Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday? Already?


I have been in something of a blogging slump this past week. (Is there really such a thing as a blogging slump?)

I had an awesome birthday, and I will get around to writing about that soon... but for today I have composed some random thoughts related to blogging over at Four Perspectives.

Happy Wednesday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thirty Eight Years And Counting

Thanks, Mom, for marrying dad and then for letting me join the party 38 years ago.

So far, it's been awesome.



p.s. This is my 500th post!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Funny People Make Me Laugh


photo from musictoday.com

I truly do not mean to boast,
but the comedian I enjoy most
came to our fine city,
his jokes were all witty
and prompted my writing a post.



Want to read it? Please do. Just clickity-click right HERE.

On Heroes And Being Awesome


My husband and I recently went to see Brian Regan perform live. If you don't know who Brian Regan is, then I suggest you look into him. (Those words are blue because they are links. Click on them. You're welcome.) He is one of the most hilarious, yet family-friendly, comedians I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.

One of his little bits in this new show had me laughing, but it also got me thinking.

He talks about the time that Captain Sullenberger made an emergency crash-landing of his plane safely into the Hudson River. We would all call him a hero, right? Well, here's what Brian Regan noticed; heroes are not allowed to think they are heroes. That's one of the rules. Someone has to ask if they think they're a hero, and they have to say no. Then they are heroes!

Regan went on to say, "I think it would be okay if he admitted it. 'Captain Sullenberger, do you think you're a hero?' 'Um, YES! Did you see the footage of that plane coming in? You have any idea how hard that was? Keeping the wings level and the nose up at a survivable speed? OF COURSE I AM A HERO!'"

It's funny because it's so true. Why do people have a hard time admitting to greatness? I can understand wanting to remain humble but in some circumstances (such as the one mentioned above) it is such an obvious label for an unmistakable act of amazing skill and quick thinking. I think people should just start owning their awesomeness.

When someone pays you a compliment, instead of hem-hawing around it or making excuses for it, OWN it! Just say thank you as acknowledgment that what they are saying is true. Especially when you know it's true (and you know you know it's true) but just don't want to seem vain about it.

Is there some rule somewhere that you are not allowed to look great? To own an attractive article of clothing? To cook a fabulous meal? To be wonderfully talented at something? To be the best at what you do?


Don't make excuses for your awesomeness. Get out there and OWN IT.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Quips

From the mouths of my kids...


"The doctor put a noodle in my leg."

"Check out what's in my diaper!"

Me: "That looks like a spider bite."
Hubba: "Awesome! Am I gonna get super powers?!"

"Mom, I want you to stop following Satan."

"You're the best cook I've never seen!"

"So, wait... is Rocky about a sumo wrestler?"

A car slowly turns into the parking lot where we are walking. Out of nowhere, Hubba yells: "Hey, watch it, buddy!" The guy's window is down and he is amused by the tongue-lashing. He turns to his passenger and says, "I think I just got told off by a 3-year-old!" to which Hubba yells back, "I'm FIVE, you dummy!"

"Sometimes I wish people had a minimize button so I could click it and make them go away."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Dreams

photo from australiaimages.net

This morning my dreams were interrupted by a phone call so I remember very distinctly what I was dreaming about.

I was on a beach in Australia, nestled in a rocky cove, with a huge group of people. The sand was pocked with tiny holes and everyone was sitting on towels or jackets so that the tiny crabs which lived in those holes would not crawl out and pinch our toes. People, in turn, were standing and telling stories which spanned everything imaginable and each story fascinated me. It was a way that people had of sharing a part of themselves with any friends or strangers who chose to gather there at the beach, a passing along of personal experience and observations.

Whenever a person had completed their story, the custom was for those who had listened to offer kind words or ask questions to encourage a deeper delving into the narrative. One time, however, someone made a rude remark in regard to a story which had been shared and everyone sat there in awkward silence... until the tiny crabs made their way out of their sand-holes and pinched that naysayer's toes until he finally had to stop talking.

