Monday, March 25, 2013

The Best Anniversary of All

If you haven't noticed, I'm a commemorative person. Jacob isn't really, more just humors me, but he never forgets my birthday, our child's birthday, or our anniversary (aside from the fact that I "mention it in passing," starting a month before so he doesn't even really have a chance). But Jacob has been keeping marginal track of this particular anniversary.

Today, he is


smoke free!!

I don't have the words to describe how proud I am of him and how grateful for quitting. He had always wanted to quit smoking but got stressed at the mere idea. So he wound up quitting by default when we didn't have the cash for a pack. After three days, he decided he was strong and could keep it up, and now here we are, 362 days later.

At one year he:
  • smells and tastes things easier
  • snores less
  • gets over colds faster
  • has the risk half that of a smoker for coronary heart disease and stroke
  • has more energy
  • has improved blood pressure
  • has a lower risk of heart attack
  • has more normally functioning lungs
  • has arguably more money (in theory; we just end up spending it on something else, just not of the addiction persuasion. Pretty sure Vodka isn't an addiction...)
  • is less stressed (obviously this wasn't the case at first)
He'll tell you that his cravings today are just as strong as they were the day after he quit and maybe he's right; maybe he's just gotten better at handling the cravings. I mean, he can't rotate the tires on the car every few hours.

According to a few things I've read, cigarette-ditchers who make it to the 2-year mark have an 80-percent chance of remaining smoke-free for the rest of their lives. So let's continue supporting, encouraging, and distracting him! The list of benefits grows with each passing day, with the most important benefit of all - we get to keep him a little longer.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Roadtrippin' Down Memory Lane

This spring has been a bit weird. One week it was in the 70's, the following week, freezing and snowing. So when it was nice, we took advantage of the nice weather (and the new tires Jacob was finally able to put on his Honda thanks to slow saving and the extreme generosity of our brother-in-law) and drove up to Red Lodge for the day. We've been through the town several times over the last several years, but this was the first time we went specifically to Red Lodge. Of course, we took the long way.

 A pro at the roadtrippin.' She devoured all parts of her Happy Meal then she napped.

 Dropping into Red Lodge.

As I'm sure you've committed to memory, the last time we visited Red Lodge was for our wedding.

Zoey fell asleep shortly before we reached Red Lodge, so we decided to check out the Red Lodge Mountain Resort, somewhere we've always talked about going - and more than just for a drive - but have never been able.

 I was like, "This is it? We're not missing much." Turns out, this is, like, the back of it, or something, and there is a lot more to the area, and way more interesting. So, yeah, still haven't seen the resort.

How Zoey rolls.

 We stopped and got out in Downtown Red Lodge.

 Before we even left the house, we decided it would be fun to have lunch at the place we had our wedding "reception, " The Red Lodge Pizza Company (which sounds way more ghetto that it is; it's a cute pizza restaurant with a nice, old-fashioned room in the back that hosts such event as wedding receptions). This was the first time we were having their pizza, or seeing the inside of the restaurant. (Sidebar: Zoey is coughing just as the picture was taken, not about to hurl her guts up as it suggests.)

 HUGE (and freakin' delicious!) pieces of pizza.

 Yes, he ordered that for himself...

 No way I wasn't going to at least try it.

That's right, I'm the chick who ordered a salad at a local pizza place. But it was freakin' good, and I had had nothing but pizza the last two days from our favorite pizza joint in Billings - of which we still had leftovers in the fridge.

 After we finished eating, Zoey wanted to ride the pony. It was a bit fast, and scared her for a split second, but then she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She wasn't about to go a second time, though.

 There is a bull of similar nature next to the horse and she thought for a moment she wanted to ride on it. We set her up there and she quickly decided, nope, not gonna do it.

 Daddy and daughter.

 A couple more downtown pictures. Tourists at heart.

 We don't usually bring the DVD player, or even really use it, but she was more in the mood for Tinkerbell than scenery she's grown up seeing; at least not until she gets to the nostalgic phase of her life.

 The Yellowstone.

