Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You Are My Sunshine

Since she is no longer terrified of her bath time, and because it's been hotter than blazes, we decided to get an inflatable pool from Target. She had a blast. Today was her third day straight using it. After she got out she saw the pool through the window she did the sign for more. Sooooo cute!. Here she is listening to Mommy singing her favorite song. After watching this, tell me she's not the cutest thing ever! (Actually, please don't tell me that. I won't believe you.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Preliminary Training: Day One

I’m glad I made the decision before this past Saturday. Before I made an attempt. Conversing with my doctor last week, he stated that completing a marathon in March ’08 is a reasonable, yet lofty goal. So upon hearing those words, I went out and purchased a new pair of running shoes. I went to a store that specializes in charging exorbitant prices, I mean educating you in-all-things-running. They really know their stuff and we're most helpful. Then I went to Borders and sorted through the wide selection of books addressing marathon training. I found a title most suiting for me, “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer.” I used to run three miles a day back in high school. Early high school. We're talking twenty five years ago!

So I had all my gear; I had done some reading; I was feeling extremely motivated; I figured all my work in recent months on the treadmill would have me ready to start running...and then Saturday came. My book has a 16-week training program to prepare for the marathon. At the start of the program, a trainee should be able to run continuously for 30 minutes comfortably. Since I'm already walking 60 minutes on the treadmill at a 14% incline, I thought, "How hard could this be?" HA HA HA! Then Saturday came. IT. WAS. HARD. I ended up running (and I use that word loosely hoping to not offend actual runners) two and a half minutes followed by the same time walking, alternating for half an hour. I was humbled. But not discouraged. I have until November 12 to get comfortable running so I can start the 16 weeks of training. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But it won't be for lack of trying. My original idea was to do the L.A. Marathon in 2009 but since my weight loss has been moving along so well, I thought, "Why not try it in 2008?" So even if I work hard and am still not ready for next year, I'll still have made great progress. Lord willing, I'll be ready though.

Even though I've lost 74 pounds so far, I'm still too heavy to really run. But if I continue at this pace, I should be fine by race day. In the section on running shoes in my new book, it discusses the importance of quality shoes. "Running is classified as a "traumatic" type of exercise because of the constant pounding that occurs." And that's for runners at a normal weight! I'll continue using the treadmill and mix in short runs as I'm able. It has been two days since my first attempt and I am still SORE.

I'm anxious to see how this unfolds.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lily's Big Day

On Sunday we had Lily's dedication service and her 1st birthday party. It was such a wonderful day. She is adjusting so well and seems to love all the attention. She is doing much better going to other people now. I'm going to make up for having two picture-less posts in a row. I can take no credit for the following pictures. Denise (my former student) was our official photographer for the day and she did an amazing job. She really has a good eye and composed her shots nicely.

Below is the video from Lily's dedication service. (Thanks Kevin!)

Enjoy the pictures.
Walking in her birthday dress (one of them)

Lily and me

Mommy and Lily

Carina and a happy birthday girl

Deborah, Charlie, and Ellen having fun

Rania, Yousef, and Ahmed

Denise, with an extended arm took this one of us. (She hated her hair in this one)

Jim and Laura taking a break from all the excitement

Julianne made Lily the cutest cake.
What would be more fitting for our Lilybug than a Ladybug cake?

Lily's first taste of cake. She LOVED it!

Our beautiful, messy girl

Getting a thorough cleaning after her cake

All clean and ready for another new outfit

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Am I Crazy for Thinking About This?

It all started with a most inappropriately timed question. Almost twenty years ago, while pedaling up a deceptively difficult hill on the west end of the San Fernando Valley, he asked, "So do you think you'd like to ride from San Francisco back to L.A. next year?" I'm glad I eventually said, "Yes." That summer bike ride of 1988 (wow, that sounds like a long time ago now) was one of my proudest accomplishments. It still makes for a good story.

So did you see how he did it again? Commenting on my last post, while congratulating me on a job well done he snuck in the question, "So, you think you'll be interested in riding x-country in 2010?" It's not the first time he asked. But I think it was the first time I seriously considered it. I ran the idea by my wife and she thought it'd make for a good trip. Lily will be almost four then. They could drive ahead, do lots of sightseeing, and meet up with us after we cycle each day. This would also allow for us to not have to carry all of our gear on our bikes like we did on the San Francisco ride.

Am I crazy for considering this? Bicycling across the United States. I began investigating. It's much more common than I realized. I found quite a few blogs of people that have done it; some more than once. I then looked for routes. Adventure Cycling Association had some good information and several routes from which to choose.

So I know if I do this, lots of training will be required. This leads to some other pretty intense goals. Two things I've always wanted to do but never have done is to run a marathon and ride a century (Not in the same day...I'm not sick!) As I'm already working hard to get in shape, I'm thinking L.A. Marathon in 2008. I'm not sure if I can build up the endurance to run the full marathon in time for next year's race. So for next year I'd probably either jog/walk all 26.2 miles or perhaps do a half marathon and then hopefully run the distance in 2009. I also want to search out local century rides and perhaps complete my first one next year. Putting these goals down in print makes me more likely to carry them out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Health Update

