Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How 'bout a nice Hawaiian Punch?

Mommy? Can I have some cookies?

No.

Why not?

Because you're not being a good listener.

Mommy? Can I have some cookies?

How'd you like a nice punch in the nose?

And then I can have some cookies?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What am I, inSANE?!?!


Possibly.

In just 12 weeks, I will be doing another marathon.

Let me rephrase that. I will be RUNNING another marathon. Fingers crossed.

The whole thing with Team in Training is, in the end, it really wasn't about the race. Yes, I spent the majority of my time running, either during the week or with the group for our Saturday long runs.

But really, it was about raising money. And awareness. Whether or not I ran a sub-5:00 marathon wouldn't really matter to anyone but me. In the grand scheme of things, who cares? The amazing thing is I was part of something bigger. I contributed to possibly saving someone's life by raising the money. I would say that's a tad more important than any personal physical achievement.

That being said, I still do not feel like a marathoner. In theory I am. I did complete 26.2 miles, more than many people run in an entire year.

I didn't run it like I know I can, though - that is, if I don't feel like someone's knifing me in the side the entire way.

Unfinished business, you might say.

I hear great things about the Carlsbad race in January. I put the word out to my girls. Maria was lukewarm at best. Torrey, however, might need a 12-step program as she has partaken of the so-called marathon crack pipe. She's addicted.

I think it must be because she didn't run the Hills of Hell at Nike. Word is Carlsbad not only has hills, but headwind.

At least it'll be interesting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bye-bye Guy-ah


Guy-ah. One word that meant so much. Really, everything.

At least, that is, to Sage. It was the word which she used for all that she saw, all that she wanted to say.

Bye-bye? The word that most babies say fairly early? Guy-ah.

Fish? Guy-ah.

Any word that we said, "Can you say" and asked her to repeat something, more than likely, she'd say Guy-ah.

The first breakthrough came early in speech therapy, which she started in July. A few weeks in, our little girl said "bye-bye" for the first time.

Soon, she started repeating words we'd ask her with a sound that, amazingly, actually sounded like the word. This was tremendous progress.

The months have gone on. And the words kept coming. She went from saying maybe 15 intelligible words in July to now well over 100.

She says all her colors, although she still doesn't always acurately pick them out. She can count to five. When I start counting to give Sawyer a chance to stop whatever particuarly obnoxious thing he's doing, I just say "One" and Sage adds the two and three.

She says "I love you Mommy." Okay, it's only after we say it, and it sounds like "IwubooMommy" but I'll take it.

Her sentences are still largely unintelligble to anyone except me, and even I struggle sometimes. She is trying, though. She is shy around anyone but family. I guess she's not confident enough to attempt her words out in public yet.

She even has started saying names. Like of our dogs. And even some of our friends.

There was just one hold-out. Her brother was still Guy-ah.

Until last week.

Sage, can you say Ssssssawyer?


She looked at me. Opened her mouth.

"Sawyer."

And what's your name?

"Saaaaage."

Firsts are still so special.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One more fire picture


This was taken by my friend's sister's friend Tuesday night. This is at a lake that is about a mile and a half from my house; in fact, the view would include my house.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

FIRE!

We spent a beautiful day in Monterey on Monday and Tuesday. We drove home Tuesday afternoon, and stopped for about an hour in Santa Barbara, which was also gorgeous.

We got home at about 8:30 p.m. This is the view from the exit ramp, about half a mile from our house.



We could see that view (much worse in person) from the top of our street. From our bedroom window, we could see the San Diego fires.

This is the view that greeted me this morning in our back yard.



David took these from across the street a little while later from across the street. He also has video of the helicopters sucking water out of the reservoir down the street to spray on the fires.




Sawyer's preschool was cancelled today because of smoke. It's only 4 p.m. here and it looks like dusk. The dogs came back inside with ash all over their fur. Breathing the air is like sticking your head into an ashtray and inhaling.

We are safe from the fires at the moment. But it is truly horrendous and I am furious at the morons who started the fires closest to us.

I'm a marathoner!

