Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bike Ride

When Kate was little, I taught her to ride a bike.  She liked it OK but she didn't love it.  She rode her bike to school in 3rd grade but after that preferred to walk.  She outgrew it and was never interested in getting a bigger bike.

Daniel spent many and hour crying and getting frustrated and never learned to ride a bike.  Every summer I resolved to teach him and it never happened.  Mostly because he had no interest!  None, nadda, zippo. 

I always loved to ride but having a family who isn't really into that, I didn't do much riding.  I've had a bike most of my marriage (22yrs) but didn't use it a lot.  Sometimes I took it on camping trips but mostly not because we have so much stuff anyway.

Two years ago my friend convinced me to do the Goldilocks 15 mile ride.  UMMMM OK, sure I can do 15 miles of hills!!!!!!  I did with another friend (first friend was on the planning committee and couldn't ride but she cheered us on).  So the next year I did the 20 mile ride.  I might have done the 30 this year but I am saving every penny for the great kitchen remodel and didn't want to cough up the 70.00.  Last year I also did the triathlon which had a 12 mile bike ride which is plenty after swimming and still having a 3.1 run ahead of me.

So recently I have gotten in a lot more bike time.  I realize how much I've always loved riding.  I am afraid of street riding because one of our nurses got killed last year riding in town.  Another one of our nurses got hit and broke his neck (he's OK now) riding home from work.  That stuff scares me.  But I don't want to let fear hold me back.

Keegan not only asked but he begged to learn to ride.  We had two days of crying and fits after the training wheels came off.  Then I got smart and took him up to church so he had the whole parking lot to used to it.  There is a slight hill so he was able to get better at starting using the hill to his advantage.  And voila he is a pro!  Last night we rode to the school, took a picnic, played on the playground and then rode home.  It was great.  It was just he two of us because  (see above, the rest of the clan doesn't like to ride)  Kate is moving out, Daniel was helping her and Brian was at rehearsal.  I couldn't have asked for a better biking buddy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Acupuncture (and do you believe in angels)

My sciatica has been a problem for 8 years.  I like to make sure its really a problem before running off to the doctor (ask my kids how they ended up with Scarlet Fever when they were little).  OK, so I have done lots of massage and yoga to help it out and I have mentioned it to three doctors.  They all give me the same tips- ice, heat, stretch and exercise.  And they are all right.  Except for the part that its really a lot more agonizing than I let on.  I don't like to be a cry baby so I let things go on too long.  I have a follow up appt the end of June and I probably would have just run through Ragnar with my sciatica flamed up except for the plantar fascitis that came on suddenly last month.  It more acute and painful so I thought I better deal.

I consulted all knowing Google and got a lot of mixed information.  I asked people who have had it what worked for them- pretty consistently the sleeping sock and ice.  And I had one of the nurses tell me to get it injected the day before the run.  So last week at the fun run, I sat next to my friend G who is a podiatrist.  As we were talking about running I managed to slip in my fascitis to see what she would say.  She said " I could inject you but you run the risk of a rupture."  Rupture and my foot do not go together since the "Great Kitchen Remodel of 2012"  will occur the day after Ragnar.  So we both agreed that no, that's not the way to go.  She suggested lidocain.  It wears off but can be reapplied and I will be in the van with all nurses.  But I still don't love that idea.

So my Pilate's instructor mentioned acupuncture and I thought "hmmmm"   So I made an appointment.  Now before you all think I just opened the phone book and look up acupuncture and when to the first little shop I could find, I didn't.  We refer our patients to a woman who is an MD and a Chinese physician.  She is awesome for induction and turning a breech baby.  Her husband is a Chinese physician who deals with non-reproductive health.  So I called them. 

Her is the low down.  Its a combo of needles being stuck in your back, legs and foot (I only felt one or two and it wasn't bad).  Then some kind of electric stimulation (like a TENS machine) and then lying face down for 30 minutes.  The music was relaxing and the stimulation mainly felt good.  Part way through I felt like I was getting a lot of energy in my legs and feet so I started wiggling my toes.  That kind of made the needles in my heel hurt so I quit.  Finally he came back and took them out.  Then he did a massage with a vibrating massage tool.  That felt great.  Next came "cupping"  it is some kind of suction cup that he places all over the the same places the needles were to increase stimulation.  Then another massage and some counter pressure.

All in all, it felt great.  After I was tired but good- just like having a massage.  And honestly for pain issues I think I like this better than massage.  No need to change my name to Moon Beam, I am not going to start consulting my horoscope for decision making.  But I am going back for another session.  I want to give it the ol college try before I decide if its really working or not.

