Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Foto: Dora and Napolean 2004

My second year teaching high school I figured "hey, I'm a Spanish teacher, I should dress up as Dora for Halloween!" (This was before kids, so I had actually never seen an episode of Dora. Little did I know she would one day become a regular part of my daily life) I had super long hair then so I was wearing a wig that day. The kids thought it was great and were pretty freaked out when they thought I chopped my hair. This was also when Napolean dynamite was HUGE. A couple kids dressed up like him but this student not only looked like him but could imitate him perfectly. Fun times teaching high school! Looking at this pic it's also no wonder I got in trouble every time I was in the library during my prep hour for not having my student ID. It seriously took 4 or 5 times before they remembered I was a teacher : )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Growth Spurt

Today I took Brinley in for her 15 month well check and was amazed when they told me that since her last appointment 3 months ago, she has grown 4 inches!! I knew she had grown since I had to buy her a whole new wardrobe in size 18 months, but I had no idea she had sprouted that much! She jumped from the 18th percentile to the 45th percentile in height. Pretty impressive!

With the height change have come a lot of other changes. I feel like she is escaping the baby stage and moving full speed ahead into toddlerhood. She now "runs" which is basically a super fast walk with her right arm swinging wildly to propell her forward. She also has 12 teeth, including 4 molars and is quite the little chatter box. Some of the words she says are:

Chee= cheese
tak oo=thank you
eee-ya-oh=here ya go
nigh nigh=night night
buddy=(referring to Monty, who I often call buddy)
bahdoh=bottle (yeah, I still give her those, oops!)

She is ever the ray of sunshine in our home and continues to have such an easy going flexible personality. She's really getting into dressing up now and if we leave any clothes on the floor she will find them and try to put them on her head or her feet. She also will grab bows, barretts, and jewelry and bring them to me, begging in toddlerease for me to put them on her. She adores her big sissy and copies everything she does. When she wakes up from her naps and sees Teya she runs up to her and gives her big squishy hugs. It's heartmeltingly adorable : ) We love our little Brinsie and are so happy to have her in our family. Here as some recent pics.

And here's a bonus video of her watching Super readers on my iPod. Like I mentioned, she LOVES to dance, and even laying on her belly she was busting out some moves. There's a great moment too when she notices the camera and says "cheese!" and at the end she even goes back to some of her old bouncing baby moves. Classic!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Move over Edward...

There's a new vampire in town

Sorry though, he's taken ; )

On Saturday we attended a fabulous Halloween costume party thrown by some of our good friends, the Baldwins and the Tedjamulias.

We spent the evening playing games, bobbing for apples, and even had a dance off at the end. I think I burned at least 1000 calories dancing : ) Thank you to our lovely hosts for such a fun filled night!

The Tedjamulias as Mario and Princess Peach (aren't they adorable?)

I didn't get the chance to document everyone's costumes, but here are a few. Love the couple's themes!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Emotional Night

Last night I gave Brinley a whole apple to keep her busy while I was making dinner. She's eaten whole apples before and never had a problem so I didn't think much of it. A few minutes later I heard her coughing and gagging. She'd swallowed more than she could handle so I picked her up and started pounding her back to get it out. She gagged up a pool of drool and started crying so I thought she was okay. Crying means breathing, breathing means fine, I thought.

When Taber got home 30 minutes later she was still acting like she was in pain and was drooling excessively. Nothing we could do would make her smile and she kept coughing and crying. Taber suggested calling the nurse hotline so I gave them a call and explained what was going on. That's when things got emotional. The nurse said I needed to call 911 or take her to an ER immediately. I hesistated at first and the nurse got upset and said, "what are you going to do? are you going to call 911 or go to the ER?" I told her I didn't think we needed an ambulance and she got frustrated and said, "well I'm a registered nurse and my professional opinion is that you need to call 911." I told her I'd take Brinley to the ER and hung up and started throwing things together to leave. We don't have a hospital in Maple Grove so in my panic I just took her to the Urgent care. She must've looked pretty pathetic because they didn't even make me fill out paper work, they brought her straight back and the Dr. came in right away. After a brief exam he said she had an esophogial obstruction, blocking her ability to swallow (which is why she was drooling so much) and that he was sending us to the Minneapolis Children's hospital. He was worried the apple could move and be apsirated so he called an ambulance to take us there.

