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Welcome to the tenth check-in for the Spring Shed!

Here is the back story about this support group/blog hop for those trying to be accountable for the positive changes we are making in our lives in 2013. After ten weeks of doing the Winter Shed, we moved on to this Spring Shed. Whether you are trying to shed weight, find more balance or let go of something else that is dragging you down in this second season of the New Year… We can do this — together!

Now to report on how I did during week ten of the Spring Shed and week twenty in 2013:

1) Healthy Eating
A. Try to follow the U.S. government’s “Eat My Plate” recommendations (with emphasis on 3 servings of veggies & 2 fruit)

I did well with this. I still need to work on getting a third veggie serving every day, but did get two servings of fruit daily.

B. Continue to practice portion control and count calories.

I did fairy well, with the exception of Saturday night when Bob and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Wildfire that included a flight of wine, specialty crusted filet mignon medallions, au gratin potatoes and a cookie sundae for dessert.

C. Limit my intake of sweets, soda, alcohol and other pelvic floor flare up triggers.

Again, I did well with this and experienced very few food related flare ups.

2) Keeping Fit (Physically/Emotionally/Spiritually) & Shedding Weight

A. Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night

I did well with this and think there may have only been one night when I got less seven hours of sleep.

B. Drink enough water

I did well with this.

C. Exercise 5 – 7 days each week

I exercised 7 out of 7 days this week! Though I know “they” recommend resting at least one day each week, I think I had a decent balance of higher and lower impact exercise this week, that seven days in a row is okay. Last Friday morning I got up early and walked with neighborhood friends before Bob and Sean left for work and school. On Saturday Bob and I played 18 holes of golf (using a cart, but still a good workout) at Willow Crest Golf Course in Oak Brook. We also walked around a lot at Oak Brook Mall before our dinner reservation, as we arrived early and they weren’t able to get us in sooner. On Sunday Sean and I ran 5K in our neighborhood. I also walked some and did toning. On Monday morning I walked in our neighborhood and a parking lot of an outpatient medical facility where I was having an MRI done. On Tuesday I ran 5K in our neighborhood while pushing Abby in the stroller. I also walked some that day. On Wednesday I taught a Fitball exercise class at Beverly Bodyworks and on Thursday I ran 5K in our neighborhood.

D. Train for a few Spring 5K races

I ran 5K/3.1 miles three times this week, including one run with Sean and one pushing Abby in the stroller. Our neighborhood’s annual Memorial Day Ridge Run 5K is only 3 days away! Sean and I are getting excited for his second and my sixth experience running this race in our neighborhood! We will also be running together again in nine days another 5K the Running for Hope race on Sunday, June 2nd, as part of Team Caring Connection in honor and memory of our Molly and Babies Benson. So it is interesting for us to be preparing to run two 5K races that are only 6 days a part.

E. Shed 1 – 2 lbs. per week

I gained 1 lb. this week, for a total loss 8.5 lbs. in 20 weeks (since Friday, December 28, 2012). 🙁

As of  Saturday, I was actually down 1 lb. for a total loss of 10.5 lbs. since December, which was a big milestone for me! It was the first time I saw that number on the scale since early 2007 before we began our first of four ART cycles! I did bounce back up 2 lbs. since Wednesday, but am pleased to have gotten there, if only for a day so far!

F. Meditate & pray daily

Again I did not formally meditate much, but I did focus on my breathing some when I was stressed and I did pray a lot.

3) Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy (& Other Health Issues)

A.  Go to my physical therapy sessions (&/or other doctor appointments) as scheduled

I had a good PT session this week. My PT is on vacation the next two weeks, so it will be nice to a have a little break and after that we will determine whether we will continue with weekly or switch to every other week or monthly.

I had my first MRI of my brain, ear, nose and throat on Monday afternoon and the results were good/normal, which was a relief. However, I am still having some issues with nausea, dizziness and fullness in my ears. So I will continue to follow my ENT doctor’s recommendations, including keeping a diary of what precedes my bouts with vertigo-like symptoms, to try to determine if there are common threads.

B. Watch my dietary triggers

I did well with this as far as muscles spasms/flare ups in my pelvic floor regions. However, I am starting to notice, as my ENT doctor suggested, that there may be a correlation between things such as chewing gum and/or consuming increased amounts of sodium and caffeine and my nausea and dizzy spells.

