Saturday, December 22, 2012

December!

Merry Christmas!!!!
We hope you are yours are doing well during this blessed time of year.
We've been busy enjoying December.
So I have failed to blog.

Brendan turned 13 on the 13th!
Hard to believe he is a teenager.
He celebrated by taking three of his buddies to the movie theater
to watch The Hobbit.

We prepped for Christmas.

I was finally able to go out in public again.
My case of shingles healed up just in time.

Here are a few pics to catch you up!

We decorated our tree.
This is one of only two pics of Brendan.
He runs when I pull out the camera these days.
I think it is from all of the years I forced him to be my model.


Katie saw Santa and gave him her list:
Keyboard
(she is a budding musician, you know)
Wrap Star Microphone
(because her voice doesn't carry well enough on its own)
Barbie Case
(because she is a girlie-girl)
In our family, the kids are allowed to ask for three gifts.
Because that is how many Jesus was given to celebrate his birth.
They don't deserve more for HIS birthday than HE got, right?


The highlight so far was 
Katie's First Holy Communion.
She looked beautiful.
We are so proud of her for taking this important step in her faith walk.






And one last photo of the two of them together after Communion.
When did my babies decide to grow up?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November

This month has flown by with lightning speed. I am amazed at how quickly each day passes. So much has happened in November, but it all seems like a blur.

We began the month with a weekend in Denver with the kidlets. Mr. C had been working very long hours again, so he hadn't spent much time with us. I had planned a scrapbooking day with the Denver girls that Saturday, so we decided to stay for the weekend and pack in some fun. Our trip began with Benihana on Friday night. The kidlets LOVE Benihana. Katie knows the chefs' entire routine at this point, so I'm thinking we need to change things up for a while. We checked into the hotel, they swam, we watched TV, and just enjoyed being together. The next morning, they dropped me off at Archiver's, then they began their day of activities. They hit The American Girl Store first. Katie's doll (Kanani) was in need of a new hair-do. Then they hit the LEGO store, then the PGA Supestore. From there, they went to the Museum of Nature and Science, then picked me up for dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. Brendan loves crab legs. Katie just loves the atmosphere there. I went back to Archiver's, and they went to see Wreck-It Ralph at the theater. It was a fun day for everyone. Sunday morning we headed to the downtown area. We always go to the Tattered Cover Bookstore (our favorite), then we had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Bren had been begging us to take him to 1-Up forever so we went there next. It is a bar/arcade with throwback video games from the 80s. I managed to thoroughly impress my son with my mad Pac-Man skillz. We left and went to Centerra for some shopping and PF Changs before heading home. We arrived in Cheyenne tired and happy.

I found a great part-time job and began on Nov. 5 (also our 18th Wedding Anniversary). Unfortunately, I came down with Strep Throat (the kids had both had it the previous week) and was not given the correct antibiotic, so it came back on me the following week, along with some new and troubling symptoms. I was incredibly sick, but was still going to work until that Friday when my temp hit 103. I had a pounding headache that was actually taking my vision away. This lasted several days (and 4 doctor visits) before they finally figured out that I had a severe case of shingles. Because the rash was located at the base of my spinal cord, it was causing some neurological problems. I was unable to work (I am still quarantined at home due to this being so contagious), so the company decided they needed to let me go and find someone who could be there every day. I don't blame them. An assistant to the CFO who can't come in and assist is not very useful. I remain confident that the right opportunity will come along. This obviously wasn't it. I am told the rash could last anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months, and I am contagious as long as the rash is visible, so I may be in hibernation-mode for a while. The doctor thinks that the untreated strep triggered the shingles because my body had been under so much stress from the kidney issues this year.

Our Thanksgiving was quiet, but wonderful. We couldn't go out so I cooked and we enjoyed the parade, and lots of football! The older boys were unable to make the trip here so it was just the four of us this year.

Marc will be graduating from college next month!!!! He is finishing up his senior course-work for his degree in Wildlife Biology / Fisheries, and should be done around mid-December. I am so proud of him and how he has stuck with this. It wasn't an easy road for him, but he got through it. He is still trying to figure out what he'll do next (work, grad-school, etc.).

Sean is doing well, and Landry is growing like crazy. Sean is still working at the mine in Kemmerer, which he really enjoys. He works out constantly still, and is easily the biggest one in our family. :)

Katie found out she will have a solo at the Christmas program at school this year. She is very excited. I am just praying I can attend the concert. Her First Communion is also next month. Her gown is beautiful, and she chose a lovely headpiece and veil. I cannot wait to see her in it.

Brendan will attend his Lego Robotics State Tournament this weekend in Casper. Because I can't attend, he will be going up with his friend's family. He is really looking forward to it. They have worked hard on their project this fall.

Mr. C's work schedule has slowed back down a bit. He has been having lots of issues with is right heel since he started training for the half-marathons last year. He went to a specialist in Ft. Collins and was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. He was fitted for custom orthotics, and he is hoping they help solve the problem so he can start running again.

