Wednesday, November 16, 2011

and then you woke up and you were old.

its been sneaking up on me for awhile now.

for starters, i still own several pairs of flare jeans, and  its downright embarrassing wearing anything abercrombie.

you know. 

its when you look in the mirror and all you can see are wrinkles staring back at you.  i swear it wasn't even 5 years ago that it never even occurred to me i would have to think about having wrinkles.  now, i tear out those botox ads with a fervor  (not really, it was more for effect).

no matter how you slice it or dice it, i'm getting old people.

and there's nothing like living in SLO among beautiful college girls a night on the town to remind you just how old you are.

when lealah decided to have her birthday at sebastians or mission grill or native or whatever its called, i thought, okay-- downtown slo, time to step up my game. as in i might have to tear my lounge wear off and slap on the ol bra to make my appearance.  so i brought out my A game, a 'high and tight' black and white number i got in vegas last february.  as i was checkin myself out in the mirror before i left, i'll admit i was feelin pretty good.  college smollege.  i'll show those fine young thangs a thing or two what this ol coug can bring.

the night started off mellow.  after all, we were possibly the only people actually downtown in a bar before 10 pm.  we had a nice, mellow dinner and then made our way to the frog and peach.  now let me just remind you all that in my day i was no stranger to the downtown scene.  let's just say I'm pretty sure Jay Z was thinking of me when he wrote, 'i'm gonna run this town tonight.'  heck, back in the day, they knew my name at reggae night and 80's night at mothers... let's just say, the circle formed around my friend emily me if you know what i mean.  anyhoo, apparently times had changed cuz when we got to the frog and peach i realized a few things had changed... one of which wasn't that disgusting musty beer sweat mold smell that permeates from the bar, but what had changed was that i looked around and realized i was quite possibly the oldest person there... besides the friends i was with-- they are waaaaay older than me.  suddenly i started to feel really self conscious... it took everything in me not to ask the young college girl in the bathroom how old she thought i was... mostly cuz i probably would have started crying and then she'd laugh with her friends about how that old washed out mom was trying to get in touch with her younger days.  and although i overcame that, it didn't stop me and lealah from cornering a young bob dylan hipster sort of lad with a fake accent into telling us how old he thought we were.  when he said, 'i guess 30,' we were naturally very offended, cuz you know that was a conservative guess, i mean he probably thought we were 40!  how horrible is that?!  anyway, to spite his disinterest in us old bags, lealah mentioned to him that she used to be in a band (true) and that i had an incredible voice (false).  i then felt inclined to take it one step further and confess i made it to the 16th round of american idol'  (false). who wants to be my best friend now, regardless of my age???  you guessed it... little gyspsy hispster does.  he literally could not get enough of my stardom.  i played it super cool, told him it was a few years back, and i couldn't tell him much about it cuz of confidentiality agreements.   lealah graciously told him i literally had the voice of aretha franklin in a skinny white girls body (so false).  it was all fine and dandy til lealah left to talk to someone else and i was stuck with this tween all up in my grill. suddenly i couldn't go on with the lies when it was just me and him, so i abruptly left telling him my baby was crying or something...

after our rendezvous at the peach, we thought 'hey we're not getting any younger, why don't we go dancing?!'  cuz nothing says you are to old to be in a bar as breakin out the robot to songs you've never heard in your life.  however, it was at this juncture, that the night finally threw us a bone.  you see, we weren't old anymore....  cuz we saw this:




that's right, they are def 'in their 40's' dancing even worse than us and wearing light denim flare jeans with copious amounts of jeweled stitching (always a dead give away).  if the night had a redeemer it came in that sweet couple. it was shortly after this revelation, i realized my work here was done. i suddenly had an overwhelming urge to be in sweats on my couch eating ice cream with my husband.  if we hurried we could catch most of SNL... and get enough rest to enjoy the best part of every day... waking up to the 3 most beautiful babies in the world.  i guess it was then i realized getting old isn't so bad.  as much as i long for a wrinkle free face and a non grey haired head, i think the trade off is worth it if it means the dude taking me home that night makes really cute babies... which he does... very well i might add.

so downtown slo, i know it was just another night to you, but to me it was a huge awakening. although i don't still got it, thanks for showing me i actually have ALL i  need right here in sweet little los osos.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

if i could turn back time

its funny how all of your kids are born your 'baby' and somehow each one of them retain that name regardless of their age or birth order.  all 3 of my kids are my baby... yet if i get right down to it, i actually do have a real baby.  many of you know her as the cutest baby in the world, and it pains me to say that that baby is turning 2.

she's actually trying to not be a baby anymore.

and that is probably the saddest thing in the whole world.

every morning when she comes into our bed i get anywhere from 30 seconds to up to 7.5 minutes next to her.  its a time where i'm transported back to those first few weeks with her.  a time where i literally could not get enough of the smell of her hair, the touch of her skin against mine and her big blues staring back at me.  a time where she was small enough that it wasn't to far fetched to lay her on my tummy and pretend she was back inside me.  there's nothing in this world that makes you feel as alive as having life within you.

some mornings she babbles non stop, other mornings she doesn't say a word.  in both instances i pray a quick prayer that if god could just put her back in my tummy or freeze time just this one day that i would never ask for anything else again.

i remember when i was so scared to have a second child.  i was so scared that i wouldn't be able to love him as much as my first.  i couldn't comprehend that god would double my love, not cut it in half.  surely bringing a third into the mix would really compromise the love, but instead i think he didn't just multiply it by 3, i think it got multiplied by 33.  my mind can barely grasp what will happen when number 4 fly's in.

so how can i sum up this final baby girl of ours?  i'll start by saying, her face will bring a smile to the hardest heart.  currently she is standing on top of a 6 ft ladder.  in so many ways, she's everything lily and ozzy are not.  she's outgoing, wants to be held by everyone, loves attention and praise and is actually really loud.  she can't sit still for more than 11 seconds, and literally has never even watched more than 8 minutes of television or a movie at one time.  i can't believe i ever even questioned having a third child.  she loves mornings alone with ozzy full of trampolines and slides, and adores afternoons full of babies and tea parties with lily.  she's the closest i've ever had to perfection.  i miss her when she naps, and giddily anticipate her arrival into our bed every morning.

i literally cannot get enough of her.

so if a picture is worth a thousand words.... here's 3 trillion for ya.



















happy birthday baby girl.  you will always be my first and last.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

for the love of coco

*** update***  thank you all so very much for praying.  if you're wondering if God has answered them, i would have to shout a resounding yes!  two weeks ago, coco had her first 'clean' head scan in over 18 months... its seriously crazy.  her words to describe the results were to beautiful not to post-- 'i arrived to the appointment wearing a long, bright red dress.  i figured it couldn't hurt to look hopeful.  i waited in my oncologist's office sitting on danny (her husband's) lap.  i sat anxiously awaiting, it had been a long time since he'd been able to give good news, so in some ways i was braced for the worst.  i heard him approaching and i turned to greet him as he paused in the doorway.  he looked up and said, 'well, i've got some good news.'  i literally fell to the floor weeping, red dress and all.  it was the best day i've had in a long time!'  so as you can imagine these last few weeks have been filled with incredible gratitude, humility and just downright thankfulness to the God who can and will heal!  coco is continuing her chemo, so please, please continue to pray for her.  she has these scans every few weeks, and though we won a battle, we have not won the war.  so please, again, i implore you keep on praying!  IT'S WORKING!!!