Okay party people, I'm back. I was too tired and too freaked out by all the flames visible from the front and back of my house to post last night (our house is safe, but the smoke is thick and it's pretty bad out here).

For those of you who just want the Reader's Digest version, it is this: I was injured, so I had to walk a lot of it, but I finished.

Now, for the rest of you who want to every last excrutiating detail...fasten your seatbelts! And get a drink and something to eat, too. This is going to take awhile.

THE WEEKEND

I flew up Friday with a lot of TNT people, including my friend and training partner, Maria, and her mom. The person I sat next to I will refer to as Grumpy Woman. I had the aisle seat. She came down to my row and said she was in the middle. I joked "how lucky" and she said, poker-faced, "Not really."

Then, later, a lot of people were cheering, and I asked her if she was with TNT.

"Yes."

Ooookay then. How can someone be THAT grumpy when leaving for San Francisco to do a charity event? I saw her at different times throughout the weekend (apparently, it WOULD kill her to smile). Poor girl!

After arriving at our hotel, Maria and I picked up our marathon bibs at the Expo and then did a little shopping at NikeTown.

Later, I was treated to dinner by my friend Melissa. We had a fabulous time and needed about 10 more hours to finish half the conversations we had!

I was really looking forward to a peaceful night of sleep, with no husband to fight for space in the bed and no kids waking me in the morning. I was asleep before 11. Then I had an unpleasant wakeup call at 5:30 a.m. when my left calf cramped. I was able to fall back to sleep before my right calf cramped at 7. Not a good sign.

So what to do to make me feel better? After grabbing some Starbucks with Maria and her mom, I went over to the Expo and got a free manicure. Then I did some more shopping at NikeTown. The entire outside wall on Stockton Street had the names of everyone who'd registered for the race. It was so cool to see my name up there!




I took a short nap in the afternoon. Then David and the kids arrived. We walked the block or so to the Moscone Center for the Pasta Party. The place is ginormous, which made what happened when we arrived all the more amazing. I don't think any description can do it justice.

We opened the door and there, lining the entire entry, down the escalator and on the main floor near the banquet room, were hundreds of TNT mentors and coaches. And they all were cheering and banging noisemakers. It was, in a word, overwhelming. Because they were all cheering for me. ME! And, of course, all the TNT participants there that evening.

Mentors from our chapter later told me the expression on my face was priceless. I was so overcome it was all I could do not to burst into tears. The noise was like what a rock star (or Oprah!) must feel like every time they take the stage.

We were so stunned we didn't take any video or pictures, unfortunately...

The kids didn't want to eat anything and got agitated fairly quickly, so David took them back to the room after an hour. I stayed behind to listen to the speakers.

There was John "the Penguin" Bingham, who writes a column for Runners World. He talked all about what a first-time marathoner needs to know. That is where I learned about the Bite Me mile. This is the time, usually in the late miles, where you want to tell anyone who speaks - or even LOOKS at you - to Fuck Off (he didn't actually use those words, but that was the drift). You don't want to hear that you're "doing great," that you're "almost there" or, really, anything at all.

You are in pain. It's all you can do to take one more step. You haven't yet had the next epiphany: the moment you realize you are, in fact, going to cross the finish line.

At that point, you need to take a moment and relish the feeling. Because you're going to be very busy soon thinking about how you want to look when you cross the finish line.

The #1 mistake? Stopping your Garmin as you cross the line! Bingham said he actually ran with a woman who whipped out a lipstick from her shorts so she could look good crossing the line!

The next speaker also had some good advice. And why not? She was the first woman Olympic marathoner. She's the reason so many thousands of women have taken up the challenge of running 26.2 miles. She broke the barrier. She showed the world that women were strong enough to go the distance (for cripe's sake, we have CHILDBIRTH, of COURSE we can do a marathon!).

The final speaker was the most inspirational. Her name is Amy. She raised $5,000 and ran her first marathon with TNT a few years ago.

Then, this spring, she was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. She spoke of her journey. Of the night she and 100 friend packed a local bar for her head-shaving party. Of the chemo. Of the fear. And of the tremendous support she got from TNT and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

She thanked everyone for raising the money - $18.5 MILLION nationwide for this event. Because if not for all the research, she wouldn't be standing there.

