Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We've Grown!

Here's a late announcement: Our daughter, Julia Angelyn was born February 26th at 7:39 am. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz, and is such a sweet sweet baby. We are very blessed!

Daddy's wrapped around her finger already

Proud big brother

Post delivery...been up for 24 hours straight, since I was in labor all night.

Our new family of four

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Running Story

This is my first post in a long time. Many things have come and gone...a whole semester of grad school (all A's, thank you!), a terrible season of UGA football, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and suddenly we're in 2011. All of it worth mentioning, but my favorite accomplishment/milestone this fall has been running my first half marathon this past October. This is my running story...

This past winter I had terrible shoulder pain which ended up requiring surgery to alleviate. I had to give up almost all my fitness that involved the upper body (swimming, weights, even the arms on the elliptical were difficult). So I started jogging, which I could do relatively easily without straining myself. I'd run a few 5K's before, but I've never been able to run more than 1/2 mile without having to stop and walk. So I signed up for the Winder Relay for Life "Hope for a Cure 5K" this past March and ran, with no training. I had a time of 34:00ish minutes, not great but not terrible. I walked a good bit of it.

After I had recovered from shoulder surgery enough to get out on the road again, I was itching to seriously train to run faster. I bought a Nike+ pedometer to measure my times and distances. It unit works with the iPod/iPhone and connects to a separate unit in your shoe. But the unit continuously needed calibrating and was never fully accurate; I'd run a 5K (3.1 miles) and it would only measure a run of 2.8-2.9 miles. So I traded it in for my Garmin GPS, which I wear on my wrist and enjoy immensely. It's turned out to be very accurate and has a lot of features that I don't use, but it's helpful when I'm switching from biking to running and vice versa.

I ran my first 10K in Madison this past May. This was 6.2 miles, a distance I'd never run all at once before this point. I remember being at the starting line and panicking that I'd never be able to finish all of it. My goal was to make it in an hour...I did an 1:07:00ish. Yuck. But I had a taste for running races, and it's addictive. I then decided to run the inaugural Athens Half Marathon taking place the end of October. Plenty of time to work up to 13.1 miles...

The end of May I found out I was pregnant. I kept on running, though, but decided not to sign up for the Half b/c I would have a sizable belly by then and would probably need to take it a little easy. When I lost the baby the first of July, everything changed. Running became kind of an escape for me, like I was running to punish myself. Not that it was my fault that we lost the baby or that running was the reason for the miscarriage, but it felt almost cathartic to sweat and pound the pavement through painful knees and ankles. I made the mistake of trying to run a race in the middle of July, two days after the physical miscarriage. My body was weak and swimming in hormones, and I fell to my knees after the second mile marker. I made it to the finish (pushing Nick in the stroller) but I told myself to never ignore what my body was trying to tell me.

The end of July I ran other 5K, a trail 5K at Fort Yargo state park, with a time of 33:12. The trails were hard to maneuver and it's difficult to pass other people on the narrow dirt passageways. I didn't let the time bother me.

One night I was running around the local high school (my favorite starting point) when I stepped off the curb weird and twisted my ankle. I was unable to train for several weeks, but ran another race in Flowery Branch soon after, limping almost the whole second half of the race. My time went down to 31:00ish, even with the bad ankle. I still wasn't listening to my body...
The next race in Buford, the Pound Out Polio 5K, I ran in 29:49, my best time yet! I was ecstatic about getting in under 30 minutes. (Robert still tells me that his students make fun of his T-shirt from that race. "Hey Mr. Turner, didn't they already cure polio?")

By Labor Day I was training exclusively for the Half Marathon on October 24th. I had a regimen of shorter run/walk exercises Mondays and Wednesday, a long run Thursday building up to the distance runs on Saturday. But three weeks before the Half my left knee went out. I could barely make one mile at a good pace without having to stop. So I rested...and rested...and never made it past 8 miles at my longest distance. I figured, what's another 5 miles if you've already run 8? It can't be that hard, right? I was going to find out one way or another...

The day of the Half, a Sunday, started out chilly. A couple thousand people crowded downtown Athens waiting for the start, some in trash bags over their running gear to keep warm, which they could throw off later when the race started. A novel idea I didn't think of...I was freezing. I had a goal of 2 hours 5 minutes.

The first four miles went very well; my knee hadn't given me a problem in a week so I wasn't worried. By mile 5 and 6 we were up on Milledge Avenue, and the pain started. Shooting from my hip down, my leg was on fire. But I was only halfway there, so I kept pushing...I remember praying to God to take the pain away from my leg.