Well, that is our month in a nut-shell. Nothing too thrilling, fortunately. I like when things are nice and quiet.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 1

I am grateful for my firstborn, Marc Weston. He was the guinea pig in my parenting journey, and patiently tolerated my (many) mistakes along the way. I am so proud of the man he has become. My favorite thing about Marc: he calls me almost every day just to say hi, and to tell me about his day (I LIVE for those phone calls).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Near) Death by Stoning

I guess that is a bit dramatic, but it sure felt that way. The last time I left you, I was preparing for surgery to blast my ginormous kidney stone into little pieces. Well, surgery went as planned on August 29th, and I arrived home that evening sore and tired, but glad to have it behind me. I did well on Thursday, and felt pretty good Friday morning. I even got up, took a shower, and SHAVED MY LEGS (definitely a sign I was feeling a bit improved). I got back into bed and watched my very favorite movie (Sabrina starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear - best movie ever!). When the movie finished, I decided I needed a nap and went to sleep.

At 12:30, Mr. C came home to check on me, but I told him to go get lunch and I just wanted to sleep for a while longer. He left. Twenty minutes later, I was dreaming I was talking to him, and that I doubled over in pain and couldn't breathe...and that is exactly how I woke up a moment later. I. could. not. breathe. The pain was more intense than anything I've ever felt before (this coming from a mother of four, one of which was born sans anesthetic, and two of which were born via c-section). I managed to call Mr. C and I asked him to pick up a sandwich for me so I could take my pain meds. He didn't realize anything was wrong, so he finished lunch, drove through Arby's, drove through the pharmacy to get one of my prescriptions, and came home. He found me in a pool of sweat, curled up in the fetal position, unable to breathe because of the pain.

He quickly called my doctor, who instructed him to take me to the hospital for x-rays ASAP, then to take the films up to his office. Our neighbor had to help him get me to the car, and I was placed in a wheelchair at the hospital, taken for x-rays, to the office, where it was determined I had either a stone or blood clot lodged. The Dr. told me that I needed to go the hospital for a while (to ME than meant "a couple of hours", to HIM it meant overnight). I was taken up to the post-op floor, and I informed the nurse that I have bad veins (my exact words were, "they're small, they're deep, and they roll"). Unfortunately, he took that as a challenge. After blowing two of my veins, he finally got the IV team in there. They placed a small IV in one arm, but decided to add a 2nd port in my other arm in case I needed to go back into surgery (which at this point was a strong possibility). I make this process sound quick, don't be fooled - it was almost 5 hours before I finally got some pain meds in my system. I am allergic to demerol and morphine, so they were having difficulty deciding on a safe pain reliever. I barely remember anything during this time, but Mr. C assures me I was writhing in pain the entire afternoon.

The pain was a bit less in the middle of the night, and significantly less the next day, so I was allowed to go home to await the culprit. Mr. C had come to the hospital around noon, and brought the kids, my favorite movie (Sabrina), and Katie brought my roll to put my hair in a bun so I'd look nice. LOL. We loaded up the kids, movie, and my pretty hair into the car to go home late that afternoon, and a couple hours after I arrived home, the stone made its appearance. Stone isn't the correct word...it actually looked like a THORN! 

I was pretty worn out all weekend, and mainly slept and laid around in a drugged-up stupor. I went in for my post-op on Thursday, where I was informed my stones are Calcium-Oxalate stones. I have been placed on a water pill (to keep the kidney constantly flushing itself), a low-oxalate diet (which basically means I can't eat anything: tea, chocolate, nuts or nut butters, spinach, chocolate, potatoes, beans, peppers, whole wheat...), and they told me I have to drink 3 liters of water/day. 

The new changes are no fun, but it is far better than having any more stones in my lifetime (this had better work). I was feeling a bit better on Friday, then woke up feeling awful on Saturday. I wasn't better Sunday, and I had a fever. Mr. C told me I'd been moaning in pain in my sleep for the past couple of nights. I called the doctor, and it was determined I had a kidney infection. I have the BEST luck in the world, I swear. 

I've been on antibiotics since Sunday evening, and today is the first day I've awakened in the morning feeling somewhat rested. I am hoping this is the last of the kidney issues. Six months is long enough. I am ready to get on with my life again. I miss walking / working out. I miss taking care of my family. I miss scrapbooking. I miss everything. 

On a positive note: the kids are doing well in school! Brendan loves junior high. He is on the Cross-Country team, and has been doing well with it. Katie thinks 2nd grade is awesome. I am so proud of them both. They have been such a help to me, and so understanding of the situation. 

Marc arrived home from Alaska! He should graduate in December with a Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology / Fisheries. I am so proud of him!

Sean continues to be the BEST dad to Landry. He enjoys his job at the mine, and gets Landry on his days off. He turns 26 on Saturday. Where has the time gone?

