Friday, January 29, 2010

More Awesome Photos!

Seriously, Folks. How could I not follow the last post up with this series of photos? See that? That right there?

What's that girl doing? Is she break dancing?

What girl?

THIS one:
Wait, wait, wait. Wait just a minute. You can't tell from this angle? You think she's just 'Doin' the Mit'n?

Yeah. You might think so. Til I zoom in on this:

She's doin' the mit'n dance all right. My mom told me she was gonna hate me for this one day. I told my mom I had every intention of showing it to Sasha's future husband before she walks down the aisle.

Full disclosure. That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Photo Sequence

I came across this sequence of photos tonite while working on a project with Pookie. I just had to re-post them. Even the tantrums (mine), the whining (mine), and the messes (also mine) pale in comparison to the gift that is this present.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Running Skeered: Part C

OK, anyone else tired of the parts?

Here's the conclusion:
Cried myself to sleep Friday with fear in my heart. The plan was to run 8-10 on Saturday morning. How was I going to do that? What was I doing to myself - to my body? What if I had to have surgery and therapy and ... and ...

Before bed, I loaded up the Wii Fit and completed a few Yoga sequences. Me and Yoga. That makes me smirk. I am so not a Yoga girl. But desperate times call for, apparently, desperate measures (not that I have anything against anyone who IS a Yoga girl; I, myself, however, would not describe me as one...). I also iced my hip, stretched it - a LOT - and fell asleep praying. Praying that God would heal the pain and help me run one marathon. That's all.

Saturday morning I woke up.

Pain free.

I ran 8 difficult miles Saturday morning.
(Mental fortitude and attitude are vital to a successful running goal.
Fear = High Likelihood of Failure.)

So, the moral of the story?

And do Yoga.
And Pray some more - with a bag of frozen peas in your lap.

The End.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Running Scared: Part Deu

Fast Forward to today. Since I busted up my foot 3 years ago, I have 3 1/2 real half marathons under my belt - you know, the ones you actually DO prepare for and DON'T break your foot to avoid ... oh, and "1/2" cuz you all remember Hurricane Ike and his terrible timing.

Today I'm training for my first full marathon (although I'm typing this instead of heading out to run ... ). In fact, two Saturdays ago, BigDaddy and I went downtown to Forest Park and planned to run a 12 mile loop (two laps around the VERY hilly park) - and ended up running 13miles. Can I say on national blog land that I kicked his butt? (I can cuz it so rarely happens!) And then we came home and I about died.

My. Hips. Hurt.

Remember that part of yesterday's story? You know - the pain I felt before I busted my foot? Hip pain.

So the Saturday we basically ran a half marathon through Forest Park, I came home to excrutiating hip pain which I have had to deal with since that first major walk all those years ago now. But usually I just deal with it.

Two weeks ago Saturday, it became worse. And worse. And worse. Until Thursday night when I 'ran' an errand through a store and could. barely. walk.

We're talking I pushed a walker I mean cart and hobbled my way through like a woman 200 years my senior.

Friday night, BigDaddy came home from his business trip to a physically disabled wife. He tossed a Runner's World magazine on my lap and told me to read the article about hips. Much to his dismay, I did read the article. And it told me that the pain I was feeling was likely attributed to Femoral Acetabular Impingement - or the ball of the hip joint not fitting into the socket (I've often described the pain as being within the actual hip joint itself. Any chiropractic exercises I've been recommended in the past never seemed to get deep enough into the area to relieve the issue). This grinding tears the cartilage lining the socket. Thus, the Pain.

Recommended Treatment, according to the Runner's World magazine?

Two months of Physical Therapy.
Or surgery.

to be continued one more day...

(don't you love that?)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Running Scared

Friday night I cried myself to sleep. You see, a few years ago, I signed up to walk a half marathon with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. I climbed on the treadmill a few times in preparation, but I never put forth much effort. One sunny morning, I agreed to meet them to walk 8 miles together for our training.
Mind you, my mother-in-law can walk faster than I can run. (In fact,she finished the Nashville Half Marathon in '08 just a few minutes shy of BigDaddy and Myself - she walked. We ran. No lie.)
I nearly died that morning. Or, at least, hours after we finished that morning - and for a few days following. My hips hurt so bad it brought tears to my eyes.

But not one to chicken out of a challenge against the in-laws, I kept saying I was going to walk this half marathon with them.

Four days before the blessed event, I ran into the twins' room to grab Pookie a hairbow before preschool, and I WHACKED my foot accidentally against the post of her bed.