i have a friend who has cancer.  

i never knew i hated cancer so much.  but now i can tell you that with all my heart i hate it.  i hate what it is, where it came from, what it does to people who love those affected, and even more what it does to the people themselves.  i hate that they have to live in fear.  from scan to scan, from waiting room to waiting room, from specialist to specialist.  little do all these doctors and nurses know, that these cancer patients are hanging on every. single. word.  how its delivered, inflections in the voice, lack of or too much eye contact.  all of it they have to bundle up in a little package and leave.... only to unwrap and examine and analyze it until the next appointment.

my first recollection of her was a smiling face with a mess of curly blond hair.  she exuded a confidence and warmth that few people are blessed to be born with.   i knew her as danny's new girlfriend.  i knew she worked at slo brew, was a massage therapist and a whole barrel of laughs.  years went by and i would run into very sporadically.  at sushi, walking downtown, and then finally one day at our OB's office.  if i'd ever talked to her before i couldn't remember, but that sunny june day she told me she was due any day with their first.  a girl.  i was 4 months off from delivering my third, also a girl.  we congratulated each other and wished each other luck.  it wasn't until a few months later after i had settled into life with 3 that my friend erin called to tell me that there was something wrong with danny's wife's eye. 'like what?'  i asked innocently.  'like it might be cancer.  she has to have surgery.'  heavy i thought.  i'll pray for her.  and i did, but only a few times.

never in a million years would i have thought a year and a half later she would be one of my  very closest friends.  a girl i break bread with every monday night as we dig into god's word.  a girl i have fasted and prayed for with a fervor only god could give me.  a girl that inspires and humbles me in her insatiable hunger for all things jesus.  a girl who loves her own baby girl in a way that makes me shudder when i think of the ungratefulness i sometimes have with my own babies.  a girl that every day has to swim in a seemingly endless ocean of anxiety called what if.  she's 34 years old.  her daughter is 2.


after the thing with eye was straightened out we all felt relieved.  life went on for all of us until the next scan.  when they found tumors near her brain, everyone sobered up.  she emailed me out of the blue saying she knew i had a bible study and would we pray for her, and maybe could she come sometime.  i emailed her back and told her we already were praying and will continue too and yes, please come.  i didn't hear anything for another couple months.  the surgery had gone well, and radiation was to begin.  when it came back for the second time, lealah told me we needed to go to her.  we needed to lay hands on her and pray.

two weeks later, on new years day, we gathered in her home for a session of prayer i like i have never experienced.  we prayed and cried and repented and anointed one another for 3 hours straight. this was undoubtedly the stuff acts was made of.  this was surely what god has intended for us to do more than once in a lifetime. we prayed with all our hearts and i was sure god would heal her.  he didn't.  not yet anyway.  she died to herself that day and truly became alive in christ.  i rejoiced with her a few months later at her baptism.  when you see someone who needs jesus like we need air, you start to see the world a little differently.

the last few months have been a roller coaster of highs and lows.  more lows than highs and its getting harder. i feel satan wanting to crush my less than mustard seed.  i feel him infringing on my faith to move mountains and tumors.  i feel him suffocating me and suffocating her by depriving of us hope.   my friend has cancer.  but cancer doesn't have her.

so it's when we sit in the waiting room as she gets strapped to a table and waits as her tumors are ionized, and i'm barely able to keep from smashing the tv as hoda and kathie lee sample the latest sangria recipe that i know i'll just  have to grit my teeth.  i'll smile and i'll take her hand and walk into the sunshine, because today that's all we really have.  and for now, that's going to have to be enough.

whoever you are, wherever you are, please pray.  not just now, but every  single day.  please pray that god would heal coco.  once and for all.  and so when i post again about her healing you will know that you were part of that.  that god heard your prayers and petitions.  please, i beg you.  i know this can work.  for the love of coco, i implore you. pray.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

let 'the help' help you.

unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last year, chances are you've either read or seen the movie, the help by kathryn stockett. i, like all my white mommy friends have read the book and really enjoyed it. i've yet to see the movie, but there's no doubt i will cry at the beauty and injustice of it all. this book is so much the rage that at least once a week i'll see someone post on fb, 'looking for a great book, any suggestions?' and nine times out of ten, the first comment is 'the help, i loved it!'
the more i'd see these fb posts and hear everyone talk about how great the book was, something in me started to rumble. maybe its just my inclination toward anti-social behavior, or maybe i started to really examine why everyone loved this book so damn much. i remembered enjoying reading it, i thought it was really well written, but best book ever?-- not by a long shot. with that being said, i want to emphasize my hesitation to 'criticize' the book itself. as a wannabe novelist, i can appreciate how extremely difficult it would be to put a book of that level together. it was entertaining, heart wrenching and just plain well-written. a page turner in a john grisham meets secret life of bees sort of way-- simple enough to follow, yet rich and complex in that it was about a subject matter i knew very little about.

as i began to wade through what was troubling me about everyone's enthusiasm about the book, i realized a few things. first off, i realized that it was a veiled way for us white women to take a stand against racism. hindsight is 20/20 and since all of us should know that treating african americans the way we did was totally and completely wrong, this is our opportunity to make it known that we would have been different. perhaps we would have been the 'skeeter' of the group. we would have known better. which is totally crap, and anyone who thinks differently is lying to themselves. or better put, in the words of my wise husband, 'i think it is odd and largely irrelevant for us to create a sense of empowerment for ourselves as it were with regard to how we would have been different…the ‘would have/should have/could have’ thought process, and discussion for that matter means absolutely nothing…unless we are simply seeking to delude ourselves. what matters is now—if our sentiments about that time can impact us now, then that is progress…if all we want to do is feign superiority over a time and people portrayed in a book we are more lost than found.'
boom.

what it comes down to is that the help is a simplistic way for us to look at racism in the past tense.  it allows us to become infuriated with what once was, when the reality is, the once was is really the 'still is,' more often than not.   a super duper smart blogger put it this way by comparing the help to a controversial cake she saw where there were two unicorns--the white unicorn was all pretty with rainbows fighting a black unicorn with flames all over it, 'You know why everyone is up in arms about a unicorn cake? Because it’s safe and it doesn’t mean anything. Because you can feign indignation about something as trivial as sugar and fondant. Because you get to create a distraction with a big old mess of a cake that has some “racially problematic imagery” and that right there is where your concern for and discussion of race end.  Keep talking about cake in the vacuum of mostly white communities. You’ve proven the old proverb wrong. Eat your cake, people. Down it to the last crumb. Tomorrow, you can have it again. Trust me. It will still be there. The racism, that is.  We can talk about race in a real way or we can talk about cake. I’m choosing the former.'

let me reiterate, i am no expert on race. in fact my experience is so incredibly limited. i am white (except when i try and be latino and everyone laughs at me), my husband is super white (if such a thing exists) and i have blond children which really seals the deal. i grew up in SLO which is like 95% white and have lived in only a handful of places, all of which boast similar statistics. the only thing i really have is the 5 formative years i spent with jon carter as my mom and i's housemate. it was then that i realized how alive racism still was, yes even in sweet little SLO.  it wasn't easy for me to write this blog, i knew it would likely piss off frustrate a lot of people.   but b reminded me when he said, 'you should totally blog about it.  people read your blog, we are going to have an ethiopian son. racial issues will be part of our life forever.' so with that said, i want to emphasize that i'm not faulting anyone for liking the book, i'm just trying to help myself and hopefully some of you recognize that there is a bigger issue at stake.  racism is still a huge problem and i want to be held accountable for what i am doing to aid in it, not just sit around and talk about in the past tense in the 'vacuum of my white community.'

