Saturday, March 31, 2012


So, here are some highlights for March.  What a month!  And I thought this was going to be our "down-time" before baby arrival.  The March opener at the hospital ended that dream in a quick hurry.  But we did have some fun!

Lou learned the art of the "Shower"
or as she would say "The GUHL PAH-TEE"
Twice she got to attend events filled with presents and treats and NO BOYS and our little social princess decided there could be NOTHING better.

First, she got to be center stage to celebrate her baby brother.  My sweet friends from work threw a shower for baby C at a little tea room near us, and invited Lou to join us.  She got to leave pre-school in the middle of the day, order her own lunch, eat a cupcake AND open baby C's presents.  Yep, GUHL PAH-TEEs are F-U-N!

 Her second round was to celebrate the addition of another famale to my family HOORAY for sister-in-laws.  I've got two fantastic ones!  Lou loved playing games, snuggling with her Nonna, helping D open presents and of course...eating cupcakes!

And while they were in town for D's shower, we also got to celebrate my Momma's birthday with my parents.  What a treat to have them!

The next March occurrence may not seem all that noteworthy.
Unless you have boys.  Boys who can wear out clothes and shoes like it IS THEIR JOB.
Seriously, my boys can get holes even in their PAJAMA pants for cryin' out loud.
So, its quite noteworthy that they received these AWESOME spiderman shoes in March.
I mean what could be better to a boy than combining 1) shoes that make you run fast with 2) spiderman.
I'll tell you what could be better- spiderman shoes that make you run fast AND last 8 solid months.  Seriously, as I write this post (in December) the boys are STILL wearing these shoes.  They've worn them nearly every day for 8 months.  Granted they are getting too small now, but still that's got to be some kind of record for us.

With pretty weather in March and Cbug feeling better, we were able to soak up a little more sunshine in March.  I was happy to do it because  it got us out of the house and I didn't know how much longer we'd be able to have these walks to the park since our house was for sale. 

And while we were there I took one of those pictures that make you realize why it is you feel SO HUGE...because you ARE so huge!  Cbug, are you under there?

And there you have it-
a SUPER quick March through March.
Good thing we have on our fast shoes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Does God care about my 1/2 Marathon?

I believe that the Lord cares deeply about each of us. 
I believe that he knows the number of our days and how we will spend them.
I believe he knows me far better than I know myself.
Down to the very number of hairs on my head.
I believe he loves me in a way I'll never fully comprehend, this side of Heaven.
I believe He cares.

But I can't really say whether I believe He cares that I ran a half marathon in my seventh month of pregnancy.
Surely He has bigger fish to fry.
However, I am more convinced than ever that he can use even 13.1 miles of exercise to reveal Himself.
Because He cares.
For months I've worked hard to complete something.  Not something that would break any records or that would be all that noteworthy.  Just a personal goal.  Something I needed in this fourth pregnancy.  Something that I wanted to do JUST FOR ME.
I wanted to run (or at least walk/run) a 1/2 marathon in my third trimester.
It was just something to work toward. Something to be healthy. An excuse to breathe in the sunshine (or the moonlight) several times a week. Often alone, sometimes with fellow-runner-encouragers, but always just to enjoy the miles.

And then February happened.  And February was hard.  It was really hard.  It was busy because, for most of the month, we had 6 small children in our home again (plus one tiny one growing inside of me).  But more than that it was emotionally exhausting.  There were tough decisions that RRL and I had to make, ones no one should have to face.  And therefore, not a lot of sleep. 
Definitely not any running.
So, for the three weeks leading up to my big "goal" I didn't run a step.  Not one.
And a few days before the race, I'll admit to being discouraged.
I know it is silly, it was just another run, but for some reason the thought of missing it meant so much more to me at that point. I began to pray "Lord, I don't know if this race means anything to you.  I honestly don't.  But, would you please redeem the miles"  I prayed that somehow, though it defied all "training tips", though I hadn't exercised in weeks, though I was getting further and further along in pregnancy, that somehow I would feel better this day running than ever.  I think deep down, I was praying that He would give RRL and I the chance to enjoy that 13.1 together.  I was praying that this run would be a marker at the end of another (or continuing) tough time to redeem the times we had to give up time together.  Not because we deserved that or were entitled to that.  Just because it was something we had looked forward to and we were really ready for something to just be FUN.  I didn't really care if we ran fast.  I just wanted to finish.  To enjoy it.  Together.

