can sit in the garage and de-germ a good long time before Easter Sunday. 
  • Our April schedule has just changed drastically; maybe I WILL have time to get new content on the YouTube channel....and to teach Michael how to take over the editing and publishing of said channel. ::snort:: Two weeks wasn't enough time with all my other goals...but a month.....
  • Day 13 of our Isolation....

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Sequestered Saturday

 Without a doubt, the hardest thing, hands-down, about this quarantine stuff is not spending time with the grand-blessings....but here are some shots of them sequestering like pros!

Benny illustrates Alaskans getting out - with those who reside with them. 
Via CoRielle's camera 

Bella and Gideon show us how to tackle projects at home. 
Via Bre's camera

I HAVE driven by their homes while out and waved. LOL 

Krista and I were out of the house at 6 a.m. Our mission was to make it to Lowes and buy seed and soil before the travel restriction went into effect. 

The only person we came into "contact" with would be the cashier and even then there was a plastic shield up. They told us they will continue to be open as they are an essential business.
 I keep wondering how this will work...because the travel ban clearly states that "I" am not to travel unless I am getting groceries or going to the doctor or dealing with child custody....so if it is essential for you to be open, but not for me to travel....not sure there will be the business for drive throughs and such to remain open.

I had put in a big clickit order - but there were some essentials we needed which were out of stock at Freddies. Since we were out - and it was VERY early - we stopped by Walmart. Check out this shelf. Alaskans are inside working puzzles. LOL

On our way home we dropped a few gooodies on a couple of doorsteps. They KNOW to sanitize or leave in the garage for a bit of time.

Back at home we worked on projects. Stacia and I sewed masks.

Dad keeps us up to date with news from ADN...we don't get a Saturday paper - so he re-read the Friday paper. 

Michael! Yep - Patrick is in the room. 
 Michael has expressed an interest in re-activating our YouTube channel. We're brainstorming. It always sounds fun - but seriously - there are only so many hours in a day.

I made sugar free - cinnamon "sugar" pecans

 I also made some chick peas in the air fryer and Alex helped me bottle this batch of kombucha. 

Alex worked and he, Nolan and Stacia went outside for a bit....did some banking and grabbed  lunch at a drive through...

Pandemic Facts...there are  200 ventilators in the state of Alaska and only 160 ICU beds.  THIS is why we should stay home. IF all 160 beds are being used for Covid19 patients there can be no heart attacks or emergencies in the state.... Our state officials and health care workers are doing all they can to beef up their capacity - we can help by trying to slow the spread of the virus.

There are 100 confirmed cases of Covid19 in Alaska.

Saturday shows there are over 2000 covid deaths in America.  That count has doubled in 2 days.

We left groceries and all purchased at Lowes in the car all day....we ARE being cautious. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Zooming the Day Away

Nolan and Alex went to work.

Krista started work at the table.

Stacia started on school.

I worked out and then got on Zoom....This time for a "Coffee Date" with gals from church. I have googled how to take a screen shot, but I can't find the photos....I must find that...

Cory was home from work, we have been missing Benny time...and so they zoomed in today. It was great fun! Benny is getting the hang of zoom.
Arielle, Benny, G Dog, Me

CoRielle - Michael, Me, Krista, Stacia in the back 

I have been aching to plant seedlings....but haven't been able to justify a trip out for seeds and soil. I had hoped we'd be out and about by the end of this month....in any event...I planted some herbs today. It's something. 

Stacia completed the first mask...sewn as requested with materials provided from Joanne's. 

I started...and then needed to rip all the tiny stitches out and try again. LOL 

Another day ends. 

Locked Down or Mandates 11 and 12

This evening Alaska went on lock down - though I haven't heard that TERM.  We had mandate # 11"social distancing,"  which goes into effect at 5 p.m. on the 28th,  and mandate # 12 "intrastate travel," which goes into effect tomorrow morning at 8:00. 

Mandate 11 - Social Distancing 

We are to stay home.

We no longer can congregate in any number,with anyone that doesn't LIVE with us...the previous mandate mentioned family...this one specifically says you must reside with anyone you are with...I have a lot of family that doesn't live with me.

We are only to leave our home to buy essential food,  receive essential healthcare, or to exercise or recreate outside with 6 feet between us any anyone who doesn't live with us.

Non-essential businesses are closed.

There are words about reckless endangerment, fines and jail time.

Mandate 12 Intrastate Travel

All in-state travel between communities is prohibited. This means we can't go to Wasilla (shop), or Eagle River or Anchorage (see boys)....but since we aren't supposed to leave our home...I'm not sure this really matters. I do believe it is the teeth in the order to "stay home."