thoughts?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

if only i had done cheer, then maybe i wouldn't be such an a-hole about it

when *alyssa* first approached me about the possibility of lily trying out for the central coast elite cheer team, she might as well have told me she had baby unicorns for sale in the back of her truck.  i was honestly that shocked.  i tried to hide my smirk and feign interest as she went on and on about what a great program it was and how she has had her eye on lily for awhile and how much fun she would have and blah blah blah.  i nodded politely as i inwardly wondered where she got her hot pink nike frees (don't be surprised if you see me in a pair in the near future)  and whether or not she was naturally blond.  i left with a thick packet of papers, made some jokes to my friends about it, and pretty much forgot all about it.

it's not that i hate cheerleading, its just that i hate cheerleading.  okay, so maybe i don't hate it as much as i just don't understand it.  which is typically defined as ignorance.  and in this case, ignorance, truly was, bliss.  my limited experience with cheer was the four we had in high school, who as my shooting guard described, 'made it really difficult to hear coach telling us what play to run in the huddle.'  now don't get me wrong, i'll take any fans i can get, and the cheerleaders themselves were just fine, in fact i'm close friends with a couple of super hot, former high school cheerleader sisters today. its just never what i would have imagined for my  own daughter.  
which, really is very stupid if i think about it.  cuz if i really thought about it, knowing what i know about lily, the real question is how could she not do cheer?  yet with my pride still raging, i tossed the cheer packet aside and resolved not to discuss it any further.  i was content with lily's progress in gymnastics, she seemed to really be making some strides lately, why mess with a good thing?  well, you mess with a good thing when you hear your 6 year old telling friend and foe alike that she's starting cheer.  and then a week later, you're hanging poolside and hear your phone ring and recognize the number but can't place it and take a chance on answering it.  lo and behold, alyssa's sweet alpha phi voice melodiously asks if we've given any more thought to cheer.  maybe it was the margarita talking (yes it was noon on tuesday, don't judge me. i was at the elks)  but i decided to be honest with her.  i told her how i just wasn't sure, cuz i played sports (wrong thing to say) and i just wasn't sure about the time and money commitment.  after she ripped me a new one about how much cheer was a sport and guilt tripped me into just letting lily try it, i dutifully conceded.  

as i pondered how i was going to break the news to brandon, i realized a few things about how vainglorious i was being.  i realized if it had been ANY OTHER sport, i would have dropped everything to make it happen. i would have sold stock to pay for it, spent my weekends traveling with the team, figured out ways to get lily to and from practice-- whatever it would take, cuz sports are really that important to me.  the more i thought about it, the more i realized what a hypocrite i was being.  how can i really encourage my child to be an individual and think for herself and instill confidence in her making her own decisions, when i'm the one dictating what she can and can't like, or worse what is or isn't 'cool.'  that's crappy parenting, and i blow it enough to know that i can't blow it on something so glaringly obvious.  the right thing to do was to give lily a chance at cheer and support her whole heartedly in it.

so when tuesday finally rolled around and i broke the news that today was the day to try cheer, she looked right at me and told me she just wanted to stick with gymnastics.  shocked as i was, my heart lept with joy as i thought, god must be on my side!  i was faithful in giving it a chance and he shut the door.  i was ready to let it die, but my conscience pricked me.  i had to talk this thing thru with her.  and wouldn't ya know, before i knew it, i was practically begging her just to try it.  begging might be an overstatement, but you get it.  my change of heart was surprising to even me.  next thing you know, lily dials in the perfect cheer outfit, kisses me goodbye and heads out with the team.  i watched her off and on long enough to know that she was really enjoying herself.  and like the good coach she is, alyssa came to chat with me a bit before practice ended.  she was sweet, and gracious and told me that its been hard to get people to understand what cheer really is.  and for those of you like me making flash judgments -- it really is a combination between gymnastics and dance.  they learn choreographed routines and incorporate tumbling and dance.  when done right, its actually pretty bad ass.  as for my concern/lily's absolute delight in the amount of make up they have to wear, alyssa easily explained to me that 'its so the judges can see their faces.'  what?  just when i was starting to like her.  does that even make sense?  anyhow, i digress.  the talk went well, and just when i was starting to maybe get on board, we got to the ol price point.  i basically came away realizing that i need to be a venture capitalist to afford cheer.  yet as i sat there watching her smiling and well, learning cheer, i realized even if its only for today, it was worth it.  the clock hits 5:30 and she comes bounding over to me and says, 'mom, i loved it. i really, really loved it.'  finally, i did something right.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent, and not so innocent*

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011 Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile

This:


...is why I prefer to do this:



I peeled off my jacket at 5:55 and handed it to Heeva's dad. Heeva, Jim, and I stood near the front of the lineup which was loosely gathered around what was assumed to be a starting line.

7000 ft. Lake on the right. Blaring spotlights, and generator on the left, buzzing crowd at our back...no gun, no siren. We caught the countdown as it rounded '4' and the RD shouted 'go' over the PA system which was competing with the generator. As is typical, a small pack explodes out the gate and starts churning 7's down the flat fire road leading up the north side of the lake. Some people around me bite--Heeva and I resist the urge, I more so than he. It isn't but a minute until the last glimpses of his platinum locks are out of sight.

2011 Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run 50K & 50 Mile start from George Ruiz on Vimeo.


Going from a cold start to the time when I feel warm typically takes 30 minutes, but the fact that the start is a mile on flat certainly helps. We hit the single-track trail up to Marlette lake; 4 miles, +2100 ft. I tuck in behind a guy keeping a mellow but honest pace and we run comfortably in line. I notice he is running with a small evian water bottle and adidas basketball shorts, simple. People burn a lot of energy trying to get by on the left only to make the pass and then slow down--"odd" passes through my mind. Evian and I pass them a couple miles later and I never see them again. We crest the basin that encircles Marlette lake (7823 ft) and a small group of us find a good downhill gear and crank off some good miles down to the fire road that runs north on the east side of the lake. I put off that first gel until my conscience gets the better of me...at 60 minutes I give in, my mental timer resets to 45 minutes for number two. The trail follows a small creek that feeds Marlette on the north side and hits an honest little climb that puts us up on the south end of the sub-alpine meadow that Hobart Aid resides in. It's a beautiful place to be in the morning.

Small Course Map. Large map can be found  here.
Pulling into Hobart aid (mile 6) I'm feeling pretty good--that aside from the fact that "California Girls" is playing entirely too loud on some misplaced stereo. The station is set up tits. Jeeps, tents, trucks, stereo's....it's a way-point now, later its impact will change, especially for the 100 milers. Apparently Hobart likes a theme; this year it's Pirates--pirates. I am excited for the year when it's Hooters, mostly cuz I like their wings.

I water and get back on it. My stomach starts to rebel a little, which strikes me as odd because I (almost categorically) never have stomach problems...unless it's 105 and I'm in Pozo with Dube-n-Dusty...

Right out of Hobart we round an east facing slope and are given a quarter mile on snow, it's novel. The short climb up this snow field puts me up in a cloud and the temp drops significantly--it's a good thing I have a pelt. I stay warm enough. The next section of trail is stellar; we pass Marlette Peak, we traverse north along trail and crest what I am told is Harlan Peak before hitting a bitchin' downhill to Twin Lakes (~mile 11). I put it in gear on the downhill and let gravity take over, it feels good to stretch it out a little...maybe a bit reckless this early on but I have a lot of quads to trash so I figured why not.

