Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finding Balance and Staying Sound

So today marks the final day of April - therefore the end of #20daysinapril.

A couple of stats....

- By the end of today I will have exercised 23 days in April...I wish I'd put on a pedometer at the beginning of the month, because the amount of miles I've logged walking would probably be impressive.  (For the record, we have this great elliptical/recumbent bike in our garage for me to use now that I've discontinued my gym membership...the only problem - it's still in the box!) Fortunately, the weather has been very cooperative and conducive to walking.

- I haven't ever "stomped on my cell phone" this month.  I've dropped it - and perhaps kicked it a little bit - but, even when I'm splurging I feel like I'm making better choices on what to splurge on.  Really, I can't imagine exceeding 2500 calories on any one day this month...most days I've probably stayed around 1500 calories, with a whole lot more protein than usual in my diet.

- And....Drum Roll Please.....as of this morning, (Are you ready for this?) I've lost a grand total of....... .5 pounds since the beginning of the month.   ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!????!!!!  When the scales have been their kindest, I've lost 2.5 pounds, but as of now, I'm back up again.  Apparently, I had too many almonds last night....

So, that brings me back to the title of the blog post.  This month has been a good exercise (no pun intended) in creating better habits and breaking bad ones.  The first week was me in a very bad mood, feeling deprived and unhappy with my body.  As the weeks have progressed, I've found new foods I really enjoy (I suspect my cholesterol would be GREAT right now) and have settled in to a pattern.  I have LOVED my walks - in fact, today, I think I might try to work in two just because I can't wait for this afternoon to meet with someone, I want to get out this morning.  I've tried to take advice of Jonna to walk with my core sucked in, and to look for any hill route I can find to get the cardio going.  Because of my neck, I really try to stay away from high impact exercise.

Yeah, that "staying sound" thing - really working on that.  And, I've found success.  I've taken less prescription pain-killers this month than probably any other month in the last five years.  This is HUGE!  I've had some setbacks, but it's felt good to feel good.

Final thoughts:

- Because it's been a HUGE accountability to me (even if no one is even noticing), I will be continuing into May with #20daysinmay.  I will give myself some liberties on Mother's Day and Memorial Day Weekend, though!

- I've got to try a bit harder to drop it down on the scales - at least by 5 pounds.  Michele has totally passed me up again (though she's earned it...she has a dr. appt tomorrow as accountability....I'm counting on a total backslide after the appt. to even us up a bit).  It's not the numbers so much, but summer is always a bear for me and I have to enter it a little bit lower.

- For sure, my body has changed.  The curves are better than they were, in the more appropriate places, but fat converted to muscle only accounts for so much.  Still waiting for the metabolism to kick in bigtime.

- I'm seeking to somehow find contentment without grazing simultaneously.  A hard one for me.  Night times just aren't fun unless I'm snacking while relaxing.  I feel like so much of this is just an act of obedience/discipline for me and its a vice I fight to give up.  I'm trying to reconvert my thinking from "all or nothing" to eating for a reason, and with good choices in mind.   Like this breakfast - Yoplait Coconut Greek Yogurt with fresh strawberries and, yes...a splattering of mini chocolate chips...because, yes, there still has to be some fun in life. =D

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekly Whitley Fix

It was a GORGEOUS week in Eugene.  Every morning I was able to get out and appreciate it.  Gorgeous blue skies, the smells of spring, the breeze - I do NOT take that for granted....and find myself so full of praise to be able to experience it.

Monday started out with a walk with Ashley.  I met her at Trinity (the brick house in the background) and we walked up to Hendricks park.  It was a new walk loop we discovered, with a little bit of hill to go with it....perfect!  Lovely lady, lovely walk, lovely conversation....

I wasn't set up with any walking buddies for Tuesday or Wednesday, so I did some exploring around the neighborhoods nearby.  This is taken not far from where we live - while I can bash my hometown for its liberal views/lifestyles and not-always-so-sunny weather, but it really does offer a bounty of beauty.
Thursday was "Take Your Child to Work Day".  I've always ignored this opportunity as I haven't been actively working, and John's job wouldn't accommodate an all-day visitor. Even if I were subbing, I don't have enough relationship to any one school that would make it appropriate to bring a kiddo.  However, this year, Mikayla kicked up her sales techniques and asked if she could stay home to take care of Whitley for me.  Well....why not?  Of course, Brayden was NOT happy finding out she got to stay home while he never has had that opportunity - which led to that ever-so-useful lecture about life not being fair...."get used to it"!