And you know what, WE DID!  We finished the 1/2 marathon much faster than I anticipated.  There were some difficult moments, we were definitely sore afterward, but there was so much about it that was just plain FUN!  It wasn't our fastest 1/2 (by a long shot) but crossing the finish line, holding RRL's hand, Christopher snug in my belly, was definitely my proudest race finish (by a long shot).  I cried.  And couldn't help but throw my hands in the air in thanksgiving and praise as we crossed the final threshold. 
(And I loved that moment so much, I'm even willing to show you this quite unattractive picture, belly poking out and all...the closest thing to a "belly shot" you'll see on this piece of the www).

The even cooler thing, though, is that it wasn't just fun.  It was healing.  Around the same time, our preacher started a series called "The Race".  I've loved hearing about the parallels he saw from running to our "Race" as Christians.  Especially in this season it was something I could identify with.  And it made this 1/2 marathon finish mean even more to me. 
That said, you should definitely use this link to download "The Race" podcasts ASAP. 

Thanks to RA's encouragement to examine our life race and this timely personal metaphor, here's what I've learned:
- Sometimes the time for training you have in one season, is to prepare you for a completely different one.  Maybe, just like He used the miles I had put in months before the half marathon, God can take scriptures we've memorized, prayers we've prayed, relationships we have formed, faith heroes we've studied and use them during the seasons that are crazy, those in which we have little time to "train".  Continued training is important, but He is the source of the energy and strength when its really time to hit the pavement and RUN.
- Sometimes my "running anyway" isn't for me at all.  Sometimes it is to encourage someone else.  I can't tell you how many times someone along the race course, noting my bouncing belly and sign on my back indicating our fourth "baby on board", said something to the effect of "if SHE can finish this, so can I".  I want to run life that way.  Authentically enough to let people know I'm not perfect, but bravely enough to let them know I'm running anyway.

- Sometimes I need the "us" in Hebrews 12:1 as much as I need the "perseverance".  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. -NLT  I wouldn't have attempted this 13.1 if it weren't for the encouragement of knowing that RRL was going to stick right by my side for every step.  Even though the pace would be much slower than he was capable of, he had promised to stay with me and I knew he would remind me the whole way of the goal.  He does that in our life race as well.  RRL points me to the goal, which makes the endurance come more easily.  And I love running together.
- And on that note, and maybe more than anything else I learned, I needed a good swift kick in the "my-race-ain't-so-bad" pants.  As we worked through "The Race" series at church and learned about faith heroes (in the Bible and living among us today), I had to admit I've got much to be thankful for when it comes to the particular course that I've been set on.  And I'm gonna keep running it.  I might even get really crazy once in a while, throwing my hands in the air with praise and thanksgiving just to say "this is awesome" (even if it means letting some of my "imperfections" hang out a little).

So, I don't know if God cares about a 1/2 marathon. 
But I know He gave me that 13.1 miles of fun with the guy I love.
And used it to bring me a few steps closer to Himself, as well. 

Thank you, Lord.
Thank you that you've used that special day to reveal so much to me.
Thank you for teaching me about this life RACE.
For loving me.
Just because. 
You care.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

January. Check.

Slowly but surely, making my way through the first few months of the year, getting caught up.

In case you missed it, check out these rewind posts:

Next up, February.  I think I can.  I think I can.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm coming back, I promise

Maybe I shouldn't promise.  But I really want to try to make (another) blogging comeback.  I love documenting our lives here.  And I love getting share with some of you that I rarely see. In fact, I even have one friend that I already LOVE that I only really know because of this blog (insert Kathy shout-out).  So, all of that said....

