Friday, March 28, 2008

Some Pictures to See!

On Wednesday, Logan went up to Primary's for his weekly chemo. On Thursday morning he said he didn't feel well enough to go to school. To illustrate his point, he took our whiteboard off the fridge and drew his stomach, complete with bellybutton and "throw-up germs." Julian helped him with his head and appendages.

Saturday Morning Raquetball Sunrise:
More Than One Reason to Get Up Early!!!

A wonderful friend found this 1980's relic
after reading my post dated 3/1/08...

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Drug of Choice

It's been a rough week. We all have those now and then, so what do we do about it? The only thing we really can do is find a way to cope.

The first coping skill I usually turn to is to pretend that everything is fine and smile my way through the day. Then, when I can, I retreat to a quiet place (my bed) to think or sleep it off.

Next, I turn to food. Food has a calming effect on me. Sometimes it's sugar. Other times fried food. And, when my tummy gets too full, I try the sleeping thing again.

BUT, my all-time favorite way to cope is something I can only do when it's warm outside and someone can stay with my kids. I RUN! I run away. I run and run and I concentrate on my breathing and my posture and pretty soon I'm relaxed and numb. I feel hypnotized by the rhythm of my shoes pounding on the pavement and the pulsing lungs in my chest. I feel the cool wind in my hair and the warm sun on my skin and I am free.

Exercise can be an effective way of coping. The endorphines your body produces burn off stress and give you a burst of happy energy. Afterward, you'll likely feel great that you got up and did something good for your body and your mind.

How do you cope?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stinky Feet

My experience with stinky feet has not been prolific, but a few memories have surfaced recently due to a situation I've been having with my gym/work shoes for the last week or so.

My earliest memory of stinky feet was in junior high school. We wore shoes without socks there, which was perfectly normal to us, unlike here in Utah where I was stunned to see people wearing socks with their sandles! We lived in Puerto Rico where the humidity was often upwards of 100%. Put that together with the sockless feet and you'll know why no one wanted to take off their shoes in public.

A more recent memory is of a 5th grade PE class of mine. A mother of one of the girls came to teach a yoga lesson. She asked everyone to take off their shoes and as soon as they did I wished they hadn't. Overpowering is the word I'd use to describe the air, even in that large and spacious gym.

Last week I noticed my gym shoes were looking a bit drab, so I threw them in the washer to brighten them up. They came out with a weird smell, so I put them back in and added some bleach. This time they came out smelling like a clean bathroom. I propped them up in front of a space heater and I wore them to work when they were dry.

A couple of days later I took them off and a whiff of stench rose to my nose. What in the world? Over the next few days the smell got stronger, enough so that if I was sitting, my nose was close enough to my feet to notice.

While teaching classes today I could smell the odor wafting up from a full standing position. It was getting stronger. When the students grouped around me I convinced myself that they'd probably think it was from some other student or even worry that the stink was coming from their own shoes. You can get away with a lot in an elementary school.

Later, I sat in a "teacher class" after school and couldn't concentrate for the smell emanating from my shoes. I thought, my whole table must be able to smell it, as I studied their faces for clues. My friend, the Health/Computer teacher, assured me she detected nothing, but I pushed my feet further under the table anyway. When she left for a few minutes, I knew she was taking a fresh air breather. She came back giving the excuse that she was talking to another teacher about a computer problem. Convenient.

My shoes are again in the washing machine. I added some air softener with a floral bouquet. Will it be enough to save my shoes? I only need them to last until the end of the school year!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cancer Perks: More Than Just an Egg Hunt...

Cancer is a huge challenge and very, very scary! It's nice to know there are people who care and work hard to give the kids and their families opportunities to have fun together year round. It also helps to know that we're not alone. We get to meet other families who struggle with similar issues. Julian LOVES to meet other cancer siblings!

We haven't participated in very many of these events over the last 4 years, but, Logan has been doing so well lately that I've signed us up for just about everything that comes our way!