 We pulled into Riverfront Park when we got into Billings. Zoey was fascinated by the lake, so we pulled in for a closer view.

It was nice to have the pleasant weather, but I'm kind of glad to be back to the cold, with a chance of moisture. It's only March, I'm not ready to bare my glaringly white skin. Let us get back from Arizona first.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Montana Charity-in' Part Two

So, in theory, this was to be posted a lot more often. In practice, it wasn't because I completely forgot about it - not the charity, just the post itself.

The event to cap off our fundraising efforts for the Muscular Dystrophy Association was last weekend with the 2013 Muscle Walk at one of the local high schools. It's a symbolic one and a half laps around a school gymnasium, specifically designed for those in wheelchairs, or on crutches, and the like. It was a fun event, but the actual walk almost made me a bit teary. Before and after, however, it was a lot of food, games, coloring, balloons, running around, and running around after Zoey.

 Checking things out after just arriving.

 Waiting in line for a balloon animal. 

 Asking for what she wanted in the way of balloons in the shape of animals.

 A pink foofie, of course!!

She was so excited by her balloon dog that when the Red Robin bird came to say hello, she held up the balloon and declared, "It's a puppy!!"

 I know exactly what my dad is thinking right now. ("She should play basketball. I mean, really." *dad face*)

 The turnout was relatively small by comparison, but we were told that it was more than double last year's turn-out. So, yay!

 Zoey is pretty outgoing, but she was kind of shy with all of the other kids, so she did a lot of standing back and watching. She's like her parents that way.

 They had a station to make team posters, so we settled in and got right to work.

 Chuck E. Cheese came by and helped.

 Our completed team poster!

A big THANK YOU to all of my (and our team's) generous donors. I had promised to put their names on my t-shirt but we didn't actually get one, so I put them on our poster. And since the walk, more donations have come in! So thank you, Mom/Dad, Lori, the Hinmans, Uncle Mark, Uncle Ken, Uncle Aaron, and The McIntyre Family!! As a whole, our company team didn't reach our $1,500.00 goal, but we got close; just over $1,200.00. One team-mate started hitting up clients and wiped the floor with us.

 Later in the morning was when the actual walk took place, led by - who else - Chuck E. Cheese and Red Robin.

 Cheater. ;-)

 Then we got a yay us cheer from the Rocky Mountain College cheerleaders.

 Then the mascots had a dance-off.

Out of pure curiosity, Zoey wandered up to them...

 ....Which sparked the interest of the other kids, and pretty soon it was just everybody dancing.

 Running around, being silly Zo.

 That's Wendy from Wendy's

 Back to the highlight of the previous hour - showing off her balloon puppy, this time to my coworker, Kirk, and his daughter, Aspen. Kirk was the organizer of our team.

 Then everyone just ran around and played.

 Or ate. There were mini-muffins!!

 Then back to playing. She obviously felt more comfortable, and played with the other kids.

 This girl was so cute. Zoey was accidentally knocked down by some kids running by. She didn't cry, but was startled, and the girl stopped and helped Zoey up and asked if she was ok. Oh! Why can't we all act like that??

 You have a balloon, too! And you like bumping them together, too?? BFF.

 (Just a little side-note: that wheelchair was a prop by a company promoting their products, not something this girl needed.)

Zoey accidentally let her balloon fly away and many kids came to her rescue. The boy behind her was the one to give her the balloon in the first place, and was now offering up another one; and the girl is taking off the one tied around her wrist. So one of the Walk organizers came over and gave Zoey another one and said, "Wow, you have the cutest eyes." This girl rules the world, people. Just an FYI.

It was a very nice, uplifting way to spend the morning, followed by Jacob surprising me with a trip to A Few Books More, a floor-to-ceiling crammed used bookstore where he immediately picked out a book for me and - wait for it - himself, too. Zoey was pretty excited, too, exclaiming, "Wow! Look at all the books!!"

If you'd still like to make a donation, please don't hesitate to do so. I believe the links on my page still work, and it doesn't even have to be in my or my team's name. And don't forget, every little bit helps.