I don't know why I haven't been a better blogger this year.  I mean, in the last two months I've basically just been sitting around eating junk food.  Well, that and... 

Birthday celebrations for Cbug
Christmas celebrations with RRL's family (in January)
Training for and completing a half marathon
Keeping my nephews and niece for three weeks
Then helping those sweet kiddos move to their new home
Spending 3 days at the children's hospital with our "middlest" boy
Volunteering at the JBF cconsignment sale
Two visits from my parents
Celebrating RRL's birthday
Packing RRL and KJ off on an international trip
Making a spur of the moment decision to put our house on the market
Attempting to completely clean-out every square inch of said house (in a matter of days)
And still working 25 hours a week.
All while hanging out in my third trimester with three other small children at home.

You know, just sitting around.  Sheesh.  As one facebook friend politely put it, we might be "in need of an intervention".  We've been anything but "sitting" for the last few months. 
But the part about the junk food actually is 100% accurate.

I'm cutting myself a little slack, all of the above considered.  But today I'm starting the comeback.  I'd say the above list gives me a few topics to write about.  One at a time, one at a time. BREATHE.  Breathe. breathe.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Celebrating my Favorite

No matter how you punctuate the title of this post, it would be true...

CELEBRATING!  My favorite!!
Celebrating my favorite!

I love celebrating just about anything, but I especially love when we get to celebrate RRL.  For his birthday, he CHOSE to do something our whole family would enjoy.  BOWLING.  The boys, especially, have been begging to go so they were THRILLED that this was his choice.    I love that this was his idea of a celebration.

Between the bowling and the bowling ally food (GAG) a fun time was had by all while we celebrated.

There was a lot to celebrate, too, when you are playing with bumpers.  LOTS of strikes.  CBUG cracked us up with his crossed-arm-strike-celebratory-pose and KJ would stand at the end of the lane pleading his ball toward the center.  Love it.  Oh, and the princess, true to usual, needed all 3 of her men to help her out.
I didn't do much bowling, but the humor of the size comparison did not escape us.

Happy Birthday, Babe.
You are my favorite. 
And one of my favorite reasons to

Monday, March 5, 2012

REWIND: Cbug's big adventure

So, February was crazy.  I knew April would be, too, with counting down to baby C and celebrating my brothers' wedding (that we are ALL in).  Thank goodness we had March in between to just sit around and rest.  HA.  Famous last words.  On March 1st we started the month off in chaos, thanks to Cbug's big adventure.

I can only call it an "adventure" in hind sight. At the time, it was just surreal.  I do want to document the events of those few days, though, because I'm just so thankful for the happy ending.

On Thursday, Cbug had what appeared to be normal seasonal allergy related breathing issues.  Usually this is fairly easily resolved for him with use of his inhaler.  But the asthmatic symptoms did not get better all day.  Around lunch time, I called the pediatricians office to make him an appointment.  This still seemed just preventative.  We have a new pediatrician and I wanted her to see what a typical flare-up looked like for him.

But by the time we picked up the other two kiddos from school and got to the doctor's office, I could tell that he was really not feeling well.  The nurse took some vital signs and immediately came back in with the doctor, a breathing treatment, and a steroid shot.  Yeah, he was a sick little boy.  But to be honest, I still was not concerned.  Even at his worst, a steroid shot and a breathing treatment have always done the trick. 

But not this time.  Three breathing treatments later, his blood/oxygen levels were still dropping.  With the third treatment, he laid his head back against me and got super relaxed...and not the kind of relaxed you want to see from your super active 4-year-old.  I tried to stay calm, asked KJ to go out into the hall to get the doctor and started making phone calls to get help for my other two kids.

The doctor called 911, an ambulance was on the way, and I finally got in touch with Hatch.  RRL was at a conference downtown and couldn't get to us in time so he waited at the children's hospital for us.  Hatch was at a track meet, sent someone he works with to the doctor's office to pick up KJ and Lou.  I had to leave with the ambulance before she got there, though, so I gave KJ and the nurse instructions and a security word to know when it was safe to let them go with the person picking them up. I was so proud of KJ for staying calm and taking care of his sister.  He was AWESOME.

