Wednesday, September 25, 2013

After 3 Years... I finally said, "I Do!"

Our relationship really began more than three years ago, but you were more just like a good friend that I took for granted. Either way there is no denying that you helped me grow and develop into the woman I became and even though I definitely went through an era of blowing you off more than embracing you, you were always there and I always knew you were an important part of my life.

Then, three years ago, I looked back to my roots and to the ups and downs myself and those close to me had been through. I knew it was time to bring you back into my life and embrace you and all you were willing to do for me. So I did. Healthy eating and getting the nutrients my body yearned for became a daily part of my life again, as well as my husband's (then boyfriend). With that, together we began eating healthy meals together, made from whole, raw fruits and vegetables. We set on a track to begin gardening and preserving our own foods. We also began taking Juice Plus+.
My commitment to "walk the walk" about healthy eating really began three years ago, as Mingus and I were dating and his food allergies (no dairy, eggs, red meat) forced him to do a lot of in-home cooking. At this time I also began to understand that even with my best efforts to eat well, fruits and vegetables were miracle workers when it came to my health and getting enough on a daily basis was next to impossible. In addition to smoothies being part of "walking the walk", Juice Plus+ also became a part of this walk.

Most people need to be told to "walk the walk" if they are going to "talk the talk". I, on the other hand, have spent three years walking the walk and have finally taken up the courage to "talk the talk".

I'm the furthest thing from a salesman anyone could be as I don't even like to push my general opinions with people unless I know they are are on the same page as me. (Unless we're talking about the color purple. I'll always tell you it's the best color ever.) 

But after three years of learning about Juice Plus+ and making it a part of mine and my husband's life and knowing our good health is a results of it, I can no longer not talk the talk. So I made the commitment to no longer be scared to bring the product to other people, if for no other reason than to simply reinforce and educate people on the unbelievable things fruits and vegetables can do for our health and futures. Health solutions are not all about medications and drugs after the fact. Prevention is a lot easier and cheaper. 

We all know fruits and veggies are healthy for us, but I don't think most people understand the miracle workers they are--and how badly we ALL need MORE of them with the direction our overall health as a society is headed.

I have much to share overtime about Juice Plus+ and why I've chosen to take it, support it, and now share it, but here are the highlights:
  • It's whole-food based nutrition (REAL fruits and vegetables, check the ingredients for yourself)
  • Fruits and vegetables have important antioxidants and phytonutrients our bodies need that we cannot get through vitamins or anything besides the fruits and veggies themselves, but eating enough a day, everyday, is VERY hard. Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap.
  • Currently 29 Juice Plus+ published research studies have been conducted in leading hospitals and universities around the world proving its value--That's not to mention the studies that have not been published.
  • It's not a multivitamin, medicine, treatment or cure for any disease. It's prevention and has been proven in numerous studies to improve poor health.
Juice Plus+ or not, start considering how you can get more fruits and veggies in your daily routine even if you're healthy as a horse. Future you will thank you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sports Talk: Volley for a Cure

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Sept. 25, 2013.
It’s quite the week in Casey County. The football team is gearing up for the first district game while also enjoying homecoming festivities. Golf teams are preparing for their regional tournament and there is no way to overlook the abundance of fun that comes with Apple Festival week.

But there is another big event taking place this Thursday that should not be overlooked: Volley for a Cure.

The VolleyRebs’ annual event is taking place this Thursday when they host Pulaski County, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event offers shirts to the first 100 supporters and a silent auction will take place. All of the proceeds from the night are set to benefit Casey County’s Relay for Life program.

In the past, the event has benefitted the Susan G. Koman foundation, but the team has decided to keep the money close to home and put it directly to the local program helping those we know and love fight the battle of cancer.

Hearing someone has a form of cancer is becoming more and more common for everyone. Sometimes it is someone you only know by name or know is related to someone else you know; other times it hits very, very close to home. As head Volleyball coach Veronica Sengkhamyong said to me, it’s hard to find anyone who has not been affected by cancer in some way—especially breast cancer.

The VolleyRebs are also inviting all cancer survivors to attend the event and be recognized. It’s important to never overlook the amazing odds these people beat when they take on the battle with cancer. Every day is a gift for them and is a gift to those who love them. They’ve gone through something that someone like myself has never had to face, and, God willing, never will.

