Friday, July 11, 2014

That one time that I did "Restorative Yoga"

Being a cancer patient/survivor actually comes with some freebies.  That sentence sounds really funny.  Honestly, I have tried to take advantage of most of the freebies that go along with having cancer.  I figure that I may as well make the most of it.  Of course, I wouldn't have chosen this "cancer path" for myself.  Also, cancer is super-expensive, so the freebies, when you think about it, really aren't "free"--they come with the cost of having cancer.  Nonetheless, there are some cool things that great organizations offer to people like me.

The Austin area YMCA partners up with the Livestrong organization to provide cancer survivors with a 3-month family membership to an area YMCA.   During the 3 months, you attend a special class for survivors twice weekly.  However, you and your family can visit the gym as much as you want.  You can take as many other classes as you want, swim, or just work out in the gym.  It really is pretty awesome.  I actually started the program last fall, but then had to have another emergency surgery, followed by lifting restrictions.   Thus, I had to cease attending the program.  I was so thankful that they let me sign up again for the summer program.  

I have worked out every day this week, which feels pretty awesome.  Also, the kids had fun in their childcare program while I worked out.  It truly is a win-win for the whole family.  Yesterday, I thought it would be fun to try a Yoga class there.  By the time I arrived to the YMCA, I noticed the only yoga class that was about to start at that time was "restorative yoga."  I had never heard of that, but I thought I would give it a shot.   I went into the class with a picture in my head of the last yoga class I attended--this happened to be Bikram Yoga (a.k.a. hot yoga).    I pictured I would be sweating and would feel like I got a workout.  I pictured something like in the photos below...

photo courtesy of
That is the yoga I was familiar with and had done in the past.  But, instead, the yoga was more like this:

It began by the four of us class members laying there on the ground, on mats with a rolled up yoga mat along our spines.  I will admit, it did feel pretty good.  I figured we were probably "warming up".  After what felt like 20 minutes, I looked at my watch.  It had been 17 minutes that we were just laying there in that same position.  I am pretty sure looking at our watches was forbidden.  Oops.  The instructor was covered up in a blanket in the front of the class, in the same position.  She was a really good instructor.  But, did I sign up for a nap?  Apparently so.  She would try to guide our relaxation, by saying in a very low, calming voice, "think about your 3 selves:  your body, your breathing and your thoughts.  Stay in your body.  Now think about your breathing...think about how the air going out is warm and humid."   Later, she had us focus on our thoughts.  She told us to "push your thoughts away.  Allow your body to completely relax."  It really was pretty relaxing.  But, if anyone I knew was in that class, I know I would be laughing hysterically.  I am not the type that likes to sit still.  Especially for that length of time.  I guess in that way, it was good discipline for me.  

We finally moved into a new pose and stayed there for 20 minutes.   I am not lying when I say that during the entire hour long class, we did 4 poses.  And we never once got up on our feet.   During one of the last poses, as I was laying there on the yoga mat, I felt something tickling my arm.  The instructor was telling us in her relaxed calming voice to take control of our thoughts.  All I could think about was that little hair-like thing on my mat that was tickling me.  Being only one of 4 class members, I knew if I moved the instructor would notice.  I could already tell she felt like I was too distracted.  I actually wondered if the tickling was just in my head.  But, I couldn't take the tickle any longer.  After I felt something biting my arm, I jumped up and noticed it was a spider.  A spider was biting me as I was laying there.  I am sure that my little dance on the yoga mat was distracting.  I grabbed one of the foam support blocks and killed the spider then I got back into position.   I wanted to explain to everyone what was going on, but that would have ruined their "mojo".  The room was dark, with some light music playing (with singers moaning in a language I didn't understand).  Other than that, it was absolutely quiet and still.  I could hear the clock on the wall ticking--that is how quiet it was in there.   I so wish I could explain that a spider was biting me.   And then, it appeared to be over as the instructor got up into a seated, meditative position and said, "Namaste."  I guess our nap was over.  

And that is the story of the one time that I did "restorative yoga."  I think next time I will try regular yoga, or even the family yoga.  Although, I have a feeling that if I did yoga with Luke (4 yo) and Abbey (2yo), there would be another blog post that would follow.  :-)  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

That Belly Button

Abbey loves her belly button.  She has since the day she could control her hand enough to locate the belly button with it.

