Sunday, September 19, 2010

Frank's Turn

The house is almost quiet right now. I left the TV on in the bedroom because I wasn't expecting inspiration. It's a little after midnight, and I have been awake (except a 2-ish hour nap) since around 2am. I need to go to bed. For my sanity. For Olivia. And I'm so very tired but I can't.

In my adultlife (read: after college), I have been hospitalized 5 times: once for the birth of my daughter, 3 times via ER visits for my colon, and once for the surgery trying to fix my colon. Olivia has been hospitalized once for her surgery but has spent quite a large percentage of her young 17 months in hospitals and around doctors. Both my parents worked in a hospital, so in some ways I am immune to the distaste others have for the experience. Or numb. Or desensitized.

And Frank? No surgeries. His last trip to the ER was in 2003, shortly before we met when his face unfortunately met up with a fist it didn't like. He's the hand-holder. The question-asker. The rememberer.

Until this morning. Until 2am. Until he passed out in the bathroom, probably from waking up suddenly on the couch, grabbing the monitor, and quickly jogging upstairs (he'll thank me for not talking about the drool). Until he fell so loudly I woke up shouting thinking the baby had fallen out of her crib (I'll leave out "again"). Until I barged into the bathroom after realizing the baby was fine. Until I found him non-responsive on the bathroom floor, head cradled between the tiled wall and the ceramic (porcelain? heavy non-plastic, non-porous material?) side of the tub. Until I couldn't rouse him or move him (and I think I lost a little breath in that moment). Until I yelled in the hopes that someone would appear to help or inspire or instruct me on what to do (no one did, it's not like the movies). Until he woke up about 90 seconds later while I was running around the house looking for my missing purse (it was hidden under a jacket, hanging on the bannister) with my cell phones (damn the choice of bypassing the landline) or even my lost glasses (located on the bed, folded neatly, where I apparently set them before falling asleep) so I could see (blind without those damn glasses) the numbers on the phone: 9-1-1 (no need now that he was moving). Until he, disoriented and groggy, refused to believe that he fell or hit his head (the bump would prove him wrong). Until I called his parents to come sit with the baby so I could drive him to the ER. Until the long 20 minute ride to BMH. Until the ER check-in and repeating the tale to every nurse, every resident, every staff member who asked. Until he was given a battery of tests that came back normal. Until he was admitted to the hospital for observation and to rule out scary things like a stroke, seizures, or heart problems (they did or will). Until then.

So now it's Frank's turn. And we wait for the "all clear" light. And the warnings to not do this or not do that. And the scripts for outpatient testing and follow-ups. It will happen; we are not concerned. It's different being on this side. Feeling unscheduled separation.

And until then, the house is almost quiet right now. And I'm so very tired.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Conclusion: POST PARTY

And when we got home, Olivia had so much energy, we had to have ANOTHER dance party in our living room. I've never seen her twirl in so many circles.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


If I could add audio to this blog post I would. Although, I'd be torn between the famous musical prelude to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the sweet sounds of DJ Lance Rock's footsteps in the opening scene of Yo Gabba Gabba! Perhaps a combo? Because the Yo Gabba Gabba Live! There's a Party in My City Tour was awwwwwwesooooooommmme!

There's something not-at-all magical about overpriced tickets to a children's concert, but I will say this, WE had a blast. While Olivia certainly enjoyed herself (as seen below, waiting in anticipation of the fantasticness to come), Frank and I had more fun. Even better, we happened to sit in front of one uber-excited mom and her sons. That made the show all the more memorable.

The tour did a nice job incorporating all the favorite aspects of the tv version. Liv danced her diapered tush off, but really, did you expect any different from a mini-me?

And when she couldn't stand anymore, Frank or I held her in our laps so she could sway while simultaneously giving her feet a rest. So, it's a good thing the coordinators made us buy her a seat, huh?! Hey kids! That's sarcasm!

Steel Train was the guest on the "Super Music Friends Show," and sang some rockin' song that I cannot remember. I was a little bummed that The Roots didn't make an appearance, but the Emmy's were that evening, so I guess they get a pass. Ben Franklin did the dancey dance... I think his memory is going in his older age but it was cute. And then there was....


