Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life Rolls On

Well, another week, another pound. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I found a super simple new recipe for a low fat pot pie which is actually pretty good. Of course I couldn't just make it as written so here's my modified version:

10.75 oz can reduced fat, reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
2 c frozen mixed veggies of your choice
1/2 c chopped fresh mushrooms
Salt & pepper to taste (definitely needs salt, I skipped this step accidentally)

For vegetarians add,
1 baking potato chopped & par-boiled

For meat eaters add,
1/2 baking potato chopped & par-boiled
2 c chopped cooked chicken breast

1 c reduced fat Bisquick (I used an organic alternative)
1/2 c fat free milk (I used soy milk)
1 egg (I used an egg replacement called Ener-G)

Stir to combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the filling ingredients in a square 8x8 baking dish and stir to combine. Cover with the topping. Bake at 400 for 30 min.

Since I added the fresh ingredients, the prep took a bit longer. If you used the refrigerated precooked potatoes or thawed frozen potatoes, it would be much quicker. And pre-sliced mushrooms would help too although I chopped mine so they wouldn't get mushy. The veggie version is very hearty and I'm sure meat eaters wouldn't miss the chicken. Although J might be a more honest reviewer in that regard. Fresh herbs like thyme would also be delish in either the topping or the filling. Anyhoo, give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Since it seems that my weight loss journey has completely overtaken this blog, I'll make an effort to switch to my two other fav subjects - Ian and Relay for Life. :)

Okay, brace yourselves. Ian has been sleeping through the night since he was 2 months old almost without exception. How blessed are we?! Prior to that, I think our three main obstacles were 1) the acid reflux issues, 2) our lack of routine and 3) his Houdini-like ability to break out of his swaddle. Actually, we thought he didn't like the swaddle so we weren't even using it for the first month. Since he was waking up 45 minutes into every nap, I decided to swaddle him out of desperation. We all needed more downtime! Though he protested at first, he ended up falling asleep quicker and stayed asleep longer. Hallelujah! But consistently by 5:30am, he would completely break free from his swaddle and demanded to get up. J thought the loosened swaddle was a smothering hazard and thought we should give up on it. I was not about to go back to that dark, sleepless place without a fight so I came up with an alternative. We doubled the swaddle! The wrap-around type of swaddle first covered by a velcro version. Separately, they won't hold him. But together, it's pure magic! Since then he sleeps until 7-7:30am! Yippeeeee!!! And now he wakes up happily talking to himself instead of crying. Disclaimer: Ian's comfort zone is about an inch wide so we never know how long a solution will last. But hey, I'll take it while I can!

Now on to Relay. We are knee-deep in our fundraising and planning efforts. Our team has contacted nearly 150 businesses to request silent auction donations and fundraising partnerships. I really appreciate the businesses that respond. They don't even have to say yes but a response is so nice. When we are closer to the event, I'll publish a list of all the businesses that supported us in our efforts. For their generosity, I for one will be a client for life! I think our new website has really helped our fundraising efforts which is great to see. Check back for a bunch of different fundraising events that we'll be hosting in June. There will be something for everyone!!! If you want to be notified of events or news via e-mail, send us your e-mail address at

That's the news from Loriland. Life is just rolling on...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Battle of the Bulge - Update

Not sure if this is any clearer but in case you couldn't read the eye chart over to the right, here is my weekly tracking chart. Basically, as long as the green bars are getting shorter (weight) and the orange line is above 0 (lbs lost), things are good! Since the end of our competition, I've managed to continue to lose but only a pound a week. Still, that's something so I'll take it. But at this pace, it'll take me 4 months to get to my goal! That's too stinkin long so I've got to return to the basics.
Workouts: I recently found exercise tv on demand. Though this makes the workouts a bit more varied, there are also plenty of duds that get thrown in the mix. I think I will do better if I just stick with the 7 or 8 dvd's that I know work. Once I achieve my goal, I can play around a bit more but at this point I have to break a good sweat everyday.
Diet: Though I'm still eating well, I am not eating as many salads as before. I thought coming back to work with the beautiful salad bar at my disposal would help. Alas, several days a week I manage to make other choices. Healthy choices sure, but not quite salad-healthy. I need to recommit to making one meal a day a salad.
The big lesson here is that routines work. From meals to workouts, there is a known outcome when I just follow a consistent plan. Following a routine takes the guess work and temptations out of the picture.
Ian and I are starting swimming lessons in a week. Yep, the dreaded swimming suit. I may look better than before but I'm not sure I will ever be ready to wriggle into that tiny piece of spandex. But I did it for Lillian and I'm happy to do it for Ian too. He loves his baths so I am hoping he loves swimming just as much.
Here's to a routine I can count on! Cheers.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Walking With Angels

