Friday, June 29, 2007

A Day At The Beach

Yesterday I drove down to Ocean City with my friend, Melissa, to meet up with two other girlfriends (Katie and Shelly) and their kids...four mom's, ten kids, seven kids five and under. Busy.

I actually managed to get a picture with seven of the kids from our group. It was impossible to get all of them in one place together.

Since Brooke overcame her fear of the water earlier this week she was all about the water. Unfortunately. I was counting on her digging in the sand all day...but she had other plans. It was a hot day in the mid 90's so the water (which was actually fairly warm) felt great. Brooke thought so, too, and kept me busy as she was continually wandering off into the water.

Baileigh, my fish, spent the entire day in the water. She loves the water!!! She had the chance to learn how to ride a boogie board with her friend, Emma. She couldn't get enough of it and has since asked me a hundred times if she can get her own boogie board and go back to the beach.

Mckenna was great about leaving her hat on all day to keep her face covered. She can be a pretty independent player at times and spent her day doing a little bit of everything...primarily exploring and making sandcastles. We had a great day despite getting a little too much sun. The only thing that would have made the day better is if Daddy could have come, too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jesus Loves Me

If you sit on our couch for more then two minutes Mckenna takes that as a cue to change her clothes and put on a show as she likes to call it, on the stage (aka fire place hearth). Last night she performed a stirring rendition of "Jesus Loves Me."

Braving the Elements

Brooke has been hesitant about using the pool at the base of our water slide. I don't blame her since the water is cold and there is usually a ton of activity. Yesterdays hot temperatures must have been enough to entice I left her shoes on which seemed to make the primary difference (and the fact that I got in the pool, too). The girls promised they would take it easy around her. That lasted about two minutes. When she began to giggle at being splashed it just fueled the fire.

If you caught the very end you noticed Mckenna "sharing" a lot of her face. The video ended abruptly as a time out was necessary.
This is Brooke's new expression if she hears "Say Cheese!"

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New York City

Yesterday was a blast! Saturday morning I set out for NYC with my girlfriends, Melissa and Shelly, for a fun day in the city. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful with temperatures in the mid seventies and clear skies.

Shelly had done her research and acted as our tour guide for the day. After arriving on the train at Penn Station we jumped on the subway and took the red line up to Central Park. We started off by a visit to the restrooms at Tavern on the Green. I make it a goal to only use four star bathrooms throughout the city if possible!
Afternoon tea was taking place in the gazebo area and there was a wedding reception out in the garden. A view of Sheep Meadow in Central Park. It's name actually comes from the fact that at one time in the late 1800's it truly was a pasture area where sheep grazed. This area is designated for quiet sports or pets or music is allowed.
There are so many areas in Central Park, and NYC in general, that remind me of Europe. I think a lot of people that have never had the opportunity to spend some time in New York and specifically in Central Park often have a different perception of the area. I know back in the day it was a dangerous area with a poor reputation, but the park of today is beautiful and family friendly.
The view from Bellvedere Castile which was restored in the early 1980's.
The Food Network featured the Peanut Butter and Company on one of it's shows and I determined that I had to go there considering I love peanut butter. We left Central Park and took the subway to the SoHo and Greenwich Village area. We grabbed a bite of lunch at a sidewalk cafe and then stopped by the Peanut Butter Company. I'll have to return since I was too full from lunch to do much taste testing. I did bring home Spicy Peanut Butter (perfect for chili or a Thai chicken dish) and a chocolate peanut butter. Mmmm! I think I'll have to go back with the girls.
This picture is the entrance of the fairly new Apple Store near Time Square. The store is below ground and is quite the tourist attraction. There was a line waiting just to get in the store.
In front of the Garden where the NY Knicks play.
In time square facing the ABC studio front ticker that you see on their morning show.
One of my favorite things about the city is the funny and fascinating people and things you see. This doggie is begging for funds for her cancer treatment.
Melissa's daughter, Emma, does some modeling and has become the current face for a lot of Alex Toy products. She is featured on a ton of their products and signage at FAO Schwartz, like this light box. So of course I had to go look and take pictures so I could show the girls! Very cool.
I hope to get to Radio City this Christmas to the see Rockets Perform. I think Baileigh would get a kick out of it (no pun intended) and we may take her as a Christmas present.
There were a ton of little street markets taking place since it was a Saturday move. That means a lot of good greasy food and a few good buys amongst a lot of strange these sexy glasses!
This is an example of some of the architecture in NY that reminds me of Europe for obvious reasons.

