Friday, May 6, 2011

Scaring People is Fun

If you haven't seen one of these Scary Maze Pranks before you've got to check this out. These were all shot during a family vacation in Mexico.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Salty & Sweet

Know what time it is? 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. as I mentioned, I no longer have the "linkytools" but I invite you to share your thankful blog in the comments section. Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I'm thankful for runs. I am finally able to run again now that my ovaries have shrunk back down to their proper size. I am slowly working back into it, but yesterday I was able to get a 2.5 miler in and it felt SO good. I'm hoping I can continue to work up to running 3-4 at a time, but I'm just so thankful that I can run at all!

I'm thankful for my Harkins Loyalty Cup. It's a cup you pay for at the beginning of the year, and then you get $1 drinks when you go to the movies. And while I'm thankful for that aspect, I'm more thankful that I've had a HUGE cup to drink out of around the house. It's a 32 oz ginormous cup and I've been drinking water out of it all day long. This wonderful cup has helped me drink a TON of water each day! And I'm sure peanut is thankful too.

I'm thankful for tradition. I got up early on Friday morning to watch the royal wedding and I found it all so awesome. I just think all the tradition is so fascinating. I am thankful there is such thing as live television and that I got to watch it all, just like I was there! Side note: Kate may be the most beautiful woman ever!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a giving wife who speaks my love language better than any other. If you have no clue what I'm talking about in terms of love languages than you should check out the book The Five Love Languages. It's basically helps you narrow down how you receive love from another person and what you identify as "love". I forget my two main love languages, but I know one of them, acts of service. I feel loved when Mandi is willing to do stuff for me. Tonight was a perfect example of that; I really wanted something sweet and she offered to make me something. I didn't ask for it, but ended up snacking on Golden Graham treats made from scratch. Got to love it! Thanks babe!!!

I'm thankful for sweat. I may not always be thankful for the natural shower that my body gives me once in a while, but today, it was welcomed. Whenever I'm in the gym, I love to sweat. I once heard someone call it a "liquid confirmation that you are working hard" and I couldn't agree more. When I start really sweating in the gym I always get an extra burst of energy cause it feels like I'm "reaping what I sow" so to speak. Today I had a light grey shirt on which turned dark grey by the end of my workout - sort of the icing on top.

I'm thankful for my hospital including me in their CF Taskforce meeting. Basically, my hospital is trying to make the hospital a more enjoyable experience for all parties involved - CFers, nurses, dietitians, etc. They threw together a task force to look at certain issues that may happen during a hospital stay and figure out ways to improve upon the deficiencies. What was cool, was that I got an inside peak into "non-patient" issues and was able to look at certain issues as a healthcare provider. To really understand a lot of the issues we face in the hospital you've got to see it from both sides. I'm fortunate that I was able to hear from their perspective and I can only hope that I added value and a true patient perspective on my end.

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rondi's Recipes: Blackened Chicken w/Avocado Salsa

I think one of the things that I'm most excited about is the fact that Mandi and I are going to be home for 4 consecutive nights! Why am I so excited? Because it means we can get back into our cooking groove. We love to explore new recipes and try our hand at stuff that seems unique. This was our attempt at Blackened Chicken with Avocado Salsa with a review to follow. If you'd like to see the original recipe, click here.

Ingredients: Chicken, Papaya, Salt, Red Bell Peppers, Cilantro, Avocado, Rice Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Cumin, Blackened Seasoning

Lightly seasoned chicken thrown into hot pan with oil

Sliced and diced avocado

Never purchased a papaya before

Rice Vinegar, Oil, Avocado, Bell Pepper and Papaya

Baked chicken

Serve and enjoy!

Prep Time: About 15 minutes (with two people)
Cook Time: About 15 minutes (not including searing chicken)
Total Time: About 25 minutes

What we liked:

I LOVED the salsa. I was a little worried I wouldn't because I'm on the fence about avocado (I keep trying it because it's pretty good, but it's not a home run for me every time). I also didn't know how I felt about papaya. So I was a little nervous if I'd like something that was avocado and papaya together - with a whole bunch of other stuff that I didn't know how the flavors would be. But it was a slam dunk. The flavors were so yummy together. I ate more salsa than I did chicken.
Which brings me to the chicken. The flavor was great. And usually I'm not a fan of chicken breast (but that's all we get because it's all Ronnie will eat - I prefer dark meat), but the way it was cooked (thanks to chef Ronnie) it was moist and not dry (my biggest beef with white meat) and because it was paired with the salsa it was even less dry.
I loved this as a spring/summer meal. It would be just perfect on a hot summer night sitting outside on the patio. It was light and refreshing.

This meal seemed very light, fresh and clean. The three things I love finding in a meal.
The salsa, if broken down into individual ingredients, I probably wouldn't be fond of, but when they were thrown all together it really worked.
For all that it had going on, it was really easy to prepare and put together.
I loved that I was able to go back for seconds and still not feel stuffed.

What we'd change:

I'm actually having a tough time coming up with what I'd change, but:
I'd have a different side. We had it with canned green beans, but I think a corn on the cob or something else summery could be yummy.
I'd consider adding something to the salsa with a bit of a spicy kick. As I said, the salsa was amazing, but I think it could also be good with a little spice to it.
I wish I had more, but this was just too yummy!!

I would probably add another component to the salsa to try and make it even better.
Our avocado wasn't quite as ripe as it could have been and it would have been nice to try with proper avocado.
I would season the chicken just a pinch more than I did.
I had green beans for a side, but would like one that complimented the meal more.

Here's our overall rating (with 1 being the worst meal we've ever had and 10 being the best):

Mandi's Rating:

9.5 - Best meal we've made at home in a long time!! I can't wait to have leftovers for lunch today!!!

