AV therapy, softball, dance, Bama basketball


Since Riley’s therapy was cut back to every other week, we’ve been focusing on getting her to think about graduating from auditory-verbal. She has two goals right now:

1. Look at the person who’s talking
and the person you’re talking to.
2. Talk in complete sentences.

She’s doing pretty well with those two objectives, but I still have to prompt her occasionally.

Our therapist completed vocabulary testing last week and to everyone’s surprise Riley scored at or above her chronological age! We think it’s the first time she has hit or surpassed her “real” age and not her hearing age. She is on the right path.

We are working on synonyms and antonyms, idioms, context clues and inferences – important things heading into fourth grade next year. Riley is also supposed to be making notes of words she doesn’t know when comes across them in her reading.

Report cards come home Thursday, so that will tell the tale. Her weekly grades are mostly A’s and B’s, with a smattering of C’s and a D here and there. No more F’s, though. The lower grades seem to come whenever new material is introduced, which is why preteaching is so important. And, obviously, I haven’t been doing enough of that lately.

Also, her class is reviewing for state testing in math right now. Third-graders take the SAT (I think that’s the name), and I’m anxious to see how she does. Geometry, fractions and decimals have all been part of the curriculum this year.

Dance class is getting busier … she’s taking only acrobatics this year, but costumes are coming soon and picture day is in two weeks. Riley is good at acro; she’s almost got the back walkover and a one-hand cartwheel is a piece of cake. Next year, I’ll probably let her go back to taking two or three classes because dance is something she excels at.

Softball is starting next week; several practices have been rained out, so her team this year (all new to her except for two) will be rough around the edges. I will brag a bit about Riley, though. She is one of the fastest and has one of the strongest arms on the team. Her throwing is much improved.

The divorce was final last month, and I’m selling the house. I’m glad it is over, and we can move forward.

Oh, and, Roll Tide! Basketball season was fun, but I think the Tide got hosed by being left out of the NCAA Tournament. Winning the NIT would be nice, though. Go, Bama!

We are the champions


Riley’s team beat its nemesis of the last two years to win the tournament championship 8-4. Riley had two RBIs and scored once. Below, is the game in pictures, starting with me and my friend Melissa (our third baseman Kam’s mom) just before Ryan threw the first pitch.

Yeah, we know. We’re hot.

Riley is ready for some action.

Riley gets a hit …

That ended up as a “triple …”

And she scores!

“Would someone please hit it to me? I’m getting bored.”

Senators win! Yay!

Momma showing off her team spirit!

Gerald (Kam’s dad) and my daddy taking in the celebration

Riley and one of her best friends, Kam

Ryan and Riley & Gerald and Kam

Riley & Ryan, who pitched an awesome game

Dance the night away


Riley’s dance recital was two nights last week. Her first night was ballet; the second night was acrobatics and jazz. She did wonderfully–she knew where everyone was supposed to be, and she helped get them there. She loves dancing and it shows! We are so proud of her and everything she has accomplished in her two years on stage.

Getting ready backstage before One Dance

Riley waves to her adoring public after the first-night finale

Waiting her turn for her one-handed cartwheel during Cotton-Eyed Joe

Backstage getting ready for Jailhouse Rock

Proud parents with our dancer girl



The first and third photos of Riley were taken by my friend Melissa; the middle one is mine with some effects done in Photoshop Mobile. We’re about to head to the field for a doubleheader. Go, Senators!

Right now, the girls are in second place, with four games to go. The tournament starts May 17, which is also one of Riley’s dress rehearsal days for dance. But that’s a whole different story.

No longer on duty


Riley gets a hit and heads for first

After two years of being dugout mom for Riley’s softball team, I’m not this year. And it’s working out great! Riley is becoming more independent and taking more responsibility for herself.

I don’t have to worry about her getting her helmet or bat or glove or mask. Or getting her “skull wrap” on to keep her CI processors in place under her batting helmet. She does it all on her own. I can relax and watch the game instead of fussing to get her and the other girls ready to bat. Or hustle to get them back on the field for defense.

This year’s dugout/team mom is waaaay more organized than I am! She had the game schedule, snack duties, concession duties and picture day all set up before you could say “Go, Senators!” She’s doing a fantastic job.

The girls are 5-1, and they’ve been playing so well lately. Everyone’s hitting, and they’re making good, solid plays on defense. At times they have a tendency to throw the ball around, but that just comes from being 7- and 8-year-olds and getting a little too excited sometimes.

Ryan grooves a pitch to one of our hitters.

Riley makes the throw to first for the out.

Ryan is pitching this year, and he’s doing a good job. He’s learning where all the girls like to swing, and they are connecting. And crushing it.

Riley’s learned a lot about playing defense this year, and she’s getting comfortable in the outfield and at second base.