There was one more way that I planned to honor Lillian this year but I wanted it to be a surprise. So I've saved the best for last! Drum roll please...

Check out our new WEBSITE:

After much searching for the perfect song, I actual found a song by a Christian artist called, yep you guessed it, "Walking With Angels". So turn on the speakers, grab a tissue and park on the home page to watch the entire slide show. Thank you to all the friends in my cancer community who graciously allowed me to include their kiddos in the slide show. Such beautiful kids, don't you think?

While you're there, check out the other tabs. And if you insist, you can even make a donation. Finally, pass along the web address to everyone you know and copy the banner code to your myspace page, facebook page, website, blog, anything! You see the banner, don't you? It's just over there on the right side of this page...

And last but not least, for a really good cry, check out the memorial video I posted on youtube.

I love you Lillian!

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Nemesis

My scale has up and quit on me. I think it's from years of neglect followed by months of overuse. The shock was just too great for it. All of which means that for a week I have not been able to weigh in. Normally I don't weigh myself much more frequently than that anyway, but you know how it goes. If you can't do something, that's all you want to do. I'm still trying to lose another 20lbs so I need to know that I'm making progress here people. I mean, I don't work out for the fun of it. I know some crazy people who are addicted to the adrenaline or the endorphins or whatever that is caused by working out. I am clearly not one of those people. I work out so that I can lose weight. Period. Okay, I know that even when I reach my goal, I'll need to continue to work out so that I can still fit into my pants. But at that point I'll be working out in order to eat the occasional bowl of chips & salsa...and still fit into my pants. I doubt I will ever be that person who jumps out of bed in the morning craving a good sweat. Oh well, as long as I get my booty up and do it, I guess it doesn't matter.

Anyway, back to the scale. After a week of the unknown, I had to buy a new scale. Wow, I forgot how expensive those crazy things can be. And for what? A little number that practically mocks me? I am basically paying something to heckle me. So I refused to buy the "Biggest Loser" brand of scale for $49.99. Yes it came with a workout dvd but I read the fine print and found that it was only a cardio sampler. Hey, I can get that for free on Exercise TV On Demand. I'm no sucker. The "Weight Watchers" brand of scale was slightly more reasonable at $44.99. The big selling point of this scale was it's handle for portability. When am I ever going to carry a scale around with me? And for that matter, who on earth is carrying their portable scale around? Seriously, who needs that? So I found a nice middle of the road, generic scale and brought it home with me where it will undoubtedly taunt me mercilessly.

My biggest fear about a new scale was that it wouldn't be as kind as my old one. What if the old scale had been wrong this whole time? What if it was not calibrated correctly thereby reading out lower numbers than were actually true? The horror! Fortunately my new scale was kind enough to confirm that I am down 30lbs. Phew, crisis averted. The big question now is whether it will continue to be so obliging. Especially with a dinner party, girl's night and potluck in my future over the next 3 days...

Oh, I almost forgot! I've also added my weekly weight loss progress over there to the right. As it says, I've got to tell someone because I've been known to lose momentum if nobody's watching. Thanks for keeping me motivated!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sweet Memories

I almost don't want to post because I love opening this site and seeing that picture of Lillian blowing kisses. It's the screen saver on my phone and I just never get tired of looking into her big brown eyes.

This weekend was a precious time of memories and honoring our sweet girl. On Friday her Auntie M and I spent our lunch break visiting Lillian and leaving her flowers. Auntie M leaves a bottle of bubbles by Lillian's rock so she can send a few sailing into heaven when she visits. And of course we tossed a couple of rocks into the fountain.