At the moment that the phone rang I was musing in my dream how the whole scene was a lot like blogging except that we could really use those crabs sometimes. However, the thing that amused me the most was that, as I was dreaming, I was formulating a post in my head and couldn't wait to get home from the beach to write about it.


I am writing blog posts in my dreams.


Should I seek intervention?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Race Day

I am not sure why it is so hard to write about this day. I have been meaning to since Sunday afternoon but all of the thoughts, emotions, experiences and accomplishments of the day remain in my brain in a wonderful jumble that can not quite be organized into words that are adequate to convey what it is that I think and feel.

How do I tell the story without making it all about me? I mean really, where do I begin? I guess I'll start at the very beginning. (I hear it's a very good place to start.)

It was on the night before the race that I finalized my running playlist. I added some R.E.M. for Chip, who was not able to make it, some Relient K for ElemenoB who was going to be tending the kids while we ran and some Michael Buble for my dad - among a handful of other great running tunes.

Early the next morning I awoke to the sounds of Coolister's crutches as he made his way up the stairs. I couldn't imagine what he was doing up at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday since he normally slept in as long as possible. It turns out that he was just wanting to come cheer us on from the stands - you know, offer up some family support for his dad and I.

How thoughtful. We all loaded up and headed out.

The temperate weather surprised us. We were expecting a cold, windy rain but instead found mild weather that was perfect for running.

Once we arrived at the starting point I realized that I had missed a few calls on my phone. Two calls were from my longtime interpreter friends, Clint and Amy, who were both there to run the 10K as a show of support to me. It was just a few minutes before the starting cannon for the 10K when I tried to call back, to no avail. I have to admit that with over 2,000 runners present (and just as many spectators) I knew that my chances of finding them were slim to none, but we headed to the starting line to look for them anyway.

Another of my missed calls was from Jason and it was then that I realized that I had forgotten my camera. Jason had offered to come and take pictures of the race for me but it seemed vain to take him up on it so I hadn't responded one way or the other. Well, wouldn't you know it... the next thing we knew we ran into Jason, camera in hand. I was so grateful that he knows I am vain enough to want pictures for this very blog post.

Pictures like this...


This is Allen and I as we were waiting for the 5K to start. Completely un-posed, too. At the appointed time, we found a place in the sea of runners behind the starting line and before we knew it the starting cannon fired. It took us a full minute and a half before we were even able to cross the starting line. (Before I go on, let me apologize in advance for how shy Allen is around the camera...)


The crowd was so massive that there was no way I could even think about running until about a block into the race. It was frustrating at first, that is until we had reached the half mile mark and already I was feeling ready to walk. Because the race started out on a long, gradual hill it was quickly wearing me down. I was about to slow to a walk when I saw the first sign on a light pole. It read: GO GERB! I wish I had pictures of the signs which some mysterious friend had placed around the course, but this will have to suffice:


SO AWESOME! I was touched to know that someone would take the time to not only make signs but to go around and post them at strategic points throughout the race. I made it another good stretch of road then slowed to a fast walk for about a half block before picking up my pace again. When we had reached the point where we were about a mile into the race I spotted Coolister on a grassy hill and called to him. Jason had loaded our eldest manchild up in his car and sped over to this point of the race for some more photos.


I probably only walked a total of 1/4 mile because the signs and photo ops kept me going. And Allen was amazing, encouraging me the whole way. I even gave him permission to go on ahead a few times but he stayed right with me.


As we neared the finish, Allen even offered up a little prayer on my behalf...

I told Allen at this point that I wouldn't be able to make it around the track at the finish without walking. I had already pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do and my legs were not going to cooperate any longer. However, I was surprised. So many dear friends were there cheering me on! First Jason with his camera, then Allen's sister Rachel & her husband Jeremy who we didn't know had run and finished ahead of us. My friend Natalie surprised me with cheers from the sidelines, and Coolister encouraged me through the finish line. I found a second wind that I didn't even know was there.

I also didn't realize that Allen had purposely fallen behind so that I could cross the finish line before he did.