On another note, something kind of weird happened last night.  Weird in a good way and maybe a coincidence but maybe not.  I really tried to convince myself that I didn't want to run.  I gave lots of really good excuses.  Then I told D that I was too cold and tired to run.  Mr. Logic that he is, said "you know, the mere act of exercising increases your metabolic rate and the energy converts to heat and you will be warmer.  Then you will be exerting energy which will wake you up and you won't be tired."  Yes, Spock, I know.  So I donned the ol running clothes and begrudgingly headed out.  Why does it take 20 minutes before I love my run?!  I stretched and realized it had warmed up (how can you be 42 and not realize that means rain?)  I started up Creek.  I made it half way up the hill before I had to slow to a walk.  Unless you live here and can see Creek Hill you can't understand.  If you live here you say, "You run up Creek?!"  I walked to the top and then ran across until I hit the downhill which I love.

By then it was hot.  Not really but D was right on the whole metabolism thing.  I debated taking off my jacket but just then it started to rain.  I nice warm, gentle rain that smell like heaven.  I continued running, feeling awesome despite my sciatica and fascitis.  As I got to the last big hill I started thinking about Ragnar.  When I decided to do it, I "dedicated" it to day.  I run for people a lot and they don't know it.  Maybe its like praying for someone.  But I digress.  I remember running last fall and thinking about how Dad couldn't even walk a mile at my age due to his cardio myopathy much less run a mile or 16 for that matter.  I was running for me because I could and running for him because he lost half his life to illness. 

As my thought were flowing I thought, "I am going to end up crying at Ragnar because its going to be intense and I'm doing it for dad."  I better warn my team that I might end up emotional.  Just as all that was going on, "Dad's song" came on my ipod.  Its the song I chose for his DVD collage at the funeral, Bye Bye Miss American Pie.  I really think it was him.  I have 17 hours of music on my ipod what is the statistical probability that his song came on at that exact minute?!  (I don't really want to know because its probably not that unlikely but I like to think it is)  So I continued my run with more energy and life.  Then I thought, if "Uncle Joe's song" comes on I am going to pass out from shock.  The next song was not his but the one after was.  Again, what are the chances.  I think that Pa Steve and Uncle Joe (who died three weeks to the day before dad) where there watching out for me, telling me that I am strong and that I can do it.

First Communion

Looking Snazzy in the new suit

It takes a real man to wear a bow tie

Oops, better tuck in the shirt!

Yesterday was Keegan's First Communion.  I remember my First Communion so clearly.  It was an exciting day for me.  Keegan had a black suit.  It was the one that Daniel wore to his First Communion and the one that he wore on several other occasions.  I pulled it out last fall and it was just the right size for Keegan- he wore it to my dad's funeral.  So I planned to just have him wear it again but just over two weeks before the big day he said he really wanted a brown pin stripped suit.  I panicked.  I didn't want to try to find one and I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  I love you Google.  I found a kid suit shop that had a brown pin stripped on sale for 39.00.  That was a reasonable price and they shipped in two days.  WHEW!

He was quite the classy young man in his suit with a bow tie and grandpa's pocket watch in his pocket.  And he did well.  That is a long mass and its a longer mass when you have ADHD.  I only saw miss D lean over once to tell him to settle down.

We had everyone over after mass for a small party- only 25ish people compared to my normal 50ish. Between the eclipse that evening, some illness and my lack of getting invitations mailed (slacker mom) we had fewer people but I think I needed that this time.

Although I was really excited for him, it was also a bit of a grief day for me (and my sisters).  My dad "married" me and three of my sisters.  He baptized most of his grandkids.  He was a con-celebrant for my kids' First Communion's and Confirmation's.  He was always a big part of religious events.  And yesterday, he was very obviously gone.  I missed him so much.  I was pretty emotional but mostly kept myself under control.  I only teared up twice with my sisters and once after the party.

Fr. D is awesome about preaching in a way that is personal.  He was using the meaning of names to illustrate the point and he pointed out different kids.  Then he got to Keegan and made a joke about how Keegan just meant Keegan (it really means small and fiery)  Then he said,"Keegan and I have been friends for a long time.  His grandpa was my deacon but he died this past year."  Keegan must have looked pretty sad because he stopped and said "I shouldn't have brought it up, Keegan is now looking sad but we are all sad that he is gone."  He then went on to say that Keegan was the only one brave enough to wear a bow tie and how proud his grandpa would be of him.  And all I can say to that is AMEN.

And now its too hot to wear the suit and smile anymore!