"And now, I can say, I'm a survivor," she said, through her tears.

It was an amazing ending to a fabulous night.

RACE DAY

I got the bed all to myself Saturday night as the kids bunked with David. I fell asleep fairly quickly, but woke late with a start, sure I had overslept. It was 11 p.m. I was up a bit off an on, then finally got up at 4:25 a.m., five minutes before my alarm was to go off.

I had set out my clothes and other stuff the night before. So I was dressed and ready to go pretty quickly. I wrote with a purple Sharpie "Better than chemo" on one arm and "Mind over Miles" on the other.

I went down to the lobby at 5:15 and quickly found Maria. I completed my outfit with a TNT tatoo on my cheek.

A half hour later, we were ready to walk to the starting line in Union Square, about three blocks away. Maria and I wore very fashionable garbage bags. It was a little chilly with a little breeze, but you could tell it was going to be a nice day.

Finally, finally, it was time to line up. The gun went off. We didn't move. More than 15 minutes later, we rounded the corner and could see the start line.

THE RACE

I took my first step.

I felt the stitch in my right side.

I knew this was trouble.

This was not a stitch because of breathing. This was something different, something I get at a certain time of the month, if you know what I'm saying. It does not go away with stretching, changing my breathing pattern, or pushing on it. It only goes away when I stop moving, although I am usually sore in the area the next day.

I started running. The views were spectactular. Golden Gate Bridge in particular was amazing. I ran a bit with some of the women who were doing the half. But mostly, I ran alone.

I turned on my iPod. The first song? Beautiful Day, by U2.

Then the hills began. I was under the (MISTAKEN) impression that there would be only a couple hills. WRONG! Mile six was entirely uphill. By then, I decided to walk the hills and save energy. I knew I could make up the pace downhill. However, two things happened. First, my iPod died. Second, I realized the impact of running downhill made the stitch in my side much, much worse.

So now I was kind of doing a walk/run thing. I kept this up for awhile. Then just after mile 12, there was the diversion: those who were running the half went right, those of us doing the full went left.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted by the thought that it could be over in 15 minutes. But I stayed left and kept moving.

I called David to let him know I was passing 13. He and the kids weren't far, waiting to cheer me on. And then I saw them. Sawyer saw me and raced out onto the course to grab me.



Then as I ran away, they screamed "Go Mommy go!"

MY GUARDIAN ANGEL

By mile 15, I was hurting. I was limping because it felt like something was pinching me between my toes on the ball of my right foot (the one in which I had a cortisone shot). I now had stitches throughout my entire midsection. I could not eat my shot blocks because the thought of it was nauseating.

And that's when Chris came up to me. My friend Torrey told me last week that I would not run the race alone, that I'd find someone along the way. She was right. I was incredibly lucky that that person was Chris. He was a coach from the Southern New Jersey chapter (fitting, as some of you know I was born there).

He asked me how I was doing, and fortunately, I didn't burst into tears. He started walking with me. One of my coaches found us at 16 and told me I could divert (there was another shortcut to the finish line).

There was no way that was happening. I was going to finish all 26.2 miles, even if it took me all day. Chris was right with me. The course now ran along the beach. Chris told me that, since I knew I was not going to finish within my goal time, that I should just enjoy the beautiful day.

He was right. There was bright sunshine, you could smell the salt kicking up from the waves, and there was thousands of women out there kicking butt.

I asked Chris, who it turns out has done FIFTY-TWO marathons, what brought him to TNT. He said he's done events for them, and had been involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for years. At one event, he met a woman. They started dating, fell in love, and got engaged.

Then she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She died a year later, at age 30.

He is now dating someone else who is training for her first event. I spoke with her on his phone. She sounded great. I was very happy for him.

At mile 18.5, Chris left to go run in some of his marathoners who were starting to finish. I thanked him. He hopped the median to the other side. I continued up the hill and around Lake Merced.