Did you know that the proceeds of this run go towards cancer research? It was no accident that this was the race I chose to conquer. There were so many parallels that ran through my mind as I worked my way through the course. They kept me going and brought me strength.

We finished 908th and 910th at around 35 minutes. But I was not running for rankings or time.

I was running because I can run. I was running to remind myself that I can do hard things. I was running in memory of my dad who died from brain cancer 9 years ago and in support of my friend Jes who amazes me with her strength in battling cancer now.

Victory.


After the race Coolister crutched his way over to us which made this, my favorite picture of the day, possible. Me, my man and my oldest boy. I love these guys.


I couldn't help but think that the only way this day could possibly be better would be if I was somehow able to find Clint and Amy. And then, wouldn't you know it...


Happiness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kid Conversation


Kids can say some crazy, unexpected things.

Today's my day at Four Perspectives. Come find out what Hubba and I talked about yesterday.

No More Birthdays

photo from babble.com


My 5-year-old boy has been asking me some tough questions lately. I'm not sure what has brought on these thoughts which seem much too deep for a 5-year-old mind, but almost daily he brings them to me.

"How come some people get in car crashes but some people don't?"

"Do birds go to heaven, too?"

"Why don't big people like wishing-flowers (dandelions) or dirt?"

The list goes on. But yesterday morning's question was the most unexpected. It was still dark outside and most of the house was asleep when Hubba poked his head around my bedroom door and timidly called out, "Mom?"

Hubba usually sleeps until well past sunrise so I welcomed this early morning visit with my boy. "Climb in," I invited him, pulling back the covers.

He snuggled in next to me and immediately asked, "Mom, are you going to die?"

I was surprised, but answered, "Someday, buddy. But I'll have many, many more birthdays before that happens."

"I don't want you to have any more birfdays," he responded.

"Well, I really like cake and ice cream and presents, though. How will I get those if I don't have birthdays?"

"You can have them on my birfday, okay? Promise you won't have any more birfdays? I don't want you to ever die."

What do you say to words like these? My heart melted. What a beautiful thing to be so loved. I decided to try explaining things from another perspective.

"Well, I plan to live a very, very long time. I hope I'll live until I am a very old grandma with a whole lifetime of happy memories."

"I don't want you to be a gramma. I will never be a dad and I will never have a kid and then you will never die, okay?"

We continued this conversation in the quiet of the morning, back and forth, point and counter-point, until the rest of the house began to stir and slowly come to life. As we got out of bed to start the morning I made one last attempt at helping him to understand, in a gentle, five-year-old kind of way, that death was inevitable. That we all continue in the circle of life whether we choose to or not.

"Tell you what, Hubba," I started. "I'll stop having birthdays if you just stay little. That means you'll never get to go to school or be a firefighter or train engineer. You just have to stay here at home with me and Dad for the rest of your life and never grow bigger. You'll never get to drive a car or learn to build things. You won't ever be a boy scout or ride a big bike or shoot guns with Dad. Can you do that?"

Hubba sighed. "Okay, Mom. If you stop having birfdays, I will just stop growing." And then he looked at me with his sheepish little smile, gave me a squeeze and said, "Fanks, Mom. I love you!" as he happily made his way downstairs to get dressed.

I'm thinking we haven't quite come to a conclusion with that whole conversation just yet. But for now, I'm content to just let it be.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If You Give A Mom A Camera...

The picture would be better if Princess didn't chastise me for trying to use my flash.
("They said no flash fit-ah-gerfy, Mom!")


Last Friday was a date night for Hubba, Princess, Cowgirl and I.

We went to see a production of the children's book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

This was Hubba's first time to see a play so we went over the rules on our way to the theater.

1. You are not allowed to be hungry in the theater.
2. You are not allowed to be thirsty in the theater.
3. You are not allowed to ask to go to the bathroom after we are seated in the theater.

I think that, because we went over the rules, he just wanted to test me and see if I meant business. Because he asked for each of these things at least twice before the curtain came up.

In Cowgirl's words, the play was awesome. The kids were captivated by the giant mouse (even if Princess called him creepy at first) and laughed and watched as The Mouse and The Boy made a mess of The Boy's house.