Friday, May 18, 2012

3rd Place Winner

Last night was the Fun Run at Brookwood.  They have a short course for 2nd grade and under and then a 5K.  Keegan was hesitant after our last 2K where his allergies acted up and he couldn't breathe and it scared him.  But since Ian was doing it he wanted to.  I meant to run along the side because when he gets stressed or upset, he doesn't always cope well.  But they sounded the megaphone, the kids shot off and I was talking to Ian's mom who has a small baby so I decided to just head to the finish line.  We weren't there long when the first kid came dashing in at just over 3 minutes (I think it was a mile course)  The I looked up to see Keegan in a cluster of 5 or 6 rounding the end.  That group got messed up and came in on the other side of the roped off area and got confused.  I told them to come back to the curve and go under the rope.  I don't think it was cheating because they had all come in first.  No one said anything and then the principal was there directing traffic for the rest.

I knew Keegan had done well; although I missed his time (maybe 4 minutes).  Ian came in at just under 5.  Then the rest all filtered in.  Unfortunately, Keegan gets focused on results and was mad that he was not the first one in.  He crumpled his "I beat the principal" ribbon and got very bullheaded.  We let the kids play for a few minutes and then headed them inside for the Subway meal deal.  I had wanted to run the 5K but since he was still a bit agitated (I hate ADHD- people always think of the hyperactivity but its the aggression, anger and hyper focus that are hard to deal with) and Brian was at Joseph rehearsal so I was on my own.  So I skipped the 5K.

I was going to leave because Kate had to get to an audition.  I would have just given her my car, but she gets so nervous about auditioning that she didn't want to audition and figure out the driving directions.  So I kind of looked over the shoulder of the ladies entering the kid run results and saw that Keegan had indeed come in 3rd place for his age group.  He was calmed down by then and playing with Ian so I decided to stay for the awards.  Ian's mom didn't want to stay since the baby was tired and she didn't want to deal with Keegan getting a medal and Ian not getting one (I totally understand; at this age its hard to deal with not winning).  We found Juno and his mom so the boys went to play while I picked her brain about my foot (she is a podiatrist).  So the debate is still whether or not to inject with cortisone the day before the Ragnar. 

Finally, they got to the awards and although Keegan was still a bit disappointed that he wasn't first, he was pretty quick to jump up and get his award.  And honestly, I think he was in second place except for that issue with the first group going the wrong way.  That is when I realized I totally messed up because my camera was in my office and I couldn't get my phone camera to work.  UGH!

We left, got Kate to her audition where she did indeed get a call back (cross your fingers) and then had to find food for Kate, Daniel and myself (I didn't want the Subway deal).  Unfortunately, Daniel was over hungry by then and started picking on his brother.  Our evening ended with Daniel getting left at Cafe Rio at 9:30 at night because he was really being difficult.  We decided that walking home in the rain (only two miles) was probably what his pubescent attitude needed.  He had his cell and I called Brian to "tail" him on his way home from rehearsal. 

I got Keegan into bed and finally at 10:00 was able to get in a 20 minute run.  Not what I wanted for my run but at least I got a hill.  And I finally made it to the top of Oak Creek without stopping or walking.  The run down was awesome.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rescue Dog

In 2001 we got a dog.  From a pet store or in other words a puppy mill.  He was the best little dog despite being in-bred.  I make a pact to not ever do that again but apparently that didn't apply to my husband who two years later got Pepper.  Pepper is really inbred- to the point of being partly deaf, having sever allergies and is pretty stupid.  I put up with Pepper but I've never bonded with her.  Part of that could be because she has always been a very stinky dog and I got pregnant a month after we got her.  She made me vomit- I was really sick with my last one.

Lucky died in February.  Keegan and I have both always wanted a Dachshund so I started looking for a non-pet store dog.  And last week I found this little baby who was rescued from the pound.

She is the sweetest little baby in the world.  She is four years old and was starved and beaten by her previous owners.  The foster family was a little bit lax about letting her beg at the table so she has some bad habits.  But she is soooooo sweet and we love her to pieces.
Her name is Violet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Running the Ragnar

So how did I get myself into this situation?  Actually, its good and I'm excited but also scared.  I've been doing 5Ks for about 2 1/2 years now and I even did a 10K and a triathlon.  My boss was also running and she did a half.  So last year after Ragnar one of the managers bought a team and started recruiting.  Somehow I ended up being asked to join the team.

So we start in Logan on Friday June 15th and van 1 will have all six people run.  Van 1 is our saving grace!  They are all young and athletic.  Its one of them who get to run "Ragnar" leg which is uphill all the way baby.