I talked to my neighbor, Kristen (who's daughter, Sydney, also stayed home) about hiking up Spencer's Butte with us.  They'd never been on this hike and I wanted them to see another option to the often-hiked (but I find boring) Mt. Pisgah.  

I had forgotten (I think I always block it out) just how difficult the very last stretch to the top of the butte is.  You literally lose the trail and have to navigate around the rocks to get there.   This time, I had Whitley on my back, and while the extra weight was messing with me - so was the balance as I navigated my footing.  I was TIRED and overheated by the time we reached the top.  I kind of knew I'd overdone it based on how red my face was, but hoped it wouldn't come back and bite me.  It did.  As I'm typing this on Saturday morning, I still have some residual headache pain from the overheating headache that Thursday - (it set in later that evening with a vengeance).  Ugh...I don't do well in heat to begin with and one of my most effective pain prevention medicines only intensifies that problem.  

Nevertheless, we felt triumphant as a crew to reach the summit -

I look forward to introducing the Natt family to more hikes (perhaps less climb!) in the future.

Later that day, Mikayla took her role a little more seriously as caregiver to Whitley.  Tough job, huh?

It did get a little more challenging when Whitley had an, er, "accident" - that went all the way up to her hair.  I decided I better step in to help, and we had fun giving her a bath in the kitchen sink.  She LOVES the water!

On Friday, Whitley and I took a field trip to Cottage Grove where they were advertising a GIANT "MOPS" Garage Sale happening at one of the churches there.  I'm realizing Whitley is at that perfect age for bright "pop-up" toys to play with, but there's absolutely no need for me to be spending full price on them at a store.  I think it bothers Travis (due to guilt) whenever I purchase anything for Whitley - whether that's a toy or new outfit.  What I think Stephie understands better than he does is just how much fun it is - (as Stephie has done so much of that for our kids over the years) - and not something I'd want to be denied doing every now and then.   Plus, how great is it when you get to see her take so much joy in the few dollars I threw out for this treasure trove of toys I found (at the definitely NOT giant garage sale).  (Don't worry...they were thoroughly sanitized!)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my "job"? =)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Few Prayer Requests

Again - behind in my blog posts.  It's been a glorious week of sunshine around here, so I feel like I've taken more pictures lately and have more "adventures" to blog about.  I'll get around to it....but, for now, I thought I'd take a moment to ask for the favor of prayer.

Tomorrow, I get to go in to my ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor and, through the use of radio waves and a balloon - hopefully correct what prevents me from being able to fully breathe through my nose.

Apparently, the entrance into my sinuses on the right side of my nose is too small.  Since (without the help of Mucinex (been taking it for over a year) or Sudafed) I'm unable to breathe through my nose on that side, I'm not surprised.

This wouldn't be that big of an issue if it weren't for the pressure this causes (similar to your ear not popping when changing elevation) that becomes a secondary source of pain when I get my headaches.  Were it not for the twice daily use of those OTC meds, I'd be succumbing to sinus headaches on a regular basis.   I'm not actually dealing with an ongoing sinus infection, just the pressure that becomes a problem when pain originates from another source.

After a CAT scan in March, and follow up appt. with my ENT to clarify there wasn't a serious problem, we threw around potential solutions for this tiny sinus opening as well as the enlarged "turbinates" (turbinates are spongy bone structures on the sides of the inner nose that regulate airflow and protect the inner nasal anatomy).  To solve the problem of these turbinates, radio waves will be used to shrink them down.  Very cool!

As for that hole - well, the common solution is to do an outpatient surgery in the hospital in which a drill would be used to enlarge it.  I know some folks who've had and described that experience - and it hasn't been altogether "pleasant" (though they were pleased with the end results).  General anesthesia is used and you'll wake up with gauze packed in to your nose.  The recovery is about 5 days.  Lovely.  Being "put under" + surgery with a drill + gauze up your nose + extended recovery time = less than optimal "Plan A".

In my discussion with the doc about this, he understood and lamented that my health insurance did NOT cover the "Plan B" he'd like to pursue.  That would be "Sinuplasty".  The "procedure" (not surgery) is done in office.  No general anesthesia is used (a couple of Percoset and Valium instead....sounds like a PARTY to me!!!! j/k!!!).  Instead of a drill, a special balloon is inserted into the nose and inflated through the hole to enlarge it.  This is the same kind of technology used in angioplasty which has literally revolutionized the treatment of blocked arteries.  To my knowledge, I won't be leaving with gauze in my nose (if you know otherwise...don't tell me....I'm choosing to be optimistic!)  And, the best yet - theoretically, with this procedure, a person could turn around and go back to work the next day if needed.

