It seems like just yesterday that we brought these little five and a half pound cuties, home, from the hospital. Overwhelmed, with so much emotion, love, joy, and fear, and miraculously, we all survived. We pretended we knew what we were doing and those precious little babies have turned into funny little people.
Four years have flown by in the blink of an eye, and today, the girls had their annual well visit check-up. My mind was blown when I realized their next check-up will be their kindergarten physical. How is this even possible? Please stop growing, now.
When our names were called, the girls lined up (thank you, preschool), and followed their nurse through the door and to the nurse’s station. According to our physical, Katelyn measured 41″ and Chelsea measured 40.5″, but I’m pretty sure Katelyn may have snuck up on some tippy toes for that measurement. She was probably practicing for future Knott’s Berry Farm visits (sierra sidewinder, here we come)!
The appointment ended with the girls’ final immunizations (aside from the flu shot) needed until they enter 7th grade (woohoo)! They were so big and brave, they didn’t even cry. Instead, they looked at the nurse with puppy dog eyes and calmly said “Ouch. That hurt.”
The nurse gave them each a new book and a high five and all was right again! Chelsea even asked me if we could go to the dentist next. Who are these kids?
One great check-up. Two healthy kids…. who must have two amazing parents. Cheers!
My last post, written four months ago, was a little intense, Catastrophe Before and After Ragnar Relay, and I took a break from blogging for a while. The good news, well at least for me, is that I’m back, and making a commitment to update regularly. It’s been a busy four months, and all of these updates, probably deserve their own post, but for now, let’s do a quick re-cap:
Racing continues. As soon as I got the clearance to run, once my ectopic pregnancy had finally terminated, I hit the ground running…
Coaster Run 5K at Knott’s Berry Farm on March 8th
Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation 10K on March 29 (Go Team Brody – Reaching For A Cure 2014)
Ragnar So Cal – April 10-11 – Team Name: Great Bowels of Fire (1st Place in our Division)
On May 3, my friend, Stacy, and I were baptized at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, and our amazing group of friends were there to support us. We were also photo bombed by Pastor Rick Warren himself!
At the end of May, my brother and I were able to pull off the surprise of the century, and surprise my dad for his 60th birthday! He had no idea we were coming (I live in California, brother in North Carolina and dad (and sister) are in Maine).
I also got to visit my mom and some of her family in Maine. It was an amazing trip!
I surprised Trent with a “day date” on June 12, our 6 year wedding anniversary, and we played Foot Golf! Possibly, a new favorite sport!
Katelyn and Chelsea turned 4 in June and we celebrated their birthday, with good friends, at Pump It Up!
This summer, we’ve spent a lot of time in the pool and the girls have come so far with their swim lessons! I am so proud of them!
It’s been a busy 4 months, so this update seems action packed! I still can’t believe the girls are four. They make us laugh every day and our family is truly blessed. I promise our next update will not be 4 months away, so stay tuned!
Before our Ragnar Relay: Florida Keys race even started, I was already picturing the epic blog post that would shortly follow. As you may have noticed, a month has slipped by since the awesome run, and there is still no post. That’s because it’s taken a month for me to finally collect my thoughts…so here’s the expedited story.
I was having really weird symptoms, that week, extreme exhaustion, slight nausea, cramps and spotting, so to clear my mind, I decided it would be best to take a pregnancy test.
I thought that was impossible, since I had just finished my period (or so I thought), but at that point, it didn’t matter, tears filled up my eyes, as I cried with joy and called my husband to share the exciting news. We were going to have another baby. I was literally over-joyed.
I headed to South Florida to meet up with some girls from my Ragnar team, the night before the race. I knew something did not feel right. I knew something was wrong and emotionally, I broke down. At 6 p.m., three of my amazing, supportive team mates and close friends, took me to the University of Miami hospital. After four long hours, the doctors had confirmed, my HCG numbers were extremely low and I was going to have a miscarriage.
Devastated, and in tears, the excitement of a baby has now turned to grief, but as the captain of our Ragnar team, I wasn’t going to let my team down. We had a 200-mile race ahead of us and I was not going to walk away from my team.
The next morning we met up with the rest of our team, to begin one of the greatest races of my life, Ragnar Relay: Florida Keys.
