I forgot to title this the first time

I am terribly sorry for neglecting this blog. It feels like there’s little of interest at this point.

Since I last wrote, I went to SCCA twice. Most recently, my numbers are coming back up after having been trending slightly down. They were actually glad they went down a little because it means everything is working.

I also had my 29th birthday! We even ate French fries for the first time in months. They were delicious.

My mom sent me fancy chocolate (and a weighted hula hoop!). The one on the left is like my beloved animal circus sundae from the kiltie drive in and the one on the right has donut pieces and coffee in it.
One of my gymnasts gave me the sweetest card!

We also had a fun Labor Day weekend, with a cabin trip and a hike up Mt Townsend. The hike was really hard for me, but I did make it up!

We have also discovered delicious almond ricotta cake. It’s perfect because the smallest ricotta you can buy in stores is about twice what we need for spaghetti squash lasagna, and it goes bad before we want to use it again. And, the cake tastes just like Dan’s favorite treat: spritz cookies. https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/keto-almond-ricotta-cake/

I’ve talked about our skillet spaghetti squash lasagna before, but I’m also going to drop this very attractive picture for you.

I’ve also been stretching again and even took class with my coach over zoom. He is an amazing zoom teacher- it felt like he was right in the room with me!

I am mostly still working, though I was off today because of the air quality. If we can’t open our garage doors, the gym becomes a total hot box!

As for the weight loss game, I think I’m going to hang out here around 115 pounds. I got a pair of size 24 jeans for $5 on a crazy sale at J Crew and they fit! I’ve had 24 shorts for a long time, but was always a 25 in full pants. Dan and I went to kohl’s to buy him some shirts that actually fit, which was really fun. He’s in the smaller jeans that he owns and happily made it under 200 pounds for the first time since high school! This all means that we’ve lost just about 90 pounds as a little family. Dan has also been back to rowing 8k and can now hula hoop for over 20 minutes at a time! I love the weighted hoop and regularly go an hour or more.

9.8.20

Labs and Other Things

Because they upped my chemo pill dosage, I went in for a quick blood draw. Surprisingly, all my numbers actually went up, not down.

We had a great weekend that kicked off with Dan making a spaghetti squash version of The Old Spaghetti Factory’s brown butter and mizithra pasta and it was so freaking delicious. Who needs pasta?! Our dream would be for restaurants to offer spaghetti squash as an alternative to all their pasta dishes, as it would serve both the gluten intolerant and those watching their carb intake. It is not more expensive than pasta, and can be prepped ahead of time and then frozen and thawed.

Saturday, Dan pressure canned 30 pounds of shredded chicken, some in broth and some in barbecue sauce. All because cash and carry’s 5lb bags of chicken doubled in price but the 40 pounds bags were still just a little over a dollar a pound. Since we don’t have room for 40 pounds of chicken breast in our freezer, Dan decided the only logical thing to do would be to can it and store it in our extra bedroom. I used my weighted hoola hoop (thanks mom!) and did some stretching during that massive project. We also watched a couple documentaries about sugar and carbs on prime and then had a joyful time just sitting around singing hymns.

I’ve shared it before, but this is my favorite playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2EIn81cL4vMM6onv9HBMcQ?si=KA64NQXkRjC5HPv9BfjfZg

Dan and I have really been enjoying going to in person church again (as an aside, yes, we all wear masks the entire time, we sit 10+ feet apart, we rsvp in advance and sit according to a seating chart, and there are separate entrances for each section of the sanctuary). We also think that the pandemic has revealed who takes being at church seriously and who doesn’t, both on a leadership level and on an individual member level. It is different when talking about truly high risk individuals, but a lot of people seem to be prioritizing other things. We have consistently been the only people over 18 and under 30 there, and yesterday, we were probably the only people over 18 and under 50, not including our associate pastor and his wife, or our pastor’s son/daughter (in law), who appeared to be visiting. Young people: corporate worship matters. Go to church!

After church, we had our taco eggs brunch and loaded up for Deception Pass. We had a wonderful day at the beach and enjoyed more hymn singing on the way home.