C. Do my “homework” (i.e. PT exercises, stretches and such and now also keeping track of what could be contributing to vertigo issues)

Again, I did okay with this, but not great.

4) Housekeeping

A. Basics Daily (dishes, laundry & straightening)

I did very well with this.

B. Weekly Cleaning (dusting, sweeping, scrubbing & mopping)

I didn’t do much here this week, but I was consumed the past few days with the aftermath of our latest incidence of water in our basement. This time the flooding came from a leak in the water line to our refrigerator in our kitchen that was showering the back room in our basement.

C. Organizing & Purging (sorting, filing, selling &/or donating)

I did okay with this.

5) Family & Faith Focus

A. Bob: Hanging out together with my husband at home, on date nights and spending quality time and have fun together with our family (including family meals, game nights, movie nights, day trips and vacations).

On Saturday my sister and brother-in-law had our children over for a sleepover and Bob and I got almost 24 hours of kid-free time together. We played 18 holes of golf and enjoyed a delicious dinner, drinks and dessert at one of our favorite restaurants! It was a wonderful day and evening! We look forward to returning the favor by having my sister and brother-in-law’s kids for a sleepover next month. As I may have shared before, my sister and I came up with this idea to take turns hosting sleepovers monthly so that every other month the couples get a night off/out.

Bob and I also watched Silver Linings Playbook, the DVD of movie he and the kids got me for Mother’s Day this year. We both really enjoyed it!

B. Sean: Spending quality time and have fun together when he not in school, activities or doing homework. Helping him to learn to manage his time well, take care of his belongings and keep his room and the basement play area clean and organized.

Highlights with Sean this week included training for our upcoming 5K races and watching the first few rounds of auditions for one of our favorites reality television shows, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) together!

C. Abby: Spending quality time and have fun together when she is not at preschool, playdates or other activities.

Highlights this week with Abby included attending her three year-old preschool classes’ end of the year celebration on Tuesday, which included a singing performance with her classmates, getting to see some of her class projects/artwork and playtime on the school’s playground. We also celebrated her last day of preschool on Thursday and a milestone in her toilet training this week.

D. Molly & Babies Benson: Honoring their lives and memories, as well as trying to minister to other bereaved families and friends who have lost loved ones.

This week I spent a lot of time distributing the Team Caring Connection shirts and still have a ways to go before the race on June 2nd. It has been awesome to see and hear the reactions of my fellow team members/bereaved families when they see the shirts and their babies’ names listed on the back!

This week I also went to our monthly Caring Connection perinatal support group at our local hospital. It is always bittersweet to welcome newcomers to our group, as it means more babies have died. But I know how much it has helps me to be a part of the group over the years and hope that our new members will find it to be therapeutic and healing to attend and participate. There was also a member of the group who attended the meeting who had not been there in many years. She is someone who was there for me when I first started going in September 2006 and it was awesome to see her and hear her tell her story again. Part of why she came is because her family is participating in the Running for Hope 5k run/walk as part of Team Caring Connection. I love that Team Caring Connection is also bringing together older and newer members of our support group to honor the lives and memories of our babies.

If you haven’t already read my Team Caring Connection post, click here to check it out and maybe even make a donation in honor and memory of Molly and Babies Benson. I am pleased to share that Team Caring Connection has raised over $2,200 for Advocate Children’s Hospital (including their Bereavement Program) and our local Ronald McDonald House and hope to raise more between now and the Running for Hope 5K Run/Walk that we are participating in on Sunday, June 2nd.

D. Extended Family: Appreciate the roles they play in my family and my life, be patient with the areas in which we don’t always see eye to eye and prioritize spending quality time and having fun together when possible.

Again Bob and I were grateful to my sister and brother-in-law for having our children over night last weekend! We know how much Sean and Abby adore spending time with their cousins and really appreciated the time it gave us to reconnect and spend quality time together alone as a couple.

We also enjoyed our weekly visit from my parents, though I actually spent very little time with them, since they came on the day of my PT and MRI this week. But I am thankful that they were able to watch our children during that time and I know how much Sean and Abby love to see them.

E. Friends: Keep in touch, check in and show them I care. Get together when possible to spend quality time and have fun together.