Cbug and I loaded up in the ambulance.  He totally freaked out when I had to ride up front...until the EMT let him watch Phineas and Ferb (I tried not to have my feelings hurt that I was so easily replaced).  We were on our way to the ER.

Another breathing treatment in the ambulance, and several more in the ER (including 2 that were an hour long each) did not yield great results.  I'll have to say, through all of this, we were not ever very worried.  Not as worried as I can see that we should have been in retrospect.  The strange thing was he didn't ever really get a lot worse, he just wasn't getting better.  We all just kept thinking, this next treatment will be the one to knock it out.  And we were so blessed to have great support via texts, emails, facebook, phone calls.  And our good friend Tara came and stayed awhile- what a gift.  Cbug loves her, we all love her, and she brings JOY (and sonic drinks).

Cbug's spirits were great for a while, with movies, toys, an ipad and an amazing child life specialist, but after a few hours in the ER he was D-O-N-E.  He's an ultra-sensitive kid and hearing other kids crying and screaming was more than he could bare.  Finally, the doctor came in and asked "how are you feeling, buddy?" Pale, sick Cbug used all of his energy, sat up, smiled, pulled the mask away and said "I'm good".  After the doc left Cbug informed us "I told the doctor I'm good, so we can leave now."  Oh, bud, you sure are a smart cookie and we all wished it could worked that way.

The last breathing treatment in the ER brought just enough improvement that we avoided ICU by the skin of his little teeth and finally got moved to a regular room.  Cbug relaxed immensely once we got out of the noisy ER and that helped him physically, too.  He was FINALLY able to get comfortable despite the oxygen tubes taped to his face and the constriction of the uncomfortable monitoring wires and went to sleep.  Which is why it sent me nearly THROUGH THE ROOF when the admissions nurse came in and made us get him out of bed to be WEIGHED at 1am.  SERIOUSLY.  I know she was just doing her job, but this pregnant momma was M-A-D.  It took forever to get him settled down again.

The next day was just lots of monitoring and oxygen.  Finally, late afternoon on Friday he was able to try some breathing on his own and seemed to be on the upswing.  He also seemed to be flying a little high on all of the medicine and sugar (he got to choose what he wanted for breakfast) and by dinner time was running circles (literally) around the playroom.  Unfortunately, we had to stay one more night to make sure he would do ok without breathing support, but we were finally able to go home on Saturday morning.  Whew.  What a ride.

A few of my favorite Cbug stories from his little adventure:
1) When he was at the height of his stir-crazed and medicated self, he was literally standing on his head in the hospital room chair SHOUTING rhyming words.  FUN.BUN.GUN.RUN, etc.  He was literally CRAZY and his outlet was making up rhymes.  Hope that is a skill he can make good on later.

2) In another moment of medicated craze, a nurse came in and Cbug looked at her and said "Hey, could I kiss you on the lips?"  Oh, that boy. And no, you cannot.  You may not kiss ANYONE on the lips until you are MARRIED (at 30), little sir.

3) He loved playing trains in the playroom, and mostly had the place to himself while we were there.  He also  LOVED finding places to hide.  All over the room.  In the playroom.  Wherever. 

4) He had several visitors and got lots of treats and gifts in this little process.  Which lead him to two conclusions: First- anyone who comes should bring him something (we had to have a little talk about this when he started asking for things) and secondly, if he has to get sick this was not a bad way to go.  Between the playroom, the attention, the movies and entertainment, and the presents, he would gladly go back to the hospital.  But his Momma and Daddy have assured him that there are many OTHER ways to have fun.  Let's avoid this one in the future, buddy, ok?

We are just so thankful that he recovered quickly.  And we are thankful for the amazing visitors, prayers, and encouragement as well as so many helpful hours put in on the home front by Grammy, Nonna and Papa J.  We are also mindful of so many other families that spend so many of their hours taking care of their sick children.  Our prayers for them abound, indeed.