While I was kind of complaining to my sister that it was hot while we were in Virginia, she told me one day last week nearly everyone walking downtown had to wear coats on the way to work because it was so chilly.  Yesterday proved to be another chilly/rainy morning, but I absolutely love it.  Amazeball sleeping weather with the windows wide open, my fan on in my room and under my toasty blankets.

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I ended up making a low carb wrap panini with more egg whites, black beans, baby spinach and cheese – am I a bit predictable in my breakfasts lately or what?!  And those cherries? Best of the season yet and they were huge – I think they were from Washington State – so sweet I wish I didn’t have to take so much insulin to eat them otherwise I’d eat them all day long.

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As soon as I got my stuff out of the car to go into work though, I realized that I forgot to pack my gym shoes.  Dammit!  And wouldn’t you know yesterday of all days I wore two inch sandals to work – no way in hell that I could wear those walking outside.  Luckily my boss “suggested” that I had not much to do so that I would have time to pick up lunch for her.  I actually didn’t mind this time because Panera is right next to Target and I quickly ran in and picked up some socks and a pair of shoes that will be dedicated to the office so I don’t run into that problem again.  And I am super surprised how comfortable they are considering I spent all of 30 seconds trying them on.  They are Champion Brand and cost $29.

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It was a bit breezy and 70 degrees for my walk – could not ask for anything better.  As I was putting my food together yesterday morning and it was cool, I just grabbed one of my Michael Symon Cincinnati Chili’s out of the freezer.  So good because I added some Bush’s Baked Beans – Sweet Heat to the chili.  Gah, I love these beans and because they are seasonal, I think I am going to have to stock up before they are all gone.  The tortilla chips were stale so I didn’t eat any of those, but ate more cherries for dessert.

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I was happy to arrive home after work to see that Jacob and Hannah mowed the lawn for me – I cannot tell you what a wonderful help that is – with the push mower it probably took them just over an hour to mow the lawn – thanks guys!  See that giant plant in the middle of the yard?  That’s our fire pit – that’s how long it’s been since we’ve had a bonfire and hopefully this weekend we can take care of that – turns out I have a bit of brush to burn.

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I didn’t finish my full grocery shopping over the weekend, so I am kind of picking up a couple things here and there for dinners this week.  Since it was Tuesday I decided to make tacos!  And once I open a can of those Sweet Heat beans, I literally try to find any excuse to use them.  It’s a great trick for making ground beef go farther too when you use half of the beef mixture with the beans.  I bought these Mission brand artisan tortillas – each one is 100 calories and 3 grams of fiber – I loved how soft and pliable they were.  I ate the first one and then decided to wait it out and guess what?  Ten minutes later I decided I was full and wrapped up the second one and I’ll have that for lunch today – #nonscalevictory!  Not eating everything on the plate!

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And after dinner I ended up walking 25 more minutes down by the river and ended up with just over 14k steps – nice!

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* * * * *

So this trip last week was a trip down memory lane.  The tiny town that my grandparents lived is called Warsaw, and back when we were kids the town population was only about 500 people.  Literally everyone knew each other.  It would be such a big event when we came to town that we would actually make the local newspaper!  The kids in the neighborhood would ask us all sorts of questions about Chicago:  did we have trees?  were there gangsters on every street corner?  The would ask us to pronounce different words and would tell us that we had accents, but we told THEM they were the ones with the accents!

One day last week we went to visit my grandparents house.  My cousins Brian and Karen lived in the town, but we only visited in the summer.  In fact I think other than one Christmas, we only visited in the summer.  I have memories of shooting a BB gun for the first time, the taste of the grapes in my mouth that my grandma grew and almost getting sick from eating so many but unable to stop.  Crab boils where I would diligently help my family members pick all the meat off of blue crabs, never having the courage to try them.  Today I could kick myself for missing so many opportunities of eating crab growing up because now I love it.  And the smell of cinnamon toast will always bring up images of watching my Grammy make cinnamon toast – she buttered white bread, spread cinnamon and sugar over the top and then put it under the broiler.  The edges would get really dark, but not burnt, but the middle would be this chewy cinnamon/sugar combination that literally makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  And summers there also meant a bowl of cantaloupe was always on the kitchen counter – that may be an exaggeration, but that’s my memory!

