Thursday, October 31, 2013

Put YOU On the Pole

This phrase "put you on the pole" is frequently heard here at the Hott House.

No, it is not some strange Miley Cyrus new dance move we encourage as an alternative to her "Wrecking Ball".  Nor are we offering "pole dancing" performance art from our humble abode here in the W. Va. hills.

So if you have arrived at this blog post expecting some erotic exposition of scantily dressed individuals, well, I am sorry to disappoint.  But while you are here, I challenge you to consider what probably is a memory of most childhoods.

Measuring our (your) children's annual growth.

Our third "hottling" recently celebrated his 10th birthday.  It was that day that my hotthubby, Dan, announced, "Come on Isaac!  It's time to 'put you on the pole'!"

You see, ours is a log house structure and smack dab in the center of our living room is a, well,... a pole!

Seen here, it appears to be freshly cut from the forest, right?  (Well, it sort of has.)  You will notice the plethora of names and numbers along our family "pole".

For the Hott Family, it is a bi-annual occurance for each child to be "put on the pole."  We mark each child's height on their birthday as well as their "half birthdays" until at which time they cease to reach new verticle measurements.

Which, for this 48-year-old-grey-haired-pd bloggin-mama-of-four, marks another sort of life measurement all together.  After so many calculations marked, and some include frequent visits from nieces, nephews, and cousins (and the occasional random neighbor kid who just wants to be included on the pole), each tiny mark "marks" a moment in my heart.

You see, this day in history marked the time that my now 10 year old has reached my height.  Grant it, it's barely 5 feet for me.  But, for a short (haha!) moment in time my next to youngest will look his mommy eye to eye.  And, before you know it, Levi will catch up to me too.

For now, I will cherish the time because as they get older (and some reaching the opposite side of the pole) we won't always see "eye to eye", right?

Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace. 
Psalms 144:12-14

So, tell me.  Is there a "pole" in your house too?  Maybe a door frame or closet door?  

I may not always be tall enough to measure my children (nieces, nephews, cousins...) on the pole, but we will always see heart to heart.  And for those 6'7" relatives of mine, it is always fun when you return to Hott Mountain to find your mark on Aunt Angie and Uncle Dan's pole... and heart!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Run With Rene at "Fall for Fitness" 5K

"Fall for Fitness" 5K and Fun Run, a benefit for the BSHS Cross Country Team, is a new event taking place November 16th in Berkeley Springs, WV. Organizers have created a fun family fitness day filled with activities from a 5K Run, a family 1 mile fun run, free post race DJ Dance Party, and a free family walking tour of historic Berkeley Springs!

A very special "Fall for Fitness" co-host will appear with emcee and Dance DJ Ken Reed, owner of Reed's Pharmacy and candidate for US Congress!  Recently suffering a tragic, death defying, car accident, local fitness instructor Rene Garcia-Kesecker will be the guest of honor to recognize fitness in our community and award medals to the top three of age groups.  "Run with Renee" at "Fall for Fitness" coming Nov. 16 and inspire your community to be fit!

Meet Rene.

Rene Garcia-Kesecker.

Always an incurable optimist and possessing a powerful positive attitude, Rene greets everyone she sees with that electric movie star smile and a "Hey you!"  Regardless of how busy her day is, Rene is one of those rare fitness moms that makes time for a hello and a hug.

Busy?  Yes, that's Rene!  With her oldest a freshman at WVU, a daughter in high school, and another fifth grade dancing doll, this busy mom's activities keep her fit as a fiddle as she hustles from high school thespian productions, dance recitals, lessons, and extended family events.  Add to Rene's plate her fitness expertise as the community "zin master" on all things Zumba, a combination of Latin and International music with a fun and effective dance workout, one can find Rene teaching at Rankins Fitness Center or MAC Ice House.
Meet Rene.

It is never a dull day when attending "Zumba with Rene"... or, watching her participate in one of the only four major sports created in America.  No, it's not basketball, American football, or baseball. Try Roller Derby!

Meet Rene.  

A member of the Mason Dixon Roller Vixens, a women's flat track roller derby league, "Rene -K47" knows for certain the meaning of "rock-n-roll" as she enjoys competitive and focused sports devoted to community service, good sportsmanship, physical fitness, and the "left turns" of sweet, sweet Roller Derby!

Meet Rene.  

She was recently heading to help teach a Zumbathon in Hagerstown, MD, when Rene took a turn on a wet road while driving her family car after a late summer shower on a hot September afternoon. The local media soon reported "Woman Taken to Hospital After Driving into Tree" and facebook exploded with concern for a beloved mom in this small community.  We saw this:

Really?...  Rene?  Dear God, please rescue Rene from this tragic accident, love her family, heal her body, ease her pain.

Posts online reported that she suffered a broken collar bone, broken pelvis, and broken ribs.  How's a thrice broken pelvis going to do salsa and merengue at her next Zumba class?  How Rene managed to survive such an awful accident continues to shake this small town.