The pain was excrutiating. But it wasn't just painful. When I looked down at my foot - you know, in that moment when you hope it looks as bad as it feels cuz DANG does it hurt --- I about threw up.

My toe was dangling stiffly - off. the. side. of. my. foot.

Yes. I had dislocated my pinky toe. Completely. We're talking, I crawled to the phone and called my dearest friend who came to get me, took me to her doctor husband who gave me one look and sent me to the ER where I experienced THE WORST pain of my life...until they gave me the drugs. And even then, those made me sick...but that's a different story...

You can suppose that I got out of that half marathon.

But even that's not the point of this story.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Best Intentions

I recently passed a church that had the following on its marquee:

The smallest deed outweighs the biggest intention.

I felt about this small when I read that. Because I always have the best intentions. I even use it as an excuse, "Well, I had good intentions..." as I go on to apologize for what I didn't do.

So, for months I have had a few things on my to-do list that I just didn't do. Or, I almost had them done, but I just didn't quite finish them...

And Monday morning, I am relieved to say, I will have completed two major projects. And I will be striving to quickly finish a third (which I promise to show you here).

In the meantime, enjoy this li'l glimpse. And a couple of you can certainly be expecting to see the rest. THANK YOU for your friendship ... and your forgiveness for taking THIS long.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Dip

Is it just me, or is that not just the funniest title?

Chicken Dip.

I just have to savor that one for a minute. Cuz it's either a description of me and the post I pulled down that meant something to me but that I feared might mean too much to someone else...

OR's a recipe to THE most addictive and amazing appetizer ever known to MAN ... or JackSAN.

Nonetheless, while scoping out pics tonite for Pookie's Star of the Week poster, I came across me doing the photo recipe / blog / thang to my favorite food - and what I'm hankering for tonite (even though it's way too late and I don't have any chips. ... believe me, if I had chips, it wouldn't matter how late it was...).

:: Buffalo Chicken Dip ::

Here's my very gourmet way to tell you how to make it:

Cook up some chicken breasts in the microwave (about 1.5 pounds). Shred or cut it up into teeny tiny little bits. Buy some Syberg's Famous Wing Sauce (if you're StL or can get it - no other sauce compares to Syberg's, I promise!). Pour it over your chicken bits.

Spread a package of cream cheese on a pie plate. Spread chicken stuff over the top. Grate some cheddar cheese over the top and heat in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with Tostitos Lime Chips if you're awesome like me --- or your favorite crunchy chip-type food.


Big Daddy and I can make a MEAL out of this. And only talk about feeling guilty about it. We don't really - feel guilty - cuz this stuff is Dang Good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Complete and Utter Disorder

On Thursday last week, I took Pookie to Girl Scouts. We arrived at exactly 6:30. Perfect! I thought. But for some reason, all the moms were lined up quietly working on paperwork on one side of the room and all the girls were at the far end of the room deeply engrossed in a project. Wow, I thought. They really got this going quickly tonite.

I stayed to fill out my cookie paperwork and then went home. I planned to return to pick Pookie up a little early because I wanted to chat with another mom. At 7:30, as I prepared to leave, the boys (and their daddy) convinced me to stick around a few minutes to fight to the death in a light saber battle. I complied. Until about 7:43 when the phone rang.

"Karin?" the Girl Scout leader asked. "Our meeting is over."

What? I thought it ended at 8:00.

No. Girl Scouts is from 6:15 to 7:30. Apparently I was on Boy Scout schedule time. I would have known that had I looked at my calendar. Which I would have done had it not been buried under a pile of miscellaneous things on my sideboard. (Remember how pretty it looked last fall?)

Later that evening, I called the babysitter I'd lined up for Saturday morning. Evidently, I'd forgotten that I'd promised Pookie I'd take her out first thing Saturday morning to sell Girl Scout cookies. And I'd forgotten Meiner's HipHop lesson that started at 11:00 on Saturday. There was no way to run 12 miles in Forest Park Saturday morning while selling cookies and carpooling to rap school. I rescheduled the babysitter to Saturday afternoon.

I would have known had I looked at my calendar. Which I would have done had it not been buried under a pile of miscellaneous things on my sideboard. (Didn't it look really pretty last fall?)

Hmmm...I seem to be repeating myself. Somehow my ability to organize my life and my schedule has become impaired by my complete and utter lack of organizational skills.