This Make-A-Wish event was a Fun with a capital F! Game booths, sack races, face painting, clowns, balloon tying...all with great prizes! Not to mention an egg hunt where you couldn't see the ground for the number of eggs lying around.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Really, I'm not bragging!

The Five Languages of Love:
  1. Quality Time - feels loved when another chooses to spend time with them

  2. Receiving Gifts - feels loved when another gives them a gift

  3. Acts of Service - feels loved when another provides a service for them

  4. Physical Touch - feels loved when another hugs them, touches their hand or cheek, gives a back massage, etc.

  5. Words of affirmation - ME ME ME!!!

This week I had the rare opportunity of having another teacher request to observe me. All first year teachers get this opportunity, but no one has ever asked to watch me in action until now. I hope she doesn't mind that I share this, but it just made me feel SO good and happy inside!

It was so good for me to watch you teach today. You really are fabulous!
One of the things I loved most is how you're happy and have so much fun with the kids. You laugh when they do/say goofy things but when you're talking, they give you attention and then follow your instructions.
Boyce (the curriculum coach) commented on your excellent management too! He pointed out how you were constantly telling the students your expectations like "raise your hand if you know..." You also nailed that "checking for understanding." I think you asked the students to repeat their instructions each time. WOW! I forget that a lot.
Anyway, I really appreciated the visit to your school to see a pro at work. Amazing. I'm so glad I'm in your ward and have gotten ideas and lesson plans from you all year. You've helped more than you'll ever know.

So, now you know that every time I tell you how wonderful you are or how much I appreciate you, I'm really saying, "I care a whole heckuva lot about you!"

Thursday, March 06, 2008


...And then he said, "I can't blieve I did it! I'm so plouda myself!"

For the last 4 1/2 years once and even two or three times a day, we've been crushing pills and mixing them in a little raspberry syrup. At first it seemed like so much work, smashing the pills between two spoons. Plus, some meds aren't meant to be crushed either because they don't work as well or are too harsh on the stomach lining and , in the case of chemo pills, there is the danger of inhaling the dust.

Though it's not ideal, we've done it anyway, because it was the only way to do it with a 2-year-old with a gag reflex. Over the years we've tried to teach him how to swallow a mini-M&M or take a pill with a bite of pudding, but never with success and always with a fight and crying fest.

Today was a big surprise. I try so hard to get to work a bit early or at least on time, but something always seems to come up. In my rush to give Logan a $14 anti-nausea pill this morning, I asked him if he thought he might be able to swallow the tiny pill. What was I thinking? If it didn't work, not only would I have a gagging, crying little boy on my hands, but I'd also have a soggy, expensive pill. What possessed me, I don't know, but he made a face then promptly put the pill in his mouth.

The pill tasted bad, so right away he took it out and said he didn't think he could do it. We walked to the kitchen while I suggested we put it in a bite of yogurt. I opened the refrigerator door and Logan took his half-filled cup of chocolate milk out. He put that pill in his mouth, then swallowed it down with a swish of milk! I wish I had a picture. The look on his face was a mixture of shock, amazement and delight! He went straight to Julian's room to annouce the big news, then downstairs to tell daddy. What a moment!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Natural vs. Additives

The sugar rule only applies to foods that have sugar listed as an additive. Fruit does not fall into this category. Honey, Fructose Corn Syrup (high or otherwise) and such are the felons.

I guess one could make a goal to not eat sweets or treats, which might include sugary snacks and desserts. Anyone want to ammend their challenge guidelines???

P.S. I am enamored with Farmhouse honey. What a treat! It is so thick it takes forever to come out of the bottle. I need to get my hands on some more of that stuff! Is there still a website? I searched, but couldn't find it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


For those of you who are interested in the "No Sugar" portion of the Healthy Challenges, you need to know what I learned yesterday.

You'll also need to brace yourself for this shock of all shockers.

