Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
We pulled up to the house where the bus we found on the Samba had lived for the last 17 years. No one was home but fortunately the bus was unlocked so we peaked in, looked it over and then sat anxiously waiting for the owner to arrive. When he arrived we introduced ourselves and from that moment on we knew this was meant to be!
It just so happens that the previous owner purchased this bus 17 years ago when his daughter was 2 years old. Her name was Maia! Spelled a little different but still quite amazing!
While we spent the next 5 hours looking over the bus, learning about the engine and it’s special add-ons, big Maia, now much older, and little Maya played on the trampoline and cooked veggie burgers and dogs on the grill. After changing the oil, adjusting the valves, and taking her on a test drive we sat down for a great dinner. The previous owners were GREAT and we are so happy to be receiving this bus from such a great family!
After saying our goodbyes we were ready to set off on our Maiden Voyage back to NC. We had previously made arrangements to spend the night at Pocahontas State Park just outside of Richmond, VA. The park was around 2.5 hours from Greenbelt but with the bus we knew it would take a little over 3 hours. As we pulled away and entered the freeway Tia came over the Walkie Talkies and gave me a little bit of bad news. "Um, Brad, you don't have any brake lights!" It was about to get worse. It was getting dark and we were headed straight for downtown DC and right through an anti-Tea Party Rally. Traffic was bad, as is the case all the time in DC, but we managed to make it through unscathed.
As we were going through Richmond we happened upon the only toll road in town. I had no idea there was a toll and didn’t have any money on me to pay it. I was driving a new car with a clutch that took a bit of getting used to, a license plate that was 6 months expired and no brake lights. With Tia to my right, in the correct lane, I preceded to enter the lane labeled “Exact Change Only”. Thankfully there was a Police officer sitting in the lane next to me going through some paper work. I rolled down my window and shouted over to him that I am following my wife, didn’t know about the toll and have no money. The officer just sat there laughing at me. I couldn’t understand why he was laughing at me. I knew about all of the peace signs and waves that you get from driving a VW Bus, but why is a police officer blatantly laughing at me. He told me to pull over into the parking lot and just walk back and pay the attendant. I did as instructed and when walking to the attendant I finally realized why he was laughing! I had taken my retainer out that contained my front four teeth and put it in my pocket. I can only imagine what was going through the officers mind when I pulled up with no teeth and complaining about not having any money! I must have made his night!
We made it just in time to get a spot at the campground before the gates closed. We popped the top, and a few beers, then headed to bed. The next morning we set off on the final leg of the trip back to Raleigh. The bus barely fits in our carport by about one inch! We’ve taken her apart on the inside and cleaned her up and tonight we’re attempting our first mechanical operation on her by bleeding the brakes and replacing the brake light switch. Hopefully she’ll be running lawfully for a ride around town on Sunday!
This bus has only had two prior owners. The first owner was an aeronautics mechanic and the previous owner is a NASA engineer. Needless to say, this bus has been well taken care of and we feel very privileged to be a part of its history!
|Under the bus getting a lesson on adjusting the valves.|
|Rebuilt 1641cc Longblock Engine|
|Her new home!|
|Maya trying her best to be just like Mom and Dad.|
|A cool stump we found while on our hike killing time in Greenbelt before picking up the bus.|
Sunday, August 29, 2010
August in the Grayson Highlands of Virginia is about as good as it gets. The cool mountain breezes make it the perfect retreat from the hot dog days of summer in the Carolina lowlands. And to top it all off, the meadows are full of ripe huckleberries and blackberries to fill your bellies. But the berries are not the only thing that attracts us to these majestic highlands.
The meadows of the Grayson Highlands are located around 5,000 ft. elevation and are inhabited by wild ponies that are allowed to run free within the park boundaries. We hiked throughout the highlands for three days in search of these ponies until we finally came across this herd on our last day. They are obviously quite accustomed to hikers along the Appalachian Trail, and once this foal laid eyes on Maya, a friendship was struck. The two played and chased each other until the foal decided to accompany her mom down the trail and out of sight.
We moved on ourselves, imitating the ponies and picking berries until our bellies were full.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Maya has been waiting for over a year for this night to come, and when it finally did, she could hardly contain herself. It's as if, at the ripe age of 3, she's already become a Zane-head groupie! She has been dancing to the Dan Zanes and Friends DVD, and even playing her own renditions, ever since seeing them over a year ago at the Museum of Art.
The afternoon was incredibly hot and the crowd was full of other young Zane-heads who were ready to begin the dance party! We managed to find a spot front and center on the stage and enjoyed all of our favorite songs, including the one Maya requested most! The look on her face was priceless when they played "Jump Up" and from that point on her afternoon was complete!