I am hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule soon. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss

So, if you are on facebook, or have been reading my blog for the past six months, you know I've been dealing with kidney stones since March 1. A lot of kidney stones. 79 so far. Every time I think I'm getting over them, more appear. It has been a long, painful, terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad summer (Thank you Shel Silverstein).

It began in March, continued throughout April, then in May I did a half-marathon. I nearly died. I had bronchitis, which I'd mentioned. What I didn't tell you was that at mile 10, I was feeling really really bad. I used the restroom and, let's just say my urine was more blood than urine. This continued on throughout the day. I should've gone to the doctor, but I didn't. I called a few times over the summer, and they were always kind enough to re-fill my Toradol (that stuff is amazing for kidney pain), and they had asked if I'd consulted a specialist, but I told them no.

Now, in my defense, I had consulted several specialists in the past 24 years of dealing with this troublesome kidney. I've been to five different ones, to be exact - all to no avail. They never could give me any answers, or help, so I gave up. I just dealt with the stones, and the infections, as they came along. So this time was really no different. I just ignored the pain, and the other symptoms, and kept moving. I told myself I was too busy to deal with kidney problems. They'd go away on their own - they always have before.

On August 1, I found myself in incredible pain. I was doubled over, sweating profusely, nauseous, and miserable - but wouldn't let Mr. C take me to the hospital. On August 2, I broke down and called a specialist, and was so thankful they fit me in the next morning. When I went in, I was informed I had an infection, and they would test over the weekend to see what kind. I missed the yearly Luau at the club, and I was in bed most of the day on my Birthday. On August 6, I had a CT scan. That evening, the nurse called with my infection results - and informed me I had TWO different infections in the kidney. I have awesome luck that way. I told her I was still in a lot of pain, even on the antibiotics, and she said if it didn't go away by the following week to call her. The pain didn't go away. I didn't call her. I know, I am highly intelligent, aren't I? The pain continued on (and still does).

Tuesday, I was sitting at the pool watching Katie swim, while Brendan played golf. I got a call on my cell phone and it was the nurse telling me I needed to go immediately to the hospital for more scans, then to their office with the images. I arranged for Katie to stay to swim, and left. After a very long wait in radiology, I finally made it up to see the doctor. He said I had a very large stone that looked like it was trying to exit the kidney on the CT scan. It is far too big and would become lodged if it moved any more. The new scans, fortunately, showed the stone had dropped back into the kidney a bit. This was good news - if it hadn't dropped, I'd have been in surgery yesterday. The bad news is, I get to go into surgery next Wednesday instead. I guess the only way to deal with stones this size is to blast them into smaller bits, then go home and pass them there over the following 6 - 8 weeks. Fun. Fun. Fun.

Now, if I hadn't been so stubborn, I'd have found this out in March, had the procedure then, and had an awesome summer. But, no. I had to be tough. Work through it on my own. Wait it out. And now I get to spend my kids' second day of school in the hospital - then my entire fall will be spent passing kidney stones until who-knows-when.

Long story short: I pray this never happens to me again. But if it does, I'm going to the specialist first. I am not going to be tough any more. I'm going to be smart. Well, smarter than I was this time anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cocoa Daisy Layouts

I have found a wonderful little home on the web, filled with the loveliest people who are incredibly talented. If you want to get in on a great little kit club, or just chat on the message boards, go to Cocoa Daisy and check them out.

Cocoa Daisy was having a couple of scrapbook challenges this month, so I decided I'd play along. The first layout was for the sketch contest. You can read about it at  their blog. This photo was taken on Katie's first day of Kindergarten, and Brendan's first day of 5th grade - two years ago! I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by. I miss those days. Bren will be in junior high this year. I just did not see that coming already. Katie will be in 2nd grade! She is so excited to see who her teacher is, and which of her friends will be in her class this year. Anyway, this layout was made using Cocoa Daisy's August kit, and the Patina add-on, plus an Ormolu journal card in the bottom right.


This layout is for the August Challenge to use my August kit, plus bits and pieces of the previous month's kit. I had several pictures of our night in Savannah when the Mr. and I were on our way to Augusta in 2011 for the Master's. Savannah was amazing! The architecture was stunning, the people were so kind, and the food was unbelievably good. If you get a chance to go there, take it! I wish we'd had more than just that one evening to explore the city.


So, go check out Cocoa Daisy. Introduce yourself. Look at the gallery. Shop in the store. Enjoy!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Photo Update

Well, hello there. 
I thought I'd pop in and let you know I'm still around. 
I've decided I'm much better at blogging during the wintertime when I'm locked up in the house, than I am in the summertime when I'm running kids to and fro.
Boy, have things been crazy-busy this summer.
Here is a brief photo montage to update you on things:



We actually went to some Frontier Days events this year.
First up: The Thunderbirds.

Check out this beautiful sign! I took a picture of it right before the first bull rider came out. 

 Look what his bull did to it. Seriously. First run of the day.

 Katie was in the parade this year. 
That is just about the only way you'll get me to watch it.

 She is a natural, I tell ya.