FOR YOU, DAD

This was, by far, the worst part of the race. There wasn't much in the way of scenery, and it was mostly uphill. A couple times someone ran by me, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Go Dad." I was wearing a picture of my father with the words "This one's for you" on the back of my jersey.

My cousin Wendy's name was also printed on the back of all our chapter's jerseys. My neighbor hot glued crystals around her name with an arrow pointing to where I painted it.



RUMPSHAKER AND A FASHION DON'T

As I made my way around the lake, I saw a rather chubby woman walking/running along. The back of her shirt read "Rumpshaker." It was not my most encouraging moment when I realized I would probably be finishing behind Rumpshaker.

I also was not pleased that a woman wearing a green bra - not a sports bra, just a regular bra, judging from the straps, would also be crossing that finish line before me.

HEY! I'M TRYING TO RUN A RACE OVER HERE!

My phone rang off the freakin' hook. Seriously. Mostly it was David, trying to find my location so they could get situated to cheer me on. But I also got calls from friends wondering how it was going and, more frequently, my friends who'd already finished and wanted to run me on.

It was kind of funny to be chatting away. Of course, I wished I was running too hard to answer, or that my music was too loud to hear it, but that wasn't the case.

THE HOME STRETCH

I came upon our walk team coach. She told me chin up, shoulders back, and pump my arms up the hill. She later told me that I was a very good walker. I didn't have much choice at that point!

Finally, I could see the ocean again. I was at mile 24. Waiting not far up ahead was my family. The kids were having a blast running around in the sand. But once they knew I was coming, it was all GO MOMMY GO time!





Then I passed the Mile 25 marker. There, at the water station, were five of my TNT teammates: Maria, who KICKED ASS and ran a 4:15 marathon; my mentor, Cari; another mentor, Alida; and Leticia and Mary. Their job? To run (walk) me in.

I can't tell you what it meant to see these women. They were there just for me, to make sure I crossed that finish line, no matter what.

They all had their Tiffany necklaces already.

TNT people on the sidelines cheered as we went by, our little purple posse.

Then, Chris saw us and joined in, high-fiving me for making it.

Maria says "See the finish line? By those tents? Do you see it?"

I didn't.

Then I did.

It was a huge brown banner with white letters.

FINISH LINE

I started to sprint. My calf tightened for a second, but then it let go. My body realized that I wasn't listening to it anymore.

I ran. And ran. My girls (and Chris!) ran with me.

I crossed the finish line.

I grabbed my little blue box.

I became a marathoner.

Most of the purple posse
Maria and me!

Some post-race stretching
David's so glad it's over

NEXT?

I thought I would bawl once I finished. But it was bittersweet. I felt great that I've raised close to $5,000. I know that I could have given up during the race, but I kept going. It should've been my proudest moment.

Instead, I kept thinking about how let down I was that I trained so long and so hard, only to not be able to run it like I wanted to. I felt like I let everyone down who supported me along the way.

So, of course, I have to run another one.

PARTING THOUGHTS

My bff Laura and I had been playing phone tag all weekend. She finally got through Monday morning, while we were getting ready to leave.

"I'm in the hospital," she said.

"Why? What's wrong?"

"Oh, I have my PET scan. I have one every six months. To make sure the cancer isn't coming back."

We chatted while she choked down the barium.

I guess having to walk instead of run really isn't such a big deal after all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm off

I leave for San Francisco first thing in the morning. I am already a nervous wreck.

Next time I post, I will officially be a marathoner. Sounds crazy, no?

So have a great weekend, all, and I'll post when I return. Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this unbelievable journey - see you on the other side of the finish line!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hurts so good

This morning, after dropping Sawyer off at preschool, Sage and I went to see my podiatrist. I was to receive a cortisone shot in my foot. We sat on the chair in the examing room. Sage got a good look at the ginormous needle the doctor was preparing.

"No me!" Sage said eloquently.

We assured her it was not for her, it was for Mommy. There was an audible sigh of relief.

First Dr. A sprayed by foot with some artic air. That's what it felt like. Think of sticking your foot in ice water, and then drop the temperature by about 100 degrees. You might now have some idea of how cold it was.