Although she was a little too starstruck to pose, we finished the evening taking a few pictures with the band. She's already looking forward to seeing them next year...unless she quits homeschooling and follows them on tour!
|Maya admiring Sonia De Los Santos|
|We're not sure whose hair is crazier??|
|Colin Brooks, Drummer|
Friday, August 13, 2010
As we were finishing our last spoonful we began noticing what all of the extra crunches were from. Initially, we thought they were seeds from the blueberries we dumped over our oats, but in fact they were mealworms!
You see, mealworms are what you get when you leave oats in your pantry for an extended period of time. Since we've been on our detox diet we had to replace our morning bowl of oats with a fruit smoothie. Maya doesn't eat that much so our recent bulk purchase of oats has lasted longer than normal. And, as we just found out, leaving oats around for more than a month can only lead to one thing...mealworms for breakfast! At least it helps our protein count for the day!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Do we have a future junior gymnastic champion on our hands? Who knows, but she may have her first chance at competing soon. As you can see from the photo above, Maya is SUPER flexible. She can stretch her body in ways that leave our jaws on the floor. Several times she has almost made us throw up from the sight of her hyperextensible joints.
Maya has been seeing our chiropractor since the day she was born. She's a former gymnast and noticed right away that Maya was a little more than just flexible. She encouraged us to enter her into a gymnastic program and we did. Maya goes to gymnastics once a week at Superior Gymnastics and has one of the best young coaches this area has seen in a while. She's constantly coming home with new moves and always eager to show them off, unless asked to do so in front of people.
Her coaches have seen her ability and have selected her to compete in the Junior Gymnastics Championship later this year. We don't know very many details about this event, but we're excited nonetheless, and we'll be there to cheer her on regardless of whether or not she decides to preform on command.
Who knows where this will lead, only Maya can determine that. We will certainly not push her to do anything she doesn't want to do. But if she does compete, watch out!
p/s. you may remember watching this video several years ago. It was her first "routine"!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
|Weight Loss: Brad -9lbs, Tia -6lbs and Maya +1.5lbs|
We finished our detox a little over a week ago. As we slowly added in foods that we had avoided (legumes, gluten, flax seed oil, certain teas etc...) Tia's asthma and sinuses became more and more of an issue. It has become clear to us that food is the root cause of most of her health problems. Tia was at her best during week two (fruits, veggies, oils and spices only) so we have decided to extend week two for three more weeks. Yes, that includes both of us (minus Maya, of course). Brad will stay on board for moral support, ease of cooking one meal as opposed to two, and because we both felt so good while eating fresh whole foods.
After a little bit of research and consulting with other folks in similar situations it appears that Tia may have a syndrome called Leaky Gut. The name sounds a bit funny but it is by no means a laughing matter. Basically, small perforations form in the intestinal lining allowing partially digested proteins to leak out into the body eventually entering the blood stream. When these proteins leak out, the body does not recognize them and attacks them assuming they are invaders or allergens to the body. In short, Tia's body is reacting to these leaky undigested foods as allergens thus triggering an autoimmune reaction. This reaction has resulted in her current food sensitivities, increased asthma problems and possibly even a gluten intolerance.
Over the next few months Tia will be consulting with Dr. Huber at the LaValle Metabolic Institute in Cincinnati, OH, as well as a dietitian to start the process of healing her body from the inside out. In some instances the gut can be repaired over time and foods that were previously intolerant could be ingested again in small quantities. Unfortunately, however, Tia does have a lot of classic allergies such as nuts and dairy and it remains to be seen as to whether or not she will ever be able to eat any of these foods again. The body is an incredible system and Tia's may have the power to heal itself from these ailments and diseases if given the chance. Only time will tell.
We already know that food is playing a role in Tia's asthma but it may not be the only factor. More and more studies are popping up everywhere suggesting that a vitamin D deficiency may lead to a whole list of serious health problems. One such book (OK, I must admit it's a shameless plug for my brother) discusses several studies where vitamin D has greatly improved lung function. The Vitamin D Council has a long list of studies on the positive effects on asthma with proper levels of vitamin D. At our current latitude and with a good majority of our bodies exposed to the sun, during the summer we should be able to receive the needed levels of vitamin D. However, during the winter months the angle of the sun's UV rays are too low in the sky leading to insufficient vitamin D absorption by our bodies.
With a new diet and an order of vitamin D3, Tia is on her way to a new beginning.