On the way to Tunnel from Hobart, Marlette lake in the background.
The quick pace on the downhill really stirs up my insides and pulling into Tunnel Creek Aid (~11.5m) I am needing to take care of some business. Somehow they managed to get a porta-john up here and I am thankful. It isn't exactly a NASCAR pit-stop but whatever. Just as I step out of the john and grab my bottles off the ground,  Thomas (current TRT 50 mile course record holder) pulls into Tunnel after coming up from the Redhouse loop on the front end of his blazing 100 mile trip. "Time to pick it up buddy" he tells me. He looks strong, like he is enjoying this...I laugh, "tell me about it" I respond and make way down the sandy road on my way into the Redhouse loop. My spirits lift a little as my insides finally start to feel better. Another steep downhill awaits, it's relatively technical and I have fun toying with the occasionally muddy footing. The descent into Redhouse is about 1.5miles, we drop about 1600ft to a low point on the course (6800 ft).

Course profile. Redhouse marked by the A after Tunnel. 100 milers do this 2x.
For some reason the Redhouse loop is on some level inspiration for the "A taste of Hell" portion of the TRT race motto. I don't really get it, but then again it's cool down in the valley--lots of water flowing, our feet get wet. I hear that some years it feels akin to Hanoi; maybe that's where the rumors come from. My shoes get river gravel in them along with a little sand. I am moving pretty well through the bottom of the loop and pass quite a few 100 milers who are being judicious with their pacing. I get stoked to see so many crusty old guys--"these guys are living" I remark internally. F-bingo. We start the climb out of Redhouse back up to Tunnel and break into the first sustained hike of the run. This part looked different coming down. I have a good hike and come back into Tunnel (~17.5m) feeling good.

The actual "Red House"...
Next up, Bull Wheel. 3 rolling but generally uphill miles with a fair amount of snow. My switch flips and I go back to feeling mediocre. It's disheartening. The trip to Bull Wheel is more arduous than it should be. This portion of the Rim Trail though is as picturesque as one might imagine--views of Lake Tahoe abound west, Washoe valley in all of its high desert splendor to the east. Turn your head, pick your view; it's stunning. In spite of my roiling insides and lack of sentimentality I think to myself, "I love this". 

I pull into Bull Wheel (~21m) after getting handily passed and dropped by couple of ladies who are moving well...served. I throw down a couple of cups of coke, burnt on gels already. I am determined. Except not 100 meters out of Bull Wheel that familiar feeling comes again and I hike off trail to answer the call...I'm glad that I brought some baby wipes with me. Again I start to feel better and move well over the next 4 miles of rolling trail until we hit the intersection of the Incline Peak trail and bear left...I pickup momentum and start to feel really good. I cruise this downhill noting that I am pretty close to my desired split to get into Diamond Peak Lodge at mile 30. I was shooting for 5:30hrs, given my intestinal setbacks I am happy to note I will probably arrive nearer 5:45hrs. This section of trail is made for a bike; serpentine bermed turns, jumps, perfectly groomed. Parts of it are playful on foot and I ride up the berms but skip the jumps. After a few miles I start to notice the gravel in my shoes and my wet socks but I am intent on hitting my split to Diamond Peak so I ignore it; my family is waiting.



Incline Peak trail dumps us off on the road just above Diamond Peak Lodge. We stopped here yesterday on our way to packet pickup just to have a look--there were some people getting set to hike up the trail for a beaver dam tour. We pass close to Incline Creek as it flows out to the lake I take note of what I guess are beaver dams; I think it's the first time I have ever seen a beaver dam. I pass a couple of families out enjoying the midday warmth and get excited to see my kids. Just down the road from the trail head the orange arrows on the road point us toward the Lodge. I round a row of cars and see Holly and the kids bouncing with excitement, I want to bounce too and as I approach them I hold back tears. I don't really know why I had the urge to cry but it came and went after I passed some salty kisses around. My mom is snapping pictures and I hand my dad a water bottle and ask him to dump a redbull in it. Holly brought a gear bag I had packed the night before and I sit down to clean my socks out, "Why don't you just change your shoes and socks" she says...right, my brain is working slightly sub par at this moment. Heaven comes in the form of dry feet as I pull on my Peak II's, the laces creak as I pull them tight--must be that Montana de Oro dust. My mom puts more sunscreen on my shoulders--it's nice being able to ask something to get done and just let it happen. Holly hands me a turkey/avocado wrap and I scarf it down, the fat tastes right, washing it down with redbull seems like a good choice. I jam my pockets with 6 more gels. We walk over to the aid station, refill water, say our goodbyes and I step off the deck at the Lodge and begin the climb.

Head down, feeling recharged. The longest 2 miles on the planet coming up.
I had heard stories about the climb from Diamond Peak Lodge back up to Bull Wheel. ~1800ft, 1.9 miles. It's hard to fathom just how steep it is. Maybe a mile of it is runnable. The rest is laughable. I fall into a hike and I see Scott's wife come trotting back down the trail. She hiked with him for a bit and indicated he was not too far ahead, Scott is doing the 100 mile--she thinks he's going too fast. Scott's reputation as a hammer when it comes to the ultra-hike is not understated. I put it in gear to try and catch him so we can run together for a bit. No dice. 1.9 miles, 49 minutes. I didn't figure this into my pacing plan.

This is the climb up from Diamond Peak Lodge....I shamelessly poached this picture off of this guys blog, but since I  somehow happened to be in it I figured it was cool...don't get mad Greg...somehow I think it might be cool.
I get to the top where the end of the chairlift waits mockingly and attempt to shake my legs out. My quads are hammered from the run down to the lodge, my hamstrings are firing from the climb. I hobble to get going and barely dance down the 200meter decent to Bull Wheel (~32m). "That worked me" I tell the guys drinking beers casually in the wind...they ask if I want to sit down for a minute, "no....no thanks". I grab a couple orange slices looking for sugar. Slowly I start to move and things loosen up a bit...a little faster and it isn't long until my body feels like it's working again. The climb took its toll though. Next time I am buying a lift ticket.

A couple of 100 milers I passed on the climb up to Bull Wheel pass me as I am trying to recompose just outside the aid-station (see that pic above--that's them behind me). I let them go and try to work the kinks out. Ok, time to go. I head off down the trail and run into them again, I am happy to have some heels to hang on to. We run together back to Tunnel at a nice pace. It's nice to listen to their conversation. The lady in front is talking about how she did Hardrock a couple weeks back. My balls all of the sudden feel smaller than usual.

We cruise into Tunnel (~34.5m) and they are taking their time. I water, throw down a couple cups of coke and head out. I know what's coming. That nice descent from Hobart to Tunnel earlier on is replayed in reverse. I mix a lot of hiking in with a moderate pace on the flats and downs. Coming over the trail back to Hobart is a lot of snow. I catch a guy doing the 100 who's positive attitude is contagious, he's in no hurry--he's hooting and hollering, taking pictures of everything in sight; on hindsight who could blame him (turns out he's the guy I poached that pic from above). We get to the back of snow drift that has a 10ft drop down to the trail, the steps that are cut into the face of drift look dangerous. The Hooter plops down on his ass and slides down, of course I am compelled to do the same. We smile and laugh together. It's a nice respite from thinking about salt, water, gel, time...after regaining our feet he keeps his hike up, I pick my feet up and try to capitalize on some good vibes.