It’s a busy week in the county, but if possible I encourage you to come to Thursday night’s volleyball game at the high school and support the cause, the team, the research, the survivors and those currently fighting for their lives.                 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sports Talk: The Move of the Governor's Cup

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Sept. 18, 2013.   
27-13. Was it the score you were expecting?

Cards or Cats fan, I feel it’s okay to admit that Louisville was the favored team in this year’s Governor’s Cup, so UofL coming out with another win was not of great surprise.

Unless watching with a group of devoted fans, I tend to root for the underdog in the Kentucky-Louisville meetings. Part of what makes rivalries great is that no matter how favored one team is, you tend to see a good game out of it. I know Louisville has potential for a great season, so in reality I did not want a loss on their record; however, I desperately wanted the Cats to put arrogant Cardinal fans in their place.

The teams’ 20th meeting this past Saturday closed out an era of the Governor’s Cup. Beginning next year the rivals will have their meeting at the end of the season rather than as an early season highlight.

As an Ohio State Buckeye fan, I’ve grown used to the epic Michigan throw down taking place as the finale of the season, and personally, find this change in the Bluegrass’s two rival schools’ schedules to be an exciting move.

What I love about a rivalry game is that all bets are off and even this past weekend proved that. Sure, the favored team did come out on top, but reality is Louisville should have been able to run away with the game from the first quarter and they did not.

The beauty of ending the season with your most precious rival is the fact that for fans this game, 99% of the time, matters more than any other game you play through the season—even a bowl game or defending a #1 ranking. And for whatever reason, even if one school is number one and the other has had an awful season, the anxieties leading up to the rival game maintain because all bets are off. The favored team is a fool to go in believing the game is in the bag.

While blow outs occur, it’s not uncommon to see the underdog give the opponent a run for their money even when there is no reason for it. Believe me… As an OSU fan who saw a streak of triumphant years under Jim Tressel, when that weekend in late November rolled around, no matter the Ohio State record compared to Michigan’s, the worst of the worst fears crept to mind: that that stinkin’ Michigan could potentially completely spoil your successful season.

Stats and records play a different role in this season-ending rivalry experience. Each team has solid proof of their talent and abilities due to previous games, but this almost raises the stakes of the big rivalry game. Expectations are that much higher, especially if you are with the favored team.

Since I am not the hardcore Cats or Cards fan, I had the The Kentucky Sports Rivalry Facebook page pose the question to followers about their feelings on this change. It sounds like a mixed review, but one thing is certain: the rivalry will not be lessened!

“I'm excited to see two teams who are more developed and experienced come together for this epic meeting. I think having more than two games under their belts will prove for a more interesting game.” -Michelle Delk/Cards Fan

“I like it. It could end bowl hopes for each team, either not getting in one or not going to the one you want to. It will add to the rivalry. For years Tennessee has been our last game and believe me if there is one team I hate more than UT it's UL, but I love the rivalry! I like the move. Go CATS!” -Matthew Richardson/Cats Fan

“I’m down on the move. The first game of the season gave both teams unrivaled air time. Moving it to the end of the season will only be a good move if both teams remain relevant in the future, otherwise it'll be lost amongst the Bama/AU's and OU/UM's. Nobody is going want to watch a 10-2 team play a 2-10 team or two 2-10's play each other.” -Josh Watson/Cards Fan

“Be a great way to end a non-bowl bid season for either team.” –Joshua Lynn/Cats Fan

I have mixed feelings on the whole situation. I LOVED it as the first game because it made the entire off-season filled with hopes, anticipation, and smack talk between each side.  I also like the move to make it fall in line with the more traditional and storied rivalries. My fear is that with Kentucky being such a basketball-centric state, and with the game falling INSIDE basketball season is that the football game will kind of be an afterthought. It will be interesting to see how my Cards handle it after having to kind of experience what UK does every year in actually playing tougher teams week-in and week-out instead of only a game or two a season. Both teams will have to survive the injury bug after being "battle-tested" so to speak.” –Chris Edwards/Cards Fan

“I think it's really cool, especially for UK fans that don't really have high expectations for football anyway, that game that means the most to the fans will now feel like a kind of championship game at the end of the season.” -Ben Short/Cats Fan

“It's still going to be a huge game no matter when it's played. Every one in the state watches this game and always will. It may lose some of the attention it gets from ESPN, but it will always be the best time of year for football fans in the bluegrass state. Except for Western fans. The best time of the year for them is stomping UK and we all get a good laugh out of it! GO CARDS!!” -John Casey/Cards Fan

 “I like the move simply because it gives UL fans more time to think up excuses if they lose.” -Jared Hatter/Cats Fan

Monday, September 16, 2013

An impromptu maternity shoot...sort of...