He did his usual, Biz' Beat of the Day. Olivia now tries to do the beat of the day, which I am trying desperately to catch on film. It's adorable. Side note: the parents were totally far more enthusiastic for Biz than the kids. You can see them above rushing the stage. He was letting kids come up on stage to do the beat in the mic but if you look closely, you won't see many kids... Just making an observation.

And then it was over. Just like that. We bought the CD, so Liv rocked out the whole ride home. Biz' Beat included.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 2 (or Lookin' Good, Feelin' Good)

Day 1, Sunday: I woke up weighing less than yesterday so I quick jumped on the Wii Fit to make it official - .7 lbs lost. Vindication! Spent just shy of 2 hours doing yard work -- ahh the joys of homeownership! However, this doozy of a structureless workout burned over 500 calories (and probably about $45 at Home Depot...), and I followed it up with a fabulous treadmill stint that hit 2.5 miles running at a 12 minute pace. I sped it up for the last .2 miles and still felt good. I just may be able to pull this off!

Day 2, Labor Day Monday: I thought about doing core conditioning exercises today. Thought. This was immediately followed by a tilapia & avocado taco, crab legs, and lots of cookies. I do, however, decide to run the upcoming 5K Frank and I signed up to walk. It will be the longest distance I've run since Broad Street... oh, and it's Saturday.

Day 3, Tuesday: First day back to work. Frank helps me drop a hysterical Olivia off at daycare. I tear up because she screams "Mommy," while reaching out for me. I spend 2 hours coaxing two 2nd graders into their classroom but am glad to be back at work. After work, I hit the gym for a fantastic workout. I spend 30 minutes on the eliptical at high intensity and top it off with a 2.25 mile run. Wanting a challenge, I warm up for a mile then run 2 quarter mile interval sprints with quarter mile recovery in between. I extend the 2nd recovery and cool down for another .25 miles. I feel like a runner again.

Day 4, Wednesday: Frank has class so I do core conditioning exercises while watching Man v. Food. Nothing says work that flab off like watching a grown man stuff his mouth with fried food in order to win a prize.

Day 5, Thursday: I don't want to run too hard before the 5K on Saturday so I again warm up with the eliptical at a high intensity before running 1.65 miles (odd, yes, but my weekly total will be even) on the treadmill. I am happy to say that my easy pace was bumped up to 5.2 mph. I'm completely unstoppable (cue Rocky music).

Day 6, Friday: After experiencing multiple mishaps which include leaving the house with tea-spotted pants... I give myself a pass. Plus, I'm so exhausted from waking up at 5:30am for work that I fall asleep by 10:30pm.

Day 7, Saturday: I'm down 1.5 pounds according to my official Wii Fit weigh-in which puts me about 2 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and about 13 pounds from my pre-pre-pregnancy weight (aka, my goal). I am so psyched for the morning's run that I secretly hope I will be the only person in my age bracket, thus, winning a medal. My dream seems plausible when all of about 50 people line up at the starting line. It is, unfortunately, quickly dashed when my unhurried pace lands me at the back of the pack... of one. I keep pace with the kids running the fun run, something I enjoy. Overheard:

Kid 1: This is hard!
Kid 2: I know! I'm pooped!
The little boy in first for the fun run passes me and finishes (but I wasn't far behind him!). The course winds through a residential area here in town, which means it had plenty of slopes and a good hill here and there. I run fast enough to know that I couldn't talk except to thank the volunteers along the course. I keep a good pace and finish right where I want to be [for training purposes, of course]. I'm not sure what my official time was, but I crossed the finish line in about 33:20 - much slower than my PR but about a 10:40 pace. I'm very happy with myself because 3.1 miles, as I said above, is the longest distance I've run since Broad St. My knee felt good, and my body felt better. Because we walked to the race, I ended up running/walking about 5 miles before 9:30am.
Weekly running total: 9.5
Self-Esteem: Wonder Woman has nothing on me!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quiet Time

This moment sponsored by Mom Mom and Aunt Gina who donated the lovely, Liv-sized chair... that matched our furniture (hand-to-God, we did not special-order this).

Olivia finally has a place to sit like a big girl... and climb over... and stand on... and be bouncy on... and be the first thing that lead to a time-out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba, The Pre-Party!