I move into Hobart (~40m) knowing that the high point on the course is coming. We bear south-east out of Hobart and spend the next 3 miles going from 7800ft to 9200ft. There's a couple of decent snow drifts along the way once we climb above the tree line. The route starts up the east side of Snow Valley Peak and before summitting circles around to the west face, we traverse a couple miles south along the west side of the ridge. Lake Tahoe dominates the view to the west. The wind makes this portion of the run uncomfortable. The south side of the traverse leads to a quarter mile downhill section of trail that leads to Snow Valley aid. Only Boy Scouts would man this aid station and be having fun. It's windy, cold, and less than half way over. I fill one water bottle, throw down some mountain dew, and follow a giant swedish guy out of the tents back into the wind.

Mile 43. 7 to go. All downhill. Ikea sort of flits down the trail ahead of me, oddly he runs with his arms down by his sides--there's a lot of large rocks and I am sort of worried for him but he seems comfortable so I retreat back to my own issues.
the start of the descent down to the finish....7 miles down. Lake Tahoe facing.
My quads are talking to me but I ignore them because at least I can get a good rhythm and it doesn't mean I am redlining. Ikea lets me pass and for the next 45 minutes I battle the voice inside asking to walk. Below the tree line things warm quickly and I eventually pass a guy who is obviously not feeling well, I notice he has a 50k number on...he's been out for a long time. I encourage him and tell him he's almost there--maybe 3 more miles. I should have given him a gel; but that doesn't dawn on me until I am drinking a recovery beer.

Surprisingly I run into Dusty. He's running back on the course to catch a runner he is supposed to be pacing for the 100. She's apparently not feeling well and is in need of assistance. Dusty runs 15 miles back to get her, then they short cut it back to the car...yet another reason ultra's are awesome. Camaraderie.

I am determined to push from here on out. For the first time I look at the total elapsed time on my watch. I'm discouraged but not surprised that I am an hour off my goal. The final 1.7 miles around the east shore of Spooner Lake is amazing...and flat. The aspen trees are almost glittering in the late afternoon sun, this might be the best section of trail that I have ever run.


rounding Spooner Lake, you can just make out the white tent at the finish through the trees at left.
Rounding the lake I occasionally look over at the tents on the shore indicating the finish line and they never seem to get any closer...5 minutes I tell myself. The trail makes a quick step up and we run 100meters on a fire road before dropping to the right down closer the lake on a small section of single track. The finish comes into focus I see my parents standing in the scrub along the side of the trail. There's Holly...there's the finish.

my wonderfully patient family...
-done.

There's probably more to say but blogging is approaching tedium on my part...so, thanks for reading my long winded account of one day. In close, it was a very special event in a very special place, surrounded by some very special people. 

Brandon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

amazon.com for president.





so i wanted to take a minute to fill you in on why amazon might be the best company ever. if you know me at all, you know that i'm pretty die hard amazon. i've been a prime member for years, and chances are i've ordered something for you to capitalize on the free shipping. well, my faith in amazon became even greater when b got me a kindle (seeing as how it's one of the greatest products ever invented). i was a bit reluctant at first being the paper snob i am, but in no time at all i wasn't lookin back. so, it would come as quite a tragedy when life with my kindle ended so abruptly.

i wrote this email to amazon.com. it explains a bit about what happened...

Dear Kindle Gods,
Here's the deal... My husband gave me a kindle last year for my 31st birthday. I didn't even know I wanted one! But, I'm an avid reader and a mother of 3 kids under 6. Little did I know, I'm as prime of a candidate as they come. I got my first book and the leather black cover with the book light and seriously my world changed forever! I loved every second with it. Just recently someone gave me a paperback book to read and it was awful having to turn pages and fuss with a book light after months of my little black (kindle) book. I couldn't believe what a snob I had become. The next morning in my haste, I swore off all non kindle books forever. In that same instant, I grabbed my kindle off my nightstand and threw it in my laundry basket (full of darks) with every intention to get a new book that morning. However, this never happened, cuz as I began to head downstairs, the baby started crying and I got distracted by breakfast, cartoons and saying goodbye to my husband. An hour or so later I remembered the laundry I had to get done and hastily threw it in the washer.... kindle and all! It wasn't till the baby went down for a nap that I remembered I wanted to get a new book and I couldn't find my kindle. A pang of terror struck me as I remembered putting it in the laundry... I couldn't have! Sure enough I could and I did... Needless to say, my kindle was not able to recover from such an episode... I tried the ol bag of rice trick, but it really looks as though the screen is cracked... It's such a sad, sad story.
So here's the deal. I love amazon with all my heart. I've been a prime member for years, I don't buy anything, anywhere without checking amazon first. Not to mention I'm basically a kindle rep-- based on my recommendation alone, 5 of my friends have bought one... one was trying to get the nook--(aghast) but I steered her on the one true and right path! Times are tight for everyone, and I don't ever do this, but I really loved that kindle... I'm just an average smokin hot stay at home mom, with nothing to gain but begging for a little mercy from the amazon kindle powers such as yourselves. If you can find it in your heart (or the warehouse:) to possibly slip one in the mail (used or new), I will be eternally grateful. I'll even pimp you guys out on my blog-- not that you need it-- after all you are amazon.com, but hey who can say no to a little free advertising right?
So with all that said, I don't even know if this is the right department for such situations, but if there's anyway you could send it to someone who might care, I would love you forever.
Thanks so much for your time.
Eternally yours,
Holly Rodgers



there you have it. i laid it all out, and not two hours later i got this...


Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you've had with your Kindle, but we will need to speak with you on the phone in order to process a replacement for your Kindle.

You can reach us by phone directly and toll free from many countries by clicking the Contact Us option in the right-hand column of our Kindle Support pages at:

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

When you visit our website and select Contact Us, click on the "Phone" tab, enter your number, and we’ll call you right back.

Contacting us through the website allows you to verify security before a call is placed and ensures we have your account information ready when we call you. If your country isn’t listed or you’re unable to take advantage of the Contact Us feature, you can call us directly at 1-877-453-4512 or 1-206-922-0844 (if you're calling from outside the U.S.).

We hope you can call us soon so we can help solve this problem quickly.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A1HLA8Z7DLVUQB&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A1HLA8Z7DLVUQB&k=hn



Ravi V



well, ravi, you did not solve my problem, but hell yes i'll call your toll free number.  lo and behold, i explained my case to a certain young man called 'joby' and tuesday afternoon i will be the new recipient of a brand new kindle.  can you even believe it?

they totally did not have to do this.  i took a chance and told the truth (i was super tempted to lie and say the screen just cracked- knowing they would replace it) but instead i admitted it was totally my fault and they didn't owe me anything....  and they, or god, or whoever honored that.  my faith has been restored in big corporations (not that it was ever really in question), but seriously super cool. 

so that's it for now.  just wanted to tell you guys this awesome story.  i'll be back to reading tuesday, which likely means less blogging... but keep checking back cuz a certain ultra-runner i share a bed with is working on a special guest blogging appearance right here at holdmama!  so stay tuned.  and happy reading.  



