Monday, October 22, 2012

Half Marathon Complete!

I am sitting at my kitchen table feeling sore, tired and extremely satisfied.  I can now say that I have ran a half marathon.  To be able to say that after having three babies and battling two auto immune diseases makes this accomplishment mean even more to me.  There were times that I thought that this was never going to happen for me.  That this was going to be one of the goals on my bucket list that I would have to just let go.  I started in January at 0.  Probably below 0 because when you have terrible joint pain you don't want to even move!  In January, I slowly began doing the Couch to 5K running program.  I kept my pace slow and eased myself into running.  I was able to complete my goal of running a 5k in April.  I think that after that 5k I began to hope.  Hope that I would be healthy enough to try and train for a half marathon.  My sister in law, Emily, was training for a marathon and it was inspirational to see her go through her training.  I was able to run with her the last 4-6 miles of her long training runs.  I think that being able to run with her and move past just the 3 miles really gave me the confidence to go ahead and train for the half marathon.  The training was difficult at times.  I dealt with blisters, sore muscles and a foot injury like all runners have to deal with but I also had to keep my special health needs in mind.  I had 10 different medications and excess fatigue to take into account.  When I look back on the training I think that over all it was a great experience.  There were hard and painful runs but there were good and easy runs that brought tears to my eyes because I couldn't believe that I was actually doing it!

The week before the race brought its own excitement.  First, I realized that while I thought that I had registered for the race somehow I hadn't.  I don't know if I started the online registration process and got distracted and never finished or if I just didn't complete the whole process and thought that I had.  Either way, I realized that I was not registered!  Thankfully there were still openings and I was able to get in no problem.  Second, my house was hit with a terrible stomach bug.  I know that there were people praying over me and to be honest I think that is the only reason that I did not get it myself.  I had cleaned up so much vomit and poop that no matter how often I washed my hands I probably should have gotten sick.  I think that it was truly an act of God that I did not come down with the stomach bug.  We had all planned to go to Des Moines as a family to watch me race.  It came down to a wait and see.  Saturday morning we had officially been 24+ hours free of vomiting and everyone felt at least well enough to go.  Yay!

Here we are race day morning.  I was so glad that Dan was able to be there to see me run.  After he caught the stomach bug too I was worried that he wouldn't be able to be there.  He felt a solid 75% and toughed out the rest.  What a guy!

Emily and I all ready to go.  Let's do this!

The beginning of the race was awesome.  To be there with that many people (8,000) all with a similar goal in mind was a moving experience.  I got choked up a couple of times as the race was beginning.  It felt a little surreal to finally be there.  We were able to meet up with my other two best friends Stacie and Jennifer.  They were running too!  We gave hugs and wished each other good luck.  To be able to be apart of this together was special and something that I will never forget.

The race went well!  I feel like I was prepared for it and it was a fun run.   There were bands all along the race path, plenty of bathrooms and drink stations.  I think that made this first run all the easier.  I got emotional a couple of times during the race.  The first time was when we passed my parents, brother, Dan and the kids.  They were all there waiting and cheering us on. 

Here we are passing them the first time.  I was so excited to see them!

Everyone hanging out waiting for us to pass them again.  When I passed them a second time I got hugs from all of the kids.  It was perfect.

Another moving moment for me during the race was when Jennifer passed us going the opposite direction.  I was able to yell her name and cheer for her.  I was so proud of how she was kicking butt.  After last April when she got injured and wasn't able to complete her first half marathon it was beautiful to see her doing so well.  

We got towards the end of the half and by that time some of the Kenyan marathoners were passing us.  It was AMAZING to see them go.  I was so inspired at their hard work and God given talent!  When I reached mile 11 I realized that I was going to actually finish!  I was so excited and it made the last two miles fly by.  My friend Stacie found us at mile 12 and was so encouraging that last bit.  She is such a cheerleader.  It is one of the things that I love the most about her!  With Stacie's encouragement and the fact that Emily and I were going to cross that finish line together we made it.  I was crying my eyes out as they said our names one right after the other.  Dan, my brother Bryan and the kids were all there at the finish clapping and cheering.  It was a perfect end to the journey.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talking with my 2 year old Aubrey

I have decided to help me remember these early years with the kids I am going to start taking more videos.  Usually I only remember to take a video if it is an actual event or the kids are being super goofy.  I took this video of Aubrey as we were just hanging out one afternoon.  She was just drawing in her notebook and chatting with me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Facing my Lupus fears

I have been struggling these last few days with some fears that I have about my Lupus.  It was really brought on when I was at a PTA meeting this week.  I had gone to the meeting to help plan Dawson's fall party.  I was introduced to two other moms by Dawson's teacher and we all sat down together to plan the party.  About ten minutes into the meeting I go to use one of the mom's names and in a panic I realize that I have no idea what it is.  I know that she told me and I even repeated the name back but I have a complete blank.  Thankfully I made a note at the bottom of my paper the names of the two women!  We got everything all planned out and as I am leaving another mom from the class catches me, introduces herself and tells me that she was at a different party planning and that is why she couldn't be at ours.  She tells me that she would still like to help and if there is anything that I need to just let her know. I have her write down all her information for me because once again I begin to panic.  I can't remember her name!  She just told me and I repeated it back!

I am freaking out on the way home because I start thinking of all the times that I can't remember.  Dan will tell me things and I have no recollection of him saying it to me.  I have had people request to be my friend on facebook and I have no idea who they are.  I know that I went to high school with them.  I know that people I do remember are friends with them but I've got nothing.  There are parts of my childhood that my siblings will talk about that I don't remember at all.  Dan will talk about our college years and early marriage and many times I don't remember what he is talking about.  It scares me.