I had a fun little unexpected experience this past weekend. I ended up doing a mini-maternity shoot right here in our very own Valley!

Katy Sweeney-Wilson is someone I feel like I've known my entire life. Although we have never been close personal friends, our families and paths have been intertwined for years. Katy was a good friend of my older brother's, as she was a little ahead of him in school. Her mother was my eighth grade English teacher and her father led the youth leadership charge during my pre-teen/early teen years. He has since been mayor of our lovely, little town of Liberty. (He was one of the early non-family members to make calling me by my nickname, "Peat", okay!) Katy has always been a phenomenal dancer and worked with my group of Kentucky Junior Miss contestants when I was a senior in high school. That's just a snapshot of our many meetings over the years... That's life in a small town and you've got to love it!

It just so happens that my cousin, Ru, and her cousin were also married several years ago and now she and my cousin are co-workers at one of the local elementary schools and have become even closer friends because of it. Ru, like myself, has always been a lover of pictures and photography. She did most of her three children's photos herself through their wee years, but Katy, having kiddos of her own, has also developed a knack and enjoyment of photography. She's currently pursuing a small side business in photography on the weekends. She was visiting our property last weekend in order to do a shoot for Ru's family and one of them (not sure who!) thought it could be a great opportunity to add some maternity shots to her portfolio. 

I'm not exactly model material and I warned them that my chances of getting Mingus to clean up and be nice looking for a photo op on a perfectly beautiful Saturday (when he hasn't been home on a Saturday in five weeks!) were slim to none, but I was happy to do it. I did not plan to do any maternity photos, as purchasing my Canon Rebel was my investment in future family photography, so it was a nice excuse to let someone else have the creative eye and see what they came up with. Mingus was a sport about it. While he did not "get pretty" or even clean up... he did take a break from digging potatoes in order to help Katy out. Luckily the outdoor shots made his look seem to fit well.

She was relaxed and easy to work with--especially for someone like me who definitely feels far from "natural" on camera. She was also speedy on the turnaround for having photos for preview. She has a good eye for lighting and camera scope. I love what she was able to do with a natural environment and to use the natural light and colors.

Thanks for choosing me to be your maternity "guinea pig", Katy! 

**All photos taken, edited and owned by Katy Sweeney-Wilson

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Farewell to the Love Shack

It's officially over. Our five year affair of fun with the Love Shack in West Mansfield, Ohio is officially over. It's hard to say whether five years have passed quickly or slowly. In so many ways, the fun had on that exciting weekend in October 2008 seems only, oh, maybe a year ago. At the same time, the worlds we are all in are oh-so-different now.
October 2008: Our inaugural gathering at The Love Shack
August 2013: The final gathering at The Love Shack
The Beginning: October 2008
Our good friend Gress took a job in Columbus after finishing speed school at UofL in 2008. We sent him off with a ridiculous shindig in July (that also felt very much like a shindig saying farewell to my college career...). By October Gress had found a place to call home in Ohio and where his, then girl friend (now wife), Boo, would be moving in with him. I'm pretty sure it was the weekend after Gress first received the keys to his new home that about 12 of us made the road trip north to visit. The house, located on several acres of land on a lonely state highway with few and far between neighbors, was still completely empty. We all brought pillows and blankets and cozy clothes and (most importantly, then) lots of booze. Most of us being still in "college mode" to some degree at least, floor beds were welcome. Simply having a pillow and blanket to go with the floor was a luxury--that is if you could find both before simply opting for passing out wherever you fell. We had a ridiculously fun weekend that I know all of us will always remember (despite how much we never remembered to begin with). 
Gress Family Portrait in 2008 before they were officially a family!
Present: The last weekend of August 2013, we packed up all of that stuff that hadn't even made its way into the home in October 2008 and had a convoy to Kentucky as the Gresses made their move back to Louisville. 