I quote, "Personal travel is prohibited except as necessary to meet critical personal needs or work in critical infrastructure jobs. Critical personal needs include buying, selling, or delivering groceries and home goods; obtaining fuel for vehicles or residential needs; transporting family members for out-of-home care, essential health needs, or for purposes of child custody exchanges; receiving essential health care; providing essential health care to a family member; obtaining other important goods; and engaging in subsistence activities. "

We read the notices and then discussed what it will mean for us.  The boys are still working for a business that is deemed essential. I am increasingly uneasy with their work situation. I think this will affect Arielle's job as the children she cares for are not children of parents whose work is deemed "essential." Cory will keep working as his job is essential. Izaak and Bre are already locked down and he hasn't been in to work. Krista will continue to work from home. Michael and Dad are on fixed incomes. I don't think Jamin will be able to do much real estate - but maybe? I 'm not sure about Josiah. They both work in the "housing" industry....and I know contractors, appliance repairmen etc are still considered essential. JaRissa have been working from home and will continue to do so.

Lowes will remain open - but is driving there for seeds and soil considered "important"? We have decided Krista and I will drive to Lowes and get that...because we are more determined than ever to start seedlings and plant when we can.

As far as that goes - will the "essential" drive throughs and hardware stores have the business to remain open....

Will Dad's paper still be delivered? I know that sounds trite...but he has been locked down since March 8th and he spends hours each day devouring the content in the paper. He doesn't do online.

These mandates will be re-evaluated on April 11th.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

When The Moose Goes to Bed

Keep scrolling or reading - there really IS something about moose in this post. ::snort:: 

Stacia came up and asked if we were going for Bible study this a.m. Honestly, we've skipped it for 2 weeks - and we need to get back into our normal routine in these abnormal times. We couldn't go OUT and sit at Sophia's for a study...so we did the next best thing. We drove through Sophia's and took our food to Crevasse Moraine Trail-head. We explored a bit while we drank our coffee and chatted. 

A hill with sledding possibilities

We hopped back into the car to eat breakfast and talk about being blessed when it doesn't feel blessed, and about being "pure in heart"...clean hands, pure hearts...no hypocrisy... good topics.
Breakfast and Bible on the go
 My favorite
Sophia's breakfast sandwich 

Stacia's favorite

We HAD to go explore the trails a bit more. We went for a 40 minute walk....wandered around trails and it did us a world of good.

We found the big sledding hill 

It never fails - Alaskans have a hard time keeping track of gloves and hats....at every trail-head...on every trail...

Signs of Spring - break up as we call it here. 


The walls were closing in yesterday and I was grumpy about voices and screens everywhere - all day. Yes, it's contact...but it's NOT 3 dimensional. Getting outside was a huge help. I need to do this every day. 

Maintaining routine was key....going on with what we can - Bible study, working out...

Stacia and I had a great discussion as we walked. It was good. 


I've been noting the moose tracks in our yard....I have mentioned numerous times how the moose are rambling all over our yard...but I never realized...all tracks led to our DECK.....Michael was cleaning off the deck today in preparation of Krista filming this week's Sunday message....when he figured it out. 

The tracks all converge under the deck. There are piles of these nuggets under the deck. This is outside the girls' window....so we may yet have a front row seat to mama moose giving birth. 

Krista filmed her sermon or "sermonette." Our pastors are going with the "main message" in 10 - 15 minutes video clips posted online...and then we're spending time processing the message...rather than trying to recreate a full service. Krista was scheduled to preach this week and Michael is scheduled for next week. Learning new skills...being flexible...it's all good. 

At dinner I realized I was totally out of RANCH - McDonald's packets to the rescue.
Condiments from Crew meals add up
 Everyone wanted out of the house when I went to pick up the grocery order. No one got out of the car - but we enjoyed being out....especially Dad who hasn't been out since March 8th.

Michael and Stacia are working on an elaborate surprise for us....

While they were working, I got a call from Ms. Bonnie. We talked for about an hour and a half...me trying to talk her through installing zoom on her computer. Honestly, I'm not the best tech support...but I was willing. Krista was listening and finally said, "Let's just go over and set it up on her phone for her." We didn't want to take the chance of taking any germs into her house...so we told her to just put the phone down, we'd pick it up with gloves, fix it, disinfect it, and give it back.  Bonnie came out - but a strict distance was maintained.

We got her set up for tomorrow's Coffee Chat with the women.

It was good to see Ms. Bonnie. We all miss her and her hugs. It was good to be able to help someone.