Morgan County is a rural community.  Although it seems we often hear nothing but the negative news; i.e, failed levy, struggling schools, drug abuse, obesity, child hunger,... in the midst of what often seems a crazy, mixed-up world, we all stopped for a moment to remember our beautiful, smiling, warm-hearted, dancing Rene.

Now, meet Rene...

Still healing, (and smiling) it will take more than a car crash to stop this 45 year-old-roller-derby-mom-of-three!  Barely a month following her horrible accident, Rene can be seen here cheering folks in the local parade at the Apple Butter Festival Oct 12th.  Seeing her at the festival!...and others too.

Why? Because a terrible accident has not stopped Rene.  Nope.  Out on a rainy weekend surrounded by her entire family, Rene returns to all things fun and fit.  With determination and a positive approach to her healing, Rene will soon be back in her Zumba class or making those left turns on the Derby Rink!

In fact, the Berkeley Springs community is pleased to have Rene join them as the guest of honor for the first annual "Fall for Fitness" 5K. As honorary officiate of the event, Rene will be presenting runner's awards and presiding over the event to benefit the Berkeley Springs High School Cross Country team!  On Saturday, November 16th at 10 a.m., family and friends will gather at Warm Springs Middle School to show support for a community fitness celebration for the "Fall for Fitness" 5K.

Following the race, there will be a Fun Run/Walk at 11 a.m., a free DJ Dance Party, and fun for all ages.  DJ Ken will attempt, with Rene's assistance, to lead a fitness Zumba dance while waiting for runners to return!  Inspiring others with her positive outlook, Rene will be present to cheer on the participants.  At this point (and if her doctor permits), she would even like to participate! Online registration to "Run With Renee" is available on, email, call 304-676-7910, or click the link above. Join the BSHS Cross Country team for "Fall for Fitness" 5K on Nov. 16th, celebrate fitness, and

Meet Rene.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#MichaelJFox - Are YOU watching? My Review of Michael J. Fox's New Sitcom

The new Michael J Fox Show.  Are YOU watching?

Yes, this 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four tunes in faithfully to NBC on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. (est).

Why?  Well, not to see the comeback of Michael to prime time television.  No, not even to laugh with Michael at his own victory over a chronic illness.  Nope! Not even to see how the writers will incorporate Parkinson's Disease into the script.

For me, well.... I can't wait to see what this little guy will do next.  Sound crazy?

But just look at him!  Those chubby cheeks erupting with freckles.  That strawberry blond head full of luscious curly locks.  Those enormous blue innocent blue eyes.  And, get this:  He's eight!  I wonder why I love this guy so much?!  Wait a minute, check out my 8 year old!

Sound familiar?  Well, he is.  Just look at him!

And so is so much of what I see while watching Michael's new sitcom.  Although the marketing folks gave away all things interesting in their promotion of the pilot episode, The Michael J. Fox Show, and in all honestly, I was drawn to its' efforts as a follower of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research there are some genuinely cooky life parallels I keep discovering that keep me watching.  There are several "real life" scenes that only a "Parkie" would understand.  Here they are:

*  Family Dinner -- The painstaking pauses of Parkinson's Disease that keeps a family waiting, yes waiting to eat!
*  Bedtime Banter -- The husband and wife beneath the covers kinda talk that only a spouse with Parkinson's could understand.
*  Nightmares and Sleep Talking -- The endless, crazy PD dreams that startle and stir slumber.
*  Timing PD Meds -- The inclusion of Michael's PD meds into his daily routine is a scene ripped directly from the Hott House!
*  Crazy Kids and Goofy Relatives  -- For my favorite aspect of The Michael J. Fox Show, the complete immersion of his children into living with a dad that has Parkinson's Disease is celebrated in this new comedy.

For this, well,... Michael has me watching.  Because, you see, here is where between the laughs and antics of his quirky moves and dropped lines (another PD symptom), I find that watching The Michael J. Fox show is like standing out on my own front porch and peeking in the window.

Although diagnosed a bit later than Michael, my "hotthubby" Dan came home one day in 2008 and told me that his neurologist was certain that he had Parkinson's Disease.

Wait,... really?

And like Michael J. Fox, we had a family of four.  How would we manage to raise two boys who were at the time just 3 and 4 years old?  Will the progression of this stinking illness mean that Dan will be capable of dancing with the girls, now 13 and 23, at their weddings?

But here's what happened.  Parkinson's Disease just became our new normal.  Not that we were remotely close in the first place, but we sure learned to enjoy each other n.o.w.!  Rather than "throw in the towel," we chose to give PD a room in our house with the rest of us.  As Michael promotes, we chose to believe in "the power of optimism"... and to to always (be) looking up.

Looking up to the one in control of it all, I find that with God's daily Grace, we find ways to giggle at the little things that living with Parkinson's Disease means.

So does Michael.  For this, I recommend tuning in on Thursdays for a peak at our PD families.  And for those of you that don't have Parkinson's living with your family, well,... you just may find something similar that also gives you the giggles.