I did feel the shot, which was slightly uncomfortable but not awful. Unfortunately, she had to keep the needle in for awhile because I had so much inflamation in there that it was tough to get all the fluid in.

Then the cortisone hit the nerve, and my second and third toes went SPROING! Totally straightened and went out to the side. I look like my toes are saying "Nanu Nanu" like Mork. If you thought my toes were freaky before, you should see them now! (again, no pictures, sorry, that's why you have an imagination).

Now it's just tingly. I'm hoping it'll be fully in affect by Sunday. She said I could be completely pain-free, which would be awesome. So while they rest of me is dying during the race, at least my foot will ready to rock 'n roll.

Hmm...now if I could just get one of them shots for my brain...

Mind over Miles

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pour some sugar on meeeee

I would like to give a huge shout-out (isn't that what the kids are saying these days?) and an even bigger CONGRATS to my friends and training partners, Torrey and Cindy. They both ran in their first marathon Sunday and kicked some Long Beach ass! I am so proud of them.

And I was secretly hoping that the post-race report would include sentiments such as "Twenty-six miles? It felt like two!" and "Wall? What wall?" and maybe even "Nowhere near as tough as you think!"

Instead, I received this email from Torrey:

It was VERY hard. VERY. VERY. HARD. I'm your friend so I can't try to sugar coat anything for you. Hard, but great. In a hard way.

Then this voicemail from Cindy:

I have to walk backwards down the stairs and I feel like I've just ridden a horse - for four weeks straight!

Okay then. Is it time to panic? I haven't spoken to either one of them directly yet to get the step-by-step details. But maybe that's a good thing. No sugar-coating? I want to be covered in the sweet stuff like a Krispy Creme Original. Maybe I don't REALLY want to know how awful this is really going to be.

I actually enjoy living in that cozy little world called Denial (perhaps you've visited there yourself once or twice?). The thought of how I might feel at mile 14 or 18 or 21 is somewhere I really don't want to go.

I think Tuesday might be a little early to be psyching myself out. Friday, when I'm in San Francisco and holding my race bib in my hands, maybe then.

Sunday, I have no choice but to cross the starting line. I'll have the words of my friend John, a seven-year survivor, to keep me going when I'm sure that I can't possibly take even one more step. I'm planning to write these words with a sharpie on my arm before the race.

"Better than Chemo."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Small blessings

There is a little boy named Demetrius who is one of our honored teammates. He turned three I think in June. His mother is due in a few weeks with another son. At some point this summer, they had to foreclose on their house and move into a tiny place in a not-so-great area. The father works a lot and is not around much.

Demetrius, who has leukemia, is on such a high dose of chemo that he throws up constantly - and he's going to be going through chemo until December of 2009.

He has a 50-50 chance of making it.

His mother gave away a lot of his baby stuff after he was done with it because she was told she probably couldn't have another child. But here she is. I told her about all the stuff I had left over from the garage sale. I had a high chair, bouncers, bedding sets, breast pumps - tons of things she could use for the new baby.

I also told Sawyer about the sick little boy and how nice it would be if he could pick a toy or two to give him. I gave him a ziplock quart-size bag, and he filled it with carefully selected items from his vast collection of planes and cars. He kept adding more and was really excited about it.

"Mommy! I'm going to give him these toys and he's going to be all better!" Sawyer said.

If only it were that easy. But on some level, I think Sawyer did actually get that he was doing something really important.

Anyway, today we loaded up the car and the kids and headed to their new place. Demetrius was so excited, he literally threw up.

They don't leave the house much because he throws up constantly. He even says he doesn't like to go to bed at night because he knows he's going to be sick.

This is his life. This is the family's life, choosing which bills to delay so they can keep paying their insurance premiums. It is the hugely pregnant mother fighting with the pharmacist to get Zofran for her son's nausea because the generic just doesn't work. It is worry and tears and watching a dark-eyed, shyly smiling child suffer every day.

Team in Training passed a glass jar around at a couple Saturday runs and raised $1,900 to help the family pay to bank the cord blood of their new baby, which they can use for a transplant for Demetrius.