Brendan placed 3rd in the Junior Club Championship again this year.
Three years in a row he has won 3rd place.
We are so proud of him!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday Funny

It has been a while since I've done a Friday Funny. Enjoy! 



Friday, June 22, 2012

Busy Summer

Whoa! I have failed at my goal of posting at least once each week, haven't I? We have been super busy with life, and family, and kids, and activities, and swimming, and....

Katie has spent the past two weeks at religious ed. She was studying for her First Communion. She has another set of classes in the fall, then will receive the Eucharist for the first time in December. I am so proud of her. She is such a sweet and loving child.

Brendan has been busy volunteering at religious ed with youth group. This is the first year he hasn't been in classes - he has graduated to helping now. :)  He loved it, and is really enjoying youth group and all of the fun activities.

I have been taxiing children to their various activities. Since school was released for the summer, I have driven to tennis lessons, junior golf, swimming, religious ed, playdates, etc. My car and I are tired.

Mr. C has been working. A lot. Again. Still. I swear, it just never ends. But we are grateful he is needed at his job, and that he is so conscientious in his work. He has also been golfing quite a bit.

The fires in Colorado have caused air quality issues in Cheyenne, so I have had to stay inside quite a bit. It is very frustrating, and hot. With the windows shut, we aren't getting the gentle evening breezes we typically enjoy this time of year. I am praying it ends soon, and not just for my sake. So many have lost their homes...it is heartbreaking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On Sale Today!!!!


If you see this issue of Creating Keepsakes,
turn to page 91.
You will find a photo
(taken by yours truly)
of beautiful
Santa Barbara!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful...

   ...that Brendan is so easy to please. He forgot his lunch yesterday, and by the time he called and I got to the school, his lunchtime was almost over. Rather than make him run late (or run the risk of not being able to eat), I just checked him out of school for a bit, picked up Mr. C, and we went to the Tortilla Factory. Bren was so excited and happy. In fact, we have now been crowned as the "Best, Most Awesome and Epic Parents Ever!". I think I need to get that in writing. ;)

   ...for a quiet and long weekend ahead. We don't have anything pressing - just hanging out at the pool, and at home together. We have been so busy and I am looking forward to some down time with the family.

   ...that Brendan and Katie have had the past two years at the same school. Next week will be the last week they'll ever spend in the same school, which makes me very sad. But I am just so grateful that Brendan has been there for Katie's first two years. It was so comforting for me (and for Katie) to know Brendan was close by.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ten on Tuesday!

Ten things going on right now:
1.  Brendan had his final Elementary School band concert yesterday. We are doing too many "lasts" with him right now. Junior High begins in August and I am wishing for the days when he was two and just wanted to be with us all the time.

2.  Katie has her Bridging Ceremony from Daisies to Brownies tonight. I remember when she began Daisies and wanted to know the color of her vest. When I told her it was blue, she asked if it was "Cinderella Blue" or "Snow White Blue".

3.  Summer officially begins in 10 days! I LIVE for summers with the kidlets. We used to have more unscheduled time, but I'm getting used to having a schedule in the summertime now. They are both doing tennis lessons, Brendan is also in Junior Golf again, and Katie will attend CCD (Religious Ed) in June (first time without her brother) - she is getting ready for her First Holy Communion. Plus LOTS of time at the pool.

4.  Mr. C enjoyed his first golf tournament of the summer on Sunday. He played in a one-man scramble. He said it was a lot of fun. He thought he came in 2nd, but a couple other guys came in after he did, so he ended up in 4th place in his flight.

5.  My new golf bag arrived yesterday. I plan on being out on the course a lot more this summer. Doesn't life get easier when your kids become old enough to enjoy the same activities you enjoy?

6.  Marc came home for Mother's Day - and he brought his girlfriend with him! Shannon is a lovely girl, inside and out. It was a wonderful gift to have them take the time to come all this way to see me.

7.  Sean began a new work schedule. He likes being able to spend more time with Landry. Chloe and Landry moved to Ogden a couple of months ago, which has been an adjustment for all of them. They seem to be doing great though.

8.  Lots and lots of grilling! This is a two-fold joy for me: a) I don't have to do the cooking, and b) The mess is outside, not in the kitchen.

9.  The pool opens this weekend! The kids are so excited!

10. We are planning a weekend in Denver with the kidlets to celebrate the end of school. On the agenda: Katie's 1st Rockies game!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recital!

Katie's dance recital was Friday night. She did an amazing job! Here are some pics of the event.

 Katie is the shortest one. 
Unfortunately she is going to take after her mamma that way.


 Starting off the number!


 Big finish!

Roses from Daddy. 


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Comparing Two Half-Marathons

We did the Santa Barbara International Marathon & Half (SBIM) in November, then ran the Colorado Marathon & Half (CO) on Sunday. Since the SBIM was our first race, we really had nothing to compare it to until now. I found things I liked in both races and wanted to share our thoughts.