Here are a few photos of Abbey and her beloved belly button over the past year and a half or so.

even in daddy's arms, she is attempting to locate her belly button.

the relaxed belly button posture

the "racing belly button posture"

the "investigative belly button posture"

the "comforting belly button posture"

the "bath-time belly button posture"

the "bluebonnet belly button posture"

And here is a photo from last weekend:

the "exposed and loving it belly button posture"
I hope she doesn't make it deeper than it already is.  I wonder when the love for that belly button will cease?  I don't want it to, I am just curious.

You want to know something funny?  Drew had a very close, loving relationship with his belly button as a youngster as well.  It is funny to see traits like that pass down from one generation to the next.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Independence Day 2014

For the past few years, we have had the privilege of getting to spend Independence Day celebrating with a lot of family.  Every year, my parents host a huge party in celebration of the holiday.  We get to hang out with tons of friends and family members, eat yummy food, and watch and participate in fun fireworks.

Here are some photos from our celebration this year.  First, the family photos:

And silly pictures always make me smile!

My sister, her family and mother-in-law and father-in-law
Of course, we did a silly photo with my mom and dad, us "kids", and our children.
And here are just some random photos from throughout the beautiful evening:

My sister and my niece, Lilly
our nephew, Brody

Our niece, Linnea, with her grandfather

Our niece, Kaylee
Our youngest niece, Natalie

Playing in the smoke

Waiting for the parachute fireworks.  They played a game to see who was going to get them.  Our family friend, Rob, and my sister,  Holly and her husband, bought a lot of fun parachutes.  There were night parachutes, parachutes with big army men attached, parachutes with little army men, there were humongous parachutes, and there were a couple that produced 50 mini parachutes after the tiny explosion.  The 50 mini parachutes was such a funny surprise.  We even had a couple of adult races to try to get the parachutes.  

Abbey got a parachute with a little army man.

Linnea was prepared for the loud sounds.

Watching for a parachute
Later, Luke found a great spot for the fireworks show--in the lap of my dad, his grandpa:

As it got darker, we had our usual fun with sparklers and our camera.  Here is Holly, spelling, "hello" with a sparkler.

We learned that the glow bracelets worked pretty well in spelling things as well.  They weren't quite as bright, but they still worked.  Drew took a turn and spelled his name with a glow bracelet:

He also spelled, "Love" with one:

I learned that I didn't have the talent to spell backwards and in cursive.  My normal handwriting isn't even legible to a lot of people, so I am not sure why I thought my backwards cursive with a sparkler would be.  I stuck to taking the pictures.  That is where I am most comfortable.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blueberry Pickin'

I've mentioned in past posts that we have really been enjoying tending to our little garden.  There truly is nothing like picking ripe fruit or veggies right from the plant and then consuming them shortly thereafter.   When you buy a fruit or veggie in the grocery store, you are buying something that was not picked recently.  It was likely picked quite a while ago, well before it was ripe.  Unfortunately, shortly before a fruit or vegetable is ripe, a plethora of nutrients is dumped into it from the plant.  Picking them before they are ripe actually deprive you of many more potential nutrients and flavors.  This is one of the many reasons we prefer to buy from local farms.

But, off of my soapbox for a moment.  While we were visiting my family, on the morning of July 4, we drove over to a nearby farm to pick blueberries.  Now, blueberries don't really ripen further after they are picked.  So, it is important to pick them when they are ripe.  When they are ripe, you barely touch them and they fall into your hand.  They are super-sweet.  I am telling you--nothing beats eating something directly after picking it!

Abbey can attest to that.  The plan was to pick the blueberry and put the berry right into the bucket.   Abbey followed that rule until she saw me eat one (they don't spray their blueberries with pesticides).   Then, the rule went down the drain.   She saw that as the green light to eat as many as she wanted.

A few minutes prior to this photo, there were a lot more blueberries in that pail!
Luke was serious about his blueberry picking.

I even saw a bird nest with baby birds in it in one of the blueberry bushes.  That is a pretty convenient spot for those birds-super close to a food source!
My dad even enjoyed picking the berries
Our niece, Kaylee, was a blueberry picking star as well.

I caught Brody eating some!
And lastly, the photo below is a photo that google "auto-awesomed" by taking several of my photos and turning them an animated .gif.  This was after we told Abbey that she could not eat any more blueberries until after we paid (they encourage you to eat some directly off the bush, but not the amount Abbey was consuming.)

She was saying as she was running that she "wanted to go home."   If she couldn't eat any more off the bushes, she was ready to go home.  We are definitely in the two's folks!