A Ragnar is an overnight relay race, or a slumber party, without sleep, pillows, or deodorant. It is a 200-mile relay race from Miami to Key West. You have 12 runners, 6 people in 2 vans, and together, you run to the ultimate finish line in Key West! Each runner runs 3 legs, ranging from 2-12 miles, and we leap frog our way to the finish.
Together, we crossed the finish line in 31.5 hours (overall , 9:38 pace) ran on little to no sleep, took zero showers, used more porta-pottys then I ever want to remember, and laughed so hard at way too many TMI stories. Some people (okay, just me) slept in the cargo area of the van with a bag of bananas as a pillow. I did not realize it was a bag of bananas until I found them a copule hours later! Sorry, to whoever bought the bananas!
We even labeled our van, #BAM (bad ass mothers), because we were all moms, taking a little time for ourselves, and it was awesome. It was a blast, and for me, the best way to keep my mind occupied, which was very much needed.
We finished the race in Key West around 7 p.m. the next day, and spent 2 days enjoying Key West.
After the race, I headed back to California and decided to have a follow up visit with my own doctor. I told her about the miscarriage and that my HCG levels were extremely low. She told me she wanted to do a blood test again, just to be sure. Much to my surprise, my HCG levels had almost doubled over the last week, which is not the way a miscarriage is supposed to go.
After multiple blood draws, watching the HCG levels steadily rise, hospital visits, and ultrasounds, the doctors told me, I was not having a miscarriage. I had an ectopic pregnancy. The egg implanted in the left fallopian tube instead of the uterus. They told me, I was at risk for the fallopian tube rupturing, which was ultimately, life-threatening to me.
I was forced to choose between methotrexate, a chemotherapy injection, or surgery, where they would remove the egg, but also may end up removing the fallopian tube. The risk with the chemo drug is, it does not work. The waiting period to find out if it was working would be one week, and that’s one week that I am at risk for rupture. Most ruptures happen within the first trimester and I would’ve been about 6-7 weeks pregnant. There was an 80-90% chance the chemo drug would work after the first round of injections which seemed positive.
I had doctors with conflicting opinions on what steps to take next. I was actually being prepped for surgery when my Ob/Gyn rushed in and told me the risks were too high, and she did not think surgery was the right answer.
Ultimately, we ended up trying the methotrexate, which was one chemo injection in each thigh. It was a little alarming that the nurse had to wear what looked like a hazmat suit to administer the injections, and that was, by far, the biggest needle, I had ever seen!
My doctors were confident that after one week, my HCG levels would drop significantly. The week dragged on and I finally went in for another blood draw. My levels dropped very slightly, but the drug had not worked the way it was supposed to, leaving my doctors shocked that the treatment was unsuccessful.
After discussion with my doctors, we decided to dodge surgery once again and opted to try another injection of the chemo drug, then wait, yet another week. The week of waiting dragged on, and we knew, waiting, meant I was still at risk for a tubal rupture, which could mean life or death.
On March 1st, after two rounds of chemo and two weeks of waiting, we finally got the results we wanted. My HCG levels had dropped dramatically. They told me, to get my blood checked again in the infamous “one more week,” and the HCG levels should be negative, meaning the ectopic pregnancy was finally over.
That final week of waiting, ended on Sunday, March 8th! The chemo drug worked! The pregnancy was over. The emotional roller coaster (pregnant-excited, miscarriage-grieving, ectopic-nerve-wracking) was over. It was time to breathe, time to re-focus on my life and heal emotionally.
When the doctors initially suspected the ectopic, I was immediately banned from running and from any physical activity. When I finally got the ok, to resume normal activity, I completed my first race on Sunday, March 8th, the Coaster Run 5K at Knotts Berry Farm.
I went to bed the night before the race with a fever and barely slept because I was so congested, but nothing was going to stop me from running that day. I had been through the ringer this past month, and I was coming out on the other side, with my feet hitting the pavement! I finished 7th out of 253 in my age division and 126 out of 2856 overall.
I’m incredibly thankful for my super awesome, #BAM friend who picked me up and then ran the Coaster Run 10K that day. She was with me at the hospital in Miami, ran with me from Miami to the Keys, took me for my final blood draw, and has been an amazing support every step of this emotionally draining process.