By mile 8, the pain had turned to a manageable tingle. The grade was getting steeper as we climbed back up towards downtown Athens, crisscrossing through historic neighborhoods I'd never seen in all the years I'd lived there, and looping around behind Athens Regional Medical Center, an old employer. I looked in the crowd of scrub-clad people outside cheering us on for anyone I recognized but saw no one.

By mile 10, I was totally spent. Had to stop once to shed some layers and another time to use a port-o-potty (thank goodness for those!) Then came the killer: Mile 12 to mile marker 13 was an almost vertical climb up to the where the Classic Center sits downtown. I had to walk almost the whole mile, both my legs now numb from the knees down and my hip joint on fire. When I topped the hill I breathed a sigh of relief, for there was mile marker 13 and the finish line in sight at the bottom of the hill. The girl next to me and I decided to have a sprint down to the finish line...

Big mistake! I couldn't feel the lower half of my body, but it was moving faster than I'd ever known I could manage. I crossed the finish line as the announcer called my name and hometown over the loudspeaker. How embarrassing! Here I was trying not to pass out or have my legs buckle under me while everyone was staring...

But I did it! My time was a 2:12:ish (2 hours 12 minutes), not bad considering I had to stop and take a bathroom break during the race. My only regret is that no one in my family got the chance to see my run that day. My parents were in Moscow and Robert had a gig at another church. Next time I would love to have some cheering faces in the crowd who know me!

Would I do it again? Absolutely! In face, I've signed up for another half marathon this March 2011 in Atlanta, with the intention for training a little more efficiently this time. Since then I've run two more 5K with times of 29:59 and 27:17, and the Savannah Bridge Run 10K, with a time of 59:59. I'm in the best shape I've been in in years, my clothes all fit better, and I have a much more positive self image. I've gone from not being able to run a mile to running 13! Running has done remarkable things for me in the past year. My new goal is to run the Myrtle Beach FULL Marathon in February 2012! Gotta get moving!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Elmo Cupcakes

I must admit, I did not come up with this idea on my own (see this website for my original inspiration) but I did tweak it a little due to lack of supplies and what I thought would work better. N loves Elmo, although mostly from books and little from the actual Sesame Street. So we're throwing him an Elmo party tomorrow for his second birthday. I decided to make these cupcakes myself just to see if I could. (I'm not very artsy and I'm definitely not a good cook).

I made the cupcakes out of red velvet cake.

For the eyes I took kitchen shears and cut large marshmallows into thirds. (I originally looked for Necco wafers for this step but couldn't find any, anywhere.)

For the nose you need orange gumdrops. But they don't sell just the orange... I picked them all out and gave the rest of the bag to the hubby.

You also need black decorating gel, black licorice and red sprinkles. And red food coloring.

Sierra waiting patiently for me to drop something. She eats licorice, BTW.

Take white icing and add enough red food coloring to get a good red icing. I pretty much killed an entire bottle of food coloring and still only got a really dark pink.

After icing the cupcakes heavily, add enough red sprinkles to finish the red coloring and give Elmo his furry look.

Place two marshmallow thirds on top for the eyes with a gumdrop for the nose.

Then use your black decorator gel to make the pupils on the eyes. I started using the gel for the mouth as well, b/c I couldn't get the licorice to "smile" enough. (Elmo looked kind of perturbed.) However, I started running out of gel and was forced to use the licorice. With Robert's help, it works best if cut into a thin, thin strip and curled around your finger for a moment before placing on the cupcake.

He's going to be so excited! What do you think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When to stop being a baby?

Robert and I are struggling with N right now being very attached to his paci. We keep it mainly for nap times and bedtime, but lately he's been demanding to keep it in after he awakens. I try to put my foot down about it but I've been struggling with work/fatigue/housekeeping/etc etc to fight him over it. This morning was the last straw.

He refused to sit in a chair to eat breakfast, wanting instead to carry a banana around with him and take out the p-a-c-i in between bites. After battling to get him to eat half a banana in a chair in the kitchen, he immediately got down and screamed for his paci. (Which I had hidden, although not well, on top of the refrigerator.) I just got angry at this point, took the paci and cut the rubber part off with a pair of scissors. Hmmm, want to guess what happened at this point? Total meltdown ensued...

I'm tired of this battle over the pacifier. When he wakes up at night with his paci on the floor, he cries and cries until I get up and hand it to him, thus ruining my sleep at some point most every night. If he gets hurt or falls down, he asks for it IMMEDIATELY. I really don't know how much he gets it at school or at my mom's, but at home it's a constant struggle.

Am I being too hard on him? Should I let it go and let him be a baby longer? He's fixing to have his second birthday and I'm afraid he'll be that kid I see at 3, 4, 5 years old with a binky still hanging out of his mouth. Eww. Any suggestions on how I can handle this or get him to let it go?

