Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Resisting the urge...

And only slightly succeeding.

The urge to become a very lazy pregnant bump on a log is really hard to resist.

While Chris was in Alaska I did a fairly good job at getting into a routine of riding the trainer and walking the dog. That made me feel a little less lazy.

As he's returned, so too has my sedentary lifestyle. I'm not sure why. Afterall, he's the motivator behind most activity that I actually do.

I did get out for a good ride last Saturday with the team. Skipping Cherry Creek Time Trials this year (the fun aspect of the race's organization seems to have slipped, and the course has changed -- thus no good baseline for personal improvement), the team has decided to start monthly "death matches" up Lookout Mountain. As the emails shot back and forth about who could make it and how it would be pulled off, I grew increasingly jealous. I really do love Lookout Mountain. I have slogged my butt up that mountain and cried on the descent, and I've also raced my hardest up and beat my best expectations for my own performance. I've frozen my butt off, nearly broiled to death, but always have a good time.

So, last Saturday, my 15 week pregnancy mark, the group did their first death match. I couldn't resist. Despite some urging from a few teammates not to do it (you know, the preggoness and all), I wanted to go up and have a nice fun ride with the group. For the last three years Chris and I have both done the research on what I'll be able to safely do and not safely do when I could finally get pregnant. The only pieces of advise that we could come across were to keep my heartrate below 140 (although that also appears to be old research, that was the only guideline both the OB and fertility doc both gave me, so I follow it), avoid extreme altitude, and not to lose balance and fall over. I could handle all of these things and so I decided to ride.

The day was spectacularly beautiful and I'm glad I got out. I started out WAY before the rest of the group and spun my very easiest (which is hard to do completely uphill). I stopped at a few pullouts and enjoyed the view. I drank a lot of water and fueled myself with peanut butter m&ms. I cheered my teammates on as they passed me one by one and eventually just enjoyed the cruise up the hill and making conversation with people passing me huffing and puffing. It was quite nice. It took me forever to get to the top (52 minutes or something? My PR from the race last May is 27 minutes). I didn't care about the time and was mostly proud of myself for getting out and huffing the baby up a decent hill.

I even got to shock one snooty roadie who passed me in his fancy-schmancy team kit on his fancy-schmany Cervelo, who had the nerve to remark about how slow I was going (or perhaps about the fact that I was wearing a pack for a road ride) near the top. When I yelled out "hey man, four months pregnant!" the "OH SHIT!" was priceless. Serves him right. What guy really makes a snide comment to a girl riding her bike anyway? What an ass. It was great.

The ride went well and we hurried off to the car because I had a hair appointment in Boulder shortly after. We were still a half hour late for the appointment, and I somehow managed to pull a muscle getting OUT of the car (really, I can ride my bike just fine, but get hurt getting out of a car? This must be Chris's kid...). I spent the next two days in pain, so that was lovely. A rough week at work coupled with some self-induced laziness, has brought me to today. It is Sunday. I am trying to convince myself to go walk the dog after just finishing some really boring and not very-well-done-homework.

Or I could go eat some more.

Hmmm, yes, that does sound like the better option...

(Here are some 16 week pics taken yesterday. Not the best pictures, AT ALL, but you can see the baby bump starting to stick out.)
The levitating doggy trick!
And her belly was as white as snow...
This angle doesn't show it very well, but Turbo sure looks cute :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tangled Tales

Today I had to choose four of my students to come down and talk with a very strange lady training us on how to expand our students' oral language.

First of all, yes, apparently some of us need to learn how to *talk* to kids. Really. Amazed me too.

Second of all, my kids are five. Maybe six. There were 10 teachers watching and this very strange lady talking to them (did I mention she's a bit strange?).

So anyway, she told me to get four monolingual English speakers that have oral language issues. I laughed. If she wanted four monolingual English speakers, she'd have to settle for whoever I brought down, as I only really have four in my classroom. Total.

As she was talking to the kids about "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" she realized that the book she chose did not really lend itself to much conversation. That book has its purposes, and creating conversation about events and meaning are not one of them. So, after telling a very unfunny story about a cat sitting on her bed (which she evidently thought was hilarious) she asked one of my students to tell a story about a dog. The one boy in the group started a wonderful story, and it went a little something like this.