Sunday, was a great day.
I’m going to continue to keep my head high, stay positive and look toward the brighter days. Ragnar So Cal is on the horizon in April, and I can promise you an “epic” blog post to come, this time, exclusively about the race!
In June 2014, we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Since we had just moved into our new home, the month prior, we decided we would delay the celebration until the end of the year!
Ava & Grampy were incredibly gracious and kind and offered to watch the girls while we were gone. Trent and I spent eight beautiful days on Big Island, Hawaii, staying at Hilton Waikoloa Village, the same place we went for our honeymoon in June 2009.
When we arrived in Kona, on Sunday, December 14th, we picked up our luggage and headed to the car rental counter. The line was literally out the door and not everyone looked overly enthusiastic, but we were ecstatic. No worries. We are in Hawaii to celebrate! Our energetic personalities must’ve shined through, because we were upgraded from a Volkswagon Jetta to a Chevy Camaro. That’s not a bad way to start to the vay-cay!
On Tuesday, we hiked down Pololu Valley which was just gorgeous.
And on the way back home, we stopped by Kapa’a Beach on the northwestern shore to see the rocky coast.
Last time we were in Hawaii, we went to a luau, and had a lot of fun, so on this trip, we wanted to switch it up and visit the cowboys at Kahua Ranch! So on Wednesday, we enjoyed a sunset BBQ dinner, Trent learned how to lasso, we branded our own shingle, did a little line dancing (ok, it was more like the electric slide), hung out with a ridiculously giant pig, roasted some s’mores, and met some really cool cowboys!
The next day, will go in the books as one of the most incredible days of my life. It started off with a visit to Rainbow Falls, where we found ourselves literally standing underneath a rainbow. I’ve never seen anything like it. So beautiful. It was the first time I had ever seen both ends of the rainbow.
Next, we headed to Hilo Airport so we could take a doors-off, (feel the heat) helicopter tour over the active Volcano! One of the “hottest” experiences I’ve ever had!
Today, was going to be the same day that we drove around the entire island. Next stop, visiting the Volcano National Park! When we first arrived, we had lunch at the Volcano House, overlooking the crater. I had no idea, we would be so close! The view was incredible! Then we explored the national park, checked out the vents, and later learned that one side of the national park was a dessert and active volcano, and after walking through the lava tube, we ended up in a lush, tropical rainforest. Who knew?
As we continued our journey around the Big Island, we had to stop at Punalu”u Black Sand Beach!. The beach has black sand made of basalt which was created by lava flowing into the ocean. We also found a large group of sea turtles basking in the sun!
Timing could not have been more perfect in our trip around the island, because we happened to be driving by South Point, the southernmost part of the United States, right before sunset. We could not pass up that opportunity to stop and enjoy the view. It is extremely windy on this part of the island, as you can tell from the picture of the tree! I’m thankful I was not blown into the ocean, but the photo op was worth the risk!
The perfect day wasn’t quite over, just yet. We went to Rainbow Falls, flew in a helicopter over the volcano, had lunch at the Volcano House with an amazing view of the crater, explored Volcano National Park, the lava tubes, the rainforest, drove to Black Sand Beach, caught an amazing sunset at South Point, but we still had one more stop before the night was over, Kona Brewery!
The next day, was definitely a relax at the hotel, bask in the sun, play some glow golf, kind of day!
Relaxation. Check. Time to get back on the adventure saddle. What better way then to saddle up on a horse and explore the Waipi’o Valley!
Eight days was a long time to be away from the girls, and I admit, by day 7, I was looking into flights to come back early, but in the end, I would not have changed a thing. Trent and I had the most amazing vacation and I feel so fortunate to have spent a week in paradise with my best friend! We have been married for 5.5 years and everyday I love him more and more!
It was great to have the time alone, and I think it’s so important for moms and dads to get their together time, even if it’s just one date night a month. We are stronger today then we have ever been and for that, I am so grateful!
Ever since the girls were born, I frequently found myself excited for the next big step. When they were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to sit up and crawl. Then, I couldn’t wait for them to walk, and at 11 months, they took their first steps. I was so excited for them to talk and interact, that I couldn’t wait for them to get bigger, so we could play a game of Candyland or toss a ball.