(BTW, I have more paci's other than the one I had Robert cut up this morning. An emergency stash. Do you think I'm attached to it more than he is??)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer in Kindermusik

Here are some pictures from our latest semester of Kindermusik. To find a class near you, visit their website here...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Miscarriage

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2

Dear potential readers:

*Long post warning* This will be a hard post for me to write, and probably for some of you to read. But I've thought about it, and I think it might be a little therapeutic to say some of these things that have been on my brain as of

After we went to the first doctor's visit, the ultrasound showed the baby to be a little small, but with a definite, faint heartbeat. So they took blood to check my HCG levels and scheduled me for another ultrasound two weeks later. Nicklas was all excited to "see the baby" again. I don't know how much he really understands about babies, and mommies having babies, but we took him to the follow up appointment with us anyway.

The second ultrasound technologist was not the same one we'd had our first visit. To put it mildly, she is quite gregarious. Didn't really hold anything back.
I am now, by my math, almost 10 weeks pregnant. But I was startled to see almost the same image on the screen above her head that I had seen two weeks before. Worse, when she turned on the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat, there was...silence. Nothing. My brain suddenly went numb.

I'm an imaging professional. I generally can tell what I'm looking at on an ultrasound, especially in OB/fetal imaging. Our formerly very talkative technologist was suddenly very quiet, poking me all around (you know...down there) trying to get more angles on the uterus. She clears her throat, asks me again..."how many weeks are you?" My numb brain responds, but I don't remember what I said. "Well, I'm not seeing what I should see" she replies. Inside I'm screaming I know what you're trying to say, now say it! She shows us a chart on the wall, pictures of some random fetus and what a 10 week baby looks like. She shows me more numbers on the machine's monitor. I don't care that the baby hasn't grown at all, just say it before I choke you. "What about the heartbeat?" I manage to squeak out.

She puts her hands on mine. "There isn't going to be a heartbeat".

At this point I break down. Robert, struggling with Nicklas, is silent. I'm not really paying attention to what they're doing. The technologist leaves to get a doctor, who promptly returns and confirms what the lady has already told us. The pregnancy is no longer viable, the baby hasn't survived his or her first trimester.

Now my brain is screaming: What did I do wrong? Doesn't this sort of thing happen to other people? What went so right with Nicklas and so terribly wrong with this one? What do I do now? The ultrasound lady is trying to say things to console us, but it's only making me angry. Yes, I know I have a beautiful son. Yes, I know I can try again. Will you shut up???

The doctor sits us in another brightly lit, sterile, impersonal exam room and explains our options. One, wait and see what happens. Two, take some medicine to speed up the...uh...miscarriage. Or three (her recommendation), take me to the OR and use suction to remove the mass of tissue. A mass a of tissue. What had been my soon-to-be second born child was now being referred to as this: tissue. If you're like me, and believe that life begins at conception, then you too might see why this disgusted me so.

We decide to come back in a week (which was yesterday) and check again under ultrasound to confirm. Now, I wasn't expecting anything to change. Yes, I was hoping for a miracle. Yes, I was praying that my math/dates were way off and the baby was still alive. Yes, I was counting on some human error... but not really expecting one. By this time I had started bleeding, in small amounts. The new ultrasound showed no baby at all, only a sac remaining. It was a blessing in a way, a bit a closure that God had given us. He had worked His miracle and kept me from having to go to the OR, being put under anesthesia and not fully remembering my last moments with this child of mine. I had that time, fully awake, to say goodbye to this child who I will meet in Heaven one day.

It's been a hard hard week, but we're getting better. My sweet brother reminded me that in one of my former posts I had written about the woman I'd met who had the miscarriage that affected me so. He said "it looks like God was preparing your heart for this even before you knew about it" and he's right. God did lay a foundation in me, gave me the strength to smile and play with my son and eat and sleep and do all of those normal things again. He would never test me with more than I can withstand. Every day feels a little more and more normal. Please keep us in your prayers as we are struggling with His timing and all the disappointment.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good News!

Drumroll please...

We're expecting again! Baby T #2 is due in late January or early February 2011. I went to the doctor today for the first time and I'm measuring a little small, according to my dates, so I'll need to go back in two weeks to have another ultrasound done. We're so excited to make N a big brother!

In other goings on, we spent last week on the beach at St. Simons Island with my parents and R's mom. We had a great time relaxing and generally doing a bunch of nothing. Here's some good pics from our trip...

Relaxing in the shade by the pool

I had to convince him to get dirty in the sand. It took some getting used to but he came around.

Going down the slide at the toddler pool. This place was awesome for kids.

Chillin' at the pier near the St. Simons lighthouse. I love this pic.

Bubbles...a great distraction gimic for meltdowns. We kept a supply handy.