MUNO! He's tall and friendly! FOOFA! She's pink and happy!

Figured it out yet? I've mentioned it before - Liv's love of the NickJr. TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba! She knows all the character's names, sings the theme song, recognizes and dances to the others songs. There's not an episode we haven't seen or DVRed. She had a birthday party centering around this theme. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Have you solved the mystery of where I might possibly be going with this?

The next three posts (this one included) will be a 3-part homage to the Yo Gabba Gabba Live! There's a Party in My City Tour. And, might I add, the expensive, all kids over the age of 1 need a ticket, tour. Olivia, when you are old enough to read this, do know that Mommy and Daddy love you very much and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and I'm sure you can't even remember that we didn't buy groceries that week...

The Pre-Party, as I'm calling it, occurred a couple of weeks before the tour and involved Muno and Foofa making an appearance at the Please Touch Museum (seriously, get a membership so I can stop talking about how fantastic that place is). Frank and I figured this would be a test run helping us determine if taking her to the show was really a good idea. Let's be honest, not many 16 month olds can sit through a live show.

Mobbed doesn't even explain the main atrium of the PTM. I stood there with Liv and Mom Mom questioning, really questioning, my decision-making abilities. Then, we saw Muno in all his cardboard cut-out glory. Had I a better camera, I may have had more pictures of Olivia and the joy she exuded standing next to him. Unfortunately, most of the shots taken by my low-tech behemoth were blurry because who in their right mind tries to ask a 16 month old to stand still during a dance party with her heroes. Oh, right, me.

Luckily my camera has a video mode. Girl's got mad skills.

And then, they appeared. In my mind, it occurred in slow motion. Although, in actuality, that might not be far from the truth, considering their "handlers" had to push through what felt like thousands (or hundreds) of small children, not-so-small children, and their not-at-all small but equally as excited adults. This was Olivia's face (thank you, Camera Gods, for getting the focus right).

Foofa. She really is pink and happy, folks. Totally true. Believe me, I've seen it.

After the dance party madness, we stood in line for a photo op with the Pink Goddess herself. While in line, I maaaay have prepped Olivia on what to expect. However, she did answer the questions on her own without me feeding her lines. Scouts honor.

Olivia meets her idol. Mommy unsuccessfully hides her excitement at being in the presence of greatness.

It was at that point that Frank and I knew we had to figure out a way to scrape up the money for tickets (sell the cats? the car?). Check back frequently for parts 2 and 3 or Dance Party and Post-Party as I refer to them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 1 Report (or Hope Springs Eternal)

So this past week, I decided to start "training" for the Philly Half-Mary... now for some runners, this would involve long runs, tempo runs, fartleks (swear to God, that's a real thing, non-runners). For me, it meant boosting my mileage and running self-esteem. It worked; I'm still hopelessly optimistic of accomplishing my goal. Here's the lowdown on how it all went.

Day 1, Sunday: Hit the gym first thing instead of church. I pray while I workout. Pray = 1 part marinating on whether to really run the half-mary and 1 part get me through the workout. It is, afterall, Sunday. I spend 30 minutes warming up my knee on the bike (the one where your feet are in front of your hips, not directly under) before hitting the treadmill. I do an easy mile at a 12 minute pace. My knee feels great. I'm clearly an amazing runner and can do anything. The half-mary will be easy-peasy. I decide to top off this killer workout with some knee strengthening and abwork. Jillian Michaels has nothing on me.

Day 2, Monday: We visit preschool, and Olivia does fine until I leave to go talk to one of the directors. She spends the next 45 minutes crying hysterically and is blotchy and heaving when I walk back in. I am crushed but repeat my new mantra: It won't be like this for long. Frank works and has class, and even though he gets home earlier than expected, I decide the best way to proceed is to take the day off. After all, even professionals take a day off, right? And after this morning...

Day 3, Tuesday: Tuesdays will end up being one of my running nights when I head back to work after Labor Day, so I'm planning on hitting the gym when Frank gets home. God apparently feels I've done something wrong and has punished me with crippling stomach pains (thank you, GI system of an 80 year old). Olivia spends the day watching TV so Mommy can rest on the couch. No zoo. No gym. And Olivia starts daycare tomorrow for the morning to help her adjust more smoothly. I'm miserable.