As for me, it was well worth the $6 adult admission for the nice nap I ended up taking after the first 15 minutes. I think that watching those two create such a mess just made me tired for whoever got to clean up after them every night. Then, the next thing I knew... BAM! It was over.

As we were leaving we noticed that The Boy and The Mouse were posing for pictures with the audience members and we happened to be right near the front of the line. And besides, I did have my camera. Other than Hubba suddenly being scared of The Mouse it turned out well.

As we made our way to the car I asked Hubba why he wouldn't stand closer to The Mouse for the picture. He told us that he could see through The Mouse's head up close and it looked like a boy was stuck in there, which was (and I quote) 'really freaky!'

I told him that there was a simple explanation for the boy he saw inside the mouse.

Because everyone knows that if you give a mouse a cookie, eventually he'll get tired of asking for other things and just eat you.

That seemed to go over pretty well.

I love having kids.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Third Grade Economics

Last week Cowgirl's school had a Market Day for all of the third grade as part of a unit on economics. In order to get a grade for completing this unit each student was to create 30 or so of some inexpensive, homemade product and bring it to school to sell from their own store. Prior to the big day the students had varying opportunities to earn Market Day money for spending as well.

Cowgirl and I went online and looked up a whole plethora of kid-friendly, inexpensive crafts that she could make. She finally decided on paper purses and felt pencil toppers since we already had most of the supplies on hand.

We found a template online to make the purses, printed them off and cut them out.


She wrote up a huge list of all of the pencil toppers that she wanted to create... and then Coolister broke his leg. So I ended up making all of the pencil toppers while sitting in his hospital room. (Cowgirl was cool with that.) It turned out to be a lot of fun to come up with patterns and ideas.


(Answer me this: Besides just looking cutesy, what is the purpose of a pencil topper?)

The morning of Market Day, Cowgirl and I glued the purses together, added a button and tucked a little candy ring and lipstick inside.


We realized that she only had 20 items to sell as she left for school, so I used some of the leftover felt to whip up a few pencil cases as well.


There was a happy buzz of chaotic excitement as I arrived at the school. A whole sea of third graders were happily visiting each others' classrooms to purchase some Market Day treasures and also peddling their wares at their desks.


When it was all over Cowgirl was excited to show her brothers and sisters what she had purchased. "How much money did you make?" All-a-Boy asked her.

"Don't know," she responded, "but it doesn't matter. We could only spend the money we earned before Market Day. Everything we earned today just went into a bag that we gave to the teacher. But, hey! Look at all the stuff I bought!"

Economics is so much more simple in the third grade.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tree Huggers

photo from komonews.com

Have you heard this story? I wish I had thought of it myself, except that I can't knit worth a darn. (Hey - I think I just made a knitting joke!)

Anyway, whoever came up with this whole idea is brilliant. Think about it... somewhere in this New Jersey town are ninja knitters, who, under cover of darkness, stealthily stitch sweaters for cold, helpless trees and lightpoles and bring vibrant color to an otherwise bleak winter landscape.

Seriously, does it get any better than that?!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's All About The Journey

photo from laisietu.com

I set a goal last year and the time is drawing near for me to have accomplished it.

However difficult it has been, I have accepted the fact that it is not going to happen.

This song sums up what I have learned.

And so does this quote:

"The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream."
~Benjamin Mays

I'll tell you all about it at Four Perspectives.

The Race

photo from runalong.se

For the first time in almost 20 years I am going to run a 5K.

The last time I did this was in late May of 1990 as an almost graduated, 18-year-old senior on the varsity cross country team. It was our city's annual Armed Forces Day run and I easily took first place in my division.

A lot of things have changed since then. I went to college, got married, had 9 kids... the list is endless. Time was one of the greatest factors in my lack of exercise, but beyond even that is the fact that I have gotten older and less invincible. That can be a pretty tough pill to swallow.