You always hear the phrase, “Cherish every moment,” or “They grow up too fast,” but living hundreds or thousands of miles away from family, I rarely had any help, so I always thought, if they get older, it must get easier, or at least I hoped.
Now that they are almost 3.5, I finally look back at the days where they were babies, and I miss the sweet stages of those cute little diapered butts. The times when you could set them on the couch and know, they were not moving anywhere. The times that naps were still present and no one screamed back or tried to be defiant. No one fought or pulled any hair. There were no tantrums on aisle 3 and crying was typically silenced with a bottle, binky, or diaper change.
Raising twins is hard, especially with no family close by. My hat goes off to all of the amazing women who do it every day. I have never had more struggles or challenges, or been pushed to my limits, more than I have since becoming a mom. On the flip side, I have also never experienced more joy, more love, or more fulfillment, then I have as a mother to those girls.
Today, my “next big thing” was bunk beds. Was it too early? Probably. But, the toddler beds seemed to be getting smaller and bunk beds seemed to be a logical solution for two girls who shared a small bedroom. So, today, while the girls were at preschool, the magic happened.
We said goodbye to the toddler beds.
Daddy built the bunk beds while the girls were at preschool.
They were pretty excited to find the beds when they came home!
Daddy gave them the safety talk.
….And the new beds were awesome!
Story-time before bed was extra special.
Night one is almost in the books for our transition to bunk beds. Once they finally settled down from the excitement, they were fast asleep. As of right now, Chelsea took the top bunk and Katelyn was content with the bottom. I’m sure this will change down the road, but I’m happy that there was no fighting about who was going to sleep on the top bunk.
It’s bitter-sweet to see the girls in bunk beds, because they still look so little, and of course in my eyes, they are always going to be my babies, but they love it!
For now, I need to remember to stop rushing them to grow up and enjoy the moment. As hard as some moments may be, I know, I will miss these days, just as much I miss them being little babies.
Cherish every moment. They grow up too fast. It’s finally starting to hit home.
Twelve months ago, I was not a runner, not even close! In fact, I hated thinking about running. I loved to sprint, fast, but for 100, 200 yards, maybe. I loved to run around the bases in a softball game or do sprints for a warm-up. Anything beyond that, was just not for me.
One year ago, today, I completed my first “official” run, by joining an 8-week run club. That night, I ran 1 mile around the track. Little did I know, that mile, would be the start to an amazing, positive, change in my life.
I never thought I would ever complete a half marathon. I had no endurance and honestly, no desire to even try. I had myself convinced, that I was a sprinter, therefore, I could not run long distance, but last October, my mentality changed.
I set a New Year’s resolution, for 2013, that I was going to be Fit for 30. It was the year, I turned the big 3-0, and I worked hard, to get in the best shape of my life. I felt that I completed my goal when my 30th birthday arrived last October, but something was still missing. I got in shape, but I still couldn’t run. I was finally ready to stop saying, “I can’t,” and start believing in myself.
It was never easy. I made mistakes. I learned from them. I sustained injuries. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. runs. I had runs that were good and runs that brought me to tears. Most importantly, no matter what, I never quit.
I’ve learned a lot of things about myself since I started running (13.1 Milestone: Lessons Learned), but I think one of the most important ones is to have a positive attitude, not just in running, but in life. I had convinced myself that I was not good enough to run long distance and that I would never have the endurance to run a half marathon. The reality was, I just never had the desire or the patience to prove myself wrong.
I learned how powerful your mind really is and how much control your mind and your attitude have over your body. If I hit the road with a negative attitude, my run is horrible, every time.
I learned that 90% of your race, is your mental state that day. Of course, training is important, and your body needs to be properly trained, fueled, and hydrated to go the distance, but it’s just as important to train your mind, along with your body. When your body runs out of steam, your mind needs to tell your legs to keep moving.
If you told me one year ago, I would run a half marathon, I would have laughed out loud and told you, you were crazy, because I can’t run.
In the past 12 months, I have completed 2 5K’s, 4 10K’s, 1 sprint triathlon, and 2 half marathons, and I will be running my 3rd half marathon on October 26th.