Day 4, Wednesday: Wake up feeling physically better but mentally anxious for Liv's morning at daycare. Drop her off. She is crying mercilessly and attempting to become some sort of appendage jutting out of my torso. I leave quickly knowing in my heart that this is best and head straight for the gym. Not only will the workout get my mind off Liv's tears, but there is zero reception in the fitness center forcing me to move-on. As a result I bike for 30 minutes before running 2 miles on the treadmill. My body feels great in the moment, and since I'm coming back tomorrow, I skip the abs and weights. I feel confident that I will be ready for the half-marathon. I go home and ice the knee. Hours later, it starts throbbing. I eventually take some ibuprofen and consider rethinking my goal to running at least 10 miles of the 13.1 and walking the rest. Totally feasible and achieveable. Totally.

Day 5, Thursday: Same as yesterday regarding daycare. I'm an awful Mom. The image of my daughter screaming and reaching for me as I exit the room are seared into my brain. I do 30 minutes on the bike where your feet are under your hips (the ones used in any spin class). I now see why people take spinning class and rank this machine above the eliptical. In a heat of the moment decision, I actually try to lift my butt of the seat (which is how every spinning class is portrayed on the big screen so it must be the way to go!). My butt gets a half-inch off the surface and immediately betrays me by sitting back down. If it could talk, it would say, "Get a grip, warrior princess, I ain't no fool." I follow it up with strength training and abs. I'm the strongest mom in the world. Tomorrow I'm gonna convince my friend, Amy, to run the half-marathon with me so that our daughters will one-day be inspired by our feat.

Day 6, Friday: I set my alarm to wake me up by 5am so I can hit the gym or pavement before Frank has to go to work. The alarm goes off. It's snooze button central in our bedroom. I decide that no one should wake up to work out at 5:30am the Friday before Labor Day. I'll work out later... or tomorrow. I see Amy at Gymboree class, and she's on-board for the race. We agree to meet for monthly long runs. I'm flying high on her momentum and sign up while Liv is sleeping. I'm now 100% committed. Frank gets home early from work, allowing me to squeeze in a quick neighborhood run. It turns out, our town name includes the word "Hill" because of the terrain. And Hurricane Earl is headed north, so the sun is back! My face feels like its on fire and my thighs hurt in ways that can't be good. BUT my knee feels fine! A tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel. I run for 21:45, which according to Map My Run is 1.66 miles. Not bad for the 2nd outside run that I've done in months and the first hilly run, too! Olivia is so excited to see me as I walk [uphill] to our front door that I realize if she's at the finish line, I'll know I've done something incredible. This thought is quickly dashed when she begins crying because I'm too sweaty to pick her up. The three of us head inside before the neighborhood thinks I'm neglecting my child.

Day 7, Saturday: Wake up late which along with many other wonderful life moments prohibits me from getting to the gym. I decide God is clearly insisting I take a day off and eat cake -- well, maybe the cake was stress eating but if God didn't want me to eat cake, why on earth would he have created double chocolate layer cake decorated with white chocolate shavings??? I'm not a rocket scientist but it's indulgences like this that may have caused my weight loss to plateau. So I decide to spend 45 minutes gardening, which according to my blackberry app, FatSecret, burns 221 calories. I ride the momentum and do some core strengthening exercises while watching Degrassi. Week one done. I may or may not be screwed. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hip Baby Blues No More!

We had quite a week last week! Olivia celebrated being cast-free for one year on August 26, 2010. For any new readers, Olivia was diagnosed with bilateral developmental dysplasia of the hip when she was 5 days old. It was so severe, doctors had to correct it with open-reduction surgery, culminating in a spica cast(s). It's hard to remember what that life was like, so here she was on her 4 month birthday in spica cast #2 (always happy!).

Well, I couldn't let the day go by unnoticed (or un-celebrated!), so we headed off to the Please Touch Museum to see OLIVIA! in person.

My Olivia was thrilled, despite the [second] picture that appears otherwise. I, on the other-hand, need some modeling tips.