We picked up some fantastic cheesecake at the famous Junior's for the train ride home. I think it was some of the best cheesecake I have ever tried!Just blogging about yesterday makes me think about how much fun I had. I hope we take advantage of our year on the east coast and make a few more trips into the city. If you want to check out even more photos then head over to my flickr account!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stawberry Fields

Yesterday we went with my friend, Melissa, and her two girls to do some strawberry picking. It was a beautiful day and the girls all had a blast. I think we ate as many berries as we picked! They have already asked me several times if we can return next week to pick blueberries.

Mckenna deemed this hat her "farm hat for picking fruit!" She already informed me she'll have to wear it again to pick blueberries!
Wearing Brooke in the backpack and squatting without dumping her out was the equivalent to an intense leg workout. Maybe I'll let her walk next time.
Brooke got a little sleepy by the end...I think she was slowly falling into a strawberry coma from the mass consumption of the fruit.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Strange Behavior

I was thinking that Mckenna seems to be making a great recovery from the trauma she experienced last week that found us in the ER. But just today she started acting strange. I'm considering a phone call to the doctor. I managed to get a little bid of her crazy behavior on camera. Hope there isn't permanent damage!

Hard to believe she has no formal training!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Was I Loosing Myself, Or Finding Myself?

There is a lot of time to think while swimming. Too much, in fact. I'm within 3 weeks of the Philadelphia Women's Triathlon...ahhh. Actually, feel really ready, antsy as a matter of fact. I'm a little tired of training and just ready to get my competitive juices flowing.

That aside, today during my swim I started to think about how I got here. What led me into this world of triathlons. It all began about a year ago when I was still in my post pregnancy days and my husband had deployed for four months. I felt like I was loosing myself. Loosing my mind. That is when I started using the gym as an escape. It gave me a break. An outlet. One hour a day to myself. An hour well spent. An hour needed.

Initially the daily break was a relief, but eventually it got old. Until I decided that the idea of having a goal greater then weight loss or health alone would help. Competition. A goal. I needed something to achieve to keep me going. A triathlon.

So a year later I'm reflecting about my progress. I've come a long way. A year ago a 5k sounded it's my running minimum. A mile swim sounded it's my short day in the pool. A 20 mile bike sounded it's routine. I'm proud of my progress. I would be lying if I didn't admit disappointment that the effort hasn't transformed me into an athletic goddess. I have ten pounds that refuses to leave. However, I feel stronger and in better shape then I have since high school. I feel like I have been a better example to my girls of health and discipline. I feel excited about having something that is completely for me.

So all that made me think about whether or not I fell into this because I was loosing myself at the time or if pursuing this has helped me find myself. If I want to get more analytical one could ask whether I needed to loose myself in order to find myself . Or if I found myself when I lost myself.

Like I said, there is too much time to think when swimming.

This Sounds Crazy...But Try It!

Today I was in the locker room after my swim and overheard a conversation that I had to interrupt. Two women were preparing for the arthritis water aerobics class (it's nice to be naked in the locker room with a bunch of seventy year old women, good for the self-esteem) and two women were discussing how effective the bar of soap under their sheets was working. WHAT? I eavesdropped as much as possible but when one woman walked away I was left confused. I just had to ask. I confessed to the lady that I had been listening to their conversation and I just couldn't resist but asking what in the world they were talking about.

She was anxious to tell me about a remedy she had discovered to help with leg cramps while you sleep. She sited Dr. Gott online and a few other articles and said that by placing a bar of soap (apparently not Dove) under your fitted sheet that it mysteriously reduces and sometimes cures night time leg cramps. I told her that it sounded crazy, in a few kinder words, but humored her and said I may give it a try.

Today I googled the subject...I think I literally typed in the phrase "bar of soap under sheets to stop leg cramps" and got 61,812 matches. I read a ton of links regarding the subject, articles, comments etc. and was amazed at all the emails supporting the theory. Is this just the power of suggestion? There were several cases where a wife tried the theory without informing her husband and unknowingly the husband reported no leg cramps in the following nights.

I've really only suffered from from leg cramps during pregnancy and adolescence...but if you're plagued by this then give it a try and let me know. Research it yourself and you'll be amazed at everything you'll find! Let me know if it works.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Week of the Cheek

Did you ever know that a week could be completely consumed with a cheek? It's true. I've learned. Unfortunately.