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That road on the top left was the road that led to my grandparents house on the right.  It’s actually scheduled to be closed completely, so we walked down to the creek that seemed SO FAR away, when literally it took us about 4-5 minutes to walk all the way down there.  The bridge was built in 1929.  And I love the picture of me and my brother holding hands as we were walking back to the car – thanks Sarah for taking that picture!  This trip was so many firsts for Jacob!  Longest time he’s been away from “home.”  Driving through four states he’s never been to.  Floating in the river.  Seeing a confederate flag in person.  Going to Jamestown.  Going to Williamsburg – the list was so long!  So glad we were able to help him widen his horizons.  The bottom picture on the left is obviously Hannah with Charlie’s girls – Rachel and Sarah.

We also were able to stop by the cemetery where my grandparents and great grandparents were buried.  I literally cannot remember the last time I visited it because all of our trips to Virginia were no where near their grave sites.  It’s probably been 20+ years though?

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My grandma was the church organist and the towns piano teacher.  I have many fond memories of watching her play the organ.  My grandpa died on my brothers birthday in 1980 – my Mom just went to the funeral because I am sure at that time it would have been too expensive for all of us to go.  My grandma died in 1986 – my freshman year of college and as luck would have it, my college field hockey team was on the East Coast for a series of games:  William and Mary, VCU, American University to name a few.  I was able to get permission to leave my team and my Aunt Martha took me to see my grandma in the hospital.  She was so frail and weak, and died a few weeks after that visit.  Part of me was happy that I got to say goodbye, but the other part of me always has the vision of her being so frail and tiny – my brother and sister don’t have that memory.

My great grandparents died within a year of each other and even though I was only 6 and 7 when they died, I have strong memories of their house.  They had an organ with all these pulls, hard candy in jars that I would nearly lose my fingernails trying to get it out of the candy dish because it was so hard.  And one time we were in the attic for some reason, and I fell through the ceiling, only to catch myself with my arms and hung there until my Grandpa could come and grab me and bring me to the ground – I could have broken a leg for sure!

One weird thing though?  Just to the left of my relatives graves, were two single initial stones – literally a couple feet to the left – of my initials!  How weird is that?

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We walked around the cemetery, and while not big, there are some really old grave sites.

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So when I got back home, I had to go through some of my old pictures from when we spent time at my grandparents:

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The top picture was me and my twin sister playing dress up with some of my grandmas and great grandmas clothes – we spent HOURS doing that.   The left middle picture is me, our brother Charlie, and Jenn sitting on the picnic table right before we watched our grandpa filet the fish.  By the way, none of us ate any seafood growing up!  The middle right picture is my Mom’s parents, and me, Charlie, Jenn and our cousins Brian and Karen.  We are all two years apart – Jenn and I are now 47, Charlie is 49, Karen is 51 and Brian is 53.   What’s weird is that my cousin is now only 9 years younger than our Grandma was in that photo!

The bottom left picture is my Memaw and Ditty – my great-grandparents with Charlie and Jenn and our Grammy.  My great-grandfather was 87 years old in this picture – he’d suffered a stroke some years before and I always knew him to have a weak left hand and limp.  That picture was taken in 1971 – so Jenn and I were 3 and Charlie was 5.

The last picture of the airplane swing?!  OMG.  So many memories on that thing.  I was so disappointed when we went to my grandparents house and the first thing I looked for was the giant tree that had the airplane swing on it.  The tree is long gone as well as the swing, but my grandpa made it and I remember fighting over who got to ride it with my siblings and cousins.

Going back down memory lane was one of my favorite days last week.  But what’s hard for me to believe is that the airplane swing picture was 45 years ago!  I can’t really be this old already!

Oh, don’t worry – still more to come!  Again, you’re welcome. Open-mouthed smile