Friday, October 5, 2012

Never, Ever Give Up.

We can learn a lot from our children. It seems to me like this was a very easy lesson to learn.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Baking & Baking

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:

I'm thankful for baking. I don't know why, but something about baking is therapeutic for me. I like the act of measuring, stirring, tasting. I love the whole process. As a result, I bake...a lot! I usually get away the fruits of my labor because otherwise I'd weigh 3000 lbs. But regardless, I'm thankful!

I'm thankful for a baby who's flexible. I have started weaning Mckenna. I've decided it's best for me and her if we wean one feeding at a time, until we are all done. Well I geared up to drop the first feeding, figuring Mckenna might struggle, but she's been a gem. Maybe she's more ready than I am.

I'm thankful that I got to nurse. Nursing seems to be quite the hot topic these days. From how long it's ok to nurse, to people being bashful about people nursing in public. Every family has to do what is right for them, but I am a firm believer in the power of breast milk and the beauty of the bonding experience between momma and baby. It hasn't always been easy. There have been several points where nursing seemed tough or we had to battle different issues, but I am so thankful that we were able to stick it out and make it through her first year of life getting the perfect nutrition that only God could create. I will forever cherish this time that we had together.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for all kinds of options to eat healthy, yet still stuff I like. I never thought I'd be able to lose some fat that I have while eating so much food throughout the day. It feels like I'm constantly eating, yet I can see and feel my body transforming. It's also been fun to learn about nutrition more in-depth and why we need certain nutrients and when. I'm really looking forward to the next phase which is muscle building.

I'm thankful for creative baking. Along the same lines of what I said above, it's so awesome to find creative recipes for stuff that will satisfy my sweet tooth. Just yesterday, we made chewy oat bars with no sugar, no white flour and no butter. The tasted great and were only 62 calories a bar!!!

I'm thankful for cooler weather. We're finally supposed to have a week with no temperatures in the 100's. That's going to make my garden happy, my plants happy, my grass happy, my family happy and me happy :)

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Open Apology To The Service Industry

[This blog is an open letter of apology to all of the servers out there who get stuck with us when my wife and I go to a wine bar.]

Dear server,

Ronnie and Mandi here, aka "the couple of coffee drinkers that your manager warned you about".

You see, we don't drink. But, we love the ambiance of a wine bar for our date nights. We also love that you usually have comfy couches or chairs for us to sit in. We'll probably order coffee and I can rarely only have one cup. Yeah, we'll take a look at the menu to humor you, but we're not planning on getting anything because we already ate. That is of course not counting a dessert that may catch my wife's eye, so you should spend your time selling us on the Chocolate Lava cake and not the Grilled Ribeye Steak.

I love the size of your coffee cups by the way.
We promise that we'll be super nice to you as neither one of us could do your job and as always, I'll do my best to get a laugh from you. (That last part can come in handy if you're having a tough night.) We also promise that we'll try and not overstay our welcome. But with that said, we don't get out much, so we'll take advantage of every free minute that we have. There is something different about connecting with your spouse when you know there is a 0% chance of being interrupted by an 11-month-old. I love my life more than I could ever imagine, but I can't help but get a bit nostalgic about what used to be.

There used to be a time when we never had dinner before 6pm. Now, there's rarely a time that we have dinner after 6pm. There used to be a time when we would frequent your establishment after midnight without a care in the world. Now, I'm at least two hours into my sleep cycle by then and I have many cares, namely, the little tike that will start crying in 5 to 6 hours. We actually had our "first date" at a wine bar, and our third, but now, those dates usually happen at our house while playing a couple rounds of Skip-bo. There used to be that time, but that time is no more, yet, I have no real desire to get back to that time. If we can just get a little nibble of that time once a month or so, I think we'll be more than satisfied.

The good news is, you won't see us that often. The bad news is, when you do see us, our bill will probably be under 10 bucks. But we know you work hard and appreciate all you do for us, even if it's "only" bringing out a couple cups of joe. We both understand how your industry works and we tip accordingly. All we ask is that you keep the coffee flowing and maybe even take a picture if we ask...oh yeah, and ignore the dessert that I bring for myself from home in the plastic sandwich bag. I know, but I told you, we're that couple. (Actually, I'm that guy and it embarrasses my wife a bit.)

Thank you for understanding,
The Sharpes

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What a difference a year makes?

It's been almost a year since I've updated my PFT History on this blog. I have a good reason for not updating it however...I forgot to :) Well, I went to update it tonight armed with new numbers today from clinic, and was actually surprised at what I found. Surprised for a couple of reasons actually. First, as I already stated, I was surprised that it had almost been a year since I updated my numbers, and second, I was surprised to see what they were almost a year ago. To be exact, the last time I updated my PFTs on this blog was November 14th, 2011. So what were my numbers almost a year ago today? Well, I had an FVC of 88 percent and an FEV1 of 74 percent.

For those of you who have no clue what those numbers mean, I'd like to refer you to this blog for a quick course. If you'd like to see an older video of me doing a Pulmonary Function Test, click here. And if you skipped past those last two links but still what a super quick refresher here it is...

When you hear about someones PFT results you will usually hear two numbers FVC/FEV1. They are both given in percents like 88%/74%. The FVC measures how many liters of air I can take into my lung. When expressed in a percent, it's based on how many liters I should be able to take into my lungs given my sex, age, height and race. If I should take in 4 liters of air but I instead take in 3 liters, my FVC expressed in a percent would be 75% because 3 is 75% of 4. An FEV1measures how many liters of air I can blow out of my lung in the first second of exhalation. When expressed in a percent, it's based on how many liters I should be able to blow out of my lungs in the first second given my sex, age, height and race. If I should blow out 3 liters of air in the first second, but I instead blow out 2 liters, my FEV1 expressed in a percent would be 66% because 2 is 66% of 3. Make sense now? No? We're still moving on :)

I was excited for my clinic day because I was going to be able to do some PFTs for the first time since my hospital admission in late July. Since being discharged in mid-August, I've been working my booty off in the gym. I'm not sure what I left the hospital at, but I believe it was somewhere around 80%/74%.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting to blow, but for me, I've always been of the opinion that anything but down is good. I of course am always shooting for higher numbers, but I'll never be greedy if the "only" stay the same.

All three of my blows were consistent and they all felt good. My final numbers were 87% over 74%. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't even a smidgen disappointed, but that quickly dissipated when I reminded myself how great I feel. There are times when our numbers don't exactly reflect how we feel. That can be both to the positive and negative side. Sometimes our numbers are low, but we feel great and sometimes our numbers are high but we feel awful. Well today, my numbers were baseline (my average PFT that they expect) and I feel great! I'd say there's nothing to complain about!!

I was then even more delighted with my results from today when I went to go enter them in my PFT History. About one year ago today I had virtually identical numbers. But I thought are numbers were supposed to go down every year when we got to be old farts like me? I've told you that not everything you read or your doctor says is true right?

So what do I do now? I shoot for even higher numbers next time. I work even harder in the gym. I focus even more during my treatments. I make it a goal that in October 2013, while I'm celebrating my wife's 27th birthday and my daughters 2nd, my numbers are the same or higher.

All I can do is wake up every single day and decide that I will do everything possible to put myself in the best position to succeed.

If I can do that, as Jerry Cahill would say, I cannot fail.