11/9/13 – Big A 5K 24:56 / 8:02
2/9/14 – iTRTathlon 5K 24:57 / 8:03
11/28/13 – Plymouth Rock N Run 10K – 54:49 / 8:50
12/14/13 – Troutman Sanders Santa Run 10K – 53:54 / 8:42
3/2/14 – Coaster Run 10K – 49:23 / 7:58
3/30/14 – PCRF Reaching For the Cure 10K 49:20 / 7:58
2/22/14 – Race on the Base – 5K 24:40 / 7:57, Bike 13.1 mi 48:17, Swim 5:41
5/26/14 – Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon – 2:03:23 / 9:25
8/31/14 – Disneyland Half Marathon – 1:56:37 / 8:54
It is almost overwhelming to look back at the last year and see, not just the accomplishments, but to see how much running has changed me as a person. I really believe it has given me a new outlook on life.
Running was something that once scared me, because I was so intimidated by it, but now running is a part of who I am.
I started my own Facebook page, Mission TwinPossible: The Twin Mama’s Journey, and I have learned that anything is possible with the right attitude, hard work, and dedication.
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that six weeks have passed and I have not written anything about the Disneyland Half Marathon!
It was kind of a big deal, because, one, it was on my bucket list, two it was a New Year’s resolution, and three, I PR’d, taking 7 minutes off my first half marathon time.
I woke up bright and early on the morning of the big race. Flat Hollie was laid out, and ready to go!
I got to the parking garage around 4:15 a.m. and was in my corral (super early), anxiously awaiting the 5:30 a.m. start! My adrenaline was pumping and I could feel the Disney magic all around me! So many runners were dressed in their Disney best and it was fun to see everyone’s race costumes.
The gun went off and my corral was headed out! There truly is something magical about running through the Happiest Place on Earth! It would’ve been even better if you could run through the park for the entire 13 miles, but unfortunately, the park is not that big. I loved running through Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland Park, even if it was only for a couple miles. There were multiple photo opportunities, inside the park, for those who wanted to snap some selfies, or get a picture with their favorite Disney character. I just kept on running.
Even though there were 11 miles outside of the parks, the entertainment never failed. There were live bands, cheerleaders, spectators, singers, and even a classic car show along the route. We ran around the Honda Center, and, perhaps my favorite part of the race, was running around the field, at Angels Stadium, with cheering spectators inside!
I started to hit a wall at mile 12, which is where my pace really took a hit. I started to feel dizzy and light-headed, and started running with my head down, possibly even with my eyes closed, for a few feet here and there. The spectators, and even the runners, offered amazing words of encouragement during that final mile, to keep my body moving forward to finish the race.
The overwhelming feeling of joy I felt after crossing the finish line, is almost indescribable. It is the runner’s high. The reason, runners will sign up for another race (also for the bling).
One year ago, 13.1 miles seemed impossible and unreachable, but on August 31, I completed my second half marathon in three months. It didn’t even seem real at that point.
Another amazing feeling after the race, is finding the person you love, who’s been cheering you on, waiting for you with open arms, and even accepts your sweaty hug when you re-unite!
I was so happy to see my husband after my run. I have been so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing support person by my side, not just for this race, but also for every early morning training run, (and recovery-on-the-couch days) that got me to that day!
Side note: Unfortunately, unless your spectators pay extra money to be part of the ChEAR Squad, your family will not be able to see you cross the finish line, so make sure you have an agreed-upon meeting place, after the race.
If you want to participate the 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (Sept 4-6), there are a couple things you should know. Registration sells out fast! You can sign up at Run Disney, to receive an email reminder of the day, registration opens. Registration for the 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, opens on February 10, 2015.
It’s not the cheapest race out there. The half marathon, alone, was $195. A lot of people ask me, if it was worth the cost? I can’t say I would spend that much money on a race again (insert husband’s happy dance here), but it was an amazing experience, a very organized race, and of course big bling is always a plus! The biggest downside for me (aside from the expense) was that my husband was not able to see me cross the finish line, but I guess when you have that many runners, it would be hard for everyone to flock to one spot. Overall, the race was a lot of fun! Thank you Run Disney!
There are numerous posts on the internet, with parents asking the frantic question, what do you call your child’s girl or boy parts? The “v” word is a bit uncomfortable for many parents, or some are just not ready to hear their child say “the word.”