What's happened between now and then?

  • Boo & Gress got engaged and married.
  • Nic and Michelle, newlyweds then, are expecting baby #1 now.
  • Chad is engaged to a lovely lady none of us even had the pleasure of knowing in 2008.
  • Benzo has written and composed an entire album of original music that he now performs with his own band
  • Dani, no longer with her 2008 guy, is in a serious relationship with her current boyfriend and has completed her masters.
  • Joshie is overseas with the National Guard traveling all over the middle east.
  • Deutsch, not even 21 in 2008, is well through his Bellarmine career, working for a TV station while his serious girlfriend pursues her masters.
  • Jaso couldn't even attend our final trip to Ohio, because it was only days before he left for bootcamp with the National Guard.
  • Ben and Miche, who were merely friends on opposite sides of our circle of friends then, are now engaged--thanks to the sparks that flew in October 2008.
  • Me, a recent college grad with Mingus nowhere on my radar then (who didn't even make his first Love Shack trip with us that October), is now happily married almost two years and is expecting baby #1. 
The Story Behind the Name: The Love Shack
The house was named the Love Shack for obvious reasons, starting with Miche and Ben. It was solidified after Mingus and I. I cannot recall that I ever recounted mine and Mingus's beginning, but the Love Shack most definitely had everything to do with it. The funny thing about both Ben & Miche and Mingus & I is that our beginnings are so similar. In both cases we knew each other for years prior to a relationship. We'd been at many of the same parties, events and outings because of being in the same circle of friends; thus the reason we would end up at the Love Shack together--visiting mutual friends. However, between coming in on opposite sides of that circle and the fact that one person in each of the duos (Miche and Mingus) were in serious relationships throughout these years of crossed paths, we never really even got to know each other for years. 

But then the Love Shack happened.

Ben & Miche: October 2008
Their story happened all on its own accord; however, several of us dreamed up what a perfect match they could be leading up to that first weekend. Myself and the three who traveled north with me for that weekend even plotted on our drive how this weekend could be an ideal time to push the two together. No plotting was necessary. Although coming in separate vehicles, they two of them were already at the Love Shack when we arrived and the sparks were clearly already flying. They did not leave in separate vehicles that weekend and they never looked back either.

August 2013: The original Love Shack Lovers,
now planning a wedding!
Peat & Mingus: January 2010
A year and a half later I made my second trip to the Love Shack. I had not planned to make the trip at all. Why Mingus asked me to ride to Ohio with him for a weekend, when we weren't really even close friends and we never talked or why I said "yes" when he asked me on a Tuesday and we left on a Friday, are both mysteries that can only be described as FATE. I almost always had weekend plans with friends then, or when I didn't, I usually welcomed the down time. FATE is the only answer I have for why I'd agree to a last minute road trip with someone who was practically a stranger. But instead it was the best decision either of us ever made. While our time spent at the Love Shack that weekend was a blast--other friends joined us up there--it was the hours on the road to and from that opened our eyes to each other in a new way. By the time we returned to Louisville, neither of us wanted to say goodbye. We had dinner that night and spent the next day, MLK Day, together as well...and we never looked back.

January 2010: The road trip weekend that started it all!
August 2013: Married & Expecting in less than 2 months!
We've all made various trips to West Mansfield over the years. Sometimes it was the giant crew of us again, other times it was only a couple of us. We've had our crazy shenanigans, we've planned weddings, talked babies, cooked together, baked together, played in the snow, had fun trips to Columbus and so much more. An annual favorite was always Chinese New Year, which is what we celebrated the first weekend Mingus and I made our trip together in 2010. (See 2012 here and 2013 here.) 

There were eight of us who joined Gress and Sara the last weekend of August to help them pack up the giant Uhaul and embark on the caravan of five vehicles to Louisville. While maybe Miche & Ben and Mingus & I have our individual love stories that inspired the name for the Love Shack, I think the real love that the 70's ranch home brought about was a love of a group of friends. I know every one of us who ever made the trip to the Love Shack felt it... It was a special intimacy we share as friends that was especially nurtured at the Love Shack. Any time we gathered here, far north from our homes and out of the city it was more like a family reunion than a friend reunion. While the first trip revolved around our crazy shenanigans that were quite common at that time in our lives, as time rolled on, the trips were more about time together and the chance to try new things together and make new memories. We've all gotten busier and settled into our individual lives, but somehow we've grown closer even with not maybe spending quite as much time together. 