Registration: The registration process was similar for both races, so we didn't notice much difference in either one.

Pre-Race Expo: The SBIM Expo was bigger, but mainly because several other local races had purchased booth space to advertise their upcoming events. The CO Expo was great though - The Brooks Shoe Running Experience Bus even made the trip. The workers at both Expos were incredibly helpful and friendly.

Race Shirt:  I had heard several complaints about the race shirt from the SBIM, but having no other race experience, I wasn't sure what they had been expecting. After getting my shirt from the CO, I understood the complaints. The SBIM shirt was mesh-like and had printing on the front. This isn't an issue for women because we wear sports bras underneath, but Mr. C got rubbed raw during a run while wearing his SBIM shirt. The paint chaffs the skin and he nearly ended up with the dreaded "Red 11" on the front of his shirt. ;)  The CO shirts were wonderful! They were running shirts, but were made from a soft, wicking fabric. We both liked them much better.

Race Chip - The SBIM chip was tied to our shoes. This was fine, but the CO chip was built into our race bib. This was far easier, and didn't require us to stop to turn our chip in at the end of the race like at the SBIM.

Race Bib - The SBIM had our names printed on our race bibs. This enabled onlookers to yell for the runners by name. It was really a nice touch. The CO didn't do this, so people just yelled for you by your number. It wasn't quite the same.

Shuttle Service:  This is where the CO race shines. We drove to the designated parking garage, then caught the passenger coach bus up to the start of the race. It ran smoothly and efficiently. Also, they had placed large grocery bags filled with cut-up bagels near the buses so everyone could grab something to eat while waiting. The SBIM shuttle was good and the people were very friendly, but it wasn't well-organized or advertised. We had stayed at the host hotel, and even THEY didn't know anything about the shuttle to the start. We finally managed to get the info, and got on the correct bus, but several other racers just gave up and called a taxi.

Race Start: We really liked how the SBIM managed the start of the race. They did a staggered-start according to your running pace (under 8 min. miles / 8-11 min. miles / 11+ min. miles). They also had a speaker system and you could hear the announcer much better than the CO. We really appreciated the announcer asking us to raise our hand if it was our first Half-Marathon. When people around us saw we were newbies, they were very supportive and encouraging. The CO couldn't really do a sound system because were were up a mountain with no electricity. The megaphone wasn't really sufficient though. They also didn't stagger the start, they just told us to go and our chips triggered when we crossed the start line.

Race Course:  Both courses were beautiful. The SBIM ends with a gorgeous view of the ocean. The Course also has bands and onlookers lined up throughout the entire course. It made the day fun. Because the CO race began up in the canyon, there was no crowd whatsoever until mile 4.5. There were occasional groups of people cheering, especially at the Jr. High in La Porte and at the finish, but nothing like in Santa Barbara. However, the finish line in the CO was superior - it was on the street, just entering the walking mall in Old Town.

Medal: The CO medal was absolutely awesome. It is a beautiful piece of art and looks substantial and well-made. The SBIM medal was ok, but doesn't even come close to comparing to the CO medal.

Race Results: We received an email from the CO within the day with our official time results. The SBIM took a bit longer.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Colorado Half-Marathon

We finished our second Half-Marathon yesterday. Mr. C was amazing, as usual. His PR was 2:04:29 in Santa Barbara. He wanted to not only break that, his ultimate goal was to finish in under two hours. He smashed it! His official time was 1:48:36! He was so pumped! He came in 15th in his age bracket, and 129th overall!

Later in the week, I will do a comparison between The Santa Barbara International Marathon & Half, and the Colorado Marathon & Half. Today I'll just give you a description of our experience with this race.

I had been sick with a bad cold the week before the race and, lucky me, woke up with bronchitis on Saturday. We checked into the hotel in Ft. Collins, had lunch, drove the race route, went to the race expo to pick up our packets, grabbed pasta for dinner, then I went back to the hotel and slathered myself in mentholatum, took some meds, and went to bed to rest while Mr. C went to visit Uncle Don. 

The alarm went off at 4:25 so we got up, got ready, grabbed a bagel and a banana, then headed to catch the shuttle.

Here we are pre-race.  The course began in Poudre Canyon. We had to catch the shuttle at 5:30 am, so it was really cold when we arrived. There were 1,315 runners entered in the Half, and it seemed that 90% of them were huddled together in the welcome tent trying to ward off the cold temps.

 

The race began at 7 am sharp, and was mostly downhill, with the exception of one hill. There was no electricity, and thus no sound system up in the mountains. There was just a guy with a megaphone telling us it was time to start. They also didn't stagger the starts by pace-time. Everyone just started running or walking, then took off when they crossed the starting line. Since I am a walker, rather than a runner, (and because I was pretty sick still), I quickly fell behind the pack. The entire pack. As in: I was the last one of the half-marathoners coming down the hill. I didn't care though. I wanted to maintain my training pace, and stick with my game-plan (which had been adjusted due to the bronchitis to "I just want to cross the finish line this time - no expectations of time, or place in the pack".