On Wednesday night I went out to dinner with some neighborhood friends which was fun and relaxing. On Thursday evening I got together with some members of Team Nate, the group that Sean and I will be running the Ridge Run 5K again with this year on Monday, which was nice.

F. Faith Community (Parish, RE, MOPS & CRHP): Stay actively involved in our parish church community. Fulfill my responsibilities and enjoy the last two months of my involvement with the second grade religious education program, as a catechist, and the MOPS group I am a part of, before I transition out of both to focus more of my time and energy as Co-Spiritual Director for the Women’s CRHP retreat program at our parish.

I actually did very little with our faith community this week, but having been very busy and consumed with it in recent weeks, it was nice to have a little break.

6) Writing & Reading

A. My Blog: Aim to write at least two – three posts each week.

I shared two blog entries this week, both were related to my MRI.

One post I wrote the night before, called PT, ENT and MRI, Oh My! and really appreciate the feedback and support I received via the comments here, on Facebook and via private messages and emails.

The other post I wrote over the course of the week and finally shared yesterday, called My MRI Experience. As with so many of my experiences, I find it therapeutic to write and share about them and also hope that putting myself out here will also be helpful to others who may follow in my footsteps.

B. The Today Voice: Fulfill my weekly writing responsibilities through the end of June, which I have committed to and enjoy the process of writing about the weekly prompts.

This week, week 47, I shared about some of my favorites houses. I can’t believe there are only five weeks left of this year-long writing project that I have been participating in!

C. Exhale: Continue to serve as a Contributing Editor helping when I can with the publishing our website, as well as also writing reviews and/or essays each season.

I did not do anything with Exhale this week. But our call for submissions is still open for our next issue:

Physical. Emotional. Mental. What Scars and Marks have you been left with during your journey through loss and infertility? Exhale is accepting submissions of short fiction, essay, poetry, art & photography for our new issue, “Scars and Marks,” which will begin posting at the end of this month. As always, we are also accepting poetry submissions for Still Standing’s Poetry Sundays, and book/movie/play etc. reviews. Email submissions to exhalesubmissions(at)gmail(dot)com

If this topic resonates with you, I encourage you to consider writing and submitting something for our Spring Issue.

D. Special Projects (First draft of my book & other freelance writing): Aim for 15 minutes a day, as when I have done that in the past I have been amazed at the incremental progress I am able to make.

I did not do anything in this category this week.

E. Read (books, blogs, magazines & other online news/articles of interest): This always seems to be at the bottom of my list of priorities, but is something I get so much out of when I find/make time to do.

I did read my Us magazines and started Melissa Ford’s new novel Measure of Love (the sequel to Life from Scratch), which I am really enjoying and hope to read more over this holiday weekend.

F. Comment on others’ blogs: Prioritize this, with emphasis on return comments and then trying to check in and keep up with other blogs that I follow.

I didn’t do very well with this. Usually, I at least keep up with returning comments and fell short with that. I still hope/intend to try to catch up in the days to come.

As I shared in the intro to my Winter Shed Series…

When I reflect on what has helped me to shed weight, get/stay in shape in the past, prioritize housekeeping tasks and find more balance in my life, accountability is huge! I have kept myself accountable various ways in the past, but this time I am finding doing so publicly here on my blog have been effective.

Once a week, on Fridays, from now until at least mid-June/Summer, I will continue to check in and share how my week has gone in the key areas I am working on. My hope and intention is that knowing I have this self-imposed report card to file will continue to motivate me to stay focused on my goals.

For those who want to join me in this “Spring Shed,” I will add a Linky Tool to my weekly Friday posts and you are welcome to link up to your Spring Shed blog entries, and/or you can comment here on how you are doing from week to week, so we can support and encourage each other, as well as share what works and what doesn’t for each of us when it comes to striving towards our goals.

Please join me and we can cheer each other on as we kick off the second season of 2013 strong (and stay the course long past February 16th)!

We can do this — TOGETHER!

You are welcome to grab the code for the Spring Shed button by clicking here and put it on your blog. The link will take you to a Google Doc where you can copy the code. If your browser does not allow access to your computer’s clipboard, you can use Ctrl-C for Copy and Ctrl-V for Paste, or use your browser’s Edit menu.

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