Instead, parents come up with cutesy “g-rated” names like va-jay-jay, private part, pee-pee, kitty, cookie, front of your bum, stuff, hoo-hoo, coo-coo, cooter, privates, personals, lady bits, bottom, down there, or downstairs, just to name a few.
But, why do we need to come up with a g-rated name for a body part, and why are we so uncomfortable, calling it what it is? Vagina. There, I said it. Is the word, “vagina” really x-rated?
I’ve heard some say, they do not want to take away their child’s innocence. In fact, one mom pulled her first-grader out of class, upon discovering that she learned the word penis in school. The mom shouted to the school’s counselor: “You’ve destroyed her innocence!” Children do not naturally develop shame about their bodies. Shame is taught to them by adults.
Other parents think that the v word is a dirty word and it’s really not. Often, we giggle when we hear someone talk about “penis” or “vagina,” because it is just not talked about. With that said, I don’t want my kids to hear those words from someone else. When we come up with so many cutesy words, it sort of implies a sense of shame. It conveys that we cannot call it what it really is, because it’s bad.
It is simply another body part. A private, body part. They won’t feel comfortable talking about it, if the parent is not comfortable. I don’t want them to feel ashamed.
I realized that for the past 3 years, just like many other parents, we have subconsciously been dodging the “v-word,” too. Why is that word so uncomfortable to say or even hear? We don’t spend hours thinking of a cutesy name for foot.
I don’t think telling them the proper name will destroy an innocence. I don’t agree with keeping kids in the dark about their bodies because we are uncomfortable calling it, what it is.
If there was ever a problem, I don’t want my child to tell me that their bottom hurts, because, I would have no idea what they were talking about. I want them to know the correct terminology.
A child should view their entire body as healthy and although some parts of our bodies are private parts, there are no particular parts of our body that is shameful. I grew up with my mom, a nurse, who said every body part has a name, and it’s important to use the correct name. I couldn’t agree more!
A big part of me has wanted to take the girls bowling. The other part of me thought I was crazy, and so did my husband. However, I found the perfect opportunity to give the sport a chance, in an environment that welcomed my two, high-energy, preschoolers.
My husband is on vacation this week, and so are the girls, so I figured with man-to-man coverage, we would head to an alley. I started searching for bowling alleys nearby, and I stumbled across Saddleback Lanes in Mission Viejo. As I clicked on their website, one banner quickly caught my eye:
Wait. A bowling league, that welcomes three-year olds, and is twin friendly? This is phenomenal. I immediately called Saddleback Lanes to find out more information!
The Lil’ Strikers Bumper League is a 10 week league, but you can join anytime. The league meets on Mondays at 4 p.m. and the cost is $8 per person, which includes shoe rentals and two games of bowling! Since you are technically in a league, you also receive discounts when you return to the alley throughout the week. At the end of the league, the kids enjoy a pizza party and receive a trophy! We went on Monday, Aug 25, which was week 9 of the current league. The next league is expected to start in mid-September.
Every team in the league has 3 bowlers. Your team consists of 1 parent and 1 child or 1 parent and 2 children. If you are only bowling with one child, then you will have a ghost bowler on your team. When the child bowls, the bumpers automatically come out. When the parent bowls, the bumpers go away. Bowling ramps are provided for the little ones, who can’t throw the ball down the alley yet and the kids bowl with six pound bowling balls.
We chose to make a 3-person team. My husband bowled with the girls and I was the safety monitor to make sure they were sitting down when everyone else was bowling, not getting over excited and running into the wrong lane after they knocked their pins down, and not pressing all of the buttons on the computers.
By the end of our second game, Katelyn wanted to hurl her balls down the alley like daddy, so it was probably a great time to go.
For their first time bowling, the girls did great! Kate bowled a 74 and 82 and Chelsea bowled a 71 and 88. (Oh, and Daddy bowled a 225 in his second game. There. Now, it’s on record.)
Everyone had a blast and I am so glad we found this opportunity to introduce bowling to the girls. I have a feeling we will be laying some more pins down in the near future!
For more information on the Lil Strikers Bumper Bowling League, contact:
25402 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692