The course was quite beautiful. The Poudre Canyon is lovely and the river ran along the course the entire way through the canyon. We then ran (walked) along pastures and fields. It was really peaceful and quiet. It was at the bottom of the canyon when I passed a few of the other Halfers, and also when the Marathoners began to catch up to us.

There were a few cheering sections along this section of the route. Some of them had some pretty funny signs. About half-way through the course, I checked the time and realized my split-time was GREAT. I was on pace to beat my PR by quite a bit.

 

We kept along the county road until we came to the Jr. High in La Porte, where we hit the greenway. This section had occasional sections of cheering fans, as well, but for the most part it was really quiet. When we began to enter the Ft. Collins area, we passed an electrical plan of some kind. This is the one section of the race where I actually RAN, rather than walked or jogged. This is also the area where I encountered a very LARGE SNAKE!!!! Those of you who know me well, know that I can't even see a snake on TV without crawling up the back of the couch. They terrify me. So, I'm sure you can imagine how I looked when we all came upon a snake that was curled up in the dirt right next to the path. Luckily, someone in front of me pointed it out to me way in advance. I quickly zipped to the opposite side of the path and ran past it. (shudder)

Just before we joined the greenway, my feet began to get sore. My toe injury was starting to act up, and I could feel some blisters forming. The further along the route, the worse I felt. But, just like last time, quitting was not an option for me. Even if I was crawling across the finish, I was going to cross it. The pain was getting worse by the minute, but I kept seeing the mile markers and knew the end was coming up. My pace had slowed so much because I couldn't walk very well. I could feel blisters that had formed on the pads of my feet, as well as on the inside edge of my heels (from the new shoes I had to get a week previous). Just when I started wondering if I was, indeed, going to have to start crawling, I looked up and guess who I saw:


He had become worried because I hadn't shown up yet. He knew I was on a good pace earlier, and became concerned when I hadn't finished and it was nearly the 4-hour mark. He came to cheer me on, and to walk in the last section of the route with me. I was so happy to see him I nearly broke down and cried. My feet were so sore, which had caused my gait to change (to protect the blisters), so by this point my hips, ankles, and knees were aching from walking awkwardly. But Mr. C came and clapped, and told me that the finish was within a half-mile. He stayed with me until the block of the finish line, when he ran ahead so he could watch me cross. I was so happy and relieved that I was finally done. The announcer shouted my name and city and everyone was cheering. It was incredible. I ended up at 1310 out of 1312. 1315 had started the race, but three people didn't finish. My official finish time was 4:10:55. Considering everything (the headcold, bronchitis, my toe injury, brand new shoes, etc.), I was pleased with the time. Because almost all of the halfers had finished earlier, the lady had to have me stop so she could go get the correct medal (she was holding only Marathon medals at this point).



A photographer snapped my picture wearing it, and I went and hugged my husband. He took me to get some fruit and some water, then to the beer garden. He enjoyed a cold, refreshing Shock Top. I took two sips of mine, but it just didn't taste good. I was so tired, and sore.



I told Mr. C how bad my feet hurt, so he had me sit on a bench while he ran to get the FJ and picked me up. We went to the hotel and he was horrified when I removed my shoes. I had a blister that was larger than a half-dollar on the side of my left heel, and a slightly smaller one on my right heel. The ball of my right foot had a blister that covered roughly 90% of the pad of my foot, and my left foot had a smaller one in the same area. He got some moleskin out and tried to doctor it up a bit, but it didn't really do much good. We showered and left for lunch, then drove home.

We are both a bit sore today, but not as bad as we were in Santa Barbara. We knew what to expect. Although, I had to deal with more health issues this time. I've done this twice now, and I honestly don't know if I have a desire to do it again. Although, I think it is like childbirth - right after delivery, you swear you will never go through it again, but within a few months you forget the pain and can't remember how bad it really was.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Keeping It All In Focus


We got a letter from the school nurse on Saturday. Katie had failed not one, but TWO, eye exams at school. Seeing how the Mr. was nearly blind before his LASIK procedure, we knew that we had an issue. ("Seeing" - get it? - Heh).

I called Monday morning and was able to schedule an appointment for Katie on Wednesday morning. I took her in and she does, indeed, need glasses. Not just readers. Glasses for all the time. Every day. She is nearsighted and has astigmatism, plus some muscle problems that cause her eyes to wander out at times. The doctor indicated that 1/3 of the time, the muscle issue improves, 1/3 of the time it stays the same, and 1/3 of the time it gets worse. If it gets worse, we will have to take her to Denver for surgical evaluation.

Katie took it all like the trooper that she is - happy and with a great attitude. She tried on about 1,587 pairs of glasses before selecting her favorites:


Laura Ashley frames that are black on the outside, and hot pink on the inside. They also have little flowers with diamonds on the sides. She looks so grown up.

