Random catch up

Sep 20

I haven’t written a lot lately… I’ve been really prioritizing being p.r.e.s.e.n.t. in the space I’m in.  Summer, with the girls home all day, was wonderful. I titled this post random catch up, because that’s what it is.  Almost every snippet could be a longer story, but ‘random catch up’ is feeling like the right thing for tonight.  I don’t have any news or updates to share. Now the girls are in school and I’m filling in my days with ease.  As my mom would say, I’ve always enjoyed the pleasure of my own company.  And as my dad would say, I (we) work hard and play hard. I’ve started on Halloween costumes (a happy heart project for me).  I’ve cleaned out a few corners of clutter.  I’ve had coffee and lunches with a few people, and have a long list of more connections I’d like to make.  I’ve read some books.  I take naps. After a summer break, I re-started asking helpers to come on Mondays while I’m at chemo.  Generally, I leave a list and whomever comes also does whatever they see that needs doing.  It’s amusing to see what projects they take on.  Opening a cleaned and organized “junk drawer” leaves one with both the thrill and the horror that someone has organized my junk drawer.  It is the simultaneous joy of twenty-four inches of removed chaos, and the embarrassment that my chaos is exposed.  (The joy always wins for me!)  I asked this weeks cleaner to peel and chop my mix of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes for dinner, and they found and identified an errant rutabaga that I’d inadvertently purchased.  (I am not a chef; I don’t have the first clue how to prepare rutabaga.)  Rutabaga is not going on my list of favorite veggies, however I very much appreciate the laughter that we shared together. Maren learned her first hairstyle and — no bun or ponytail for her — she does the most darling pair of dutch french braids that you ever did see.  She braided her own hair for picture day this year, and she wore a shirt I bought her from the *junior department*.  She’s such a wonderful person to be around....

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Realizing a dream

Sep 06

Realizing a dream

During my very first semester of college in the fall of 1997, I took a class at Miami University called Geography of US National Parks.  I selected it as one of my core foundations classes to check the box for a physical science credit.  It sounded interesting when I signed up and it exceeded my expectations in every way.  It was a fascinating class: the professor would spend the entire class sessions showing photos of his personal trips to the parks and explain in detail how they were geographically formed.  It was like nerd nature camp twice a week, and I loved going to that class. Twenty years later, I still remember what was important to me about that class: Natural places need to be preserved, and I love the parks system in this country. Science is awesome.  Awesome. I got an ‘A’ in the class, and retain a surprising number of facts and knowledge. The #1 national parks trip I would like to take after viewing and understanding the formation of the many parks in this diverse country through the class was to go to Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.  I don’t remember exactly why I chose those three, other than their relative proximity to each other, but I knew I’d narrowed it down to those three based on the class lectures and all I’d learned.  It’s one of those “dream trip” ideas that I probably shared with Brad in our first getting-to-know you conversations, and it has been percolating on our (very, very lengthy) to do list for the past fourteen years. And last week Brad took me, Maren, and Greta to see them. And I had tears in my eyes from both the beauty of the land and the love of my man. And my heart is so full. It’s impossible to describe it all.  My professor had ninety minutes, a slide show, and knew all the things.  Here’s a few pictures, but the good ones are on Brad’s camera.   If I had been to these parks before I had children, it’s entirely possible that my redhead would have been named Bryce and my towhead would have been named Zion.  And...

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End of summer whoa

Aug 15

End of summer whoa

Today the girls are meeting their teachers and tomorrow is the first day of school.  Whoa. Summer went by fast.  It has been a wonderful blitzy blur of brilliance.  I’m hopeful I’ll be able to record more of our adventuring, but I’ve been too busy doing life to write.  I think that is as it should be, but I do miss writing. And since school is clearly starting in what feels like the middle of summer and not the start of autumn, we will still have several more “summer” adventures.  Adventure season is never over for us. Our last hurrah before school weekend was spent cheering on Brad at the Derby City TRIfecta.  I am married to an amazing man!  It was pretty fun to watch him swim-bike-run around the city of Louisville, Kentucky. 1.5 kilometer/0.93 mile swim in the Ohio River 40 kilometer/24.8 mile bike 10 kilometer/6.2 mile run Our family really enjoys cheering each other on at these types of events.  It’s fun to run around the course, find our athlete, and see the different disciplines.  He’s a stud; (did I say that already?) Up bright and early to see the swim start at 7:06am: Running from the swim ramp to the bike transition: Watching him gear up for the bike High five on the run We’re pretty proud of our guy! Things took a crazy turn after the race.  Brad had a fairly sudden onset of symptoms two hours after the race that included mild chest pain, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue.  After burning 3,300 calories as an ultra-athlete, however, many of those symptoms could be explained away.  Nonetheless, we decided to get him checked out at a local hospital.  Needless to say, it was not *quite* what we had planned after the race! The four of us spent five hours in the hospital while they ran and repeated tests, and the team there decided to admit him overnight to be on the safe side.  EKG was normal, but there were some blood numbers (including troponin) that were not “normal”.  Everyone’s assumption was that his body was just in recovery after his race effort; it was the conservative approach to keep him while his body...