Given the two options, John and I chose "Plan B", even though it meant we'd have to pay for it out of pocket.  It's absolutely ridiculous the way insurance companies have power over our health care - so despite their willingness for me to take more risks in paying for (partially - after the deductible and co-pay....which may have negated much compensation anyway) the surgery in a hospital with general anesthesia used, John and I were not.

So, that's the plan.  Tomorrow at 3pm is my appointment.  I'm not nervous or anxious at all - though I believe I would have felt that way if I were hospital-bound.  Instead, I'm looking forward to being able to take a deep breathe - entirely through my nose!  (Not to mention, ditch the "horse pill" Mucinex that has effectively thinned out the mucus preventing too much blockage).

Also occurring tomorrow - and something we'd covet prayers for, is an outreach activity in our church's high school department that John has been invited to share his testimony.  He's got quite the "bad boy" past that makes for a very riveting story.  He's been working on this talk all week - including the "hook" he'll use to try to lure the crowd back to when he'll be giving a full message at high school group on Sunday.  Please pray for him to feel the confidence and direction that only comes from the Holy Spirit guiding him every step of the way.
UPDATE:  pic from the event :

When he originally said "Yes" to this event, we didn't put two and two together that it would occur the same evening as this sinus procedure for me.  While I don't think I'll feel up to attending to listen to him speak (I don't know if he'd want me there with all of those loopy drugs in my system!) - I feel pretty confident that I won't need him home babysitting me either.  It'll all work out.

Thanks for your prayers and positive thoughts everyone!

UPDATE:  From my Facebook post yesterday afternoon:
For anyone I've asked to keep me in prayer today for the non-invasive sinus procedure (Sinuplasty) I'm having done....if you could take a raincheck on those prayers, that would be great. ;) Apparently, that answering machine I hadn't checked in a couple of days hid a message letting me know the dr. had to reschedule. (They also had my cell number entered wrong in their system, which is why I wasn't told that way). So glad I decided to go ahead and take care of that "chore" in reviewing the messages just now! Good news...77 degree day today and I've got a free afternoon! (Also, the receptionist verified it really is that quick of a recovery...and I should indeed feel fine the next day - important info as we seek another Friday to reschedule in the upcoming busy weeks....)

4/21 50m hill walk
4/22 50m hill walk
4/23 60m brisk walk 
4/24 45m hill walk
4/25 50m hike (Spencer's Butte) 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Making Waves at Winema

Since I wasn't there, and didn't take these pictures, I'm going to let them speak for themselves.  You'll see lots of John socializing, Brayden playing - and shots of the classic highlights of what makes the Winema spring retreat so special...

Love this picture....the result of the pic was what I put on the previous blog post. 

The boys reported having had a fantastic time - really enjoying the "renewal" they got to experience while being there - as well as the closeness it created in their own relationship with each other.  It did warm my heart, though, that Brayden requested if Mikayla has a conflicting tournament next year during the same weekend as the retreat that we skip it, because, "it just wasn't the same without the whole family"....

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Weekends

The Rileys split up this last weekend.  The boys headed to the coast for the CCF Spring Retreat, while we headed to the Schillings to be our home base for Mikayla's volleyball tournament in nearby Corvallis.

I will do another blog post of pictures taken at Winema on behalf of John and Brayden, but as for our girls' weekend - the word I'd use to describe it:  "lackluster".  

The team definitely had their least spectacular tournament appearance.  As their team straddles divisions in terms of talent, we frequently face the top team first thing in the morning.  It's pretty typical that they'll play hard and tough, and put up a good fight...but, inevitably lose - and then lose momentum as they go on to play other teams throughout the day.  

(Mikayla was 100% in her serving...woo hoo!)

It was a fun venue, though - and a pretty day.  They were able to finish up shortly after 5 on Saturday, so Mikayla was able to return to her cousins and enjoy lots more outside play time with the neighbors....a beautiful, serendipitous sort of thing.

Michele and I were able to get a great hill walk in over in West Salem on Sunday...nice time with the family.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Go Team Spinney!

On Friday afternoon, Whitley and I got the opportunity to support Heather by watching her run the 1500 at Hayward Field.  She was slated for a 3:50 start time, so I left with plenty of time to spare, hoping to have Whitley fall asleep on the way and relax in the car for a bit.  Who knew parking would be such an issue (well, I should have...it always is any where on campus)...at any rate, no lounging in the car - I popped her carseat in the stroller and we were beat-feeting it to get there in time.