My van will pick up somewhere around noon in Ogden and we all run.  My first run is 3.4 miles flat around Pineview.  Easy peasey really.  I run 3-4 miles all the time.  Once all six of us run then we meet up at our captain's sister's house for pasta dinner.  Yes, we are the princess team no camping on the side of the road for us.  While we eat and take a nap (in beds- not sleeping bags on the side of the road) Van I runs the next 6 loops.  Then its us again for our middle of the night run.  I get the 7.5 downhill from Rockport to Hennifer.  I am stocked for that one.  I love love love downhills.  I know a lot of people hate them.  Next we head to Midway/Heber while Van 1 takes over.  We have a motor home set up in the Heber campground for another nap and breakfast (yes we are cush on this whole thing)  Then we meet up and our van runs it in.  I have the 5.5 mile semi-flat from Heber to the Homestead.  This is going to be the challenging one for me.  My legs will have had just enough time of relaxing to decide to they are tired.  But then I done.  The rest of my van will run it in.  Including poor Kristina who is running "What the Hill!"  Trail run straight uphill.  You go girl!

My van is the "special bus"  Half of us are in our 40's and not athletes.  One of us is very athletic I understand- I've never met her and I'm not sure on the other two.  Our van is going to smell like icy hot and bengay and we will have a full first aide kit and frozen water bottles to ice our legs.  It sounds insane but we are going to have a blast.

Lucky for me, the church festival is that weekend and margaritas will be free flowing.  I just have to drink enough water after. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hair Donation

In Feb of 2011 my daughter posted on Facebook that she wanted to grow her hair out but that it was hard because she also likes it short.  Since I like her hair a bit longer (it's a pixie cut) I gave her a challenge and said that I would grow mine out and donate it if she would at least get hers to shoulder length.  Some of us (cough cough me) followed through and some of us (that would be Kate) cut their hair like three times over the past year.  And its been about 4 different colors.  Have I mentioned that I have virgin hair?  At 42, I have never colored, dyed, highlighted, streaked or done anything to my hair.  And I only have about 5 grey hairs.  Some people are blessed with height and weight others of us are blessed with good hair.

So began my hair growing process.  It was about shoulder length at the time and so I occasionally had the split ends trimmed and got the bangs shaped but otherwise I let it go.  As it got longer, it was nice to pull it in a pony tail or clip it up on top with a comb and I pulled out the ol hot rollers again.  The longer it got, the more people commented on how pretty it was (not bragging or anything).  I looked into hair donation and decided that instead of Locks for Love that I would go with the Pantene Great Lengths Foundation.  There were two reasons behind my decision first, I was getting anxious to cut it and Pantene takes 8 inches while LFL needs 12.  The second is that LFL does most of their wigs for kids with alopecia and Pantene makes wigs solely for adult women with cancer.  Not that I have anything against the kids.  I have a friend who's daughter has alopecia and lost her hair in 7th grade.  I just felt that my heart was with the adult cancer patient.  My plan was to cut it on my 42nd birthday- which is Halloween.

Then dad got cancer.  He found out in August.  I still planned to donate for my birthday because he would be fine- sick from the chemo but fine.  Then dad died on October 27th.  I didn't really want to donate that week so I thought about doing it for dad's birthday on December 1st but one of my co-workers told me to cut it in the spring.  She just thought that would be good.

The very last conversation I had with dad was on Sunday the 23rd.  He was feeling pretty sick after his first dose of chemo on the 21st.  He had been great on the 22nd.   They had given him some steroids so all the aches from him joints was gone and he wasn't at all nauseous.  I told him I was making a turkey on Sunday and asked if he wanted some.  He said yes, and then invited all my mom's siblings over and told me what else to make.  I was a bit irritated but glad I made it.  On Sunday, though, he was too sick to come over for the turkey and mom was going out to a play with her sibs so I told her I would go over and take dad dinner.  I took the turkey over and my sister Em also came over to wash his sheets and help him out.  He ate about five bites of food and said it just didn't taste good but he was really thirsty.  So I got him two glasses of his favorite Crystal Light.