Today we saw the plastic surgeon for a check up on Mckenna's cheek. He was pleased with how things look. The swelling has finally stopped and now she is just a pretty shade of yellow, green and purple. Over the next three weeks the stitches should dissolve. We can go about most of our normal routines with the exception of swimming pools (specifically chlorine) and keep her face out of the sun as much as possible. The Dr. was impressed when Mckenna told him she got three new hats to keep the sun off her face! She made Mommy look good without any prompting.

In three more weeks we have to return to the plastic surgeon once the stitches are gone. At that point we'll discuss how to help prevent scarring as much as possible. It's been a long week. Consumed with a cheek.

Open Water Swim

Tonight I attended my first open water swim with a triathlon training group. It was in a small questionable looking lake...being from Michigan I would call the "lake" a large pond. We were forewarned that we would be covered in a brown film after swimming from the cedar tree runoff in the water. Nice. I'm sure any accidental consumption of that water will cause some nice dysentery.

People trickled in during the start time but I would say there were at least 40 people that attended. I was a little anxious about the event. I started getting suited up and pretending I had done this 100 times before. I heard a lot of people talking that sounded like this was their first open water swim and I began to relax. I saw some people that are the typical triathlete that I envision...thin, buff, etc...but then I saw some that made me look fairly fit and thin so I relaxed some more.

Brad and the girls came with me to have a picnic dinner and play on the playground while I swam. They were pretty curious about all the people in the funny black suites. I got in the dark water and got acclimated. The water was cool but not bad. The air temperature was about 15 below normal for this time of year so it was only in the upper 60's which wasn't motivating.

I flopped around in my wet suite a little trying to get used to it and then I hesitatingly started out on the course. The wetsuit provides buoyancy which is nice in some aspects but it was a strange sensation at the same time. While swimming it feels like someone is lifting your butt up like a marionette yet your torso feels pushed down into the water...and the rubber turtleneck feeling also makes lifting your head to spot ahead of you a challenge. Overall my suit fit well and felt good after the initial adjustment period...but a lot different then being in a pool.

The hardest and most intimidating thing was the dark water and the inability to barely even see my hand when it was in the water. Every time I put my face in the water I had a sense of panic. It took me awhile to calm my breathing down and get into some type of rhythm. My swimming skills seemed to be a little above average. I was definitely passed by some but I also did my share of passing people. I swam a mile and felt like I could have gone farther physically but mentally I was a little tired of fighting my anxiety and was ready to call it quits.

I'm thankful I took the time to go to this swim and get my nerves out about the open water. I never really had any concerns about the deep water, it was probably more about what was in the water.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Cowbay Hat...Like Grandpa

Today we headed out to look for hats. The plastic surgeon emphasized how important it would be to keep Mckenna from getting any sun on her face this summer in order to prevent future discoloration between the scar she will have and the rest of her face.

The swelling is increasing today...hope it's almost at it's maximum. Her only real complaint is that she is a little sore and that it itches.
Without an elaborate explanation, I told Mckenna she needed to wear hats when she is in the sun to protect her boo-boo. Then we briefly discussed what a scar is and I showed her a few that I have. Her response was, "can I get a polka dot hat or a purple hat?!" For as difficult as kids can be at this age, they can also be extremely compliant and trusting.

Unfortunately we couldn't find any polka dot hats or purple hats in her size (if anyone finds one in a 3T-5T size send it our way and I'll reimburse ya) but she was pretty excited about one hat we found!"Mommy, look...a cowboy hat, like Grandpa, but for little girls!" I've only seen my father-in-law wear a cowboy hat a few times, but this isn't really even why he has been categorized a cowboy in her book. "He talks like a cowboy" is Mckenna's reasoning. So to a three year old a southern drawl equals cowboy.
Mckenna called this hat her beach hat.Last but not least, Mckenna wanted a baseball hat "like Mommy wears when you exercise and Daddy wears when he plays baseball!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Long Night In The ER

***Warning - This post contains graphic pictures you may find disturbing!

About a week ago I had the nerve to make the comment to someone that thankfully we haven't made a trip to the ER in the five in a half years we've had kids. Cancel that.