Thursday, June 30, 2011

in process part 6

well for starters, no real news to report. we are still waiting. waiting, but quite pateniently i might add. having three kids gives me little time to think about much else. but at least once a day, i'll find myself thinking about him. whether its when i'm folding laundry, or rocking tali to sleep, or praying with the kids before bed, somehow, someway our son comes to mind. when i think about him, i feel a surge of happiness and contentment fully trusting (today at least) that god's will will be done and he will bring him home in his due time.  as far as news from ethiopia, it appears the adoptions are still going strong and the slowdown they predicted a few months back seems to be much better than they thought.  after that news i think i kind of began preparing myself for the what if.  i know as excited as i am, there is still a part of me that wants to hold back a little knowing that the unknown is very much a real thing.  it's funny though, cuz when i try and talk about it with b, he seems unfazed.  every so often he'll just ask me and the kids out of the blue what our et son is doing right now.  oz usually ventures he might be playing on his ipad.  oh the ignorance of privileged american children....

i was going through my adoption journal the other day and came across this entry.  kind of gives you birds eye view into the homestudy portion of our process.

10/13/10-- well we met with our social worker for the first time yesterday. it went really well. i honestly had no idea what to expect. this whole process feels a lot like we are just blindly fumbling our way along. perhaps that's why sometimes i feel defensive about people's reaction. but i can't tell you how encouraging it is to be with people that really understand... and know. people like this woman. she was really great, you could tell that she really LOVES kids and they are always her first priority. she asked us a bunch of questions, one in particular that everyone thinks but only some dare to ask. 
'so, as you know your son will be african, as in he will have black skin. he will look very different than the rest of your family. how do you feel you will be able to handle people's comments and stares?' 
since i was consciously trying not to answer every question and allow b to talk, i tried to defer to him. it was then we i realized in a lot of ways that b grew up in a similar way.   as some of you know, b's brother is developmentally disabled. he was born 3 months premature and has hydrocephalus, mild autism, and mild cerebral palsey. he's a great guy, loves soda, farts, facial hair and music. a real crowd pleaser to say the least.  but it goes without saying that he was very different than most of b's friends siblings.  as i heard b began to explain to this woman how aware he has always been of people staring and off-hand comments, it made me realize in a lot of ways he is more prepared for an african son than i thought.   it also helped me understand why it is that b could seriously care less what people think of him (often to a fault in my opinion). but seriously, as someone who has always cared to much about what people think, it's trippy for me to think about. as he continued to speak about his experience with dustin as a brother, so much became clear.  ever since i've known b, he's never been embarrased or made excuses for his brother. he is able to accept all of him fully.  and that in itself is such a feat.  
i can't tell you how often i feel the need to make excuses for my kids.  for their behaviour, their clothes, their shortcomings.  when i get down to the root of it, its totally pride.  i want my kids to give off the image that they are great, happy well adjusted kids.  kids who eat all their vegetables anything, kids who are polite, kids who have a good attitude and can get over things fast.  but the reality is, they continually fall short of these things.  its been so humbling for me to have kids that are not people pleasers.  they in a lot of ways like their father could care less what people think.  finally, i have  reason to feel thankful for this.  for when their brother does come and they get those snarky comments about his skin color, they can just get their rude on and for once i'll be proud of it.
lily started kindergarten a couple months back. they say time will start to fly by. i can't wait to write those words about our son. 
he will start kindergarten some day, with us. here, in our town, in our home. it will be just as hard to let him go, but again the reminder- they are more god's than ours, and today i am so thankful for that.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

summer hell

for most of us summer means sun, vacations, relaxation and poolside bbq's. i can barely recall, but i'm pretty sure there was a time in my life where this applied to me.

however, these days summer means something entirely different.   no sun, just fog, no relaxing cuz there is no school, and as for the pool, all that i'll be doing near a pool is listening to my children scream their way through swim lessons. but worst of all, all three of my kids are home all day.
seriously, i can't even begin to comprehend how this is going to look.

i know, i know. i'm being super dramatic. heck, all kinds of crazy moms stay home with their kids all year long-- its called homeschooling, and undoubtedly my own private hell. after having my first kid in school the whole year, i honestly can't imagine life without dropping her off everyday for 4 sweet hours.  props to you mom who stays home all day and loves it.  no joke, i'm seriously considering a part time job just to get away...

in all seriousness though, i really am having some anxiety about having to be home alone with them all day.  i never thought i would say two kids is easy!  any combination of my two  is easy.  its when all three are together that i start to unravel.  i've come to terms with the work part of it all.  one of my life slogans is 'why stand when you can sit, and why sit when you can lay down.'  yet i've come to terms with this.  i never sit.  ever.  and if i do, i'm folding laundry.  and if, for some strange moment, all my kids are occupied and i do sit down, i literally fall asleep within 5 minutes.  and then as soon as i've been asleep for 45 seconds, someone needs their butt wiped, or tali falls off the kitchen table, or lily can't find that one pair of shoes.  and then i'm so mad, cuz i was sleeping and someone woke me up.  and then i'm grumpy cuz i'm tired and want more than anything to just check out.  so the moral of the story is, i never sit down from 7:30-5:30.  that's the only way to ensure i won't rage on my kids, actually there's really no way to ensure that.

yet i digress...  so if it's not the busy part of having three kids, what is so hard?  one word.  fighting.  my older two fight all day long.  and it's a long day.  i've tried everything-- ignoring it, intervening as soon as it gets tense, and every manner of discipline, but nothing works.  the constant tension just makes all of us on edge.  it's some bad juju in this house and it can feel so suffocating.

but if i'm really honest, perhaps the hardest part of all of it is just feeling like i'm failing.  this is my job, and i kind of suck at it.  i am so thankful to be able to stay at home with my kids.  i love that i get to take and pick them up every day from school, that when they are sick, i'm there.  i love not missing anything in their lives.  it is such an honor and privilege to have this calling.  and trust me you know you're failing when you start praying things like, 'lord i pray they won't remember this day, or this hour or this summer...'  i want so bad to be good at what i do and raise happy, healthy, god fearing, loving children.  i don't want people to think gosh she sure complains a lot, why did she have so many kids if all she does is complain....  and then the adoption--- it seems so much more intense then just having four bio kids.  i'm actively choosing and advocating for this child, bringing him into a home that's full of love and a place where he is wanted.  i mean, i really have got to have it together.  the stakes seem so much higher...

so i guess what i'm saying is, thanks for letting me vent.  if you have any ideas besides drinking in the daytime, don't hesitate to enlighten me.  but most of all, please don't judge me, just pray for me this summer.  pray for me when you find yourself  lounging poolside, reading people and drinking a margarita.  i'll be folding laundry... standing up.


yup, this is what i'm up against.
                                                             

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

vacation priveleged

lately a few people have been calling us 'vacation privileged,' somehow i'm still not sure if that is a compliment.  but in any event, i will concede we've been able to swing a few getaways these last six months.

how could i easily  forget our little trip to vegas.  probably the coolest thing about this one, besides being sans kids, was that is was 100% free!  free flights to and from, free room at the wynn, and free drinks and dinner the entire time in exchange for some riveting conversations about coolers, chillers and units.  aside from my little slip up at the world's largest forever 21, we made out like bandits in vegas.

next up was tahoe.  tahoe, oh tahoe.  truckee truly is my home away from home-- it is so good for my soul.  this was a last chance for us at truckee. sadly our days there are going to be much more limited from here on out, so even though this trip was last minute, we just had to take advantage of it!

