Friday, December 21, 2012

They Are ALWAYS Watching!!

(I posted this on Facebook the other day, but I wanted to make sure that you guys saw this too. Not only do I think it has a good "life lesson", but I'm still amazed at the mind of a 14-month-old.)

Make sure you stick around for the moral of this story...

Mandi and I had an empty case of Gatorade sitting by our back door. By our back door is generally where we put large recyclable items that don't fit in the recycle container. Tonight, Mckenna (our 14-month-old daughter) walked over to the empty case and picked it up by one hand. With the other hand, she pointed at the back door and said "That!". We opened the door. She then proceeded to go out into our backyard with the empty Gatorade case in hand. We followed her. She walked about 60 feet along the back of our house until she got to a gate that leads into our side yard. She stopped at the gate, pointed to it, and said, "That!". We opened the gate. Mckenna then walked another 60 feet along the side of our house, still dragging the empty Gatorade case, until she got to two receptacles - one for trash and one for recyclables. I asked her which one the box went in and she pointed to the blue recycle bin and said, "That!". Mandi picked her up, opened the lid and Mckenna dropped the empty case in the recycle bin.

What's the moral of this story? Our kids are watching our every move. They watch what we eat. They hear what we say. They see how we react. They take in our emotions. They do what we do.

Children mirror their parents. Even at such a young age, the learning for "real life" is taking place.

Children learn what's right and wrong from two sources, and two sources only - the parents, and the teachers that the parents allow in their child's life. Be a good model for your child and choose your teachers, even the non-human kind, wisely.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Polar Express & Headphones

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for the Polar Express. Today, we head up north to Williams, AZ and then WAY up north to the North Pole courtesy of the Polar Express :) We went last year for the first time when Mckenna was only a couple months old and had a ball. We hope to make it a tradition for our family.

I'm thankful a daughter who seems to have a good time doing pretty much anything. I really have no frame of reference, but Mckenna sure seems like a cool kid. She's down to do anything and usually tries it with a smile on her face. She's just a joy to be around!!

I'm thankful for good headphones. Nothing is more annoying than fidgeting with the headphone jack to make the sound come through just right or having only one ear producing sound. There was a super deal on some headphones on GroupOn a little while back and I capitalized. Glad I did.  

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are you full of ideas?

For the past few months I've been collaborating on some design ideas with a gentleman from the UK, Matt (more info below about him). We started out just throwing different ideas back on forth on what type of products could make the life of someone with Cystic Fibrosis easier. It's been fun coming up with different things, and the cool part is, nothing is too crazy!! Matt is willing to give everything a look. 

I asked him to write up a summary on what AIR is, who he is and what type of people he's looking for. He's opening up the community to include all of you who are interested. Read Matt's write-up below. If you decide to join, drop me a note and I'll look for you :)


What is it?

AIR is a research project looking at how people can be better included in the design and development of medical products. It seems like common sense that people who have to use a medical product would be included, but it's not always the case.

Sometimes, people are included, but only to have opinions on things that have already been designed- other times, people are included but not allowed to have a fundamental say on what a product does; or even whether it fixes the problem that they want to have fixed in the first place!

In other industries, people are included as collaborators- they have the power to change the direction of a project, as they are included from the very beginning. Also, because they are equal partners in the design of the product, the end result is a better fit... it makes sense for the producer who wants to sell the product, and the person who has to use it. This is called Co Design.

However, in order to collaborate- people need to meet up. This can be a problem; what happens if you want to collaboratively design a product with people who aren't allowed to meet up?

AIR is a research project that is tackling this question, by allowing people to participate over the internet. It's a social network, all about developing concepts for medical devices for people who live with Cystic Fibrosis.

I'd like to invite you to take part.

It's open for anyone to join, as long as you're over 18. It's an opportunity for anyone to participate, whether you live with Cystic Fibrosis, or have intimate knowledge of living with someone who has Cystic Fibrosis. If you're someone who is interested in making things, and designing, but does not live with Cystic Fibrosis, then you're welcome too; it takes many people with many skills to help create a great product concept.

You can join and comment on other people's ideas, post your own, or share experiences that you feel strongly about without having an idea for a product... maybe someone else will see your story and be inspired.

Who am I?

My name is Matt (, and I'm a design researcher from the UK, at Sheffield Hallam University ( I am interested in how people can be included in medical product design. I don't have Cystic Fibrosis, and although I can't ever truly understand what it's like to live with CF, I can see that it's difficult to currently collaborate on making products.