"We're naming him Cristos," the mother said of the their new son. "My husband asked why and I said, you know, like Christ. Because maybe he will save our other baby."

Small blessings.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who loves you?


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Un-Bear-able..

It was still kind of dark when I returned from my ungodly-hour spin class this morning. I had taken a few steps into the house when I saw, under Sawyer's new play garage that for some reason has taken up residence four feet from the front door, a piece of blue fabric.

Bear.

The best gift we ever got for Sawyer arrived at his baby shower. My friend Focker and his wife (duh, Mrs. Focker!) gave us, among some other things, a little blue blanket with a bear attached to it.

We put that bear in Sawyer's crib as soon as he slept in it. Since he never took a pacifier, we wanted to give him some sort of security item.

By the time he could really hold onto things, Bear became his constant companion. He carried him everywhere. Which wasn't so bad, until he started dragging him around in the dirt outside in our backyard. And because we were too stupid to go out and buy him an identical one, we lived in constant fear of losing Bear, or of him becoming irreparably damaged.

We finally had to limit Bear's travel to just inside the house (we tried just upstairs, but he kept somehow migrating downstairs like a pregnant woman to a refrigerator). Unless we were traveling by air. Then Bear was right there flying the friendly skies with us to Seattle and Philadelphia and Boston and even Hawaii.

When Sawyer got tired, he'd work Bear's satin trim between his fingers until he drifted off.

Now that Sawyer is almost four, Bear has started to be left behind. We noticed that Bear was not always requested for naps. Sometimes we'd be the ones retrieving him without Sawyer even noticing.

So that is how Bear came to spend a lonely night on the cold hardwood floor, forgotten under a plastic garage.


I took Bear upstairs, where Sawyer was already awake and sitting in our bed next to his snoozing Daddy.

"Sawyer! Bear is so sad! You left him downstairs all by himself last night. He missed sleeping with you in Race Car bed. He was scared. And now he's very sad!"

Sawyer looked at me, and without missing a beat, said:

"Mommy, Bear is not sad. He's pretend. He's just a toy. Real bears live in the forest and they are happy all the time."

Bear spent nap time today on the arm of our couch. Forgotten again. Another small shedding of baby skin.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Last Laugh

David called me on the way from bringing Sawyer home from preschool today.

"You're going to be very angry," he said.

This is never the right thing to say to me. My first thought was that either Sawyer got his ass kicked or someone came within a foot or two of him with a peanut product. Forunately, neither was the case. But I was still irritated. Remember my son, the "best-looking boy in the world" on picture day?

Well, we'll never truly know, because THEY DIDN'T TAKE HIS PICTURE!

That's right. Imagine the outrage! Apparently, I was supposed to give them the check before they took the pictures. I handed it to one of the directors after I came to get him. She took it and neglected to mention that it was too late! But for $7 I can purchase a class picture. Grrrr..

The timing of this ridiculousness couldn't have been better. Because this afternoon we got our pictures taken by a professional photographer down at the beach. She took tons of shots of Sawyer, who clearly was in touch with his inner Zoolander. The only thing was I'm not sure she got any of me and Sage. Then again, after about 30 minutes, Sage was done and refused to cooperate at all.

Some of the pictures should be up on her blog tomorrow so I will link them - if they turn out okay! Hopefully she can photoshop out the eight chins I always get when I smile..

We ate dinner down at the beach and then, when we got home, Sawyer grabbed his Fisher Price camera and started shooting. He even arranged David and I in different poses.

"I am Sawyer Photographer!" he shouted.

As if he'd want to be behind a camera instead of in front of one!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just FYI

My new post is after my old post. I started a post apparently on Friday but didn't finish it until today, when I posted it. But it is now under the post I posted yesterday. You're all following this, right? Anyway, scroll down and you'll find it if you're so inclined. Oy.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Back to reality

Sorry about the blogging break. After spending last week with my head down on the arm of the couch while David was away in Oregon, I finally tried to call the doctor on Friday about my assumed sinus infection. But, seeing as it was Friday at 2 p.m., the office was already closed.