I spent all weekend attempting to come up with a new plan of attack. An orderly means by which to live my life. A desk/calendar/message center that rivals the closet (you know - the one that stays organized and works that way for more than 3 months --- OK, who am I kidding? One that works more than a day. Or more than just in my mind!)

I have a new plan. One that involves moving the sideboard, buying a few filing cabinets (no luck at Good Will this morning. I'm off to check Craig's List. Cuz if this doesn't end up working, I didn't need to have spent a ton of money on it!), and revisiting the calendar. It may even possibly spill into hooks in the kitchen for backpacks, in- and out-boxes for all family members, and an over-all overhaul of the kitchen area.

I'll keep you posted. Nonetheless, something has to give. Cuz I don't enjoy being the mom that makes all the organized Girl Scout leaders and their punctual parent helpers stand around up at school waiting for delinquent me to show up to pick up my kid half an hour after the meeting ended.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Drawing a Line in the Pain :: Part 2

I promised last week that I would have a follow-up post to my discussion of perinatologists and new moms. I haven't been able to find the words for follow-up. So, instead, I am going to piece together some thoughts I shared among friends last week - and then move on. Because at this time, I'm not sure what else to do. Pray. And keep moving on.

I am baffled that we as humans consider it our responsibility to determine other's quality of life before birth. Perhaps a degree behind our name makes us feel we have the right to determine the outcome of someone else's life. To a doctor, standing in the presence of a young woman, to say the baby she is carrying will have a life filled with surgeries or pain or death --- how does any human know for certain, really? We don't.

Or even the parent, being told devastating news. There's no degree there behind that name. I am sure that as much as is humanly possibly, the mother considers all that is said to her and draws on her faith and morals and background to make the best decision she can.

But we hear stories of the mistakes. From stories as 'insignificant' as the baby seen on ultrasound as a girl magically comes out a boy. What? Doctors / ultra sound techs / humans can make mistakes? Really?

What about the baby whose heart defect turns out not as severe as was first thought. Or is healthy?! The baby whose poor health reports prior to birth somehow don't surface at all. What then?!

OK. What about the heart that is broken more than first thought? What if the mom who is told her baby will live given the right surgeries and the right intervention. What if they were wrong? What if her baby dies?

What then?

Who's to say where this line is, any way?

I mean, what if you somehow knew before your baby was born that she would grow up to give birth to two babies with heart defects. And there would be pain in your baby's adult life. Should she have to endure it?

Should the man who will eventually develop Parkinson's or the woman who is stricken with breast cancer, should he/she not be allowed to endure the pain? Should their mothers have drawn the line before there was pain?

Where do you draw this line?

The reality is life is full of pain - or trials - circumstances that do not bring us joy. Perhaps spiritual pain. Perhaps emotional. Perhaps physical. Should we not be allowed the chance to live those moments for the subsequent joy that follows? For is there not a rainbow following the rain?

Can you endure what life will give you and choose to make something good of it?

Yes, you can.

Yet, why do we not?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drawing a Line in the Pain

For years, many parents in our Heart 2 Heart group have marveled at how certain perinatologists in our area continue to recommend terminating a pregnancy when a heart defect is diagnosed in utero. Last year, after speaking to a friend who is a doctor - and on the Catholic Pro-Life committee here in StL - I learned that physicians are required to give a patient all of their options.

I thought back to the day my OB discovered I was carrying twins. He had stated that I could selectively reduce the embryos, but informed me I would need to go elsewhere to do so. I looked at him cross-eyed and told him he was nuts. Having twins is every girls' dream, isn't it? Although my fear quadrupled over the possible complications, I was thrilled at the prospect of being the mama of twins.

But what if the mom who just heard that the unborn baby developing inside her had a life-threatening medical condition. When the doctor told her all of her options, how much would she recall?

Maybe a mother would hear and remember only that the chances of her baby surviving are improving each year and that, although the baby would require surgery, she would likely do well and live a remarkable life.

Maybe another mom would hear that terminating the pregnancy was the only option because surgery would be inevitable and any risk of mortality is striking when it's your own baby being brought into the world.

Maybe it's not the way doctors present it but rather the way it is remembered?


I have some things on my mind this week. And since this blog is my means, I am blessed to write my thoughts here.

To be continued...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mending Hearts

It's getting to be that time of year again. A time when heart parents from across St. Louis (and some surrounding areas) pause to say thank you to the doctors and nurses that have helped their children survive. And even to stop for a moment and more to think about the babies they valiantly tried to save.