Because of the stroller, I opted not to take a place in the stands, but instead stood by the fence.  Prior to the race beginning, the runners took the track and Heather walked by us.  It was fun to have her see Whitley, all decked out in Red Sox gear (courtesy of pre-planning on Steph's part) - that is Heather's favorite team, therefore showing her most support. 

Heather did FANTASTIC.  This was the first 1500 she raced this season and she got a 4 second PR.  I'd teased her earlier that her disappointment in previous race outcomes was that she was saving her best for when we'd be there to see her.  That seemed to be the case....though I guess it would then stand to reason we better be making a lot of races in the future!

We had discussed stewardship the night before with our Thursday Night Ladies and I applauded Heather for the stewardship she has of this God-given talent and the avenues it opens to show her trust, faith, and joy in the Lord no matter what the outcome.  So proud of that gal.

Now, at 6:38am on Saturday, we are nearly ready to hit the road to support my little gal - Mikayla's last "ranking" tournament.  It's at the OSU campus, and I realized this morning I'm totally "ducked" out in UO gear...(same colors as their Webfoot volleyball team colors) - hope that's not a problem.  =)

Meanwhile, John and Brayden are representing the Riley family on the coast at Camp Winema for the CCF spring retreat.  I'm sure there will be lots of stories and pictures to come about their adventures there....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Heavy Week

My mind kept going back to Jonna throughout the morning - thinking of her enduring 26.2 miles of running.  So proud, so "out-of-my-league", so impressive.  At noon that day, Heather and Kaela stopped by for a lunch date, and while we were chatting Heather read a text from her phone that told her about the bombings.  At that point, it seemed like they were small and wouldn't affect that many people.  However, as soon as they left, I hopped on to Facebook and thankfully found out right away that Jonna and her husband, Chris, were safe and sound - had seen and heard the explosion, but weren't injured.

Jonna was actually able to call and speak to Kenady at the school to tell her what had happened before the news had broke to the rest of the kids.  What a relief for Kenady, but on the other hand, SO alarming to realize your parents were so close to tragedy.  I gave her a huge hug after school and found myself tearing up. 

As it turns out, Jonna crossed the finish line about a half hour before the disaster - an amazing time of 3:36:01.  Wow - way to go!

I've been really trying to step up the exercise this week, so I asked Kristen if she'd like to join me on a hill path I'd found on Wednesday.  Ironically, she'd just read a post about supporting Boston by doing a run on Wednesday.  Well, we briskly walked...but I think the sincerity was there.  Her daughter, Sydney, made the sign for us.

Yesterday, I had a double header - I got to take a morning walk with Dawn and an afternoon walk with Nancy.   I am so blessed with so many extraordinary women in my life that make it so much richer. 

Earlier in the week, I'd taken the same path with one of my college friends, Alysha.  Along the way, I'd labeled myself "Nature ADHD" as I point out every creature along the path.  At this time of year, it's extraordinary between the geese, ducks (and their babies), turtles, herons, osprey....and yes, to Alysha's HORROR, a two and a half foot snack that crossed our path.  That was a new one for me - and I thought it was cool, but I'm not sure if Alysha will ever want to walk that direction again - she was a little traumatized.

Yesterday, with Dawn, I spotted a strange object on one of the pond overlook railings....a baby's binkie.  One that looked exactly like the one that Whitley had lost on the walk with Alysha, two day's prior.  Same size, color, and style....how funny!  However, I think claiming it would have been way abusing the "10 Second Rule" so I opted to leave it there just in case someone else lost the same binkie and was looking for it.  It did make me laugh, though.

Next week shows temps in the low 70's all week long...REMARKABLE!  Hoping to be outside everyday and taking advantage of this rare Oregon spring blessing.

4/16 30m hill walk
4/16 80m brisk walk
4/17 30m hill walk 
4/18 80m brisk walk
4/18 80m brisk walk

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Exceptional Sunriver Mini-Vacation

I'll be honest.  With all of the traveling we've been doing lately, the idea of packing up - yet again - to go on one more road trip with just our family didn't thrill me.  However, since this time the destination was Sunriver and not somewhere along the I-5 corridor, it did make it more enticing.  