I ran my 12 miles Saturday, and I am not lying when I say every step was excruiating. My sinuses had drained into the area under my eyes and the pounding was almost unbearable. The highlight was when an ambulance went by and it felt like someone was jackhammering through my molars. It made me long for the good ole days of really bad hangovers.

My friend M, who was late, came sprinting up the hill to find me, sure that the ambulance was for me. No such luck.

I got myself to urgent care a few hours later. I was expecting a z pack and to be sent on my way. Instead, I got x-rays which showed a massive and severe infection. So bad, I had to get a shot containing two steroids (unfortunately not anabolic) and am now on an antibiotic and degongestant.

With 13 days to go to the marathon..

However painful my sinuses (and of course, my foot) are, I was slapped back into reality shortly after the run. We had "send off" which is where we receive all our race info, our singlet, plane tickets, etc.

A couple was asked to stand up and speak. They were holding a boy, maybe about 10 months old. They were introduced as Elijah's parents, the boy Elijah's brother. Elijah is one of our honored teammates. I saw his picture on the poster board of our other teammates. He reminded me of Sawyer, with his dark hair and eyes and infectious smile. He was wearing a red Angels cap.

The mom starts talking. She wanted to thank all of us for raising the money that goes to finding a cure for Leukemia, lymphoma and other blood-related cancers. She immediately choked up.

"I hope another mother doesn't have to stand up here and talk about her angel in heaven," she said.

I looked at M. Is Elijah dead? I asked. The tears started rolling. Turns out, they were in the marathon training program last year while Elijah was going through treatment.

"So when you're out there, and it's really hard, and you want to give up, think about everyone you're helping."

Elijah died in February. He was 4.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hello, my name is Cheryl

And I'm married to a TV addict. My husband always has it on, even when he's working. He Tivos Magnum PI, which is lucky for him, since he bitterly informed me the other day that it's been replaced in the broadcast lineup by Nash Bridges - a show I had never even heard about until I met him.

When I first started doing my long runs on Saturdays, I would arrive home to find my two still pajama-clad children planted in front of the TV, with David clicking away on the computer. Then after a small "conversation" on perhaps using that time to interact with the progeny, they are now always dressed and playing when I return.

This is not to say that when I am in charge, which is most of the time, that the kids don't watch TV. They do. Especially in the morning. Sage usually requests Curious George, and through the magic of Tivo, she can watch it at any hour.

Sometimes the TV is on for a solid two hours, while the kids eat breakfast and I catch up on emails or visit my favorite websites. And then, when they get up from their naps, it's back on again. Especially if I'm trying to get dinner ready.

In my own defense - should I feel defensive? - these kids spend plenty of time playing outside and doing activities away from the TV. But I had this nagging feeling that the TV was becoming a little too convenient.

David went away on business this week. Thursday was the kind of hectic morning I thought wouldn't happen til my kids were at least in elementary school. I needed quiet. We were out the door at 7:45 for speech therapy, then after a brief return home, we got Sawyer in his bathing suit and it was off to swimming lessons. After that, we went to the park for two hours.

By the time we got home, it was lunch, and then naps. They both took good ones - almost three hours - and when they got up, they played together outside. I made an easy dinner and for the hour or so left until bedtime, we read books and then they took a long bath.

No TV. All day. Now, normally, when people say they don't watch TV, or don't have a TV in their house, it is accompanied by a touch of smugness as the TV-less ones waits for the inevitable "How do you DO that?!?" and "I could NEVER do that!" which of course reassures said abstainer they are one level above us on the Mommy Chart (if we believe them, that is). I'm not saying EVERYONE has that 'tude, but enough do.

I think TV can be useful, not only in engaging my child for a bit, but in helping me keep my sanity when I need a short break from them. I just think we watch too much at my house. And, of course, the minute they were in bed, there I was, turning on the TV. Hey, Survivor was on!

I continued the no tv mandate the next day. Sawyer spent the morning at preschool and Sage and I went to music class and on errands. But I have to say, after naps, it got a little hairy.