lastly, we had the biggie.  one of the coolest things about b's grandma was how much she loved to travel.  it was kind of her 'thing' to take the whole family (her two sons and their families) on a big trip every year.  she took us to costa rica, a cruise to the carribean, and a cruise to mexico in the years i was part of the family before she passed away.  b's parents seem to be in the business of carrying on this tradition with some heavy nudging from us.  so around the first of the year, we got out the calender and began planning where we should go.  we suggested somewhere 'easy' simply because of the three crazies that would be accompanying us.  b and i love mexico... before the kids we drove and camped in baja, and after the kids we visited the blackwells a couple of times in san jose del cabo and even took one trip to zihuatanejo with some friends a few years back.  out of all of those, we knew san jose would be the easiest to swing with the kids.  it was familiar, the flight was short, and b's parents time share group had places there.  before we knew it, the resort and flights were booked, all courtesy of the rodgers in the spirit of grandma!  since we had six months to prepare, i began saving a wee bit of money here and there and hiding it in one of the books on the bookshelf. i had done pretty good, till we had to unexpectedly get our septic tank pumped (the joys of the LO life).  regardless, we were going and it was going to be awesome.

so here are some pictures and my regular trip rendition of highs and lows.

highs

-getting tali's carseat on the plane.  there was ONE extra seat on that flight and god's grace was manifested through the ticket agent guy-- either that or he saw tali stomping around and crying like a crazy person cuz i wouldn't give her a sucker.

-swim up bar.  never, ever underestimate their power.

-happy hour.  drinks at these resorts can be pretty pricey, but it seemed like happy hour was every hour.  which may or may not have been the case, but being able to say 'just charge it to room 1116' made everything seem free.

-realizing my latina roots are still alive and kicking.  getting my bronze on asap.  also realizing that although the chicano skipped oz, both my girls have an uncanny ability to bronze.  they will thank me profusely one day as they lounge their bronzed bodies about in avila.

-the spirit of bo derrick is alive and kicking.  lily with 38 tiny braids all through her hair.  the girl sat there still as stone, as alecia worked her rocket fueled fingers through lily's blond locks.

-getting in some quality time with the in-laws.  it was really cool to see the kids loving them so much.  nonna doing all kinds of art with lily, and pop pop taking ozzy on water dragon adventures.

-tali loves the water.  i don't want to jinx it or get to excited, but it would appear that maybe, just maybe one of our kids will swim before the age of 10.

-virgin strawberry daiquiris. that's all i drank the whole time... physch!  no, really the kids discovered these and couldn't get enough of them or as they call them with a huge giggle, strawberry diarrhea's.

-both of my girls now own high heels.  only in mexico.

-swim up bar.  yes, again.

-realizing how much our friends have become family.  wishing they were there... b announcing/declaring (during happy hour on multiple occasions) one day we will be rich enough to take them all here!  we'll look forward to that greg.

-black out curtains.  the resort rooms had those black out curtains, and my kids slept like logs.  tali was taking 3 hr naps and sleeping in till 9 most days.

-tali learning to say hola.  perfectly.  L rolled flawlessly.

-realizing ozzy is more comfortable with mexicans than gringos.  he must've said 'hola amigo' to every mexican dude he saw.

-jacuzzi tub in the rooms.  we spent a lot of time in here with the kids.  don't hold your breath, but its possible you too will get a *naked* picture of the rodgers family for your next christmas card.

-reading bossypants poolside with a margarita in hand.  that's when you know you've arrived.


lows

-the flight back was completely booked.  this meant no carseat for tali.  she was crazy.  you know you are in for it when they are actually refusing starbust's and suckers cuz they've had that many.

-the days, there were only a couple of them, but the days that happy hour won.  those weren't so good.

-consuming 60,000 calories.  a day.  seriously i haven't ate or drank that much since never.  either never or back when i ate two cheese bagels from boston bagels for lunch in high school.  whatever the case, i easily put on some lb's.



so there you have it.  clearly the highs greatly outweigh the lows.  big thanks once again to nonn and pop for their endless generosity and taking us on a vacation we never could've have swung.  you guys are awesome!

enjoy the pictures... it may seem like a lot, but i narrowed 40 or so down from 250.  your welcome.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

lucky 13

my mom comes from a fairly large family.  there were 4 girls and 2 boys.  both brothers have passed as well as one sister.  my mom is super close with one of her sisters in particular, she always has been.  this particular sister we'll call aunt merilyn-- mostly cuz that's her name.  anyhow, this aunt of mine has 13 kids.

13.  all with one brave man, all out her very own lady parts, and none of the 13 being multiples.

telling the story of my aunt with 13 kids is one of my favorite to tell, its up there with i can say the alphabet backwards, i was homecoming queen, and of course the time when ben harper almost kissed me.  all of these get a great reaction, but the 13 kids for whatever reason usually gets the most play.

needless to say going to my aunt and uncle's house for holidays was a dream come true for a girl with one brother who is 7 years older.  as a child i remember their house being very large.  it was in stockton, so naturally it was all fenced in--almost like a compound.  they had tennis courts, a basketball hoop, a pool, a play structure and a huge grassy area for playing soccer and tag.  being the tomboy that i was am, i spent a lot of time outside, but when i did venture in i spent the bulk of my time in one of the back bedroooms.  surprisingly, not one of the kids was my exact age, but there was a trio of girls that i was closest in age to.  their room was very pink, with three pink twin beds equa-distance apart, and huge closets.  there was a bathroom attached to the room that was shared with some of the other older kids.  its funny to think there were even rooms there cuz i'm pretty sure most of the kids slept in their parents room, either on the bed, or the floor, or wherever they could find space.
aside from a raspy voice you would kill for, and thick brown hair, they were all very much individuals.  i learned so much from them without them even knowing.  i must share some comedy genes with tara, janai and i helped provoke each others rebellious sides by sneaking our grandma's smokes, and danielle always made me want to try harder to be pretty.  of course the boys made their mark too, i loved playing with brandon when i needed a break from the girls, and jason, jordan and giovanni were great pals to me as well.

when i tell people about my aunt having 13 kids they usually say something like, 'oh wow, she must have run a tight ship!'  or 'oh you mean like the duggars?' or even better, 'you have to be so organized to manage that many kids, how did she do it?'  i usually just nod and smile, and try to recall as much as i can about how in fact she did do it.  because aside from having a 12 passenger van, and 2 washers and 2 dryers, she really had nothing in common with the duggars or jon and kate.  it took me going back to their house as an adult to realize just how bare bones that house was.  i mean i remember cereal, and toast with butter-- that, and maybe some canned soup was all you would find in the cupboards any given day.  kids would watch out for each other, but it didn't stop them from getting hurt, or crying, or wanting more attention.  they were normal kids of course, but they were... happy.  and that's the craziest thing of all....

so happy with their upbringing in fact, that one of the girls has seven kids of her own, another five...  ironically the boys all have 1, maybe 2.  but the girls, they just keep em coming like their momma did.  even though i wasn't in that family, i know my desire to have a big family came in large part from the time i spent with them.

when i start to get ocd about my kids behaviour and well being and what they do and don't eat, or feel guilty about having 4 kids one day like its to many to love and care for... i think back to my cousins.   all 13 of them.  sure they've had their struggles like us all, but they've all turned into adults any parent would be so proud of. 13 kids, all doing great, that's more than remarkable, its miraculous!