And for an update, now Dan has lost 44 pounds and I’ve lost 32. And we learned from our documentaries that the average person in New Zealand eats nearly my body weigh in sugar every year. Gross. But our next treat day is coming up: glorious Red Robin steak fries for my birthday! I’m also going to sneak in a s’mores donut with Elizabeth because our favorite donut shop is doing s’mores donuts for one week only and it’s this week! And it’s our birthday month so we do what we want.

8.10.20

Foundation

Dan and I talk a lot about what happens when churches distance themselves from truth in order to fit in with the popular culture – it very frequently ends up being the death of those churches. The thing that they did to increase only led to their demise. It can be the same with individuals: first they move to a more liberal theology, and then shortly thereafter they’re no longer Christian at all. What gives?

This morning, I was reading Luke 6 and struck by this parable:

““Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:46-49‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Verse 46 has been used by many social justice warriors to guilt trip people into feeding the poor and to “loving your neighbor” by telling them their sin isn’t really sin (here’s an excellent counterpoint to that by the way: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/love-your-neighbor-enough-to-speak-truth/). Now, I do think that we should be kind and generous and helpful and encouraging, but I also think it’s more than that.

Sin is cosmic treason against the God who created all things. When we sin, we disrespect Him and the world that He created. We upset His perfect order for things. When we fail to abide by His rules, we are criminals who deserve to be punished.

Because of His great mercy, when God created His system, He also created a way out. Before of the foundations of the earth, He knew that all who called on the name of His Son Jesus would be saved by His once for all sacrifice. One man would die for the sins of all.

When you actually believe that, when you preach and live repentance, that is what it means to do what God says. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus and be saved. When you do that, that is when you are laying your foundation on the rock. You can give away every single possession you have, but if you fail to trust in Jesus for the salvation of your soul, your house is not built in solid ground. When someone pokes holes in it, when floodgates open, when criticism comes streaming in, your house will not last.

We must vigilantly guard our foundation by keeping our focus on Jesus as Savior. He has saved us from our sin which is not merely a trivial character defect, but a truly egregious lawlessness that cannot be ignored. The truth of the gospel is that, because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, you are free from sin and the death it brings. You are free to live in Him.

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.

From the Westminster Shorter Catechism

8.3.20

Oh Yeah, We Moved

Huge shout out to the Mabens for coming up on Saturday to help with our move and to take us out for Dan’s birthday! We love our hops and drops and how easy they make it to be low carb.

We moved into a ground floor two bed two bath condo on a green belt right in Bothell – 1.6 miles away from the gym! I am loving walking to work and we are digging our airy, spacious, cooler pad with nicer finishings. We also got some blackout curtains because me + waking up at 6am every day is a big no thanks.

Walking home from work in the sun. Tucked my work shirt into my fanny pack pocket because I was hot and it had chalk all over it.

We also made whole crab for the first time this week and it was yummy!

https://www.munchkintime.com/the-best-oven-roasted-dungeness-crab-recipe/

And I forgot to mention that Taylor Swift’s new surprise album, folklore, is easily her best work since Red back in 2012 (?). Betty, Exile, Invisible String, Last Great American Dynasty. Those are my favorites right now.

I think that’s it for now. My birthday month starts tomorrow!

7.31.20

Covid tests

Well, it happened. On Monday last week, I coached Child A. On Wednesday, her sister, who does not do gymnastics, started having some mild symptoms so Parents kept Child A home to be safe. On Friday, they learned Sister was positive for covid and they had the rest of the family tested. Parents and Brother were negative, but we learned late yesterday afternoon that Child A was positive, and still has no symptoms.

Which means I had to leave work once we found out since I’d had close contact with Child A. I also had to get tested for covid this morning, which was terrible, and they’re going to run the antibodies test while we’re at it. Luckily, because it’s a small lab and they do very few tests, I should have my results before work today so we’ll know what’s up. I don’t have any symptoms, and if I was going to, I should have had them by now. So now we wait.

White blood cells are a little low, but neutrophils, platelets, and hematocrit are all solidly normal.

Christen was impressed with my labs and overall health. We figured out that I haven’t seen her in about four months, because I just saw Rachelle last time and Dr Cassaday the two times before that. She said they may want to increase mercaptopurine and check labs in a couple weeks but she’ll let me know for sure later.