And to put it all in perspective, one year to the date, we had her re-eval with the county we now live in to determine elegibility for continued physical therapy [which she had qualified for last fall in our previous county of residence]. Olivia was a bright shining star and excelled in all areas, including motor skills. There was 0% delay (which was no surprise to us, having watched her move around all summer). I'm including a July video where she tried to imitate gymnastics (televised) to emphasize how far she's come.

So that's it. We feel tremendous gratitude to Miss Janet, her PT, Dr. B. (her pediatric orthopedic surgeon), and all the nurses and staff at Nemour's (DuPont location), as well as the countless family and friends that prayed for her and supported us. I don't want to count my chickens but it looks like this chapter in the book of Olivia, mine, not Ian Falconer's, is complete. Period.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't Blink

You may have missed it, but I changed the title of the blog from "And Baby Makes Three" to "And Baby Makes Chaos." I felt this better suited our lives, especially as Olivia, the toddler -- strike that -- the toddler with an attitude, grows. And since, I'm the only one writing, I figured I should be more explicit about the viewpoint. Frank's funny but let's not give him credit for the fine blog posts that keep you coming back. ;-)


13.1 Miles in 79 Days!

I've been thinking a lot about the Philadelphia Half-Marathon lately. After running Broad Street, I had my sights set on the Philadelphia Distance Run, a race much discussed in the running community due to its ease (for non-runners, read: flat course), but due to circumstances this race has alluded me the past 4 years... wedding, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, and this year: my left knee.

Problems started during my pregnancy - I experienced a great deal of pain using my left knee, mostly going up and down stairs and getting off the floor. Well, I figured a 70 pound weight gain will do that and just assumed it would get better as I lost weight. This was the same thought that I carried with me while training for Broad Street. As the May race grew near and the pain became more problematic with long runs and hills, I thought, "S*#@! This isn't getting better!" Concerned about completing Broad Street, I met with my physician, had an x-ray... then, an MRI... then met with a sports doc who specializes in running injuries (ok, so that appointment was after I had successfully completed 10 miles in 2:02 on a hot May day in Philadelphia). The good news: there were no tears, sprains, or other problems that would keep me from Broad Street. There was, however, a knee cap that was rubbing on bone and a super fancy Latin diagnosis. Oh, and the obligatory, "You really shouldn't run the race," followed by a prescription for physical therapy.

The physical therapy helped me really understand how weak my left leg (not my dominant) muscles were. I spent a good month not running and simply focusing on building up the muscles and ligaments that were left seriously weakened by my pregnancy (and did I mention the fat that came with it?). By the end of PT I was bounding up stairs and practically leaping from a floor-sit! But running still hurt like a SOB. My dreams of actually completing the Philadelphia Distance Run (now, the Philly Rock-n-Roll Half-Marathon) were fading off into the proverbial sunset.

Seeing my dismay... or more like, hearing my complaints, the knee doc recommended a series of protein-shots injected into my knee to help build up the cushioning around the knee cap. Despite my intense and paralyzing fear of needles & shots, I sucked it up, got insurance approval, and went once a week for FIVE weeks. SIDE NOTE: ask for a skin numbing spray, something I didn't know about until the doc happened to use it at week 4.

SUCCESS! After week 4, I really noticed the difference. I'm still taking precautions and strengthening the muscles, but I am finally back on my feet. But I digress...

I've certainly missed the window of opportunity to finish the Distance Run (which even if I could pull off 13.1 miles right now, registration is closed). I decided instead to go back to my roots and run the Philadelphia Half-Marathon! This was my first long, "official," run way back in 2006 when a colleague encouraged me to give it a shot. I've been running distances ever since (minus that brief 15 month hiatus called child-bearing).

So I have about 12 weeks to train my body and brain to run 13.1 miles (again). And with my most recent 2 mile jog being my longest run since Broad Street, I have quite the feat ahead of me. Oh, and did I mention, I have only run outside once since then?

No matter! I can do this! I will do this! I have to do this - I've already registered (sickly trumpet sound effect: mwah wah). So if you're game, bored, or curious, check back frequently for updates. Join me at the starting line. Or cheer me on, near or far. Either way, mark the date: November 21st, 2010.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin