I feel like I blinked and November happened. I honestly had to go look at the calendar just now to remember what we did. A lot of running is what happened. This marathon training is so time consuming! I've been training since the end of July, and we have eight more weeks to go until the race. One of my biggest accomplishments thus far was running 16 miles last Saturday with Ginna.
I've also been spending a lot of time meal planning and exploring a new way of eating. After three years of feeling yucky and doctors telling me everything was fine, I finally got some answers. It turns out I have a gluten intolerance and several food sensitivities including soy (soy is in everything!!), egg yolk, canola, sunflower, black beans, quinoa, artichoke, the list goes on... When the doctor told me "you should be gluten free for life," I was a little devastated. I knew my love for baking would have to change. I have been determined to find equally tasty gluten-free recipes, and I have done so successfully! I have been gluten free for almost three months and have also managed to stay away from the foods I'm sensitive to. Traveling and eating out has been a little tricky.. Salads are usually a good choice, but almost all salad dressings either have canola oil or soybean oil in them, so I have learned to go without. It's worth it though because I feel SO MUCH better. I don't have headaches, extreme exhaustion or the other symptoms I used to have. I'm thankful for so many gluten-free options out there! I am determined to find a GF sugar cookie recipe for Christmas!
Last weekend, I had the privilege of going to the ASHA convention! This is the national conference for speech pathologists and audiologists. It was held in Atlanta this year, so I jumped at the opportunity to go. It was three full days sessions on topics ranging from selective mutism to pediatric swallowing to dysarthria. I get a little dorky about speech pathology when I'm surrounded by other SLPs.. I even bought a mouth puppet to help my students see correct tongue placement for the /r/ sound. It's pretty awesome.
One of the highlights was hearing Jeri Logemann, the author of my swallowing disorders text book in grad school. I also got to hear one of my old professors from App and one of my sister's current professors at UF. During the conference, I purchased an iPad to use in therapy! I went to two sessions about apps to download and how to use it successfully in therapy sessions. It has completely changed my life. The options are endless, and the kids are fascinated by it. It's especially great for some of my lower functioning kids who are nonverbal. It has given me a new excitement for my job! I love it!!
And then we had Thanksgiving break. I picked my mom up from the airport on Monday, and then my dad arrived on Wednesday. Mom's birthday was on Thanksgiving day, so we had pumpkin pancakes (this recipe is AMAZING!) to celebrate, and then headed to Boone!
The Dan'l Boone Inn. The meal was nothing compared to what we would have cooked ourselves (Brian and Dad thought it was great!), but it was easy and required no prep or clean up. It was fun to spend some time back in our old town.
After a little shopping and brunch at Melanie's on Saturday, we headed to Oak Ridge to stay with the Clements. I got to meet Ginna and Jeff's new pup, Leia! She is the sweetest dog ever. Look at that sweet face!!
We got to spend some time with Seth, Katie, Alden, and Blythe that night. It was refreshing to be with old friends. Seth made Ginna sit in a chair and hold pumpkins. It's as if nothing has changed.
The Neel, Clement, Day, Parker clan...
We drove back to Atlanta on Saturday night, and Dad left on Sunday. My mom flew out on Monday night. While Brian and I were at work on Monday, she folded all of our laundry, changed the sheets on the guest bed, took care of Toby, made homemade soup, and cleaned the kitchen. It was so wonderful to walk into a clean house with the smell of soup on the stove and my mom there to greet me. It's been a fast month, but I'm thankful for so much.