On Saturday Jeff, Ian and I headed up to OHSU for the annual memorial service for children who have died in the prior year. 130 new angels in heaven. 130 names read aloud. 130 families with broken hearts. Although I wish none of us were there, it was such a blessing to see the six other families that we met along our cancer journey. Each brought pictures and special treasures to share so that we could remember their dear children. The year was brought full circle when I saw the doctor who so generously left the MRI after just 15 minutes to tell us about Lillian's tumor. (She could have waited the full 3 hours.) And Lillian's oncologist who held my hand and helped me give Lillian a final bath after she died. And our dear Chaplain who prayed with us throughout it all. I am forever grateful for the amazing care we received from these dear friends.

On Sunday, my incredible friends planted a flowering cherry tree at church in honor of Lillian. It's at home in a beautiful grassy alcove just across a bridge. God helped us as usual by softening the ground the day before but keeping the weather clear for the planting. Perfect. I kept Ian warm while my friends dug the whole, heaved the tree into place and firmly surrounded it with earth. It was a true team effort with the kids shovelling in some dirt and watering the tree. Watching my friends work so hard to give this tree the perfect place to grow made me feel so loved. I can't wait to see this special tree bloom in all it's glory and watch it's blossoms float in the air like snow.

Throughout this sadness, my little Ian brings joy. Our capacity to feel such opposed emotions simultaneously is awe inspiring. Joy and sorrow are not fire and water. One does not extinguish the other. They mingle together in a strange little dance periodically pushing one another into the spotlight. The joy of seeing Ian happily swinging creates a twinge of sorrow at the memory of his big sister doing the same thing just a short time ago. The sorrow of hearing Lillian's favorite songs bring the joy of sharing them with her little brother. Isn't it just like our awesome Creator to give us such dimension? Why would I expect anything different from the One who mixes water and sunshine into a beautiful rainbow?

I am so thankful to all of you for remembering Lillian in all the different ways. From sharing a story about her to planting a tree in her honor, your memories bring her so near to me. Thank you!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Storm

Sorry, I think I may be the reason for the rain today. It just suits my mood so well. Today is the first anniversary of Lillian's death and I feel... bruised. That's the best way I can describe it. I awoke with a deep ache but when a poem about a little girl's first day of school was read on the radio, sharp pains radiated out from my heart like fire. Unknowingly, they had poked my bruise. It's been just the first of many pokes today.

I wasn't sure how to commemorate such an important day. We have rituals for most of a person's key dates but not for this one. It's interesting that last year my grief was purely selfish. I couldn't even lift my head to see how many other people were also in pain. But this year, I'm consumed with sadness for all those mourning Lillian and for all those fighting cancer. And I feel like I want to honor my sweet angel in ways that help others too. So I've done a few different things:

  • I created a memory book filled with pictures and culminating in the blog of her battle. I hope this helps our family remember all the moments of Lillian's life.

  • I created an iMix of the songs that ministered to me in my grief. I hope this helps other people in pain.

  • I had new wristbands made with "Lillian's Legacy" on them. I hope this reminds people to give generously to cancer causes.

  • I finished the first draft of a book for critically ill kids about understanding death called "The Chaplain and the Cat." I hope this helps sick kids in their battle.

It still doesn't seem like enough. I want everyone to know my little girl. I wish I had a giant megaphone and could tell everyone about her bravery and her laugh and her spirit. I wish I could cure cancer so that no other child or parent had to endure this pain. I just want to do something. Something huge to forever secure Lillian's name in the history books. So that long after I'm gone, her name and her short little life would still be remembered. If I step back from this desperation, I can see that her name is in the most important book. God wrote her name in the book of life. Lillian is one of His treasured children. Regardless of earthly fame, her life was special and meaningful.

Tomorrow we are going to a memorial service at Doernbecher for all the children who died there in the last year. On Sunday, through a generous donation by some dear friends, a tree will be planted at our church in Lillian's memory. It will be a weekend filled with special moments honoring our girl. And it is so comforting to know that even though as time passes, I feel further from her, I'm actually getting closer to seeing her again in heaven. This time for eternity. Praise God.

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