so this goes out to you all my lovely orlando cousins, please.... please let's get going on a memoir.  tell me your stories... we'll do this.  it will be awesome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

in process part 5

i thought i'd take a minute to update y'all on whats been happening with our adoption.  if we're friends on fb or in real life, you might already have a pretty good idea, but for the rest of you here's a wee update. 


the biggest of the big is that we are finally, officially, DTE (dossier to ethiopia) status.  as i explained before, once your dossier (big, crazy ass bunch of papers detailing every corner of your life) goes to ethiopia, you are officially on the waiting list.  so with that said, all we have left to do is wait... awhile.  like at least a year.  
its funny though, cuz as much as i long for the day that he comes home, god has given me an impressive patience and peace about it.  for the first time possibly ever, i really feel like i can trust his timing to be perfect.  it also helps that besides pining away, there really is nothing i can do to speed up the process.
its been fun around the house lately.  we've officially named him, so its been super cool to hear the kids talk about him like he's already part of the family.  lily asking me to buy tom's for her with the request that the pair that goes to a kid without shoes would be to a kid in ET who happens to be her brother (the girl will do anything for charity shoes )... or oz reminding me not to forget to pray for his  brother at night before bed.  as much as i know it won't be easy peasy once he gets here, i know that God's grace is and will be sufficient for us.  and today, that's enough. so if you find yourself wondering what's up with our adoption any time in the next year, just know nothing really.... we are just waiting... 

it's a bit out of context, but i was going through my adoption journal the other day and found this entry. it's kind of random, but really reveals my heart and the way in which the process has stirred so many feelings and emotions...


8/8/10 i was out running today and i got to thinking...

i'm not sure how old i was when i realized that my life isn't like the movies. for a long time, i was pretty sure i was molly ringwald (but hotter:) and my blane or jake would come rescue me. it might have been after my first broken heart, when i honestly felt like i could never love again, let alone even get out of bed. the depth of my pain felt so suffocating -- surely this isn't what john hughes saw for my life.

and then i grew up and fell in love with a man that couldn't hold a candle to jake. and we dreamed about what our life would be like and the little mini-us's we'd create. they's have blue eyes and brown hair and be so funny and outgoing and well behaved (one can dream right?)  b and i would watch movies like the family stone and think about having a big, happy, slightly eccentric family...
and then the day came when i held my firstborn in my hands and it was then and there that i knew i had never known a love like this.  yet somehow, miraculously i did. 3 times.  and in my heart i know that i can do it again.  not just cuz children make us smile, and feel whole and happy, but because they make us better. they make us want to try harder, to love deeper, to take bigger risks.  because when we look in their eyes we see a hope and an idea that really anything is possible.

i know when i hold him in my arms, that feeling will come again. not because he's mine, but because he's God's and the day i was born, God knew that my lastborn son would complete our family in a way i never could have dreamed. i cannot wait to see the magic in those deep, dark eyes.
 



think we can squeeze one more on there?

Monday, March 21, 2011

february wrap up

so part of my blogging resolution to include more pictures is actually coming to fruition!  unfortunately, we still haven't made the plunge to get a new camera, but to hold us over we have b's parents fancy pants camera that takes amazing pictures.

february was kind of an action packed month for us.  b and i went away for the first time ever from all 3 kids.  i was ready to compose a full blown blog for my trip to vegas, but then i realized i'd probably get a little to heady about the whole thing... you know seeing old white men schmoozing young hookers in upscale bars, or hearing, ahem, some late night entertainment in the next room, or just being indoors for 3 days straight- it was enough to make anyone crazy.  but despite the lows, it was pretty dreamy just being with the dude with no other responsibilities.  i felt scandalous at how selfish i got to be--- spending all day at the spa, ordering an $80 lunch room service, shopping at the world's largest forever 21....  i'll admit to go from getting maybe a half hour to myself each day, which is dreamily spent reading a book or cat napping to 3 whole days of the most indulgent place on earth-- it was almost too much, yet i somehow managed:)  to sum it up, vegas is def not my first choice in a vacation, but being put up at the wynn for 2 nights and having all these cheesy hvac guys buyin us drinks and dinners made it tolerable.    needless to say, i got my 'vegas' fix for the next 100 years or so.
while we were gone, b's parents stepped in, or should i say stepped up to the challenge of 3 crazy mofo's.  here are some pics that proved they not only did stellar, but that the kids loved every minute of it...

preparing for her future.

pop pop logged some serious floor hours running cars with oz

had to call in the reserves... aunty allison to the rescue!

wouldn't be a visit from nonna without her famous sugar cookies

this frosting is pretty good.

besties.

i could gaze into those eyes forever.

probably the weirdest picture ever.  people always say tali is like a doll, but seriously this is creepy.

most of the fun of these pictures was seeing how the rodgers tried to manage t's hair....

table work.

wink wink.

hair bear



so there you have it.  the kids really had a blast, and since everything went so smoothly, we will definitely be employing the rodgers' overnight services as often as possible!  and as for any pictures we took in vegas?  yeah, we don't have a single one to show for our trip. its almost like we were never there.


next up in february, we went to disneyland for oz's 4th birthday.  we took lily when she turned four- kind of seems like the perfect age.  since oz had never been, he really had no idea what to expect, but no joke at least once a week he asks me when we can go back.  it really is the happiest place on earth.
we left early on a tuesday morning with b's parents and brother in tow.  my mom stayed back with tali so we could really maximize our time.  when we went last time, lily was pretty into all the rides, but wasn't tall enough for some of the bigger ones.  this time, lily and oz were tall enough for every ride there except indiana jones.  now, we had pretty low expectations since our kids are extremely cautious-- like to a fault.  they never take risks, and always assess every situation for danger.  we figured we'd be spending most of our time on the kiddie rides, but straight out of the gate they wanted to head for pirates of the caribbean.  with that under our belt, they were fearless!  we worked our way up slowly... thunder mountain, then the mattlehorn, and then thanks to uncle d's urging, we all went on space mountain.  it was crazy!  i couldn't believe it.  i wish sooooo badly i bought the picture they take when you are on the ride.  oz and i had landed the front row with b and lils right behind us.  the look on oz's face was priceless-- sheer terror!  it was so crazy to be zooming around on that ride and literally having to hold their heads up cuz the gravity was so strong pulling them in every direction. i thought for sure oz would start freaking out-- yet the dude just manned up.  of course he didn't want to go back on, and to this day he will randomly announce that space mountain is the scariest place on earth.  another dream was fulfilled on our trip as we opted to spend the big bucks and eat at the blue bayou (the restaraunt that's in the pirates ride).  b confessed its always been a childhood dream of his to eat there, so we told the broyles (who we were meeting at disneyland for the day) to make reservations and just like that, another wish granted.  the day was altogether amazing.  the longest we waited for a ride was for 20 minutes-- and that was for the nemo submarine ride--- last time i checked people wait like 2 hrs to go on it!  the kids most favorite ride was thunder mountain.  since the park was practically empty, we would ride and then literally hop right back on.  no line at all!  needless to say we scored!  the next day was more of the same.  it was a really cool trip and one that i know we will all look back with such fondness...  here are a few pics to go with it!

she basically ate that whole thing

brothers

watching their favorite ride thunder mountain zoom by

why yes, it is a small world after all

too cute


i'm like that guy in the chair from the maxell ad in the 80's

he's a looker alright.

why yes, i am wearing shorts.  

i know, i thought it was captain jack sparrow too!

lily used her toy $$ for a pirate get up.  
and that my friends was february!