Run and fill a glass of water to have near you before you read further. Bring a clean cloth, too, in case you need to put it on your forehead after you read what I have to say.

Now, make sure you are planted firmly in your chair.

Are you ready? Then read on, my friend.

If you are going to earn a point for eating no sugar, you need to check the ingredients of all the foods you eat. If one of the first 6, yes SIX, ingredients is sugar, then don't eat it! This includes regular yogurt, most breakfast cereals, salad dressings, even bread!!! Crazy, I know! Check some labels. You'll see.

Now, I haven't attempted to earn any points in the "No sugar" category. It's not worth it to me. Plus, I know from experience that I can lose all the weight I want to without depriving myself of the sweet things in life. In my opinion it's more a matter of limiting, not eliminating, sugar intake.

Wouldn't you rather weight lift and extra 20 minutes for that extra point? It's up to you, of course. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Monday, March 03, 2008


I am simultaneously participating in 2 Fitness Challenges, possibly soon to be 3. Ambitious, I know. I figure the odds of winning are greater if I dip my fingers into more bowls, if you know what I mean. That speaks of my competitive nature.

The first started 2 weeks ago at work. We are divided into teams of 5 and my team is currently in 2nd place and kicking the heels of the 1st place team. Prizes will be awarded to the team who earns the most points, the person with the most points and anyone who accomplishes their personal goal by March 30th. My personal goal is to lose an average of 1 lb per week. So far I've doubled that, so it's working.

The second is with a group of neighborhood ladies and we began last week. We work as individuals. The points we earn will be used to "purchase" prizes at the end of 6 weeks.

The third is open to anyone, even you! You can find details at And this chick (my good friend, Erin) is contageously motivating. So, check it out!

All the challenges are similar in that way that points are earned.
One point each day can be earned for the following...
  • Get at least 7 hours sleep.
  • Take a multivitamin.
  • Drink 64 oz of water.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat 2 serving of fruit and 3 of veggies.
  • No caffeine
  • No soda
  • No sugar
  • Read scriptures/Pray
  • No eating after 7:30pm
One point is earned for each of the following with no limit as to how many per day...
  • 30 minutes of cardio
  • 20 minutes of toning/weight lifting

Two points are awarded when a pound is lost. (It is best to only weigh in once each week.)

I am loving the motivation I get from friends who are in it with me. So get some of yours together and start up a challenge! It's the popular thing to do. (And that's okay because it's positive peer pressure, not negative. Ü)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

From the Horse's Mouth...

First of all, let me truthfully state that I am not prone to gossip. That Mormon Ad from the 80's with the black slime passing from one set of hands to the other gave me pause when I was a youth. Not that I had been party to that type of talk prior to seeing the poster, but the poster was the catalyst for my decision to avoid engaging in gossip. So far I've held true to my committment and only kiss and tell if my sources are reliable.

That being said, Guess what happened in my neighborhood this week???

We've had several deer coming down from the mountains behind our nestled community this winter. More than usual. I saw two 4-point bucks nibbling bushes in front of a house on 3rd East early on a Saturday morning as I was driving to meet some ladies for a rousing game of racketball. Jarid saw an elk in our own back yard the very next week, again in the wee hours of the morn. This week a cougar was spotted in the yard of our neighbors who live on the other side of our block. Yes, you read that right. A COUGAR!!! I'm having third thoughts about going out for an early jog.

Another neighbor came home from work late one evening this week and was surprised by a night-time visitor. No, not a cougar. This encounter began after he'd entered the house and had closed the door. He heard a knock and when he opened the door to see who in the world would knock so late he found himself standing face to face with a policeman! Seems there's been a string of home robberies of late in our little nook of the city. I wish I'd have asked his wife if he'd been fumbling with the keys or was wearing a warm, dark-colored ski mask or something else that would have looked suspicious to an officer of the night.

So, that's what's happening where I live. What's going on in your corner?