This project isn't linked to industry, and is not for profit. The findings will be published in academic journals and conferences, and used as evidence to demonstrate how valid this method is; with the hope of influencing how medical products are designed more broadly. Although, there could be circumstances where the project receives attention from the press- this is not planned.

Because this social network is available publicly, you can choose to participate anonymously by signing up with a pseudonym, or by signing in with Facebook (or Twitter) and sharing your name. You can participate as much as you like, and at any time of the day. You're not signing up for anything financial (I don't need your credit card details!), and you can choose to stop any time you like without having an impact on any medical care that you currently receive.

I'd love to welcome you to AIR, and I hope this finds you well.

Click here to check us out:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vest too big and ineffective?

Question: Yet another question. This one is about the vest. They ordered mine while I was pregnant. But now I'm not sure if the fit is right & if it's working as well because of that. It poofs up quite a bit even with the straps pulled as tight as possible. I personally don't feel as if it's doing too much good. Just wondering if it truly does make a difference. 

Response: Yeah, it may be too big. But, I've found that I have to mess with it quite a bit for it to feel "just right". Be sure that you're sitting straight up and that nothing is putting pressure on the vest from any angle. Many people sit back in a chair or on the couch and that lessens the effectiveness. Mess with the shoulder straps, the clip straps, everything.

Be sure to mess with the pressure as well as the frequency. It should always be going up, or down, but never stay the same. You can find some good recommendations on as far as exact settings go. And finally, actively do you're vest. Don't sit there mindlessly on the computer with a neb in your mouth taking shallow breaths repeatedly at the same rate (which I can be very guilty of). Breathe in deep, exhale fast. Breathe in slow, exhale slow. Huff cough. Take time to really cough your brains out.

There is certainly nothing magical about a vest. If we treat it as a piece of clothing that happens to shake, we'll get nothing out of it. We need to treat it as a workout that requires participation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quit Something on Thursday

We had a phenomenal guest speaker yesterday at church. He's a man by the name of Bob Goff. His book, Love Does, just hit the NYTimes Best Sellers List. He is a Christian man with a heart for doing God's will in his life. He is a lawyer and has felt like his purpose in life is justice, and specifically justice for children. He "invited himself" to start trying cases in Uganda (of all places). He is a TOTAL loon! And I say that in the most endearing way! He was possibly one of the best speakers I've ever heard...ever...because he's just so excitable. He's all over the place and animated. He was entertaining, but the root of his message was put in such a unique way that it really hit home. If our church posts his talk online, I'll post it. But in the meantime, I wanted to share something I was the smallest little section of his talk and by no means the meat and potatoes, but I really loved it.

Quit something on Thursday.

That was one little piece of advice in the midst of his whole talk, but is resonated with me.

"I quit something every Thursday," he said with excitement and a chuckle.

This initially sounds a little silly if you didn't hear the context. He was talking about how we are all "hoarders" with commitments in our lives. We just pack them so full that none of us have the time to do what we were really made to do. We all do a lot that we are just ok or even good at, but they're not what we were created to do. We commit and commit and commit to things to be nice. But then when something arises that is actually aligned with what God wants us to do, we say no because we say we have no time for it...and that's true, we don't! But by our own doing. We are all stressed. We all fill our desks, our social calendars, our lives way too full. So his advice, "quit something." Is he a total loser who does nothing because he just quits everything? Not at all. Hearing his story makes me wonder how in the world he has lived long enough to accomplish all that he has. I mean, every 60 days the dude flies to Uganda. He's a lawyer. He runs a non profit. He has freed hundreds of wrongfully imprisoned youth from the jails in Uganda. He's the Consul for Uganda to the US. He is accomplished and busy. He just commits to things that are actually appropriate for him to be doing based on God's will for his life.


I can't tell you how busy we are. We agree to this, that and the other thing all the time that we don't want to do, that we are only mildly good at, and that just stresses us out. Why? I have no clue! Ha. It was so funny to hear him put it so simply. Obviously there are times when I just can't quit something. Most the time I can't get an assignment at work and say, "Nope. Not doing it. Not gonna happen." But I can definitely not agree to go to 10 Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, ugly sweater parties, etc....although I do love me some cookies!!

We all have such limited time on this earth to do what we are really meant to do. Life is so fleeting. Days are too short. Years too limited. Hearing Bob Goff so simply say, "quit," was eye opening. So hey, who wants to quit some stuff on Thursday with me?