Last night Brad and the girls were having some fun after dinner...tickling and wrestling and chasing each other. In just one of those freak accidents Mckenna ran square into the corner of our kitchen table. Despite the fact that it is a rounded edge the impact was devastating. It knocked her off her feet and threw her back onto the ground where she hit her head hard. I didn't see her face immediately, but Brad did and his hysterical reaction instantly panicked me. Brad is usually Mr. Calm and Cool and I knew it had to be bad. Unsure of where was the closest place to take her and frightened by the huge gash on her cheek I panicked and called 911. The police arrived in about five minutes along with my good friend, Melissa, who I also called to come and stay with Baileigh and Brooke.

I started to feel a little foolish for calling 911. Despite the severity of her wound, we probably could have driven her ourselves to the hospital. But the early panic, our lack of knowledge about the local pediatric specialists, the blood, and the fact it was a head injury I didn't want to chance anything. Once we arrived to the ER, I was so thankful we did make the call because they were crazy busy and the charge nurse just wanted us to wait in the lobby. Ironically, this was the same hospital where Mckenna was born when we were previously stationed in NJ. Our EMT's were awesome and became our advocates to get Mckenna seen more quickly. After they created a scene in the ER that included a verbal confrontation with the charge nurse and mutual threats of filing complaints, we were moved to the fast track ER and seen within minutes.
A CAT scan was ordered due to the swelling that was occurring in the back of her head from hitting it on the floor and because of the blood in her ear. Everyone was pretty certain that the blood was a result of run off blood from the cut but they wanted to be certain. A plastic surgeon was called in to do the stitches.

We waited for about an hour for both the CAT scan and the surgeon. Mckenna was fairly calm during this time. It was almost 9:00pm and she was getting tired. They finally called us from our room for the CAT scan. I was told that "since you have reproductive organs that are more sensitive to radiation we'll let your husband stay but you need to wait outside that door!" Well alrighty then...not sure if I ever want to use those reproductive organs again but I guess I appreciated her consideration. I stepped outside the door into an area with a few small cubicles that was deserted. I stood and waited. I was suddenly aware of a radio playing softly from the desk around the corner. It was a Christian song by Mac Powell called By His Wounds. The song was on the verse that says,

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace, we are saved.
We are saved.
And by His wounds
By His wounds, we are healed

That was a surreal moment where I was overwhelmed by everything that had happened to my little girl in the past two hours and and all the emotions I had been stuffing away so I could help comfort her. I slouched against the wall and began to cry. At the same time I listened to that song and had an immediate peace and awareness that it wasn't playing on that radio at that moment by coincidence. In a few minutes the door was opened and my reproductive organs were invited back into the room to be with our daughter. I wiped my eyes and did my best to freshen up. Considering I was grungy from cutting the grass and working out it wasn't too hard to improve my looks. Mckenna stayed calm during the CAT scan and did well.
Finally the plastic surgeon arrived. After some discussion about the gash on her cheek he began to prepare her for the stitches. He started with a local anesthetic on her face. She screamed and cried but held still for the 4 or 5 injections he made as he numbed the area. Although this was said to be the worse part and it was over, she melted down when the first few stitches began and just became hysterical. Despite our best efforts to comfort her it was pointless and determined that she would need to be sedated. This turn of events meant another 45 minute delay as they had to hook her up to monitors and prepare the injections. In the meantime she calmed down and fell asleep on my shoulder. She woke up briefly to the pain of the 3 shots but fell quickly asleep as the medicine kicked in. Neither of us wanted to sedate her since it runs a lot of risks and possible complications...but it was really our only option and the positive was the fact that the surgeon wouldn't have to fight a moving target.

After his examination the plastic surgeon assessed that her face was cut all the way to the bone! From our kitchen table. Incredible! The muscle was torn, too. The stitches took awhile as he had to repair the muscle, the epidermis, and the dermis. Afterwards we had to wait another hour as the sedatives wore off. We were initially told she would need to be fairly alert in order to be discharged. We kept reminding the nurse that it was almost 2:00am and regardless of the trauma and the medication she wouldn't normally be alert at this time of night anyway.
Eventually we were given the okay to head home. Despite the risks associated with sedatives it was nice to have Mckenna knocked out for the remainder of the evening. We got home and peeled her bloody shirt off of her and tucked her into bed. I decided to sleep in her room in case she woke up from the medications and was disoriented or nauseous.