I've never been in an ambulance before but I actually thought it was very comforting because I knew if anything happened on our 30 minute drive to the hosptial that we had all the help we needed to deal with it. We got to the ER and they put a little hosptial gown on Brinley. within 5 minutes it was drenched with drool. The Dr. came in and saw her and quickly decided this was serious enough to book an OR. They called a gastrointestinal pediatrician and started prepping Brinley for surgery. The nurses came in to start an IV and that was the toughest part for me. Brinely has such thick little rolls on her arms and tiny veins that it was very hard for them to get it in. They poked her 3 times, blowing 3 veins before the anesthegiologist came in and said the OR was ready and they would do it themselves.

We went back to the Surgery prep room and listened to the nurse, the Dr, and the anestigioligst tell us what was going to happen. They were going to give her laughing gas to calm her down then put in the IV to put her under. Once she was out they were going to go in with a scope that has a video camera on it to find the apple and then pinch it out with some grabbers. We signed some papers and then they took her out of Taber's arms and whisked her away. She cried when they took her and I cried watching her go. A few hours earlier when I gave her that apple I didn't think our night would end up like this. Thankfully Taber was there to comfort me. Together we went to the waiting room to wait it out.

20 minutes later it was over. The surgery was a success! They found the apple, got it out, and everything was going to be okay. The relief I felt was indescribable. All night I was crushed by guilt for giving her that apple. Knowing that she was okay was like the weight of the world being lifted from my shoulders. When she woke up we went back to see her and she looked wonderful. Such a difference from her miserable state before the procedure. After monitoring her for 30 minutes we were able to take her home. We got in around midnight, picked up Teya from our sweet neighbors who were watching her, and got the fam all settled in bed around 1.

This morning Brinley is completely herself and doing better than ever. It was a very emotional night but a good reminder for me that all those strict guidelines about foods to avoid for small children are out there for a reason. For now we'll be sticking with applesauce.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

S is for Sista!

Before I had kids, when my sisters would come out to California to visit me it meant time to play hard! We would hit the beaches, go to theme parks, restaurants, and do some serious shopping. Now that we have kids our sister visits have changed quite a bit. Since small children do not love shopping, don't do well in restaurants, and have to take naps, we adjusted our agendas. Our motto for Sarah's visit last week was Mother's by day, Sista's by night!

During the day we planned fun activities for the kids, museum visits, kid friendly food joints, apple picking, etc... Then at night, Taber would stay with the kids and we'd go out for ladies night fun! We managed to fit in a couple late night movies at the theater, hit up some great restaurants for appetizers and dessert, enjoy haircuts and manicures at the spa, and get in some good shopping! The whole week was extremely theraputic and I can't thank BOTH of our husbands enough for making it possible! Here are some of the highlights of our week together.


First I introduce you to my sister's cutie bug Noa, he is 4 weeks younger than Brinley so it's kind of cool that we were pregnant at the same time.

And now on to our week! We took the kiddos to the Minnesota Children's museum on Wednesday. They played so hard that on the drive home all three of them spontaneously burst into tears and wailed all the way home. It was so crazy and funny at the same time, all we could do was laugh. When we put the kids down for naps we attempted to learn the Beyonce Single ladies dance. haha! yeah...

On Thursday we had a kid friendly lunch with a some of my friends and then met up with Taber at his work so Sarah could have a tour of the headquarters. I was so glad we brought the kids because Teya was THRILLED to see her Daddy at work and clung to him the entire time.

On Saturday after some girl time in the morning we put the kids in their Halloween costumes and went to the Mall of America to do some trick or treating at the theme park.

We met up with our friends, Cameron and Wendy and their cute little lady bug, Miley.