We will miss out getaway house, the Love Shack, but we are stoked to have our wonderful friends back in Kentucky and close to home for the rest of us.

August 2013: Ready to unload the Uhaul at their new Louisville home!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sports Talk: Rebel sports coverage back on local radio station

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Sept. 11, 2013.   
Have you made it out to Rebel field for a game this season? Maybe yes, maybe no. Schedules don’t always work out with how busy we all are these days. Here’s the good news, though, if you weren't aware: you can always tune into live Rebel action, thanks to WKDO.

I was extremely excited to find out that our local radio station was going to again be following the team to both home and away games to give all fans the opportunity to cheer Casey on from their homes or  work or even while on the road. 

Since I have only been living in Casey County again for the past two and a half years, I am not sure when radio broadcasts for some of our sport teams ceased, but I remember it being a regular part of my high school career.  I made it to a lot of events as a student but, especially during basketball season, I missed a lot of the men’s games due to having my own busy schedule managing the girls’ team. It was nice to have the option to tune into the games from home and hear my friends’ names being announced and be in on the big moments and close games.

I know Classic Country cannot carry all of our sports teams, but I am very glad they are bringing back football and basketball. I am actually due with our first child in October, meaning life is bound to get more hectic and traveling to Rebel sporting events is only going to get more complicated. Hearing the news that more of them would be broadcast on the radio was extra exciting.

Let’s not overlook the fact this happening is not thanks to WKDO alone. A lot of our local businesses are the ones making this possible by sponsoring the broadcasts: Casey County Bank, Don Franklin Motors, Sweet Beans n' Things, Tri-County Feeds, Save-A-Lot of Liberty, Long's Automotive & Truck Service, the Monticello Banking Company, Whited's 1547 Auto Sales and the Bread of Life CafĂ©. (This was the list posted to WKDO’s Facebook page as of Aug. 22. Apologies if there are any new sponsors I did not include.)

Be sure extend your thanks to these businesses which are helping bring Rebel sports back to the radio. This is my way of thanking the radio and all of the businesses supporting Rebel sports. And while I’m at it, I’ll say nice work to Dan Johnson and Steven Brown for their football announcing and commentary. I’m loving it and it’s even worth listening to while watching live!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Baby Growth: Weeks 30, 31, 32 & 33

Eek! We're down to only 7 weeks to go? Really?? I don't know why but seven just seems so much shorter to me than eight. I guess because in the back of my mind there is such a reality that it actually could happen at any time--what with people having premies and all. 

Comfort: I admit, I'm getting more and more uncomfortable. The point of excitement about my growing belly has past--at least for me. Now I have to heave myself up from any position--out of the car, out of bed, out of chair. off the floor, etc, etc... A lot of times I have to do a round-about/roll-around to get to my feet. There is constant soreness down low, I suppose from my body adjusting and preparing for the Peangling to drop down. I tell myself that this pain is for my own benefit and will help make the delivery process smoother. My feet are definitely swelling more frequently. Luckily Mingus has treated me to some foot rubs, God love him! I sure do...

Sleep: I am also having more trouble sleeping. The pee-breaks aren't so much the problem. I do go but it's more just a matter of not being able to sleep.  I have some sort of acid reflex thing going on--except not from acidic food. It happens anytime I lay down... I feel like something is at the top of my throat ready to come up, so laying on my back is now out in addition to the stomach sleeping that was gone long ago. A lot of times laying on my sides doesn't even help the situation. Last night I finally gave up and read for an hour before trying to go back to sleep. 

Other things to note: My belly button is full-on outie. I know I'm still growing because of the fact I have to pull my belly back in order to even see all of my belly button. My once "extra big" t-shirts are now snug (See the week 33 photo...That shirt swallowed me at the beginning of the summer) and I'm resorting to rooting through Mingus's dresser drawers for comfy shorts and shirts. I'm trying to do some stretching and walking regularly to keep everything as loose as possible and to be ready for that "marathon" they call delivery. My once extra-loose rings now don't budge off my fingers. My belly periodically gets very hard, which I'm starting to think are the Braxton Hicks contractions but I'm not sure. 