By the time Thursday came around, I was genuinely excited again.  We'd solved the "abandoning Sydney" issue by having the Schilling family stay at our home while we were gone.  (They were going to visit their former youth pastor's brand new baby and Traig had a Harlow-friends social event to attend).  I was able to get the house pretty spruced up, sheets cleaned, laundry caught up - and everything packed and ready to go by the time John pulled in around 4:00 on Thursday.  Since the kids had no-school on Friday, we had an extra day.

This whole trip came about, ironically, because of my annual Sage Springs Spa visit with the girls in our post-Christmas vacation.  This year, they were offering a deal, if you purchased a certain dollar amount of gift certificate for the spa (or other Sunriver services), then you got a free night to stay at a lodge cabin, sometime before May.  John purchased one, I purchased one, and then, because they couldn't justify a one day visit, Michele and Michael kindly gave us the one they purchased.  Three free nights in Sunriver?  Despite any amount of previous travel, this was something we definitely needed to make happen.

The kids were much more amicable on the trip over than the previous weekend, and the scenery was beautiful.  Oregon is so gorgeous.

Once we got to the other side of the mountains, it's as if a part of my soul was renewed.  I love the feel, the views, the smells, the "atmosphere" - I get over here and breathe a huge sigh of "All is well".

Views within and just outside of Sisters.

When we arrived at the lodge to check in, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that we'd been upgraded to a suite-unit.   Now we had a two-story little condo - beds and additional bathroom in a loft upstairs, fireplace, deck with rocking chairs, kitchenette.  Score!  

The beauty of this weekend was that there was no need to have to wake up to an alarm for three mornings.  Of course, that doesn't mean I still won't wake up at 6:30, but unlike any given day, on this weekend, naps are allowed.  

We spent Friday not leaving Sunriver.  Mikayla and I walked to the Sunriver Village, cruised around and brought back doughnuts for the boys.  Along the way, we discovered the huge hot tubs adjacent to our unit - I did NOT know that was part of the lodging around here....another huge score!  So, that's where our family went next - I stayed especially long, soaking in the sunshine while reading my Kindle.  (So far, three books completed....)

For dinner, courtesy of the discovery Mikayla and I made on our previous walk, we ate at the newly remodeled "Village Bar and Grill".  It's a rare day that a restaurant has offerings that make every one if the family happy - beverages included.  (Shirley Temples and Henry Weinhard's Root Beer in a bottle?....oh happy day!)   Before leaving, we told our waitress we'd probably be seeing her the next night as we were so impressed and ready to repeat the experience.

The plan for Saturday was to head into the Old Mill District of Bend and see "GI Joe".  Mikayla was less than thrilled about this movie choice, but it was kind of a leftover plan from Brayden's birthday so we committed to seeing it.  Enjoyable, captivating - and it scored points for not inundating the viewer with bad language.

Upon returning, the kids really wanted to visit the SHARC - the new pool built at Sunriver.  Since the weather was in the low 50's, there was no way we'd be taking advantage of the outdoor pool offerings, so it was just the indoor portion (that the kids had already been at) we'd be visiting.  John and I were way less than enthusiastic about doing that, so we tried to bribe the kids to choose an alternate activity.  We settled on a visit to "Fort Rock Park".  It was empty...perhaps the only time I've seen it that way.  We enjoyed some tether ball tournaments (pretty clear that Mikayla plays that both recesses) and goofed off as a family.  

We also decided to pick out a board game at the toy store near our restaurant to play as a family after dinner.   It was hard to pull the kids from the store as there were lots of things in there that caught their attention.

Following another great dinner - and another trip to the hot tub, we played "Hit or Miss".  It was a great game for our family.  Very simple concept, you are given a category (like "Things you'd find at a picnic"), everyone lists as many ideas as you can think of while the 45 second timer goes through its sand, and then, one by one, each player rolls a die to determine if you are looking for a HIT or MISS from your list.  If you roll a HIT, you pick one of your words that you think the most people are also going to have on their list, if you roll MISS, you pick something that you think no one else listed.  Points are allocated based on matches....  John ended up winning.  We realized our kids don't have a good handle on what a household appliance is (no, it's not the heater or a toilet), and (not surprisingly), their grasp on "normal household chores" was definitely lacking.  

We requested a late check-out this morning.  None of us are ready to leave.  The forecast is actually calling for a chance of snow today (yesterday, mini flakes of snow were falling, even with blue skies directly overhead).  This place is magical - and our family has definitely bonded in our stay here.  It DEFINITELY exceeded my low expectations from the beginning of the week.

Until next time Sunriver!

4/9 45m "hike" with whitley

4/10 60m volleyball
4/11 75m brisk walk
4/12 30m brisk walk