It was great to have our friends there to take a picture of all of us together! The kids weren't really feeling the photo op but we'll take what we can get : ) Sarah got some shopping in and we hit a couple roller coasters with Cam and Wendy. Teya also rode the some kiddie rides all by herself for the first time!
On Sunday we went to church and then took the kids on a walk to the little jungle gym by our house. It was cute seeing Noa and Brinley play together.

On Monday we went to our favorite apple farm for apple picking, fresh apple donuts and cider. Some of the apple's had frost damage from the snow earlier in the week, but most of them were still good and we got a pretty decent loot.


Taber is THE MAN and happily stayed home with the kids every night so Sarah and I could go out and par-tay! It was the most liberating thing to put the kids down, change out of our mommy clothes and go out at night. I forgot how fun it can be to just drive around in the car when you don't have to wrestle kids into car seats or throw snacks into the back to pacify fussy children. It was also so awesome to plug in my iPod and BLAST my own music while we drove. I used to love rocking out in the car but Teya isn't a fan of my music and definitely doesn't like it loud. We usually just end up singing kid songs till my voice box is swollen and my brain has turned to mush. So yeah, rocking out to my own music was blissful liberation.

One of the best parts about going out later was that we weren't battling any crowds at the restaurants or theaters. On Tuesday night we saw My Sister's Keeper at the dollar movie and had the whole theater to ourselves. It was like our own private viewing and we definitely got a little hyper ; )

On Wednesday night we hit a big sale at Kohl's and stayed there till they closed at 10pm, then we went over to the Theater to see the 10:30pm showing of Fame. Once again we had the whole theater to ourselves and took advantage of the chance to stand up and dance to the music, boo and cheer out loud, yell at the characters, and just act like nerds. I know I'm getting older but hanging out at night with my sister made me realize that I'm not THAT old and that I can still go out and get a little crazy. Here are some pics of us in the empty theaters, we couldn't resist ; )

Friday we had a spa day and Sarah cut 8 inches off her hair. With our new matching hairdos we got dolled up to go to Biaggi's for appetizers and dessert.

It was funny to see people react to how much we look a like. The guy pouring our water looked at me and smiled, then he looked at Sarah and did a double take to look back at me and said, "okay, I'm confused now." Then our waiter asked us if we were twins. We said, "No, just sisters." And then he said, "Oh, so are you the same age?" We were laughing pretty hard at that one.

Later in the trip we went to Redstone, my favorite restaurant for fondue, and we also stayed up a couple of the nights to play Pounce and watch some chick flicks at home. By the end of the week I was definitely tired from all the late nights! But it was soooo worth it to feel so girly and to have such great bonding time with my sis. : )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fabulous Fibs

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my sister's new business. Her and her friend are starting to make and sell the most ADORABLE costume bibs called FIBS, because they look like one thing, but are really another. When I was in Utah I put a couple on Brinley and couldn't get over how cute they are. I think they'd be a perfect baby shower gift or great for the upcoming holidays. They have a bunch of different designs, Go check them out at!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday Foto: Sister Time

My little sister Sarah is in town.
I'm definitely getting my fun fix for the week.
Yay for family!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My First Marathon (and blog post)

On Saturday I ran the Whistlestop Marathon in Ashland, Wisconsin. All the details are below for anyone interested, but here are the highlights. Marathons are long. They make your legs tired, and it really helps to have a cheering section.

So here are the rest of the details...

One week before the marathon I was recovering from the 24 hour flu bug and really hoping that it wouldn't make too much of a difference that I missed my last long run. Once we got home from Utah I started to regain my strength and even did a couple short runs during the week. I kept checking the weather in Ashland and every day the forecast seemed to get less and less appealing. On Monday the weather was calling for rain/snow and windy. Since I have a hard time committing to anything I hadn't officially signed up and I thought that the weather was turning into a pretty good excuse not to run. Why should I sign up now if I know that the course is going to be muddy, wet and cold? After talking it over with Becca I realized that this was really going to be my last chance to run a marathon this year and it was either now or wait until after winter. So on Tuesday I went out and ran in the rain to get over that mental barrier and came home and signed up for the race.

