Happy New Year to everyone! We enjoyed an exceptional last two months of 2015, and are enjoying 2016 with all of its deliciously crazy weather fluctuations. The girls especially enjoyed many successes at the end of 2015 of which Andrew and I were able to enjoy vicariously. They both made it into Iowa AllState for violin, and were placed in the top 10 chairs. Thankfully the auditions are blind, so no prejudice based on gender, race, etc. can come into play. Their seats garnered them a spot in the select chamber orchestra that performs once piece with the AllState choir. It was a thrilling concert for their parents and an exhausting weekend for the girls. They were not at all interested in practicing at 6 a.m. the following week. They both said that “AllState sucked all the joy out of playing,” albeit an honor to be a part of. Following that, “The Piano Guys” had a concert here in town, of which the girls were chosen with 6 other violinists to play a piece on stage with them. We had attended a “Piano Guys” concert last year at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, and this year we had the honor of watching our girls and their friends on stage with them at The Adler Theater here in Davenport.
The girls are now back into a nice rhythm of school, orchestra, and chorus along with a few extras that come with being a teenager. Makaela is looking forward to earning her driving permit in May and practices with Andrew in the big black truck. I have not joined them as of yet. 😉 Makaela being my youngest, feels permanently etched into my mind as a sweet toothless six year old, which I know is exhausting for her! Sorry Mak, I’m trying!! Meanwhile Samantha is in the throws of college and university searches while preparing pieces for applications that will be due next fall/winter. She is excited and scared about the soon-to-come changes, and will come fetch an extra hug at night when she has the remembrance that all too soon she may be living elsewhere. They are both also working on applying to music camps for this summer. Sam’s camps will be 7 – 8 weeks long and Mak’s 3 – 4 weeks long. It will be practice for us all being apart for such an extended time: mostly for mom and dad. 😉
For the first time since living in Brazil we are taking what the girls call a “white vacation.” We are going to spend spring break on Captiva Island off the coast of Florida. We have a beautiful little condo rented right on the bay with a 4 minute walk to the beach!! So, instead of touring a new city and attending concerts and theater productions we will be sun-bathing, biking, swimming, dolphin and bird watching, reading, shell collecting, and relishing in the Floridian warmth and fabulous view. We are all highly anticipating this “white person vacation.”
I’m feeling fantastic and stay that way as long as I respect my socializing limitations. It’s challenging and quite limiting, and I do well with it emotionally when I keep it in perspective, BUT I find sometimes the loss of 2 days due to a migraine caused by over-stimulation is worth it! I do miss the freedoms of my pre-tumor days, but I am enjoying life to my utmost ability, and truly relishing these last years with the girls at home.
I am trying out a new diet that is purported to be beneficial for my two problem areas (brain and heart). I had mostly given up the ketogenic diet, as it was raising my already insanely high cholesterol. My neighbor, who is an internist, asked me if I had heard of Dr. Terry Wahls from Iowa City and encouraged me to look her up. She apparently reversed her own MS and went from a wheel chair to biking due to this dietary change. I found her Tedx Talk and from there her book (The Walhs Protocol) which I ordered. I like that this diet is not simply fat, but includes a tremendous (6-9 cups) of veggies per day. We are just starting, and will see how I do on it. I have to say I am enjoying all of the produce!!! And, the bone broth is not too shabby either. Science and medicine are in their infancy for sure. I wonder what great advances in medicine and science will be discovered in this new millennium. I have to say I am forever grateful for our continual march forward in every aspect of humanity whether it be the sciences or human rights. Thanks for checking in!
My brother Kris and his precious wife Tracy have had their first baby! His name is Vincent Casey. We are eager to head up and meet their little man–hopefully very soon!