We noticed that his feet were really swollen so Em and I decided to get some Epsom salt and soak his feet.  While she was in the bathroom getting water, he said I wonder when I will lose all this?  And then he rubbed his head and his beard.  "I guess I'm going to lose everything, including my eyebrows and eyelashes."  I told him it would be OK we would get him a nice warm hat.  I clearly remember that I was standing by the closet  trying to get the oxygen tank to be less noisy and looked at him and thought "his poor little body can't take much more."  And it couldn't.  I left shortly after because I needed to get home to help Keegan with his homework.  Maybe I should have stayed longer.  Emily and Ramon stayed about another hour before they left and mom got home soon after that.  I called on Mon and Tues to check on him.  Mom just said he was really sick and sleepy.  On Wed we got the call that he was going to the hospital and late that night we got the call to get up to the hospital ASAP.  By the time I got there, he was too sick to talk.  He told Kate that he loved her but then he didn't say another word until he died 11 hrs later.  He kind of made us all happy that he didn't lose his hair.  Funny how that is so important to someone when they go through chemo.

I ended up making my appointment for April 21st because it was a Saturday and my sister Em also wanted to donate hers so we could both go that day.  It was about 3 days before we went in that I realized that we were making our donation 6 months to the day of dads fatal chemo treatment.  (Most people don't die from chemo but he was already immunosupressed from the heart transplant so the two together caused sepsis)

Before the cut.  I ended up with 12 inches when it was pulled straight

The back- I like to leave the back alone and not straighten.  Just crunch it and go!

Front shot

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Same Genes- Night and Day

My boys are 8 years apart.  Not by choice but what ended up being after secondary infertility.  I'm often times curious how they would interact if they were closer in age.  As it is, some days they get along and its really cute but most days, Keegan annoys the hell out of Daniel and Daniel isn't exactly the model big brother.

Kate and Daniel are 3 years apart and as little kids they were the best of friends (until she hit puberty and they didn't get along for about 4 years).  People always commented to me about how lucky I was to have my kids get along so well.  It was great for me because they would go off together and play and I could get stuff done and only occasionally had to referee.

Kate was always the fantasy child.  I would by her dolls and a play kitchen but somehow it would be converted into a sky lab and the babies were astronauts.  She much preferred to read Sci-Fi to Anne of Green Gables.  This always made me sad because I felt like I was missing some mom bonding with her.  I'm sorry, but I just have no interest in that genre.  I watched Star Trek when Brian and I were dating only because everyone else in the family was and I had really no choice.  Its OK, but I would never go out of my way to catch an episode.  But Ramona and Anne and the Ingals family all hold a place in my heart.  Its OK, though it is what it is.

Daniel was the kid who would rather play Lego's or program something on the computer than to go outside and play.  I could take him anywhere as long as I had a box of Legos or blocks with me.  He was/is highly sensitive which can be a problem at times.  Like the smell of the yeast at Subway is so overwhelming that he wouldn't even walk into the store when he was younger.  He's gotten better but strong smells and close quarters still set him over the edge.  Not in an autistic manner but much more than normal.  He also has motor delay which has made him less than coordinated.  He doesn't like to play ball or ride a bike.  I was always bummed that neither of the older two ever wanted to grab a ball and head outside with me.

Then came Keegan.  After giving up on ever having the third child I so desperately wanted, I woke up one morning dying of thirst and with an incredibly and unusual craving for French Toast.  I was dizzy and felt really off.  We were at Grandma's so I attributed it to dehydration since I never drink enough there since I hate the well water.  But sure enough I was pregnant.  And despite a complete previa, I managed to carry this baby to full term with no bleeding or bed rest but I did have to have a cesarean (BOO!)  It was a scary pregnancy.  After my three losses and long times to get pregnant, I was the constant underwear checker.  I went to the bathroom constantly not because I had to go as much as I wanted to make sure that I wasn't bleeding.

Keegan is the little pistol.  He has more energy than anyone should ever be given.  He wakes up every day with an agenda and God bless anyone who gets in his way.  This determination will be good one day, but right now its a constant negotiation process for me.  Why can't we just run to the hardware store after school and pick up some wood and bricks to build a clubhouse and oh, I want my friends to come over for a clubhouse meeting OK!  Keegan loves basketball and baseball and running and riding a bike.  I love it!  But it comes with its drawbacks.  I can't take him anywhere because he can't sit still long enough.  I took him to a Girl Scout meeting one time and before I knew it he had climbed to the top of the cubed shelves and was sitting in the top cube.  I really thought the Girls Service Director was going to have a heart attack.  But slowly, little by little, his energy calms and I can see that all my constant redirecting is paying off.

Family is not what you imagine it will be when you are 13 and have the idea picture in your mind.  It ends up being whatever it is and you learn to embrace the good and work with the less than ideal.

I love this picture.  Its from a few years ago when we went to Hawaii for my friend's wedding.  Right after our trip to the ED for Brian's broken collar bone and three ribs.  Note to self if the locals get out of the water, it is not a good idea to continue body surfing.