Ronnie's Rating: 8.0

Again, if you guys have any suggestions on how this is laid out or what you guys would like to see answered/done differently, please let us know :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My "Increase Lung Function" Routine

Message from a reader and my response...

Hey Ronnie, Congratulations that must feel awesome! Do you have any tips? Do you practice doing pfts on a regular basis? I recently had my quarterly appt and I had been running about 25 miles per week for the 3 weeks leading up to my appt and I went down in my FEV1 from 51 to 47%. I was so bummed and ended up crying in my appt (which I've never done.) I know that running is great and it gets me to cough up soooo much junk and I do lift weights regularly too but is there anything else you do? I mean that is amazing to jump up like that....12 %?! I have never had an increase like that. my pfts have just been hovering around 50% for the past 6 years. Any tips would be greatly appreciated:)

Great job on running so much these past three weeks!!! One thing to keep in mind is that you've been hovering around the same numbers for 6 years, so you can't expect to see a big jump in only 3 weeks. I had a steady decline for 8 years until I finally said "enough is enough". I was prepared to put in at least 8 years of hard work. Know what I mean? It takes us quite a few years to get to where we are, so it may take quite a few years to get to where we want to be! The key is to just stay after it! Don't be discouraged by one PFT result. PFT tests are very finicky and for all you know your numbers could be better today. Use those results as wind to blow your sail and move the boat forward, don't turn your sail and try to go against the wind. As far as what I do...Before I get out of bed, I lay there for about 5 minutes and take deep deep breaths, as deep as I can, and exhale. I try to get all of that mucus out that made it's way up my lungs while I was sleeping. I do 3 to 4 treatments a day (albuterol/atrovent, Pulmozyme, HTS, Inhaled antibiotic, Advair, Vest) and I make sure to do SOMETHING each and every day. Whether it's the gym, walk/run, bike, skip, whatever. Stick with it and remember, even if your numbers don't go up, imagine them being the same in 5 years...that would be quite a positive thing!!!

**Now, before you comment that you do everything listed above and then some and your numbers won't budge, just keep in mind that I was asked what I do. We all understand that there are some among us that can do everything right yet they still suffer...just as there are some among us who don't need to touch a treatment or exercise in any way and do just fine. The CF population is like a big bell curve with many of us being able to affect how we feel on a day to day basis and then others on the fringe in the categories I mentioned above. For many of us, if we stay committed to treatments and exercise it will have nothing but a positive effect on our health. And please, before you comment that everyone you know gives it their best, just think about that statement a little bit. Our best? How would you define it? For me, a guy who devotes 3-4 hours per day on treatments and exercise, I know that I can still do better. I would contend that we can all do better. If you've mastered the ability of "giving it your best", I beg you, fill me in on the secret. I don't think it's a bad thing at all to wake up every day and try to be the best version of ourselves. Unfortunately, I still fail just about every day :) Maybe I need to lower my standards?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Second Trimester and National News

This week is an exciting week for us in "baby land". We are going to be 14 weeks pregnant tomorrow (Tuesday) and therefore are officially in the second trimester. Quick side note: I keep finding different definitions of when the second trimester officially starts, but 14 weeks is the latest I've seen, so that is what I went with. Anywhoo...I'm thrilled that we are officially out of the "danger zone" that is the first trimester, and we are now allowing ourselves to get fully excited. Well, to be honest, I was pretty fully excited, but I kept trying to remind myself that I should remain a bit reserved until the second trimester mark.

Now starts the "fun" part of pregnancy, or so I read. Supposedly the second trimester is the easiest and the most comfortable. I haven't had any real morning sickness, so I think I'm probably in the lucky bunch that made it through the first trimester happy and comfortable, so this will likely be more of the same for me. I will say, the one thing I'm hoping the second trimester brings is a balance in my hormones, in the hopes of clearing up some of this raging acne I'm experiencing. It has steadily gotten worst over the last 7 weeks or so, and is full blown now. It's a bizarre really - a ton of acne all over my jawline and cheeks. And the worst part is that it itches and burns at times. I'm hopeful that my body will begin to stabilize and my face will steadily clear throughout this trimester, but I'm not holding my breath - my new "friends" may be here to stay until after little peanut is out of my belly. If I can push my vanity aside, we will post pictures of it - and considering Ronnie keeps saying "MAN WE NEED TO TAKE PICTURES OF THIS", my guess is that pictures will be up at some point soon.

Back to the awesome parts of this pregnancy. I am starting to get a little more of a belly (pictures will be posted in the next few weeks, once there's more growth). I'm excited to start showing. Right now it's just big enough to look like I could be pregnant, but not quite big enough that anyone would be confident enough to ask when I was due. Now I'm just counting down the weeks until I have a legit belly, and REALLY eagerly awaiting the day that I can feel our little peanut moving. In the meantime, I'll wonder if every tummy rumble and gas bubble (is that TMI?) is the first little feelings of peanut moving.

And on a totally different note, I feel the need to at least mention the major headline of yesterday. Ronnie and I watched the breaking news of Bin Ladin's death most of the evening last night. Now let me first say, I am not into politics - so I won't get political on you all today. But I will say a few things. First, I think it's great that after 10 years, we finally found him. I am especially thrilled that this day has come for the families affected by 9/11 and for the all the troops that have worked towards this moment. Second, I was pretty impressed by Obama's address. Whoever wrote that address did a really good job. I can't imagine the pressure of having to write something like that in just a few hours time. The thing I liked best about it, is that I think it was very mindful and geared toward an international audience. Anywhoo, I'm no political analyst, just felt like I should at least acknowledge the big current event!