It’s a joy to see her having fun and learning and being physical. I hope her love of activity lasts a lifetime.

And my new job allows me to go to the games and hang out afterward, instead of rushing back to edit the newspaper. It’s awesome having a normal (well, relatively speaking) life now that I’m not working nights!

Playing ball when you’re deaf


She's come a long way since she got her first glove in 2003.

Riley’s had two softball practices with another set for Saturday. She’s paying better attention this year, but we still need to figure out a better way to communicate than just yelling at her. It’s hard for anyone to hear a coach yelling from the dugout during a game and even harder when you’re hearing impaired. That’s one reason we’re considering an FM system … so she can hear easily whether she’s on the field, in the classroom or out in the backyard.

Another family offered to let Riley try out the system their children no longer use, so I think a phone call is in order. Of course, the system will have to be tweaked to complement Riley’s hearing and programs, but we should get started on this soon.

The first two practices were COLD – the poor girls were bundled up so tightly they could barely move! And you know how much it hurts when you swing the bat and don’t hit the ball solidly. Ouch!

She batted right-handed the first practice and did OK, but she switched back to being a lefty the second day and did even better. I’m going to let her decide how she’s most comfortable at the plate. Lefty or righty, it’s her choice.

The coach worked her out at second base and Riley did really well for her first time on the field since May. Several of the other girls played throughout the fall and are also playing on a travel team during the community season, too. They’re getting a lot more reps, but Riley will catch up.

I’m the dugout mom again – keeping the batting order; making sure helmets, batting gloves and bats are where they’re supposed to be; helping the catcher get dressed; bandaging any scrapes or strawberries; and yelling for mom or dad if I can’t help. Basically, several moms are tag-teaming to take care of everything from uniforms to snacks to picture day to concession duty.

Ryan might pitch, if he can work out his schedule so he can be there e

nough. It won’t be fair for him to start as the pitcher and have the girls get used to him then have to rotate someone else in.

We’re all ready for spring and softball and warm weather.

Fitness Fridays = Physical Fridays (Apolo Ohno still rocks)


My brother and I are all smiles at the end of my first 5K. Riley was a big motivator at the end. Can I get back to that place?

I’ve got to start somewhere and right now that’s just doing some kind of physical activity each day.  With my surgeries, my dad’s emergency and long recovery, I never got on track with my fitness goals. So instead of making these grand plans to run/walk 5 times a week, etc., I’m going to just try to do something active every day.

This week I did laundry: loading, unloading and folding and putting away. Ryan usually does the laundry, but with the change in my schedule, I’m able to do more around the house. Last night, I danced (in high heels) as Harry Connick Jr. (more on that later) sang at the VBC Concert Hall. Tomorrow I’ll be at Riley’s softball practice, likely helping out by chasing down foul balls. Every little bit helps.

I’ve edited my big goals:

Do 10 real pushups
Wear my GAP boyfriend jeans (in my closet since 2007) smallest size Lane Bryant jeans
Do the Ribbon Run 5K in October Cotton Row 5K in May
Wear my cute workout tanks/shorts again
Get my calves back into my tall boots without spillage
Carry Riley to bed without giving myself a hernia
Fit into my Bama T-shirts this football by the end of softball season
Outrun 8- and 9-year-olds at softball practice next spring by the end of summer

So those are my big goals … today. They might change tomorrow or next week as I have more time to think about where I’m headed. I will also have to decide what steps I’ll take to meet these goals. Next week’s post will cover that.

The Olympics are winding down, and tonight we saw why Apolo Anton Ohno is one of the best short-track speedskaters in the world. He had to jump over one of two skaters who went down in the quarterfinals, and he avoided another spinout in the semifinals.

He won his eighth medal as he anchored the U.S. to a bronze in the team relay. He should’ve had nine, but a ticky-tack call by a Canadian judge disqualified him (he had the silver) in the 500-meter because he touched one of the Canadian skaters. However, a different Canadian skater put his hand on a Korean skater. Then the Korean skater touched that Canadian. But who was disqualified? Ohno, the skater who was in fourth place at the time. Judging is far too subjective in speedskating.

After that disappointing ruling, Ohno came back to skate an incredible race in the relay to pull the USA to the bronze after being fourth for most of the race. His heart and drive are incredible. There’s no quit in him. A good reminder as I start my fitness journey: If an obstacle slows you down, don’t quit. Make the leap and keep skating.

Another year older, another year fatter


Today I’m 37. My life is definitely not the way I thought it would be. Oh, it’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. But changes must be made.

This winter has been a hard one. Yeah, I’ve been to the gym here and there, but I’ve put my health and fitness on the backburner. I’ve been working more and sitting more and what has that got me? Fifteen pounds heavier and a sore back.