PS...Maya's weight gain is due to her eating what we couldn't! (See photo caption for weight loss totals)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Using certain foods as medicine is not a new concept. In fact, Hippocrates, considered by many to be the father of medicine, knew all along about the importance of proper nutrition. So, how have we come to forget this important concept? What will it take to make raw fruits and vegetables become THE staple of our diets? For us, not much from here on out.
We are now coming to the end of our third week with our detoxification diet. The last 14 days of our diet consisted of only fruits and veggies, half of which were consumed raw while the others were either lighted steamed or sauteed in EVOO.
We'd be lying to you if we told you it's been an easy 2 weeks. It has been a struggle to stay satiated on such a limited diet. We have certainly enjoyed all of the seasonal fruits and vegetables, but in the absence of whole grains, nuts and legumes our only complaint is that of growling stomachs. We'd find ourselves completely stuffed after each meal only to be starving an hour later. What we can say with certain validity is that with such limited choices our creativity has increased as we began to treat each meal as if it were a canvas of art.
After a few days the hunger began to subside. Were our stomachs shrinking or was it the fact that we were eating more than three meals each day? Being as hungry as we were our energy levels were not affected at all! In fact, we actually felt like we had more energy than we did prior to this diet.
Week three began the reintroduction phase. We are beginning to reintroduce some of the foods that we omitted in week two along with some of the foods that could pose potential issues with Tia's asthma. As we reintroduce certain foods back into our diet we'll be keeping a diary of any adverse reactions to those foods such as digestion, headaches, skin, energy levels, joint/muscle and nasal/chest congestion. Already we have noticed some abnormalities with Tia after reintroducing Sunbutter and black beans. After eating the Sunbutter she suffered a severe migraine. We'll probably reintroduce it again this week to make sure the migraine wasn't from something else. And after eating the black beans she suffered more bad asthma. She ate black beans a second time and again had another asthma attack. Once we have a new list of possible food allergies Tia will return to her Allergist for additional testing.
And since food origins and quality have been on our mind the last few weeks we've tried to spend a lot of our free time reading and watching documentaries on Netflix. Some of the recent videos/books/articles we've seen, and recommend are: Food Matters, Food Inc., King Corn, Fast Food Nation, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We have a few more in the queue for our next free evening!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Our neighbor and local farmer dropped off 6 pounds of cucumbers over the weekend for us to pickle. It just happened to be perfect timing as we are down to our last jar from last year's harvest. If we can get some more rain he'll have another batch for us mid week! And that's not all we have for this week. We've got okra, blueberries (homegrown), peaches, tomato sauce and hopefully more pickles on the list for canning. Our jelly cabinet will certainly be full and overflowing and the canning season is still young!
With all of the recent canning activity and our new fruit and veggie only diet we've felt the need to upgrade our compost pile to one that is protected from the critters. We've set it up so the front opens up for turning, but we'll have to wait and see if we need to fashion a top to keep the pesky squirrels out.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
When we started this diet 2 weeks ago we decided to not only detox our bodies but also our house. Our ultimate goal is to get to the root of Tia's asthma and we knew that our diet was not the only cause. In fact, our diet was pretty good from the start, but not perfect. We eat local foods, either from our CSA, our neighbors farm or locally grown foods from the farmers market or whole foods. We even try to buy organic as much as possible, or when our budget allows for it. But we still let sugar and processed foods slip into our diet from time to time and that's what we are trying to curb. We've learned a lot about nutrition and plan to continue on a very similar diet when these 4 weeks are over.
So, on to the house. For about the last 2 months every time Tia would sit on our couch she would have an asthma attack and her eyes would swell up and water. Our couch is only 7 years old and to the naked eye doesn't appear dirty. But, it must have been full of dust mites which did show up with off the chart numbers on Tia's allergy test. After a few calls and 2 days later we had our couch dry cleaned. Magic! Tia can now comfortably sit on the couch and enjoy our Netflix subscription without all of the sneezes and sniffles!
Our bed was the next concern. For the past several months or so Tia has been waking up every single night with a very serious and severe asthma attack. There were even times she would wake Brad up from her wheezing without even waking herself. So, we ditched our pillows and emptied our wallets for brand new organic Allergy Luxe pillows. Magic, it worked again!
We also decided it was time to deep clean our house but we didn't have the time, energy or noses to rid our house of the dust. We called a local company called Eco Maids and they came out and provided a deep and thorough clean. They have their own supplies but will work with you if you'd rather have them use what you have. This was great for us since we have all bamboo and cork flooring and we needed them to use our approved cleaning supplies. Our house is now spotless! Wait, Maya just got home, forget that last statement :)
It's been a little over a week since we got new pillows and our couch cleaned and only 4 days since we had our house cleaned and it's already proving to have worked a great deal. Tia is still suffering from occasional asthma attacks but with much less frequency. Most of them now occur due to the occasional run in with pets or the heat and humidity. The past few nights have been great and we hope this will finally provide some relief. If not, our next step will be to test our house for hidden mold. Let's hope we don't have to go there...