Just for fun, I thought I would post the photos of my little gremlins before/during and after. The photo collage coordinator this year called for action shots. I love these...
Pookie - after her first open heart surgery, awaiting her second...
Pookie - posing for a pool party invitation last summer.
Meiners' birth announcement picture.
Meiners hauling some major booty after a hit in Coach's Pitch summer ball.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Dog Caught His Tail On Fire in the Fireplace

(And no, I don't have a picture.)

Did you know that I can sort of track you? Well, I'm not good at it by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have the means to see how people find their way to my blog from a rudimentary standpoint.

For instance, if you google "How to clean glass shower doors," apparently my blog comes up in the search. And I can see that you came here from Google to also be a witness to my gleaming shower doors.

I also know if you are here from Sacramento versus Hillsboro.

I'm not trying to freak you out. I just think it's cool to see how you got here.

So now I'm going to see who's searching for seared canine appendages. Cuz my dog has one. The same one who fled the scene on Highway 141 in the middle of rush hour. The same one who leaps ONTO the TV stand when he (I mean the kids) are watching SnowBuddies. The same one I've tried to give away. More than once. To no avail.

That dog.

The other day, this sweet li'l warm spot by the fire just became too tempting. He climbed onto the tile hearth. Followed his tail in a series of circles as he tried his paws at nesting ceramic. And right at that last moment, as he bent his knees to fold up his athletic golden retriever body on the warmth of the tile, just then, a wee bit of tail fur pushed through the metal screen. And sat itself upon an ember. Also just as I was saying to him from my comfy spot in the leather chair, "You crazy dog. You're gonna light your tail on fire." I kept my eye on him. And it's a good thing I did.

Luke stood up. His tail thrust through the screen. He turned his head toward his glowing backside. And leapt off the hearth.

In the time it took me to think, "All I need is that * dog catching my house on fire!" I grabbed his tail as he slid past me and shook it fiercely between my hands. Little fragmented bits of burned dog hair fell around me. The stench was horrific.

I took a look at his tail to assure myself that it was out. And Luke was not hurt.

I stomped on the ashes that lay on the floor to assure myself that they were not burning. And my house had not been set afire.

I lit a candle on the mantle to mask the smell.

And I opened the patio door to let that poor dog go cool off outside.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Running into Town

When I was little, I spent summers at my dad's farm in South Dakota. One summer, I scored the luxury of piano lessons. One time each week that summer, someone on the farm would drive me into town to the home of a friend of my grandmother's. This elderly woman taught me the basics of piano playing. Then my dad or one of my three older brothers would drive me home again.

I loved piano lessons. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to learn to play the piano. My paternal grandfather repaired pianos. He and my dad both owned player pianos. I would sit at their pianos, pop in a music roll, and pretend to go to town on the keys to songs like, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Devil Went Down to Georgia." But with lessons, I finally was learning to play a few of these notes - to read the notes - in real life, on my own, not just holding my fingers over the automatically bouncing keys of the player piano.

One week that summer, however, no one was available to drive me to town. Desperate to get there to show off the skills I'd spent hours perfecting in my practice, I hatched a plan to ride my bike. My father lived 10 miles from town. I was 10 years-old. And, unbeknownst to me as I climbed onto my rickety blue bike with the white plastic basket and started pedaling, a severe thunderstorm was brewing just to the west of the farmstead.

I don't know how far I'd gone when the winds began to blow. Or when the rain started to pour. Or the hail pelted. I just remember cowering in a country ditch, hiding from cars that passed for fear of being kidnapped, covering my sopping head with my piano book. And I remember my piano teacher calling my grandmother when I finally reached my lesson - and the warmth of the towel she wrapped around me to dry me and protect me from "catching my death."

Fast forward to today. I set out on a familiar path - a round trip of 6 miles - I've learned well in the last month as I began preparing for The Nashville Marathon. I planned to run 6 miles today. But at 6, I felt like I could run 2 more. So I ran 8 miles. And at 8 miles, I felt like I could run 2 more. So I ran 10 miles.

Tonite, my joints are achy. My burnt calories have been reconsumed with buffalo chicken dip and a lemon drop martini. I am warm with the fireplace lit and my computer charging on my lap. And I smile. Because today I accomplished the distance of "a trip to town." Again. This time, not in a thunderstorm at the end of a long, hot summer. But on a 17 degree, sunny, winter day.

It felt great to do so. I felt like the journey - the long journey - had begun. With just a single step.
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