In my mind, I’m healthy and fit and running and lifting and dancing and playing with Riley. Then I look in the mirror or roll out of bed or feel a pain in my back while sitting at a hockey game and realize my mind is playing tricks on me.

And let’s not talk about the food – Mountain Dew, barbecue chips, fast food. No vegetables or fruits, little water. Thank goodness Riley takes after Ryan in her food tastes and not me.

I have to make changes or I’m going to keep going downhill. I don’t want to be 40 and unable to get out in the yard and throw the ball with Riley or jump on the trampoline or even walk around the block.

I’m waffling between doing Body for Life again or trying Weight Watchers and following the Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess program. I like both workout plans, and I had good success on BFL. I also had good success with Weight Watchers when I tried it last year. What do you fitness gurus out there think? Any suggestions?

I also want to define my writing goals more clearly and focus more on creating a full-time freelance career. I want to be able to help Riley with her homework every night, read a book or two to her before she goes to bed, cook a decent meal for my family and not have to worry about getting back to work at 6:30 in the evening. I want to work while she’s at school and not while she’s at school and after she gets home every day.

Ryan and I also created a budget with the help of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We’ve done a good job this first month, and it hasn’t been too painful. I don’t know why we didn’t do this a long time ago.

So this time next year, I want to write about how I’m loving being a size 12, how much I love salads, how I’m getting more writing assignments than I can accept, and how we are debt-free and enjoying our lives even more.

Blowing out the candles on the cupcakes at my mom’s yesterday and blowing away the old year. Happy Birthday to me!

The good, the bad & the ugly


If I’m gonna do this right, I might as well share the whole truth, ugly or not.
Here goes:

Weight–195 pounds
Neck–12.5 inches
Abs (where my pants sit)–39

More motivation:

Jessi Stensland

Today was pretty good. It’s hard to eat junk when there’s none in the house. Well, there are those Cheetos, but they’re just not sounding very appetizing. And that’s good. I’ve got to restock with water, yogurt, eggs, turkey, tuna, more salad fixins, apples, protein bars and shakes. I also need to buy some stuff to make low-fat smoothies with. This time of year it’s too hot to eat big meals and a smoothie will cool me off.


1. Protein shake–9
2. Tuna on ww, Baked Doritos/water–12:30
3. South Beach chicken wraps, FF jello/water–2:30
4. Turkey Sloppy Joes, handful Doritos/Diet Mt. Dew–5:30
5. 3 whole wheat waffles with syrup/milk–8:15
Vitamin, calcium, CLA
Drank two bottles of water at the gym.

25 minutes of HIIT
Hour of lower body and ab work and stretching
My cardio and strength have improved a lot since I started in February. However, because I’m a junk-food junkie, my body fat and weight have pretty much stayed the same. Hence, this blog.

I’m meeting a friend for a Body Jam class at 8:25 in the morning. Should be fun and sweaty. And that means I better get to bed now.


Today’s plan …


Today will be weird. Because of the primary elections, I work from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. then from 9 p.m.-midnight. Normally I work 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesdays and head to the gym after work. Today I will jump rope or throw in a cardio DVD on my break. Unfortunately, Riley doesn’t like the jog stroller anymore, so I can’t run.

Menu: (* means not yet eaten)
1. 1/2 protein shake–8:00
2. Egg sandwich/Propel water–10:30
(reduced-fat 100-calorie popcorn, 1/2 Diet Pepsi–11:30–cause I was still hungry)
3. Protein bar/Diet Coke–1:50
4. Salad/water/two dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses–4:30
5. Chicken sandwich, Baked Doritos/Diet Mt. Dew–6:30
6. Protein bar/water–9:30
Also took multivitamin, calcium & CLA.

Got up at 7:38–I’m getting closer to my wakeup goal–and got several things done in the house. I cleaned out two old jewelry boxes and transferred jewelry to the armoire I got for Mother’s Day. (Yes, it’s taken me that long to get it done.) I cleaned out some more space in the closet. I found some Gap shorts that I will use to measure my progress. They’re 14s and we all know Gap sizes run small. 😉

I took down two pairs of blinds for cleaning outside later. I probably won’t put the ones from the kitchen back up. The windows face the backyard and I don’t really care if our dog or the neighbor’s cows see in. No one else can, unless they use binoculars and if they’re that desperate, more power to ’em.

I threw in a load of laundry and made some eggs and toast, stripped our bed and put fresh sheets on.

Worked for 5 hours, then took Riley outside to play. Filled her pool, washed the blinds, folded the laundry. Back inside, I gave Riley chicken noodle soup, while I ate a chicken sandwich. The turkey didn’t get thawed today. We also painted some pictures, and read “Going on a Bear Hunt.”

Now it’s time for the second round of work. All in all a good day!