And the good news is that I am negative for covid! But I am positive for antibodies, which means I had it at some point. It’s impossible to know when, though.

I got my prescriptions and they took me back to infusion 50 whole minutes early! Amazing day.

7.27.20

Working and low carb, still

With my serious lack of doctor’s appointments, there aren’t many updates I have for all of you. My next one is 7/28 if you want to get excited 🤣

Work is still going well. We are teaching some recreational classes now in addition to team, and so far so good. I do have a new schedule: Monday-Thursday it’s 1 or 2 until 8:15, and then Friday it’s 8:30-4:30.

Because of that change, Dan and I have shifted to having a small breakfast of yogurt or egg muffin or low carb blue berry muffin, doing our largest meal around noon, and then having leftovers or small snack for dinner (me at work and Dan at home)

Yogurt Strainer for the Win 🙌
Muffin Recipe. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Also, we got silicon muffin pans and they are the best. It’s the little things.
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai. AMAZING.
https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/spaghetti-squash-pad-thai/#tasty-recipes-49432

For another amazing spaghetti squash recipe, pay attention:

Preheat oven to 425.

Stab a spaghetti squash with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes. Then cut in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

While that is happening, cook up some spiced sausage or brown some ground beef or turkey or whatever you want. Add your favorite spaghetti sauce (we made this one: https://thisoldgal.com/pressure-cooker-spaghetti-sauce/).

Mix 1/2 cup ish of ricotta cheese, an egg, 1/4 cup ish of parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper, garlic in a small bowl.

Remove squash from oven and use a fork to scrape it out. Add “noddles” to sausage and sauce and stir well.

Use a rubber spatula to spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle parmesan and/or mozzarella on top of that. Bake in skillet for 10-15 minutes until cheese starts to brown. Remove and enjoy.

Our exploits with spaghetti squash have Dan thinking we should open a low carb squash focused restaurant called “Weight Squashers”. Since we started at the end of April, Dan has lost 36 pounds (14.39% of body weight) and I’ve lost 26 (16.8%). Dan was perplexed as to why I was beating him and I explained that my body actually really likes being between 120 and 130 so it wanted to get back there, whereas he houses an inner fat kid who resists being tamed. He agreed that this is true. We feel great and a little while ago we realized I had actually never seen Dan this thin, so that’s pretty cool! We are looking forward to our carb tastic Dan’s birthday meal, though, which we decided will be the best Mac and cheese ever: crab, bacon, and a coastal white cheddar cheese sauce. We also have well over $100 to spend at maggiano’s at some point, but Dan would like to reach his goal weight before we venture there again. See also the red lobster gift card (we will not refuse those biscuits) and the Red Robin gift card (those fries though). All in due time.

7.15.20

Anniversary Extravaganza

Since our actual anniversary is on Monday and I work, we decided to make a weekend out of it. We went to the cabin, which is also where we went on our very first day of marriage (shout out to his parents, and possibly Mark, who made the cabin spotless for us!). Dan had some tricks up his sleeve, including the cougar gold that we’d received at Christmas from Aunt Diana and Uncle Frank.

If you know, you know

He also had a bottle of our special wine – the same wine from the Parent Trap (and you can now buy it from Total Wine!). The wine was the only non low carb thing we had by the way, though we did eat some more snacks than usual.

We had a great time and decided to keep the celebration rolling by making a cheesecake that we can enjoy tonight and tomorrow.

Low Carb / Sugar free Crustless Cheesecake (in the pressure cooker!)

I also made a strawberry sauce with which to top it.

I had the though today that we’re actually a lot healthier than we were a year ago: I don’t have cancer and he’s lighter and stronger. I think that’s pretty cool.

6.28.20

Why I’m Not Afraid of COVID

I was thinking about this quite a bit today, and I thought I’d give a public explanation.

A small part of it is data driven. In Washington State, 0.39% of people have had symptoms serious enough to merit testing, and have been confirmed to have had the virus. Of that tiny fraction of a percentage, 4.3% have died. If we round up, that means that we’ve lost 0.02% of our state’s population to covid.