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Our not-so-normal normal summer days

Jul 18

Our not-so-normal normal summer days

A few days ago I decided to bring the girls with me to chemo this week.  It is such a regular part of my routine: weekly for the vast majority of the last sixty-three months.  Both of my beautiful girls have been there many times before but usually for pop-in visits, blood draws, shots, or some other shortish appointment.  Little children in the hallowed ground of the Chemo Room is always a wonderful thing for the atmosphere.  They are so beloved!  This is the first time in a year either of them has come for a full treatment, and I’m glad for them to share the experience with me. Before we left I told both girls to look nice, which in our house is not a super high standard of dress code, but dress codes are also rare.  I asked them to pack a bag of things that could keep them quietly occupied while we were there.  I instructed them to talk to my friends and look them in the eye, and, you know, demonstrate some basic level of polite conversation and manners.  Please, Lord!  And I told them they could each have one (and only one) snack from the plentiful snack offerings while we were there. Greta, adorably, tucked in her shirt to her skirt and requested a fancy braid for today’s outing.  She also accessorized with jewelry and requested “sparkles on her eyes”, wherein I dab some of my gold shimmer powder from my makeup on her eyelids on rare special occasions.  In her bag she packed Blue Baby (don’t ask about our doll names, LOL) and a myriad of things to keep Blue Baby entertained.  She also packed her audiobook PlayAway that we got from the library on Saturday.  Basically they are single book MP3 players; they require a single AAA battery and headphones and you use the little buttons on the pack of gum-sized device to listen to a story.  I got her one that has three Louis Sachar books, including Sideways Stories from Wayside School (nine hours of content).  She is LOVING it, and has spent several hours each of the last three days listening to it.  A major non-screen win, and great for her auditory processing.  I listen...

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The mattering kind

Jul 03

Today my house reverberates with the sounds of children at play.  This is summer. My two are ten and six, but the thundering stampede of feet in and out and up and down reveal that there is a full herd of small people thumping around our property today.  The faces change as they finish swim practice and dance camp and leave for baseball and cookouts.  I love the impromptu doorbell rings and back door knocks, and that when I look up out my kitchen window there is a full volleyball game going on with all the neighborhood kids.  I bring them popsicles because this is summer. They made their own breakfast this morning, which is not new; they have long been capable in that arena.  (Hunger is a great motivator.)  However, the novelty that they also now clean up their own breakfast has not worn off. I measure my energy and intent for the day and put my Fun Mom hat on.  My lists were checked off in the days prior (thanks to helpful friends), so I’m primed for this. I help Greta and her friends get out all of the art supplies they want and smile to myself as I listen to them chatter.  And where is even one of the twenty pairs of scissors we own?  And they find the box of beads from the basement.  And they raid the recycle bin.  And why are we out of aluminum foil? I ask Maren and her friends if they want to plan lunch and dessert: find a recipe, get dropped off that the store to shop for ingredients, prepare it, and clean up.  Their faces beam with enthusiasm, and I give them snippets of advice about recipe-choosing (add “easy” to the search bar) and leave them to it. I sit down, and note again that we’re in a new stage.  Because, I’m sitting.  I’m not trying to keep a toddler from painting the walls, I’m not talking to anyone about the potty, and no one puts non-food items in their mouths.  Pinch me.  The ten-year-olds make a grocery list, take inventory of the pantry, and run it by me with a swell of responsibility and pride.  The six-year-olds have taken their craft...

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Race Day

Jun 19

Last year a friend did a triathlon, and it inspired much talk of triathlons and general life fitness talk.  Brad was intrigued (as was I!), and so for Christmas, I ‘gave Brad a triathlon’.  By that I mean I signed him up for a local triathlon that was taking place on Father’s Day, and gave him the time and permission to begin the significant training process that it takes to build endurance in three disciplines.  I organized logistics, created space for training, opened up my heart for the commitment, and bit back my own selfish jealously as he tackled the challenge.  I have been so proud of him during this season: he’s a stud.  He has worked so extremely hard and been so disciplined in his perseverance: such an awesome thing to witness.  A new definition for triathlete you may not have heard: an athlete who doesn’t realize one sport is hard enough! Much of the winter and spring has seen Brad stealing out of the house before sunrise to swim, bike, or run.  It’s been inspiring to watch him learn to swim laps for the first time in his life, to translate his CrossFit fitness gains of the past several years into racing fitness, and to combine workouts in ways he never imagined.  He has become enamored with cycling, and I’ve prayed more safety-on-the-road prayers over that bike than I can count. I decided that we should cheer on Brad at a level that compared to the epic cheer squad he coordinated for the 2015 Queen Bee half-marathon that I ran.  I sourced some amazing signs from a friend-of-a-friend and they were epic.  (Thank you!) You’ve got this! Run the race with perseverance! Swim! Bike! Run!  Beer! Inspire and be inspired; it’s race day! Do one thing every day that scares you.  CHECK! My daddy is my hero! We agreed that the spectators would wear red and white in honor of the alma maters’ of our competitors (U of Wisconsin and Miami U).  Chief Sister took my minions out for cheer gear the weekend before.  I had a tank top made that read “my husband rocks”.  Obviously, Brad and I take our encouragement game to high heights on occasions...

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