I was sharing all these fears and worries with my friend Jennifer and she said something to me that really stuck out.  She said, "Really Heather, what is it that you are afraid of?  You are scared but what it is exactly you are afraid of?  You need to face these fears head on."  She is right!  When I face these fears head on and actually list them out loud then I can deal with them.  I think that for a long time I have not even addressed these fears because if I said them out loud it would make them true.  So here they are ...

1.  I am afraid that I am going to forget something  with the kids' schedule and they will be disappointed in me.

2.  I am afraid that I am going to forget something and let someone down like my family, my friends and people that the kids are in contact with at school.

3.  I am afraid that I will continue to forget things from my past.  Unless it produced a strong emotion in me I don't remember much from my childhood and teen/college years. 

4.  I am afraid that I won't remember these years when the kids are little.  That I will forget how Dawson went through a stage when he was two where he said Harry Potter in an English accent, or how Aubrey uses words and phrases to no 2 year old usually uses (like "that's amazing" or "that's perfect"), or ALL the crazy things Emma has done since she was born.  I don't want to forget!

5.  I am afraid of what I will be like 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.  If I can't remember where I put my keys now at 32 and spend 5 minutes looking for them only to realized that they were right next to me the whole time what  is my life going to be like when I'm 62?!?

So there they are.  In black and white.  As I look at them and speak them out loud I can already see that some of these fears are unrealistic.  I can let go of number 1 and 2 because even if I didn't have Lupus or wasn't on a chemo medication I am human and have three kids.  It will happen that I forget something.  Those fears I can let go because I know it is just life.

Fears 3 and 4, to me, are valid fears that I can address.    I think that by blogging or keeping a journal I can begin to keep those memories.  If I blog more about my day to day with the kids I can preserve those beautiful, small moments that occur with my children instead of just the big things that happen.  If I  journal my memories that I still have from my childhood I can keep those and have them to pass on to my children and grandchildren.  Memories are a gift and I want to be able to give those memories to my kids and then to their kids. 

Fear number 5, being afraid of what I will be like in the future, is a fear where the resolution seems elusive to me.  I have no control over this fear.  So, in this situation, I do the only thing that I can do.  I turn this fear over to God.  He has multiple promises that I know I can trust in.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matt 6:25-27
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:6-7

Facing my fears about my memories has been scary and even painful.  I am thankful that I listened to my friend and faced them.  Allowed myself to feel those fears because I have now been able to work through them.  To let go of those that are unrealistic, to form a plan to help me preserve the memories that I do have and to turn over the fears that I can't control.  I am allowing God to give me a peace the transcends all understanding  because I KNOW God holds me in His hand. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Family fun night

This weekend we had a Friday night when Dan was home and we wanted to enjoy this rare time together.  it was a perfect night for a campfire, cool but not windy.  The kids ran around the yard picking up sticks and leaves to help Dan build the fire in the pit we purchased a few years back.  I am pretty sure that campfires are Emma's favorite outdoor activity.  While they built up the fire I was inside getting dinner ready.  Here is a photo of Emma testing out the campfire with a few marshmallows before dinner.

Once the campfire was all ready to go the kids spent sometime jumping on the trampoline together.  They were making all kinds of silly faces instead of the smiling, we really do love each other type of photo that I was trying to take.

Sweet Aubrey girl saying, "Cheese!"

Dawson is always the one I can count on for a great smile!  I wish that I could get those girls to give me one of those sometimes.

Aubrey giving her brother kisses.  Dawson and Aubrey have a special relationship and she really misses him when he is gone at school.

If you will notice, Aubrey dressed herself today.  Nothing but high fashion around here. 

After dinner, we had carne asada with rice and beans, we all grabbed our blankets and huddled by the fire.  I brought out with me all the fixings for smores.  I had them sitting in the cupboard for just the right night.

Aubrey was mostly interested in the marshmallows.  I don't think that she understood what we were trying to make so she grabbed marshmallows one right after another and shoved them in her mouth. 

I am sure that this will come as a big surprise but Dawson and Emma roast their marshmallows very differently.   As you can see Emma likes to stick her marshmallows right into the fire and burn them black.  She is blowing the flames out of her marshmallow.  Dawson, on the other hand, slowly roasts the marshmallow until it is even all over.  No flames for him!

Emma enjoying her very first bite.

Dan and Aubrey snuggling close to the campfire.  No smores for Dan.  I don't know how anyone can pass up a smore but Dan does.  I will never understand how he doesn't like sweets.

We filled our bellies with smores and by then it was starting to get dark out.  I had the great idea to play hide and seek in our backyard together.  It was a blast.  We all had turns seeking and I think that I got the biggest kick out of Aubrey.  She would get excited and start talking loud and then would remember and tell who she was hiding with to be quiet.  When you found her she would scream and laugh while she was running away from you.  I think that the best moment of the night was when I was hiding in the big outdoor toy bin.  Nobody could find me and so they decided to split up and check on the back hill.  It was pitch dark out and Emma didn't want to go up on the hill.  She said that it was too scary.  Without missing a beat Dawson yells out across the yard, "Emma!  Just believe in Jesus!"  Awesome!

It was late so we brought Aubrey in for a bath while Dawson and Emma stayed out a little longer telling each other spooky stories.  Aubrey was a mess.  How she got that much marshmallow in her hair I have no idea!  I guess that just means that she had a great time!