When my oldest 2 kids started running cross country the bug started to gnaw at me again. Running used to be such a big part of my life and although it brought me much happiness to see my kids enjoying something I used to love, I had the desire to join them. I knew I would not be as diligent about taking the time to get out and moving if I did not have a goal, so I found one, a local 5K on March 13th. I would run the whole 3.1 miles without stopping to walk.

I have tried since then to be diligent about running regularly. However, life continued to happen all about me. My running was sporadic; 4 days a week here, 2 days a week there, some weeks not at all. I worked my way up to running a full mile before needing to rest, but it is too late to reach my goal. The date is suddenly upon me and I find myself unprepared.

I initially had visions of friends and family cheering me on or even running with me, but as the date came closer I stopped talking about it. I knew I would not reach my goal and I do not like to fail. I decided that I wanted to face my failure alone.

Here is where I learned a valuable lesson. It is a good thing to have a goal but it is not always an indicator of failure if we do not reach it.

When I told my husband, Allen, that I didn't want him to run with me he told me that he was still going to. Same with my little brother, Chip. They wanted to be a part of this experience, to offer me support and encouragement when I needed it along the way. I realized quickly that arguing with them was futile. So I laid down some rules, hoping to dissuade them.

I told them both that I would not keep up with any pace they would set. They both agreed to keep pace with me. I told them that I would not be able to run the whole way and when I stopped to walk they should continue on without me. They let me know that they are running this race with me - not ahead of me, but beside me. I expressed my frustration with their being there to see me falling short of my goal.

"There will be other races to run the whole way," Chip told me. "There is nothing wrong with walking. If you know you finish having done your best, that will be good enough."

Such is life.

We are not meant to run this race alone. It is not always easy to allow others to run with us, encourage us when we falter or offer help when we become too weak to continue. However, it makes the race so much easier when we can let go of our pride or whatever it is that holds us back and allow others to run with us. We can't compare ourselves to any other runner, regardless of their speed or agility. We just have to be content with our own abilities and knowing that we've done the best we can when we cross the finish line.


For the first time in almost 20 years I am going to run (and I use that term loosely) a 5K.

My goal is to cross the finish line.

For now, that will be good enough.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quick Quips

From the mouths of my kids...


"What's wrong with girls? They don't even have a sense of humor!"

"Which part of Utah does Jesus live at?"

Curly: "Go a-way! Yer ruining my yife!"

"You're wrong. Farts ARE funny!"

All-a-Boy: "I remember back when I was a kid..."

"Jobs are totally un-fun."

"Fingers are NOT humans!"

ElemenoB: "Could you move, please?"
Coolister: (Waves his arms in the air for a few seconds while remaining in place.) "How'd you like those moves?"

"Your breath smells like boogers."

Me, calling downstairs: "Who's down there?"
Curly: "Nobody."
Me: "Then who's answering me?"
Curly: "No-body. Stop tawking to me, Mom!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coincidences

photo from dreamstime.com

"The probability of a certain set of circumstances coming together in a meaningful way is so low that it simply cannot be considered mere coincidence. " ~V.C. King

I discovered this in a very personal way this week.

More here.

Coincidence? I Think Not.


I had a pretty harrowing experience with my oldest son this week. (You can read about it here if you're interested.)

It left me thinking about many things, but the one thing which has remained foremost in my mind is that I do not believe in coincidences.

Let me explain.

It was no coincidence that somewhere between the time that my boy sustained his injury and I rushed to his side there was a nurse available to help him. Someone who just happened to be there with her own kids that night. Seeing that he was already being cared for by someone who knew what to do gave me a sense of calm that was much needed just then.

It was no coincidence that one of my son's friends happened to be there with his family that night. He was right there when it happened and acted as a liaison between my kids and I, running to them with messages of what I needed them to do so that they would not have to come close and see his injury.

It was no coincidence that one of the paramedics was from my old stomping grounds in California and that we shared common experiences in growing up there and in moving to Utah. He kept me distracted with friendly conversation and cheerful recollections when my mind wanted to go in so many other directions on the way to the hospital.