Mr. C is pretty upset. He feels bad that she got his eyes. He feels bad that his sweet baby girl has to wear glasses for the rest of her life. And he feels bad that she may need surgery. I reminded him that we need to keep things in perspective: It isn't life-threatening. She is a happy healthy girl. Glasses are NOTHING in the scheme of things. We need to remember to keep it all in focus and know that even if she does need surgery, this is minor compared to what so many other parents face.

Besides, I think she looks awfully cute and VERY smart.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Saturday!

Don't you just love mornings when you CAN sleep-in, but end up waking at 6 am anyway? Ugh. When that happens, I usually just get out of bed so I don't wake up Mr. C. I tend to toss and turn when I am trying to get back to sleep like that, and it never fails to wake the poor guy up. He worked until 4 am Wednesday night/Thursday morning so he has been exhausted.

I would go in and work on some scrapbooking projects, but I don't want to wake the kidlets. Brendan's room is directly below my little studio, and Katie's room is across the hall from it. Cocoa Daisy is doing an online crop this weekend and I am attempting to play along. I have a few friends who design for them, but I haven't spent much time on their message boards. The ladies seem like a fun bunch so I am excited to have a weekend to crop at home, yet with friends. ;)  I have purchased one of their kits before and LOVED it, so I just signed up for a 6-mo. subscription. Go check them out!

Have a wonderful Saturday!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative Team Call at Ormolu!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are having a fabulous week. There are some exciting things going on at Ormolu right now. First, Kaitlin has some AMAZING new releases coming out soon. I don't know how she does it. Every time I think she cannot possibly top herself, she does. I think these new designs may be my very favorite yet.

Ormolu is also looking to add a few new Creative Team members for the summer! Go check out the announcement at the Ormolu Blog . I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy being a part of this group - they are all so wonderful and supportive. So get your applications in - the deadline is next week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Funny


Don't forget your Starbucks today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson


I first heard about Stephanie Nielson and her Nie Nie Dialogues after her accident a couple of years ago. She was still in a coma so her sister was posting updates to her blog. I checked back about once each week to see her progress, and I was thrilled when the news came that she had awakened. After that I would pop in about once every week or two, but I honestly just didn't keep up with her very much after she began writing again. So, imagine my surprise when I ran across this book in Target one day. I picked it up and looked at it, but didn't buy it. A few days later I went back and decided to purchase it. Apparently I am a voyeur and I can't resist reading about other people's lives.

For those of you who are unaware of who she is, Stephanie and her husband Christian were nearly killed in a plane crash in Arizona. She was burned over 80% of her body. He broke his back, and several other bones. They both nearly succumbed to their injuries. This is the story of their life before, and after, the accident.

In all honestly, I was not much of a Nie Nie fan. I stopped reading her blog because she was always advertising something. Don't flame me - I was sure she was a very nice person, it was nothing personal. I just see enough commercials when I turn on the TV, I don't want to see them on  blogs and Facebook pages. But after reading this book, I am a HUGE Nie Nie fan. You still won't find me stalking her blog or anything, but I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading her story.

This book was incredibly inspiring. I loved reading about her marriage, and how they kept the romance in their lives, and how she cared for her children. She had such a joyful life and it was tragic how it nearly ended.

But then you get to read about how they rebuilt everything. It was charming, and sweet, and lovely. She shared her heart. She shared her pain. She shared her insecurities. It was a beautifully written story and I could not put this book down until I had finished the last page. I was touched and inspired. In a nutshell: You need to read this book.

This is not like my typical book reviews - I did not receive this book for free. I am not gaining anything with my review. I do not know Stephanie Nielson, nor anyone in her family. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fluffy


The blog has been lacking personality as of late. 
It has been mainly fluff, and not much else. 
My mother has some relatives that didn't like some things I've written.
They have misinterpreted my intent, as well as my words.
Both on this blog, as well as on my Facebook page.
This has been confusing and frustrating for me.
I don't think I write about controversial issues.
I don't use anyone's name, or say who they are or where they live. 
I also am not a mean or vindictive person.
I love deeply.
My purpose is never to rattle anyone's cage. 

With that being said, I want to explain two thoughts:

1) NOTHING written on this blog is ever written with the intention of hurting anyone. EVER. I write about personal things sometimes because I've lived in certain conditions and situations, and I have overcome a lot of pain in my life. I know that the experiences I've survived give me an insight that not everyone has. I share some of those experiences (without giving names) in order to help others. I also write this blog as a journal for my children to read someday. I don't get many comments to my posts, but I have received many emails from individuals who were touched by something I wrote. 

2) This is my blog. My space. If you don't like what is written, you don't have to visit here and read it. Period.

So, I think I'm going to get back to MY blog. 
MY thoughts.
MY words.
As always, you are more than welcome to share the journey with me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thankful Thursday


I am VERY thankful that Sean and Landry have been here all week!

I am also thankful for:
Easter - and the sacrifices He made for me.
Spring Break with the kidlets.
Warm, sunny weather.
Watching The Masters with Mr. C this weekend
and remembering our trip there last year.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher



Against Shannon's wishes, love stakes its claim in her heart. Will she discover treasure or treachery?