Back in June I briefly mentioned my "health concerns" and said I would probably blog about it in the future. It's something until recently, and sparingly at that, I have not talked much about. I'm basically journaling this not knowing who is reading my thoughts. Getting it out on "paper" helps me sort my thoughts. Anyhow, here's my story.
On April 30 of this year, I woke up numb. Literally. From my calves to my toes, and from my forearms to my fingertips on the right and left side, I was mildly numb. It was comparable to the feeling when your hands and feet begin to fall asleep. It was not painful, but very noticeable and persistent.
When it was still noticeable the next day, I promptly conducted a search on from work. The fourth result for my search for "tinlgling hands and feet" caused a great pause to occur. I did not want to read any further, but I knew I had to. The title of the article was "The Nerve Damage of Diabetes." Peripheral Neuropathy, a name I had never heard, appeared to be description of what I was experiencing. I immediately made a doctor's appointment for later that same day. This was the same day we got our referral from our adoption agency for Lily so you can imagine what an emotional basket case I was. Since I was experiencing the numbness in all four limbs at once and it appeared suddenly, the doctor thought it might have been related to my thyroid instead of being diabetes related. Blood work taken that day did not support the doctor's initial belief. I did in fact have a high blood sugar reading which suggested I might be diabetic. Any of you that knew my father or know his story would understand my reaction. Scared. Not scared of dying. Scared of dying that way, the way he died. And even scared of living that way.
I'll briefly explain some of the technical details. One of the tests for diabetes is the Hemoglobin A1C test which measures the blood sugar and gives a three month average. The charts say that if you are diabetic, you should keep your score in the 6's. The non-diabetic range is under 6.0. My May 1 result was 7.1.
The doctor said it takes two readings to make a diagnosis of diabetes. I immediately took action. I enrolled in a diabetic information/nutrition class that met on three Tuesday evenings. I was issued a blood meter so I could do my own daily blood sugar readings. I completely changed my diet, began going to the gym, and began praying like I've never prayed. For a few days, I really kicked myself for having put back all the weight I had lost in the previous years. Although discouraged, I did not let that break my new focus. During the past three months, my diet has been perfect, all my blood sugar readings have been normal, and my workout routine has been mostly consistent as far as I have been able to control. The trip to China altered my routine somewhat.
Today, on Lily's birthday and three months after my initial blood work, I got my lab results back from the doctor. My Hemoglobin A1C test returned with a reading of 5.5 and the words "Non-Diabetic" written next to it. I let out a half sigh of relief. I know I can't let my guard down. The doctor told me that for all intents and purposes I should technically see myself as a diabetic but consider it under control. As I continue to eat well and lose weight, which totals 68 pounds thus far as of this morning, I remain 100% determined. The tingling is almost completely gone. I still feel it from time to time but it is far less intense and is no longer persistent.
I have a wife and baby daughter that are depending on me to be around. Although I completely acknowledge God is in control, and He can take me home any time He sees fit, I'm not going to contribute to a lifestyle that would lead to me leaving before I should.
One final note...I returned back to work on Tuesday after having the summer off. Since I've lost a good deal of weight over the summer, a coworker, after commenting on my appearance asked, "Did you have the surgery?" I laughed and said, "No" to which she replied, "Are you sure?" I told her, "If I were going to have the surgery, I would have had them take off a lot more than this!"

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

We just got home from celebrating Lily's first birthday. We went out to Famous Dave's (again) with Juliannes' mom, my mom, and my sister. We mostly were being amused by Lily. She LOVES an audience. She becomes such a ham, especially during meal time. And she is getting very used to the camera, which is such a blessing for me. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves though.


Fun with Vegetables and Chicken

I swear I'm floating right now. I've got to be the proudest daddy of em all. I am absolutely loving this parenting thing. Of course Lily is making it so easy on us. The fact that she sleeps 12 hours straight through the night, and eats everything we feed her is more than enough to help us not worry about her occasional fussiness.

My words here are not doing justice to all I'm feeling now. Simply said, we are indeed blessed.

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Month with Lily Grace

Tomorrow marks one month that we have had Lily. It seems like she has been with us forever and at the same time, I can't believe it's been a month already. She is adjusting incredibly well to us, the house, and our pets-Shayna and Max (Stella has pretty much moved to the neighbors back yard since their house sitter started feeding her). She has grown and changed so much in this short time.

When we got her, she screamed her head off when we put her on her stomach. We assume she spent so much time on her back in the orphanage in her crib that when we set her down on her tummy, she was clueless as to what to do. She now flips herself over quickly and attempts to crawl. She usually gets one knee up which causes her to crawl in a circle instead of moving where she wishes to go.

We have been so blessed by the flow of visitors to come meet Lily. Everyone has been so gracious. I'm sure many have been worried about overwhelming Lily but all three of us are just loving spending time together with everyone. Lily is really turning into such a character with her visitors. She especially turns it on after a good meal. In this picture, she was having a wonderful time at our dinner at Famous Dave's with Hilda and Amber. This is an incredible time of blessing for us. God has been pouring out so much during this time for which we are so thankful.

Hilda and Lily

Lily meets her "sister" Denise (my former student)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Big Girl Walking

Look what our daughter can do! She's walking up a storm. Well, she's holding on to my fingers, but this girl is jamming across the floor. Now that she knows she can do this, she does NOT want to sit on laps much anymore. All this coming from a girl who cannot crawl yet. With her increased leg strength she can get up on a knee now but her arms are stronger and she ends up pushing herself backwards! Too cute.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sights of China

No, I didn't forget. I purposely skipped the sights from China from my previous post so I could make it a post on it's own. I decided instead of inserting pictures and writing about them, I'd do a slide presentation because I'd just slow you all down with everything I'd have to say about each image. I reduced my almost 700 pictures from China to around 160...still way too many. The following measures thirteen minutes and eighteen seconds. I've already promised Julianne I'll make another version, perhaps one song long instead of the three on this presentation. Also, soon coming will be a slide show all about Lily so don't be disapointed that I kept LOTS of her pictures out of this version. So if you are so inclined, sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy.