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Fading of Fall

My favorite season is quickly leaving me, and I have let it pass me by this year. I have been so busy with life that fall has seemingly come and gone. I look outside my window and see that most of the trees in my neighborhood are now bare, prepared for the winter chill, and I’m quite sad about this. Normally, this time of year for me is a time of picture taking, open windows, and pumpkin farms. This year, however, it has been a time of busy life happenings: doctors appointments, things related to David’s work, lots of chores, extra naps, illnesses, and just being overall too busy to stop and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Thinking of fall passing me by, I realized that there is one tradition that David and I used to do all the time before we got married but have not done once since being married: carving pumpkins. I totally miss it. We used to each pick out a pattern from one of the books, enlarge it to our pumpkin’s size, and carve away until we had some pretty awesome jack-o-lanterns. But for the past few years, we haven’t even bought a single pumpkin, let alone carved one. I think the mess and time of it has recently outweighed the finished product to us which really saddens me. I feel like it’s about time we reinstate the pumpkin carving tradition simply because it makes me happy in the end, and I can cook the pumpkin seeds (the funny thing is I don’t even like the taste of pumpkin seeds, but I love to bake them).

This realization about the pumpkins led me to think of what else we need to do that we simply have never done together: apple picking. I love  the idea of apple picking, and I have never done it. I just have this desire to go and pick my own apples then come home and make a dozen different products with the fresh produce. I don’t know why this idea is so appealing to me, but I imagine it has something to do with reminding me of many colonial literature books I read when I was a kid. It just sounds romantic, fun, and organic.

So, I’m hoping that before fall is over, we can at least carve pumpkins this year. And my goal is that next year or possibly the year after that we will finally go apple picking! I’ll let you know how these goals turn out, but hopefully there will be cute pictures of jack-o-lanterns covering my next blog post!

Wishing all my friends and family a wonderful remainder of this beautiful season! Enjoy it while it lasts because the cold and snow is coming soon! 🙂

And the House is Bare. . .

I did one of my least favorite activities today, taking down the Christmas decorations.  I’m actually still working on this, but I had to take a break to do my treatment.  I’m always amazed by two different things when the decorations finally come down: 1) Our house looks incredibly bare and boring.  2) Our living room is HUGE!

I hate losing all the cheer, but I love gaining the space back after everything is down.  I usually wait until the end of January or beginning of February to take everything down, but this year I’m just ready to continue on to spring!  I think part of the reason I feel this urgency is because of the crazy weather.  It’s 56 degrees outside right now . . . in northern Illinois . . . on January 10.  This is only one of many days like this recently, and tomorrow we are going to almost hit 60!  This weather is confusing everything as my friend told me she had baby birds in a nest and the violets were blooming. . . in Illinois . . . In January. Crazy.

I end up taking down decorations by myself while David is working.  He has a really hard time with the decorations coming down (it makes him sad to lose the cheer and happiness of the season), and it’s much easier if he comes home and it’s just already down.  I must say, I’m quite proud of myself this year.  I managed to get the 7.5 foot tree down, all decorations put away, AND all the furniture moved back. . . by myself! During the furniture moving process, all baseboards and floors were vacuumed, and all the furniture was dusted.  I can already feel my back telling me how stupid I was, but my lungs are feeling just fine.  Gotta love that!  Anyone planning on visiting – now’s your chance . . . the house will NOT be this clean again til summer!

After my treatment, I’ll finish cleaning a final few things, throw in a second load of laundry, and go grab green peppers for dinner: stuffed peppers!

Preparing for Thanksgiving and Junky Lungs

Well! It’s that time of year! Thanksgiving is now less than a week away, and the black Friday ads are popping up everywhere.  Turkey Day is truly one of my favorite holidays (and I would imagine many other cysters and fibros might agree with me).  Any holiday which encourages high fat, high calorie, super-filling meals, which I don’t have to prepare, is perfection!  I can’t wait to sit down to a nice huge plate of turkey smothered in gravy, smooth whipped potatoes bathed in butter and gravy, creamy green bean casserole topped with crunchy fried onions, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, cranberries, Jello fluff, and pumpkin pie. Anybody else hungry yet?

This year we will be celebrating with my parents and sister the day before Thanksgiving, and then will celebrate with David’s family on Thanksgiving day.  I’m planning on making something for each get together, though I have no idea what to bring. I’m just glad we will all be together as a family and able to enjoy a filling and delicious meal!

Until then, I will continue to worry about my lungs a bit.  Last week I had blood in my mucus which quit after laying off of the Cayston and hypertonic saline for a day or two.  Yesterday, I coughed up more mucus with blood in it.  I really really hate seeing that. I’m grateful that it’s not pure blood, but it’s still scary, that’s for sure.  Today I’ve been extremely exhausted and my lungs are sore so I’m hoping it’s not a sign of a bad lung infection coming on.  I have been coughing way more than normal the past few days so that could easily be the reason for both of those feelings.

I did get in touch with my CF nurse practitioner, Penny.  She was the one who suggested laying off of the hypertonic and Cayston to begin with which did help.  I found out I have 3 different strains of MRSA in my lungs and I’m allergic to one of the best drugs to fight off MRSA.  This means if I have to do a PICC line it will be massive..huge…last-resort kind of antibiotics.  That might be why coughing up bloody sputum scares me so much.  So, hopefully as the week continues my lungs will heal up and start feeling better!!