"Once upon a time there was a dog."

(lady stares at him and then asked "what was the dog doing?")

"Well, the dog went on a walk. To downtown."

(At this point I'm thinking the kid is a rockstar, because this is going to be one good story and blow this lady out of the water. I must admit I started to beam with pride. The lady asks "wow! what did he do downtown?")

"Someone killed him. The end."

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Hmmmmmmmm.

And there you have it.

Needless to say, she did not ask any of my other kids to tell a story.

The end.

Friday, March 05, 2010


October 5, 2009 seems like an entire lifetime ago.

In reality, it was five months ago.


Five months ago that I drove home from school feeling generally *okay* about the miscarriage for the first time in a week, and celebrating my first day without breaking down in tears by listening (and poorly singing to) oldies on the radio.

As I pulled up to the house, I looked in the front window as I always do when Chris has been on an adventure that day. I saw him sitting at the table by his computer, as I usually do, and sighed a quick sigh of relief that he was home -- until I spotted the crutches propped up against the table next to him. I zoomed into the garage, took a deep breath, and headed into the house only to see Chris at the table not willing to turn to face me. I greeted the ever excited dog and walked around to the table to see him sitting on the phone with blood shot eyes, a bloody eyebrow, and a look of shock. I'll never forget what he said when I asked what happened -- "you're going to be soooooooo mad at me!"

As he told me the story of being caught in an avalanche and being pretty sure he broke his ankle -- all while waiting on hold with Kaiser to find the cheapest place to get immediate treatment -- I couldn't believe what I was hearing. There was no room to be mad. I was extremely grateful he was alive and I quickly took over the task of waiting on hold, packing up items for an evening at the hospital, and whipping up some portable food.

As we drove the hour to the cheapest after-hour care facility down near my parents' house, we both were in a state of shock. Sometimes giggling from nervousness, sometimes being silent, but never once letting go of the death-grip each of us had on each other's hand.

As I sat with my head between my knees in the doctor's office as the brutal nurse wrapped the clearly broken ankle, fighting the urge to pass out, I remember thinking that things could've been a lot worse.

As I drove a writhing-in-pain-Chris home, I knew these seven days would change both of us somehow.

As I spent that night staring at his chest, willing him to self-heal any possible internal injuries that the doctors didn't check for, popping him pills every hour, and fighting visuals of what had happened, I hoped he'd return to his usual adventurous, excited-self.

As we spent the next two weeks sleeping maybe two hours at a time, I found myself feeling irritated that he somehow couldn't find a way to heal quicker. He seemed to be thinking the same thing.

As he accepted the invitation to ride the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska at the end of February, and as he ordered his new fancy-dancy custom single speed snow bike, we were both excited, but both apprehensive that he'd even be in shape to do it. Both of us were running on pure faith at that point. How else can we justify, looking back on it, spending so much money toward this adventure when moving from the bed upstairs to the couch downstairs was an event in itself?

As Chris started having doubts and talking about backing out of this race, I told him not to decide anything until the very last minute. "You never know where you'll be in a few months, maybe you can do it! Or, well, at least maybe you can just go and enjoy a trip to Alaska..." We both could talk a good game at individual points in time, but to be 100% honest, did either of us consider that he would *actually* be able to do it? The whole thing? I don't know. I know I hoped he could.

So here we are today, five months later, to the day. Today, on March 5th, 5 months after that crazy, ankle-crushing accident, Chris is inching dangerously close to McGrath. The finish line. He could finish late tonight. It could be tomorrow. Only time will tell. He will have ridden/walked/slogged/pushed his singlespeed through really tough conditions for 350 miles.

I can't wait to hear his story. I know the ankle will play a factor. I know that when he returns from his trip, that limp will be there -- probably more prevalent than the last few months.

But really? FIVE months later? To be finishing (quite well might I add) arguably the most brutal winter bike race in the world?


I am bursting with pride.

There will be a lot of tears when he returns, there always are after a big adventure like this. But tears of pride and joy will be mixed with tears of relief. As my belly starts to pop with a new baby, and Chris tells tales of the Iditarod, I think we will finally be able to leave that awful week behind. We won't forget the lessons we learned from those two terrible Mondays, but we can move on.

Happy 5-month-breakaversary darling.

And a premature, but very proud, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!