It's Been A Year

I really love to capture moments where no one knows I am watching. Two beauties against a beautiful background. Makes me smile. The last weekend of July marked the first year anniversary of my Dad's passing. I cannot believe it has been a year.  A year of not seeing his inviting smile, feeling his loving embrace and hearing the words "how's my baby girl?" It was a tough weekend and we all thought of him and celebrated him in different ways. It's funny, this picture is a celebration of him. He would look over the deck like this into the backyard when he was out grilling his girls a tasty meal. I picture it clear as day. What a great memory of a great man. 

Another candid shot I took this particular summer weekend of my Gramma furiously reading. She loves to read, anything and everything. When she is reading, nothing else exists. I think I could have set off a firework behind her and she wouldn't have wavered. I love this about my Gramma. She reads and continues to educate herself on the world around her. She dives into books, newspapers and magazines like Michael Phelps does into a pool; completely absorbed and present in the moment of what she is reading.  When she finished, she asked "were you waiting on me?" not knowing how much time had passed by. 

After a lovely weekend with my family, I came to the Monday crazies known as the beginning of the work week.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just Monday. I just wasn't ready yet!  What filled my Monday with less crazy and a lot of joy was a kind gift from my co-worker, Bonnie. She knows my love for polka dots and even calls me "Dot" at work, which I absolutely love!  While she was out shopping, in her free-time outside of work, her sweet heart thought of me when she saw this box. She left it in my office with a note saying for my "what nots."  I seriously got tears in my eyes because it touched me so deeply. She will never know how much this means to me and I cannot wait to fill it with my "what nots" aka joys starting this new year. 

Mid week took me home again to hang out with my momma and do some busy business work. Since I had been thinking about my Dad grilling, I really wanted to do some grilling myself on his grill. When I am out there attempting this skill my Dad mastered, I feel really close to him, like he is there will me, whispering to me the proper instruction and his noteworthy pats on the back. It is very calming to be out there. I also have a feeling a watchful eye was helping prevent overcooking or burning anything (which I totally needed, thanks Dad!). 

Mom and I shared a lovely meal of grilled chicken and a little love from her garden: fresh basil, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. The best part of the garden was picking a questionable pepper that mom thought was sweet when she planted it. We cut that baby open, seeded it and was going to make it part of the salad. Good thing we took precautions, my tongue barely touched it and it was on fire. I think mom's patch of peppers is going to be a little bit spicy. 

Her backyard is full of gorgeousness (besides herself). These hydrangeas....swoon. Not only am I a fan of polka dots, but anything white....completely my jam!

Later on in the week, I was asked to be the nutrition expert for an event for Jolly Time Pop Corn. It was great to meet the owner, Garry Smith and hear his speak so passionately about his popcorn, his family and his company.  I was enthralled how health of his employees is important. Each day, everyone of his 170 employees start off with 10 stretches to get them in the right frame of mind for the day, with Garry leading the stretching in the offices. These daily stretches may also prevent injury such as carpal tunnel and back issues. Personally, I took notes and will incorporate them into my daily routine.

With health in mind, Jolly Time has a great challenge going on right now called the Healthy Pop Challenge. Once you join the challenge through September 7th, you can receive a free workout band, awesome coupons, delicious recipes, an easy get fit while you pop workout and be entered to win a FitBit. Making simple swaps in the summer with your snacks can give you more energy for all the activities that you love. Healthy Pop Pop Corn only has 20 calories per cup! I can eat a whole big bag for 100 calories, which is very exciting to me. I am a huge fan of quantity. Not only is it low in calories, it is a good source of fiber and energy boosting vitamins. The smell and the warmth of fresh popcorn is more satisfying than room temperature bland snacks. I personally would rather have a whole cup of popcorn than 3-4 potato chips.  I had a movie date with my friend Stacey this weekend and popped my own bag for the theater. Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone!

The week ended with an awesome presentation I did with my co-worker Chef Stacey for Life Care Services in downtown Des Moines. It was great spreading the good word about healthier eating on the go and at work. We had great discussion on how to eat more balanced and practicing portion control no matter what foods you choose. Stacey whipped up some delicious recipes for everyone to try! She always amazes me with her easy recipes and how great tasting they are. We compliment each other very well when we present together. She knows the nutrition after it hearing it a thousand times from me and I can brag on how much I have learned from her. 

Accompanying me these past 3 weeks was a new intern that I had the privilege to be a preceptor for. Sonja is such an amazing person and hard working!  She did such a great job taking on a lot of my responsibilities impeccably well. Either I am great at teaching and/or she is great at learning. We will chalk it up to both. I really do feel very lucky to be entrusted to educate future Registered Dietitians. I had amazing preceptors and enjoy paying it forward. 
When an intern starts with me, I tell them two things:  
1. I am a bit crazy (Shocker) 2. I want them to have fun while they learn. 
When they leave, I hope they can say #2 was achieved. I cannot wait to see what Sonja does in her future and how she changes the world of dietetics.