When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war.

Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. Matthew wants to return to driving coach for the express company soon—so he'll have to find a wife to look after the boy when he's away.

Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?
I requested the ebook version of this Women of Faith novel and read it rather quickly. It was an easy read and kept me entertained throughout. I will say, however, that I did not find the main character very likable. I found Shannon to be spoiled and rather rude, which put me off somewhat. For a minister's daughter, she seemed to lack the character traits one would expect, particularly for the time period. She did grow more mature as the story progressed.  The other characters in the book were interesting and enjoyable. Although this was set during the civil war era, there was more focus placed upon gold mining in the west than the war in the south.  All in all, it was a fairly good read.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for good friends.
Friends who call to check on me when I am sick.
Friends who take time out of their schedules 
to spend time with me.
Friends who get excited for me to see Landry.
Friends who are willing to play tennis or golf with me 
(I stink at both).
Friends who are just there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two-fer Tuesday!!!


Let us always meet each other with smile, 
for the smile is the beginning of love.
Mother Teresa


Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, 
and let those few be well tried 
before you give them your confidence.
George Washington

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Diva Rock Star Party

Katie turned 7 yesterday. Each year I am more amazed at how quickly the time has gone by. I miss her toddler days - chubby cheeks, gruff voice, and enthusiasm for cuddling with her Mom-Mom. For her party this year, she wanted to do a sleepover. I told her it would have to be a small group so she chose her 3 favorite friends to invite over.

We had pizza for dinner, then made fancy picture frames and put a copy of the above photo in each one for the girls to take home. Mr. C and I are pretty tired. The girls were up until a little after midnight, then woke up again at 7:00. However, he DID have enough energy to go play golf this afternoon with Bren.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for:

  • A sweet friend who said she'd pick up Katie's Girl Scout Cookie order for me tonight so I don't have to try to do it myself. (You ROCK, Lisa!)
  • The incredible people I have in my life. Those who stick with me always, no matter what. I am also grateful for those people who have wandered out of my life - it is through them that I have learned to treasure those who have stayed.
  • Having a son who keeps up with NCAA Basketball so he can help me with my brackets. I made my selections, but went over them with him for approval. He thought I did a pretty good job. I hope he is right. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hell


My funny for the week - go watch it:
Kidney Stones = Hell

It has been a rough week. I woke up at 3 am last Thursday with severe abdominal pain. I was doubled over and covered in sweat. I went and sat on the couch hoping it would go away, but it didn't. I somehow managed to get Mr. C and the kidlets out the door that morning, then collapsed in bed again. I began debating whether to drive myself to the hospital, call Mr. C for a ride, or call an ambulance...when the pain suddenly lessened, then concentrated into my left kidney. Having suffered through kidney stones a few times before, I knew immediately they had made a re-appearance. Ugh.

By Friday, I was still hurting, but not as bad. But two sleepless nights in a row had left me worn out and tired so Mr. C suggested I go to the dr. for some pain meds. I went in Friday afternoon, and found out my kidneys are bleeding and I did, in fact, have stones. I was given a strong anti-inflammatory and some pain pills, and told to come back if the pain got worse. I arrived at home tired, sore, and miserable - and minus the pain meds because the pharmacy forgot to check their fax machine for the prescription (apparently narcotics scripts can't be emailed, they must be faxed or hand-written). 

About an hour later, Katie Bug came into my room crying and saying she was cold. I took her temp and she, indeed, had a fever. Awesome. I called Mr. C and asked him to pick up my Vicoden when he got off work, and I informed him of Katie's illness. I somehow managed to make dinner so Bren could go to his final Hunter Safety class, and then to spend the night with my BIL & SIL. 

Mr. C ended up having to go out for a beer after work with his bosses, which made my pain meds late. Very late. After he delivered them to me, he reminded me of his gym schedule and left to go running. The day was getting better by the minute - and so was Katie. Her temp spiked up to nearly 103 that night and she was unable to sleep at all. The next morning she was even worse. Mr. C went to pick Bren up from his shooting test and in the space of that one hour, she bottomed out. I forced myself to dress her, and myself, and was ready to take her to Healthreach when Mr. C finally called to say he was almost home. Thank heavens.

He took her to the dr. and she tested positive for Influenza A. She was given a prescription for Tamiflu and sent home with instructions to give her lots of fluids and rest. Mr. C was feeling a bit overwhelmed at about that point. He ordered take-out for dinner that night, then spent Sunday playing nursemaid to the two of us. 

Katie is home until at least Thursday, and I am still in bed. I've had a total of 7 stones so far. The pain hit so hard again this morning that I was once again contemplating a trip in an ambulance. After about half an hour, it eased up again. I am praying this is over soon. Katie turns 7 on Friday and has a sleepover planned with her friends. I don't have time to be sick. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Disneyworld
Spring Break 2011