Friday, July 9, 2010
Night Sweats, originally uploaded by BradandTia.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
On Thursday night of last week Uncle Tony, Aunt Lindsey and Roscoe surprised us after driving in from Atlanta. They were on their way up to Delaware and had to pass right through Raleigh. It was so good to see them but having two more people in our house who are not eating what we're eating made things a little difficult! Watching people eat the things that are restricted from our diet just makes us drool. Since the weather was so nice all weekend we spent most of our time at Harris Lake playing frisbee golf and fishing which helped to keep our minds off of our stomachs.
We promised Maya that she could fish with Uncle Tony if she walked the first 8 holes of the course. She threw the line around a couple of times but was more interested in playing and falling in the water.
Since we never caught anything at Harris Lake we decided to hit the neighborhood pond. Maya caught this bluegill on her first cast! We ended up catching 10 fish total, 4 for Maya! Maya was using worms from our compost bin and she couldn't keep the fish off her hook!
Detox Update Day 9:
The headaches have subsided and the hunger has set in. Just the mention of a grilled cheese sets Tia into a frenzy. Day 7 started our vegan and semi-raw diet. For the next week and a half we are only eating fruits and vegetables. Simply put, milkshakes, fruits, veggie sticks and salads. Our shakes have included some or all of the following: cucumber, spinach, strawberry, carrot, watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, apple, zucchini, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, bananas and of course protein powder.
Our book says that after the first day or so on this stage of the diet the hunger pangs will subside. It says to have a peach or an apple handy in case we start feeling dizzy or feeling like we have low blood sugar. We were told that this would be the hardest week to sustain physical activity such as an extended work out so we will see how Tia fares with yoga and Aqua Moms and Brad with the construction of a new compost bin for our worms.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
and steamed butternut squash lightly salted and tossed in sesame oil.
What a lovely dinner, except for the fact that we forgot to bring the broccoli to the table! While feeling a little hungry this afternoon we went back to the list of foods that we are allowed to eat during the first week and realized that we had overlooked wild game. We were more than happy to have cut out all red meat during this month (and may continue to do so beyond this program), but when it comes to wild game we can't pass it up!
Reading that wild game was a potential menu item was a pleasing surprise. If you were at our Pig Pickin' last year you may have seen our neighbor butchering 3 deer hanging from his basketball goal. Brad and Maya ended up walking a few friends down to their car and decided to walk over to our neighbors to show Maya the deer. Our neighbor doesn't eat deer but he loves to hunt and he has several friends who he usually supplies with deer during the hunting season. We just happened to walk up at the perfect time! He offered. We accepted, no questions asked!
The next morning we hear a ring at the door and its our neighbor with a massive cooler. We were only expecting a ham that we could cook for Thanksgiving dinner but instead we got a piece of all three! He left us with 6 backstraps and 4 hind legs. It took us a little over 3 hours to cut it all up and package it for use throughout the winter. It is still serving us and we'll be on the lookout for more hanging hooves when deer season starts back up!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Our new diet is not about losing weight, but rather it's about watching what we eat, eliminating certain foods and detoxing our bodies of harmful toxins. But that's not to say that we're not curious about how much we'll lose, if any, on this program. We're sure to lose some weight if all we're eating are fruits and veggies for a month.
There's only one problem with this curiosity. We don't own a scale. We're cheap and don't want to spend money on a scale that we'll never use again, or obsess over, so we decided to head over to Bed Bath & Beyond to weigh ourselves on their scales. We took note of what we were wearing and what scale we used so that we can repeat it on day 28.
Day 2 update: So far Tia is feeling fine with the exception of a little craving now and then for cheese and chocolate. Brad on the other hand is having severe headaches and fatigue. The guidelines on the diet say, "if you are starting to have headaches and fatigue on day 2 then this is the right program for you!" It's crazy what effect caffeine and sugar have on your body.
We are both wondering when the dreams will come like we had on the Appalachian Trail...(dreams in the hundred mile wilderness ranged from cairns of doughnuts instead of rocks to never ending piles of french fries marking our path to the nearest pub).