Fun happenings: During the last four weeks we've had plenty of good things happen too. Activity continues pretty consistently. We had our second shower and we had our final ultrasound. We even got to see the little Peangling's face! All reports from the doctor's remain positive and I continue to show an earlier due date than originally projected. (Oct. 17 instead of Oct. 21) I was able to snag a few baby Mingus pictures from his family on our last visit so when the babe arrives I have a better idea what features it gets from its Pop. My cousin-in-law with two little girls passed on a lot of toys and gear she is now done with.  

Birthday: Mom gave me a great breastfeeding book for my birthday I know will be an excellent resource; however, I do still need to sign up for the hospital's course. Jon did a great job shoe shopping once again. At first he was going to get me some cute black Crocs, but then opted for these colorful and fun Keens. He too, at this point, has noted my swelling feet and legs and thought more supportive shoes would be a good idea--and they do feel great. (He's also been a gem and rubbed my feet/calves from time to time!)

Weeks 26, 27, 28 & 29
Weeks 22, 23, 24 & 25
Weeks 18, 19, 20 & 21

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Cart Full of Junk

I had a realization about myself on a shopping trip this week. Mingus was prepping for a four-day camping trip and I was having a couple of girl friends down, so I wasn't on a regular grocery trip. It was definitely a defined list of items he need (wanted) for camping and some things I knew my friends and I would enjoy (as well as I few easy dinner/snack items for the days when I was home solo). 

As I pushed my cart around Walmart I became more and more self-conscious about its contents and the items I was adding to it. What a disaster. Soda, hot dogs, oatmeal cream pies, bacon, white buns, chips, cinnamon rolls....Yikes! By the time I was through I looked at my cart and I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd had such a junk-filled trip. 

Now, in the back of my mind I knew a few self-redeeming things about this trip:

  1. There were some OK things in the cart: oranges, grapes, potato salad...
  2. Our trips are never very produce section heavy... Why? Because we rely on our garden for our produce for the most part. A bulk of our food--even meat--we produce ourselves. We eat whatever we have in season. And while I am glad people shop out of the produce section, I find comfort in knowing we have our home-grown goods, which I know exactly how they were grown--chemical free.
  3. This particular trip was a one of a kind.... Filled with items we NEVER buy, but I'm fine with letting me or Mingus splurge on junk when it's a rare fun event with friends.
Despite these things, I still felt like the crazy pregnant lady with the food I was buying. That's when it hit me that what was bothering me wasn't about fatty, sugary or high calorie foods. It was about the literal JUNK in the "foods" (if you can call some of it that) in my cart. To think people thought The JUNK in these things would be going into my body,and, in turn, into my baby's as well. 

Because of my small frame, I've always been fortunate to not have to worry much about my weight. I've had more and more friends, as I get older, pay attention to calories or certain diets in order to lose weight. I respect that--I hope I would/will have the discipline to follow a strict diet if I find myself in a situation of gaining too much weight. 

No, it's not about the fact I wasn't buying low-fat, low-sugar, low sodium, weight-watcher friendly items. I realized what bothered me about this trip wasn't the lack of health labels on the items in my cart. It was what FDA doesn't require: all of the bizarre, weird, unpronounceable junk listed under "ingredients"--and worse off, the randomness that goes into those things that aren't required on the label. 

It's what makes me eat an oatmeal cream pie and, while loving it, still asking myself exactly what makes it sooo good and last for months on end without going bad. It's what makes me gag a little when I drink too much soda, wondering what exactly goes into the sugary syrupy substance that makes it sweet. It's what makes me not even want to look at the ingredients list when I know I already know it's incredibly too long full of things no common person has ever heard of. 

All I can think of looking at a cart like I was pushing are the chemicals going into my body, my husband's body and my baby's growing body. And the thing is, I know that by eating all of the junk in my cart I probably won't see immediate effects (maybe a tummy ache if I ate it all at once).  My fear is the future

It seems new allergy problems are becoming common on a regular basis in our society. More and more people experience heart and health problems at an earlier age. That's not to mention cancer--something it seems no one can hide from. I can't help but wonder and fear, as I eat things full of weird ingredients, that I am setting myself up for a future of dealing with weird food intolerance, other health issues, or heaven forbid, cancer. 