Today I am thankful for clean drinking water.  I know this seems odd but I really think that too many of us take this for granted.  I was putting a new filter into my PUR water pitcher and I realized that we are so blessed to have an abundance of clean, delicious, water.  There is nothing that tastes better than ice-cold water when you’re thirsty (at least in my opinion).

Winter is Coming!

Winter is coming! Today is definitely trying to tell us that fact in the Chicago area. I woke up today and took David to school, as I always do, and it was surprisingly warm outside.  Then, about a half hour after returning home, the wind started to pick up.

I sat watching the leaves whipping through the air and the tree branches bending as the wind beat them all up.  As I looked at all the bare trees and bushes, and my dying mums in the front of the house, I realized that November has definitely arrived in full force.  The power of the wind this time of year never ceases to amaze me.  Today, as we approach afternoon, the temperatures are dropping and the warm breeze is now turning into a chilly, wet, and howling wind. In fact, the forecast is now predicting our first snow flurries this afternoon and tomorrow, and although it won’t stick, it’s still snow.

Snow.

When I was little snow used to excite me to no end. I would wait for the first snowfall of the year and all additional snowfalls, and I would play for hours at a time.  Hot chocolate was my best friend, and I vividly remember putting my boots and gloves over the heat vents throughout the house and then tearing off my three layers of soaking wet socks.

As I’ve aged, my view of snow has changed as well.  I still love the first snowflakes of the season, and words lack the ability to describe the quietness and peacefulness of the first blanketing snowfall.  There is something about the untouched, glistening snow over the ground that calms me and warms me.  I also long for snow on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  I love waking up to a winter wonderland as we celebrate Jesus’s birthday with our family.

The day after Christmas, however, I’m done with snow for good.  I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to scrape it off my car, I don’t want to shovel the driveway, I don’t want to clean it up from the floor after the dog has gone outside, and I definitely loathe driving in the stuff.  Unfortunately, after Christmas is normally when our heaviest snows arrive.  Last year, early February brought the blizzard of 2011 which left us homebound for 2 days while we dug ourselves out of the 4 foot drifts.  I don’t doubt that this year we will see some heavy snows in January and February again, but when they come they are just irritating, annoying, and troublesome.

Also, last year I started having a harder time breathing in the cold. I HATE the severe cold of winter.  I practically lived indoors last winter, and I didn’t do much of the shoveling because of how my lungs felt. Hopefully, this year will be better, but I’m not putting any weight on that hope.  David also hates the extreme cold.  Because of this, we are REALLY considering getting remote start for our car (which sits outside the entire winter) as a Christmas present to each other.  It’s not too bad cost wise, around $400 for parts and labor, and it would mean we wouldn’t have to wait for the car to warm up before driving off somewhere.  It’s a total luxury, and we really don’t need it.  But, we’re definitely considering it!

With that said, it’s time to state what I’m thankful for.  On this cold and blustery day, I’m thankful for heat, warm coffee, and cuddly blankets.  David and I have become coffee fanatics in the past couple of years, and a warm cup always seems to do the trick for our mood.  Also, I love the feeling of curling up under a snuggly blanket when the air around me is cold.  I feel secure, calm, and happy under blankets.  I know there are many people who suffer from cold, especially at this time of year, and I’m grateful to have heat, warm drinks, and blankets to keep me nice and toasty warm.

I hope you all stay nice and warm on this chilly November day, and I hope you are able to find something to be thankful for today.

A Glimpse of Autumn

My bestie came over yesterday and suggested a walk.  These are a few of the shots we took while strolling through the neighborhood.

I love all the various colors we captured and I managed to get a very cute one of our golden retriever enjoying the sunshine and fall foliage.

Autumn is . . .

Autumn is. . . my favorite season – hands down.  My heart warms as summer starts fading intofall, and the air turns crisper and cooler. I love the way the trees start to tease us with their hints of color andI love being able to deeply inhale the scents that are associated with a crispautumn breeze: the rustic smell of leaves and tree bark, the warm smell ofcinnamon, nutmeg, and freshly baked bread, and the smell of outdoor festivalswhich have their own unique but wondrous scent. 

This fall seemed to be coming a bit more slowly than inprevious years, as summer seemed to cling onto the branches for eternity, butupon waking this morning I knew that fall was here and summer had ended.  We may get one or two more warm days, but themajority of days will be clean, cool, and sunny.  Even the rainy days seem magical to me atthis time of year. Autumn is also the season of change for me.  Obviously, the biggest change is the color ofthe leaves prior to their fall, but I also change as well.  I tend to slow down and become moreappreciative of every part of my life.  Ifocus more on family and warm, home-cooked meals.  My home turns into a festive abode, completewith the scents and tastes of the season. I also bunker down with books and some sort of craft/activity this timeof year. 
This year, my activity is improving my writing skills whichhave drastically dwindled over the past years. My current book is The TimeTraveler’s Wife (please don’t ruin it for me as I have yet to finish it orsee the movie).  My desire right now is to decorate for fall.  My taste right now is for warm bread with a nice, hearty casserole.  My favorite scent of the moment is “AutumnLeaves” from Yankee Candle.  My favoritepart of my day is relaxing on the sofa with my husband, reflecting on theblessings the Lord has provided for us. Yes, it’s fair to say that I love fall and all the aspects of my lifethat change each year as the season begins.
Is this your favorite season? If so, why?
One of the last “green” pictures of our tree line during our 1.5 mile walk.  I’ll be sure to include the changing colors throughout September and October.