We are also feeling like we are back on our Panamanian diet which consisted of lots of rice and beans. Today we had oatmeal for breakfast, rice cakes and SunButter for a snack, rice and steamed veggies with a side of watermelon for lunch and rice noodles and beans for dinner. Are we going to be Forest Gump with rice or what!? Good thing Tia's lab results didn't say she was allergic to rice!
Darkness where are you, my head is pounding?
Monday, June 28, 2010
In our daily lives we are constantly exposed to various toxins in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. For the next 28 days we will be taking part in a detoxification program designed to eliminate toxins from our bodies that we have been exposed to through our environment and the food we eat. Certain foods can inhibit the natural detoxification process from our bodies while others are important in how well our bodies detoxify. This program was recommended to us by our chiropractor and we will be under her watch during the entire month.
There are 3 stages to this detoxification:
Stage 1 - Initial Clearing (Days 1-6): This stage is all about elimination. We will eliminate all refined and simple sugars, caffeinated beverages, gluten-containing grains, meat and seafood, eggs, and dairy products. We will continue eliminating all of these foods throughout the entire 28 days.
Stage 2 - Detoxification (Days 7-13): This stage is where we increase our protein powder consumption to make up for the lack of protein in the foods we are allowed to eat. The foods we are allowed to eat in this stage are organic fruits and vegetables, rice, oils (olive, flaxseed, sesame), spices and water. That’s it!
Stage 3 - Reintroduction (Days 14-28): During the last 2 weeks we will be slowly reintroducing foods that were eliminated in stage 2 back into our diet. Each day we will introduce a new food and will be recording any reactions (digestion, headaches, nasal/chest congestion, skin, energy, joint/muscle) to the foods we are reintroducing. Our goal during this stage is to identify if certain foods are playing a role in Tia’s asthma and allergies.
You must be asking why are we subjecting ourselves to this and why has our chiropractor recommended it? Well, Tia’s lung capacity was around 52% about 2 weeks ago and we’ve been trying to determine what is causing this extreme shortness of breath. She underwent allergy testing and most of the known allergens came back positive (buckwheat, peanuts and all tree nuts, dust mites, cats, dogs, grasses, trees and weeds). But two foods in her lab results came back with off the chart numbers and it has left us a little puzzled. Tia has been eating cheese, hummus and yogurt almost daily for as long as we can remember. So how could milk and chickpeas come back with off the chart numbers? Was the test flawed? Or, are the side effects of milk and chickpeas causing her asthma to flare up? Is blue cheese worth a sleepless night gasping for air? In Tia’s case it very well may be!
The road ahead during this month will be challenging and there is some argument as to which stage of our new diet will be the worst. Stage 1 may be the worst as a result of the sugar and caffeine withdrawals (severe headaches!). Some suggest stage 2 is the worst because you can only eat fruits and veggies and both irritability and the hunger meter skyrocket! But we have a feeling the hardest part will be cooking for Maya and watching her eat without sneaking a bite!
Maya is constantly trying to share her food with us and have us try a bite. Just today she has already tried to feed us some of her pancakes with honey, spoonfuls of her yogurt and of course some pretzel sticks. It is very hard to re-teach her to change her sharing habits now and she doesn’t quite understand why Mom and Dad have to be on this “silly diet” that you can’t share with others while on it. She asked this afternoon how long this is going to last and why Mom and Dad have to do it and why she doesn’t. She continues to ask this no matter how much we explain. It will all be worth it in the end Maya, just trust us. It will be worth it but it will be a pretty long and tough journey on all of us in many ways!
The headaches have already started…
Monday, April 19, 2010
Maya's story about her trip to the store. I'm not sure where she picked up the southern drawl! She ended the piece singing a song to Mom (who was not there). She totally made this up on the spot and has been singing it ever since.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
4-5" of a perfect snow/sleet mixture provided for some awesome sledding! After a warm lunch and a nap the ramp solidified and we got even higher on our jumps. I left the camera at home so there's no footage of our eventual 10' jumps.
Back outside for some more sledding under the moon!
Friday, January 29, 2010
There is a small patch of bamboo about a mile from our house and I thought it wouldn't hurt to stop by and ask if I could cut down a few poles. After ringing the doorbell twice a man opened the door and peeked out behind the glass storm door. I didn't realize it at first but he was holding his finger on the trigger of pistol with a 12" barrel. Once I saw the gun it was almost impossible to get my question out. Thankfully, he had no problem with me taking some of his bamboo and he shut the door and disappeared. I took a deep breath and slowly walked towards my car for my saw. I cut down several poles as fast as I could and got the hell out of there without being shot!
Unfortunately, we never got to use the Tipi because we all got sick the day before we were to go camping. But I'm sure it will get some use during Merlefest!