I am far from a "perfect" eater. I have the world's worst sweet tooth, salty foods call my name, and I've definitely used pregnancy as a crutch for my ice cream weakness. As terrible as it is, I love McDonald's french fries. I do put bad things in my body. But I do usually feel badly about it and I try my very best to balance these impulses with also eating fresh goodness from our garden, taking my Juice Plus and putting off the time until my next splurge.

Despite your weight or body type, start taking some note of the extra "junk" you are putting in your body. You don't have to become a saint about leaving it out, but remember there are so many unknowns about what effects these things we consume are having on our bodies and health. The least you can do is be sure you are balancing out the bad with plenty of good: lots of organic fruits and vegetables. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sports Talk: A fan-worthy game for the Rebel Home Opener

 As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Sept. 4 2013.
Fall really seemed to come to life this past weekend, at least for me, despite the continued hot days. September is officially here and college football is underway. On top of that, Casey had its first home football game and nothing makes me happier than seeing the crowd of columbia blue and red in the stands and along the fence line of our home field. Well, I guess a win to go with it would have made me happier.
Whether you were at the game, heard or read about it afterwards or tuned in on the radio, (Thank you WKDO for carrying the games again this year), you know what a heartbreaker it was. A one-point loss always is, but add that to having led the entire game, a questionable touchdown that gave Taylor the edge in the last minute, and the real kicker: a fabulous effort on behalf of the Rebels.

I hope the athletes and coaches know what a great showing they made last Friday, despite the “L” that stands next to the final score.  From start to finish the game was engaging and exciting for anyone spectating. I was actually supposed to leave for Ohio on Friday evening, but opted to stay home to cover the game live and leave Saturday morning instead and the Rebels definitely made that decision more than worth it.

Yes, there were mistakes and moments when I’d cringe or shout or clench my fists, but seeing both upper and lower classmen make big plays and the team bounce back from mistakes seemed to reveal a spark in Rebel football that I was so hopeful for this season.

The end result may have been a loss but I saw so many wins throughout the night that were a turn around from last season. It’s exciting to see the progress of the program and I hope the spark and momentum of the team’s home opener only builds. Casey, no doubt has a tough schedule ahead, but I am optimistic that despite the competition and win/loss results, the team will not lose that spark they showed developing last Friday.

A loss, but Congratulations to Coach Marple, his staff and the team on a great home opener nonetheless, You gave this Rebel fan, and many others I’m sure, a reason to be excited for this coming Friday and the rest of the fall. Keep it up!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Backyard Baby-Q!

August brought for another wonderful shower with family! We traveled to Newburgh where Mingus's parents and sister did an excellent job of bringing together both sides of his family as well as family friends for a wonderful evening barbecue. 
Rather than the traditional ladies-only afternoon shower complete with pastels and games and finger foods, we had a relaxing backyard barbecue that Mingus and I could both enjoy. We don't get to town a whole lot as is and even when we do we don't usually see a lot of the family. This gave both of us the opportunity to catch up with everyone in the family--well to some degree. Obviously there is only so much catching up you can do in an evening with that many people.
The food was absolutely amazing. His parents, sister, aunt and uncle all contributed to the food. It was a beautiful day--rather warm but their wonderful neighbor Peggy lent her outdoor furniture for the backyard, which had just perfect shading to keep everyone comfortable. Purple, green and yellow decor brightened the atmosphere.

We were blessed with many warm wishes, the opportunity to meet the newest member of the Harris family: Isabelle. She was only a week old and itty, bitty! We were given so many wonderful gifts as well. We are pretty much set with bathing necessities. We got fun books and toys as well. We were really excited to get the diaper bag we registered for, which is a chocolate brown and is actually a backpack style bag. Jon is the one who found it at Babies'R'Us when we registered and was equally pumped to have gotten it. 
We also got an extra fun gift we weren't expecting. It's a full-size red kiddo wagon with rubber wheels and everything. Obviously it's not something the Peangling can or will use right away (although I can imagine some great photo ops!) but any baybo/kiddo in the Valley needs a red wagon for growing up and I'm SO glad we have one now!
We're so blessed to have such wonderful family and especially to have them praying for us and excited and supporting us. Thanks to them for giving us a great celebration and a wonderful time with everyone. 
Oliver with baby Isabelle
The expectant ladies!
Mingus & Grandma Lily!