It was not a coincidence when we finally made our way to the operating room and saw that a former neighbor would be assisting with the surgery. He came out afterward to chat with us for a moment and was able to let us know that things had gone well. He did not know that the doctor had forgotten to visit with us following the surgery because he had been quickly called away to another situation.

It was no coincidence that we ran into a cousin at the hospital, well after midnight, who was there visiting his baby boy. We learned that his son is hospitalized with RSV. Talking with him helped me to realize that my own boy's situation was not dire; that he was healthy despite being broken.

Not one of these things were coincidences.

They were blessings, tender mercies, evidences to me that we are never left alone to handle things beyond our ability.

Coincidences? No. I have no doubt that every single thing that happened was part of a plan, orchestrated by a loving God who was simply trying to remain anonymous.

But I'm on to Him.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bad To The Bone

Last night was our family's eagerly anticipated trip to a local trampoline gym for family night.

We slid...
we jumped...


A grand time was had by all! Right, Thumbelina?


(ahem.) Right, Thumbelina?


That's better.

Coolister was having a great time trying to perfect his front and back flips.

video

It was all fun and games... until someone got hurt.

ElemenoB found me in the '4 Feet and Under, Please' trampoline yard and told me that Coolister was hurt. "How hurt?" I asked. "He has a bone sticking out of his leg," was her response.

I ran to where he was and saw that a small group had gathered around him. A lady was there, holding his foot. "I'm a nurse," she told me calmly. I caught a glimpse of his injury and knew right then that I needed to remain calm instead of allowing the freak-out that was building up inside of me to happen.

You know it's bad when things don't look as they should. When the parts of your body that you are only supposed to read about in anatomy books are right there, visible. I was amazed by how brave Coolister was. He was not crying, he was not screaming, but I could tell that he was scared.

The first thing he said to me was this:

"I am so sorry this happened, Mom."

I about lost it right there. Here was my boy, in obvious pain, trying to be brave and apologizing to me for getting hurt. "You're going to be okay," I told him. "This was an accident. You don't need to apologize. We're going to do all we can to make things better."

Allen phoned for an ambulance. We waited.

Coolister posed for pictures.


"Does it hurt?" I asked.

"A lot."

Finally the paramedics arrived. They were wonderful.


They gave him some pain medication, stabilized his leg...


and then carried him out


to a waiting ambulance.


When we arrived at the hospital, they gave him 2 wristbands to go along with the one that served as a reminder of what had happened.


Through x-rays it was determined that he had an extreme open dislocation that would require immediate surgery.


The good news was that there were no broken bones. The bad news was that it was dislocated in more than one place. The good news was that he would heal well. The bad news was that he would not be able to choose between running track or playing tennis as his spring sport this year. The good news is that he should be healed and ready for cross country next season, although the bad news is that he will remember this injury every time he runs.

The good far outweighed the bad.

Coolister is doing well today. His pain is manageable and his spirits are good. In a couple of days he will come home and continue to grow stronger.


There were many heroes in this story.

The nurse who happened to be there when we needed her. (I wish I had gotten her name! I was so inwardly stressed-beyond-belief that it didn't even occur to me to ask.)

The paramedics who treated him with such care and concern, who talked with him to keep his mind off of things yet still made sure he understood all that was happening.

Our oldest girls, ElemenoB and Thumbelina, who kept the littler kids occupied through the whole ordeal despite the fact that they must have been scared themselves.

Allen, who let me ride in the ambulance and took the other kids home before meeting up with us at the hospital even though I know he was as worried as I was.

But most of all, Coolister. He was brave beyond belief, cool and composed. He cracked jokes to help make the situation more comfortable for everyone else despite his own fears and realizations of what this injury meant for him. He was constantly thanking everyone for the smallest things when he had every right to be crying in pain.

To everyone involved, I echo his thanks (although that seems insufficient).

To Coolister, you never cease to impress me. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am so proud to be your mom.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shopping List

I noticed this morning that a few things had been added to my shopping list on the fridge. In orange highlighter, no less.

The items were added by ElemenoB and revealed a couple of things about her.

1. I need to teach her how to spell toilet properly.

2. She's a dreamer.


Nice try, ElemenoB.