To compare, I decided to look up some statistics on acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. The odds of catching that one in your lifetime is 0.1%, and accounts for less than half of 1% of all cancers in the United States. An adult my age (especially as a female) is so unlikely to have it, there aren’t even numbers on it. Adults also only have a survival rate of 40-50%, compared to children whose survival rate is over 90% (partially because children tend to be heartier and partially because they do the more aggressive treatment because they can handle it. I did the pediatric treatment and was a very healthy adult so functionally, I was a child 🤣).

So, while I am slightly more likely to catch covid than I was to have my cancer, I was actually a lot more likely to die from my cancer than I am to die from covid should I manage to contract it. And the only time I was truly afraid of dying from cancer was before I had talked to my doctor about what it actually was and what treatment was like. Once I talked to Dr Cassaday, I was confident I would survive.

But that’s only the numbers. I think at the root of it all is my worldview and my belief system. I believe in a God who knows all and controls all. I believe He knew me before I was born, and knows the day I will die and from what I will die. Covid-19 is not a surprise to Him. If He wrote my death by covid before the foundations of the world, then there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent that. Conversely, if He’s decided I’ll die of a heart attack at age 103, then there is nothing I can do that will keep me from living to that ripe old age. I also truly believe that life with Jesus is a joy unspeakable and full of glory, and that though now I see only in part, when I am with Him, I will see fully and truly. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, living is good because we get to share Christ but dying is good too because then we will know Jesus fully, even as we are fully known. I do not fear death because I know He who has defeated death. Death has no victory for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I will note that God has given us good gifts in sanitation, so just because we aren’t afraid doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wash our hands (just like He gave us seatbelts). I also think we can be kind and loving to our neighbors by having good general health practices. But there is no reason for the church to be afraid. If you, as a Christian, are in fear, I would love for you to read your Bible and see how God has proven Himself trustworthy.

6.24.20

Same same but always different

Things have been going great in the gym and we’re going to have recreational classes starting in July. My schedule is changing again and I don’t love it, but it will be ok. I had to tell Erika the scheduler I’m working again and I can only imagine her look of terror when she read that email.

We had one of Dan’s friends over and it was so nice to talk to someone with a truly biblical worldview. I’m amazed at how panicked and fearful even the church is right now.

Speaking of church, we got to go over the weekend! It was outside, but so nice to see everyone and sing together again. We’ll be meeting inside starting in July.

Keto-ish is also going well. We made cookie dough cheesecake bars that actually tasted good, and discovered the magic of spaghetti squash lasagna. Next up are pork rind nachos. Neither Dan nor myself have ever had pork rinds before! Dan thought we’d find them in the frozen food section 🤣. Dan also did a bunch of research on canning so he could mass produce and store our delicious chipotle barbecue sauce.

https://kaseytrenum.com/spaghetti-squash-lasagna-boats/

https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/low-carb-chocolate-chip-cookie-cheesecake-bars/

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a25335574/keto-bagels-recipe/

And this is a breakfast sandwich made with our homemade 2 net carb bagels

Dan is heading out to build a shed later this week, and then we’re tentatively planning on spending the weekend at the cabin to celebrate our anniversary, since the actual date is a Monday and I get to go to work. Dan has no sign of returning to work yet, but he is still being paid, so it’s really more about being bored than in bad shape.

And speaking of being in shape, I have maintained my rowing habit while working, though I do stretch less. I also found out I walk around 3 miles per day just doing my job.

I mean, I still stretch a little…

6.23.20

Gym Time

We started our workouts again on Monday, and everything has gone so well! The kids are doing a great job with all our extra policies and so many of them are more or less where they left off! The older girls are having a bit harder time, but they also had more to lose!

I am feeling these long work days though. They’re not even that long, but going from an hour or two a week to 7-8 a day is a big increase! I’ve gone to bed before 10 every night this week, though with the summer sun, I’ve also been rising around 6am. I row before work – and Dan sleeps through it – and do my 100 squats and sit ups for my June challenge.

I also had my labs done again on Monday, and they were great so I started back on my chemo pills. Dan went to Olympia to help with a painting project so I’ve just been hanging out on my own.

Our favorite recent discovery is that you can use chicken as pizza crust. I promise, it totally works!

The Best Low Carb Chicken Pizza Crust

6.10.20