She woke up perky and seemed relatively normal but within minutes everything seemed to hit her. Her face is beginning to swell and her appetite is minimal. I'm trying to keep her doped up on as much Tylenol and Motrin as I'm allowed to help with the pain. We're scheduled to return to the plastic surgeon on Friday for a follow up. He warned us it would be a good 6-12 months before the healing is done and the scar starts to look like it will long term. He also emphasized the need to keep her from getting any sun on her face so it doesn't cause more discoloration in the scar area and her cheek. That will make for a fun summer!

But she is okay. I keep telling myself that. She is okay. I kept thinking last night that if we had been in a car accident and she walked away with this little scar I would be elated. But it wasn't a car was a fluke thing at home at I'm still having a hard time believing that hitting a rounded table edge after only running about 7ft. caused so much damage!

Mckenna is a trooper though. A pathetic and adorable trooper right now with a puffy face who could get just about anything in the world at this moment. It may have damaged her cheek but it is already evident that it didn't effect her spunk or enthusiasm! Usually I'll appreciate that...except when she is running past the kitchen table!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Feats of Strength

This morning I heard a lot of commotion in the laundry room. I went in there to find Brooke perfecting her stacking skills with the paper towel. I watched her try to get this 4th roll on top at least five times. She found the collapse of her tower amusing at first and then became one perturbed toddler when she wasn't successful! It's scary to see temperament traits like that developing!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Bittersweet Day

Today marks the close of our small business. The past two years were a definite learning experience! We gained some invaluable knowledge and made some great memories. We also had some tough times and a lot of frustrations. Many people have asked us if we would do something like this again. I've pondered this question often and have concluded that I wouldn't be opposed to the idea, however, I would want to do it at a different stage in life when our children are older, it was our primary business, and we could devote ourselves to it fully.

When we decided to stay in the Air Force last year, we knew that the ultimate future of the store would fall into the hands of our business partners. Their decision to close shop saddens us but we understand their choice and have appreciated all the time and work they have given of themselves over the past two years.

The thing that really stinks about all of this is that for the rest of my life everyone is going to expect me to have dinner in the freezer!

Friday, June 08, 2007


So tonight we're walking through Barnes and Nobles on our family date and I see this book featured on an end cap. I can't help but to laugh out loud. Very loud. Upon closer examination I laughed even louder, perhaps even snorted as I turned the book over to see the back photo.
I looked around for Brad and said as loudly as I could in order to embarrass him, "BRAD, I found the book you were wanting!"

Oh, Michael Knight, or Lt. Mitch Buchannon...thanks for the good laugh. I hope you didn't pay your editor too much for that book title!

One More Month!

One month from today I hope I'm sitting here blogging about the success of my first triathlon. Tonight we went to a store called Fleet Feet to get some things that can only be exciting to someone that is doing a lot of socks, sports bra, spandex, etc. This store is one of the sponsors for two of my triathlons so they had a log of signs, t-shirts and other gear promoting the events. I left feeling pretty excited and actually looking forward to my next workout.

This upcoming week I'll be attending a triathlon meeting for newbies to hopefully educate me on things that I may otherwise learn the hard way. On Thursday night I'm planning on attending my first group open water swim with a local triathlon training group.

Brad was fitted for some new running shoes. The fact that his left foot is a 13 and his right foot is a 12 always makes shoe shopping an arduous process! This store is a specialty store that had him go outside and run to test the fit...and he can run in them for over a month and bring them back at anytime for a different pair if he doesn't like how they are fitting! Very cool!

So I guess that means that despite the ninety degree plus heat tomorrow we're going to look forward to our workouts! I posted on the side one of my current favorite songs to run to...can't say I normally listen to Outkast but when I need a little motivation to keep going, it's the perfect tune!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

15 Months Old

Today Brooke turned 15 months old. We spent the day very similarly to the way we spent 14 months and 27 days, 14 months and 28 days, 29 days, etc...playing on our water slide.

Check out those abs of steel...just like her Mommy...ahem.

Our Little Vegan

Last night Brooke threw her hot dog off her tray and begged us for some salad! She climbed up in Brad's lap and ate his Caesar salad like it was a bowl of ice cream. He couldn't feed her fast enough.

We thought it may have been an isolated incident.


Tonight the same thing happened. This time it was a Spinach salad with a balsamic honey Dijon dressing. She devoured every bite we gave her. I'm still trying to get my almost six year old to eat salad...go figure.