We drove up to Ahsland (4 hour drive) on Friday evening. We got there just in time to pick up our packet and watch them take down the last of the tables for the pre-race spaghetti feed and fish fry. Oh well, I had heard a lot about carbo loading but wasn't too sure about fish fry loading. Either way we weren't too worried about missing the feed since we had loaded up on carbs that afternoon on our way out of Maple Grove. Definitely love having an excuse to carb load.

Picking up my race packet I felt like it was the first day of school and I was finding out my class schedule. The trouble was when I started looking through my packet I noticed this bright green paper with a lot of big bold letters. The paper described in detail how this year the course had experienced a lot rain and had a number of soft spots throughout the trail. In addition, the unseasonal cold weather meant that there was a much greater risk of hypothermia. Awesome.

Morning of Race

Sure enough we woke up to 30 degree weather with snow on the ground and wind at 20-30 mph. At least it wasn't raining and the sky was clear.

Luckily I had brought all of our warm running gear so I bundled up in my thermals, running shorts/shirt, wind jacket, running mask, hat, headband, gloves and we headed to the starting line.

After a few detours we eventually go to the start with 4 minutes to spare before the gun went off. Thank goodness for chip time. I managed to make one last bathroom break, but didn't get much of a warm up or stretch in before the gun went off. I guess you probably don't need much of a warm up for a marathon, but for me that mentally kept playing with my mind during the race that I needed to stop and stretch. Right before the gun went off a huge gust of wind swept through the starter's chute and blew snow all over us. That was kind of like splashing water on our face before jumping into the pool. A nice hint of what was to come.

Miles 1-8

The first mile of the course followed a nice paved road before it turned into the rail-trail that was made up of packed limestone gravel.

I started out the first mile at a very conservative pace and crossed the first mile marker around 11:30. What was surprising was how quick people started to shed all of their warm gear. I saw people dumping their gloves, hats, jackets. All I kept thinking was how we still had a long 5 hours before we were getting out of the weather and it seemed a little early to start shedding. I actually ended up keeping all my gear on and never felt overheated. The first 8 miles were awesome. I felt great and everyone was very chatty. I felt relaxed and like I was just out on another long run. I ended up stopping around mile 3 to adjust my shoelaces and eventually caved into the thought that I needed to stretch and stopped around mile 6 to stretch my legs. I also walked through every water station because I just can't figure out how to run and drink out of cup without choking myself.

The best part about the course was that Becca could see me 6 different times! Every time I saw her it was a huge boost of energy. She saw me at mile 4.75, 9.9, 13.7, 16, 20, and 24.

Looking back it was around mile 6-8 that I probably felt the best. At one point I started thinking about why I was running, the journey that Becca and I have been on since the beginning of the year, my girls and everything suddenly felt a lot more emotional than I imagined. I felt light and like I was running effortlessly. Around 1hr 15 min into the race I also decided to gulp down my first GU. This only seemed to add to my running state of zen because I gulped down the chocolate GU and I immediately felt like I was eating warm gooey brownies. The part of the trail I was on was covered in a light snow and looked like a winter wonderland. as I slurped down the GU I felt like it was Christmas and I was eating warm brownies with the family. That was for sure the part of the marathon when I felt my best.

Miles 9-15

As I neared the half marathon point I was consistently running around a 10:10 mile. I got to the 13 mile mark and saw that my time was around 2hr 15 min. I still felt good at this point and was starting to notice that I was consistently catching up to people in front of me. By this time the cold was starting to wear more on me. I was extremely glad that I had a mask to protect my face from the wind, but it was still chilly.

When I ran by one of the water station one of the volunteers was shouting, "cold water!" and all I could think of was how that was the last thing I wanted. Some of the water actually had ice in it which didn't help at all with the core body temperature. Around this time Becca actually started passing me water that we had in our car that was luke warm. Much better.

Mile 16-20
These were the miles where I started to notice a dramatic change. At mile 16 I met up with Becca at a water station. This water station, though, wasn't protected very well by the trees so the wind was particularly strong.