Sawyer has this engaging habit of telling Sage "NO!" while pointing in her face. Being my daughter, she smacks him. And he, of course, smacks her back. This goes on until I step in. And then they're back at it five minutes later.

I almost found myself shrieking "DON'T MAKE ME TURN ON THAT TV!!"

David returned from his trip, and the television has been back on. But I find that I am now much more proactive about limiting it. I actually enjoyed quietly reading books with the kids (even as I battled my raging sinus infection). I loved how Sawyer engaged Sage in playing outside. It forced all of us to spend more together time. And I think the kids really benefited.

It was a lesson well learned. Now if I can just wean myself off the internet..

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm too sexy for my shirt..

Normally, I do not bother much with Sawyer's hair in the mornings. It's pretty short so there's not much to be done too it, and we're usually - okay, always - running late, so I'm happy if he has his shorts on when we make our mad dash out of the house.

This morning was different. This morning, he had to get ready for Picture Day. Last year, David took him to school and then soon called me to say that it was picture day and they were on their way back home. Why? Because Sawyer was wearing a paint-stained tee shirt and his hair was standing on end, and David knew I would kill him if Sawyer was photographed that way.

So I rushed to iron his cute Hanna Andersson light blue polo shirt that I'd bought just for this occasion (an occasion which, apparently, I'd completely forgotten about). David and Sawyer came flying into the house. Sawyer's head was then dunked under the water faucet and David squeezed some gel onto his hair. We were like a freakin' pit crew at the Indy 500. They were back in the car in 4 minutes, 3 seconds.

He did not wear that shirt again because we had no reason for him to wear a collared shirt the rest of the fall, and then the weather got too cool for it anyway.

But this summer, I unfortunately needed him to wear it again. The night before we left to fly out to Philadelphia for my father's funeral, I got the shirt out to wash it. And for some reason, it was covered with stains, like David had used it as a rag while working on the car.

We ended up at the King of Prussia Mall - which, I believe, is second only to the Mall of America in size - the day before the funeral. This mall is ridiculous. We had no clue where we were going, and this place was the size of our town. And much more crowded. We bravely forged ahead and found the Gap, where I got Sawyer a light blue polo shirt for like $4.99. Score!

He wore it for the funeral and, of course, has not worn it again. Until today! And there were NO STAINS! Yippee! Nevermind that he will be photographed two years in a row in the same shirt. I mean, it's not REALLY the same shirt. It's just, you know, the same style. And color. Hey, there's nothing wrong with consistency!

Anyway, after he downed his oatmeal this morning, we went into the bathroom. David was not home, so it was up to me. I wet down his hair and applied some nice wax pommade to spike it up in the front.

I must've done something right.

Sawyer leaned right into the mirror. Got up nice and close. And said..

"I am the best-looking boy in the whole world."

Amen to that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mullet be gone!


My baby girl's first haircut..

Monday, October 01, 2007

Might as well ask me for tips on how not to shop..

I got a hilarious email from my friend T this morning. I should preface this by saying that I missed Saturday's 22-mile slogfest because I was up every 20 minutes blowing my nose the night before, and remained in bed all day Saturday. I am just now cutting back on my one-box-of-kleenex-a-day habit, and did manage (barely) to run 3 miles this morning.

When I logged on this morning I found the email from T - asking ME for tips on avoiding catching a cold from one's child. ME!!! I catch absolutely everything from my kids. Motherhood has made a sieve out of my "immune system."

But I of course want to be helpful, so I tried to come up with some excellent advice to help T and others avoid the same mistakes I've made.

1) Do not let your child climb on you, then proceed to wipe his snotty nose all over every bit of exposed skin, including but not limited to your face, hands, arms and legs.

2) Close your mouth when you child coughs/sneezes directly into your face.

3) Do not finish the rest of the half-eaten banana, apple or spoonful of ice cream that your child has slimed on with his germy mouth and then handed to you.

4) Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. And everything else mentioned in #1.

5) If possible, lock the kids outside until they stop sneezing/hacking. (Hello? Child protective services?)

Anyway, if anyone has anymore tips, please send them along! I know I and my friend T will greatly appreciate it!
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