I was starting to feel a sharp pain in both my quads telling me that my body was starting to get mad at me. I tried to lift up my left leg to stretch when a sharp pain shot through my hamstring that made me feel like I'd been shot in the back of the leg. I thought for a second that my leg might tighten up so much I might not be able to run again. So I decided to ease back into my stride and take off again. From that point on the pain in my quads gradually increased. The trail had a lot of parts that were packed pretty well, but some parts were like running on a beach. After 16 miles my quads were starting to wear down. I passed mile 18 and surpassed the longest training run I had completed. I always heard that running 20 miles in your training doesn't really help you physically but it's more of a mental advantage. Well, I never ran a 20 miler but out there on the course I was wishing I had just to have that mental edge.

Mile 21-24

By mile 20 I knew that I wasn't going to be able to push myself at a consistent pace for the last 6.2 miles. A couple miles earlier I had found myself running by two other runners. The one guy eventually dropped back and it was just me and the other runner. She explained that she was hoping to finish in 4 1/2 and I mentioned that I was just hoping to finish. That little bit of small talk did wonders to help keep my mind focused away from my quads and instead on just keeping a steady pace.

At that point every step hurt. My lungs and heart felt great, but my quads really did feel like someone was taking a meat grinder to them. Even when I knew I only had a little over 3 miles left it might as well have been a half marathon. I had no idea how long 26.2 miles really was. Those were some lonely miles.

Miles 24-26.2

By mile 24 the course was starting to show signs of coming into the small town of Ashland. By this point I had lost my pacing buddy. My legs were shutting down and I was starting to get worried that if I stopped I wouldn't be able to start up again. I was trying to dig deep, but really didn't have anything left to give. Thank goodness I saw Becca at mile 24. I pulled my mask down and tried to mumble to her that I was spent. She gave me some water and said she would see me at the finish. I don't know how I got through the last 2.2 miles. I wasn't really running but was more shuffling and hoping the legs wouldn't completely freeze up. Somehow I managed to make it through those last couple miles and crossed the finish line with a chip time of 4:38:26:2. I'll take it.

Post Race:

Becca was there to catch me at the end. There's no way I could have made it with out her support. She was my inspiration. I love you Babe! We walked around for a minute and got ourselves out of the cold. It felt so good to have finished.

I had no idea how hard the marathon was going to be. I did not respect the distance and certainly did not train long enough to be prepared for the distance. Even though I had been running all summer it wasn't until after the Ragnar about 8 weeks ago that I decided to start a dedicated training program. No wonder I couldn't find any good 8 week marathon training programs online.

My legs are still very sore, but all the joints feel strong. My toes got pretty beat up, but they really didn't hurt at all during the race. I got some nasty blisters but they have been healing well over the last couple days (WARNING: not for the feint of heart - click here if you want to see them) . Overall I just can't believe I actually ran a full marathon. I keep recounting to Becca all the different details of the race and what a crazy, emotional, challenging, rewarding experience it was. I've also already found myself searching for the next marathon challenge next summer.

Since we had to leave pretty quickly after the race, Becca decided to throw me a little after party to celebrate with a few of our friends on Monday. It was awesome to feel everyone's support and the cake was delicious. Definitely a good reason to run one of these again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ready or Not, Here it COMES!!

This morning when Teya looked out our window and saw this picture she was jumping around for joy, shouting, "WINTER'S HERE!!! WINTER'S HERE! HOORAY!!" The moment was not quite so joyous for me. I tried to be get excited with her but last year the 2nd week October was a picturesque scene of fall beauty, NOT big fat snowflakes dumping from the sky. I felt like I was being robbed of fall. I'm not sure if I'm ready for this, but at least Teya's happy. (And I'm crossing my fingers it will melt and we'll have a few more weeks before this whole place freezes over for the rest of the winter!)

"Don't eat the yellow snow Mom, just the white snow." Ew. seeing her eat ANY snow makes me cringe but it's all part of childhood so I figure a few bites won't hurt right?

Let's make a snow man!

The finished product. Guess I can't complain too much when the snow make her this happy. She is so in love with winter, good thing too since it looks like it will be a LONG one this year!