Monday, June 20, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011...

Back in December, Ryan, myself, my sister Jaime, brother in law Bill, and his brother, Todd, all signed up for the Warrior Dash in Channahon.  Jaime, Ryan, and I started getting "serious" about it around February/March with our workouts.  Towards the end of March, my hip started to bother me after I would run, but I didn't give it much thought and just started taking glucosamine supplements.  At the end of April, I mentioned it to my chiropractor, and he took some x-rays.

Here's how our conversation went: "Your x-rays show that you have early onset hip degeneration in your right hip.  Basically it's a form of arthritis, and if you don't stop running it's going to get worse."  Me: "Yeah, I'm 34 years old, how can I have hip degeneration?"  "Your right leg is shorter then your left (nice, I'm a gimp) so when you run, your gait is putting more strain on your right hip.  Even if we give you a lift to put in your shoe, it won't be enough to make up the difference in length."  "Well, I can't stop running yet.  I'm doing the Warrior Dash in June, and I'm not missing that!"  "Well you need to find other ways to train like swimming or biking that don't put that repetitive stress on your hip."

Needless to say, I was not pleased with the results of my x-ray, and there was no way I was going to give up doing the Warrior Dash.  So, I continued to train and run, but the pain in my hip got worse, and soon I wasn't able to do more than a 1.5 miles before the pain and tears would force me to stop & hobble home.  I figured my chiropractor was right, I needed to find a new way to train, so I began to swim and rollerblade and then once school ended I started pushing the kids in the jogger while I rollerbladed.

That brings us to Warrior Dash Saturday.  I woke up extremely excited for the day.  I taped my ankles up (yeah, I taped my ankles- I blew one of them playing roller hockey when I was a college freshman & it was a smart decision too), and put on my knee brace.  My parents arrived to watch Noah and Juliana, and then Jaime, Bill, Todd and his wife, Mary Lou (who is 7 months pregnant) arrived.  We took our pre-dash picture and got in the van and drove to Channahon.
While we waited in the long line of cars to get to the parking lot, we watched the people who were currently "dashing".  We saw that some people were walking, and wondered why (later we discovered why).  Excitement in the car built, and finally we were parked.  We grabbed our gear bags and walked in to register.  Then, we took our pre-race picture, and jumped in to the 10:30 wave (we were registered for the 11:00 wave, but they didn't care).
The first part of the race started with no obstacles, and had some hills, mud and a bit of water.  We were doing well and passing people.  My hip was actually feeling good and only hurt a small bit.  We got to the spot where we had wondered why people were walking, it was a hill covered in mud.  I had read that a tip was to stay on the outside of the trail, so Jaime and I were doing that, when my footing gave way and I bit it HARD.  I landed hard on my right hip and knee and I wanted to cry as this intense pain shot through my leg.  Jaime was able to step over me so that I didn't take her out with me.  I scrambled back up and we got up the hill, but I was basically done running at that point.  I managed to do a pathetic jog here and there, but I was the group's handicap for the remainder of the dash.  I'm sure Ryan and Bill would have liked to have run on ahead, but they were nice and stayed with me (Jaime and I had made a pact to stay together no matter what- that's what sister's do). 
Stick together, that's what sisters do!
The obstacles weren't too bad, although they required a lot of upper body strength which I didn't think I possessed, but I surprised myself and did.  We did learn that my T-Rex arms did slow me at climbing (have you ever looked at a T-Rex? They have really short arms- well, so do I- Ryan is always making fun of me for them), but I was still able to do it.  My sister was a BEAST and overcame her fear of heights.  She really scaled those obstacles quickly, and I'm so proud of her!

The last part of the dash involved jumping over fire and then jumping into a giant vat of mud and "swimming" through it under barbed wire.  I think that was my favorite part.  After you climbed out of the mud you were given a medal and were greeted with a table full of cups of water and bananas (which is why I have one in the picture below- I was hungry!).
Once we took our "mud" picture, we headed to the water truck where we were "hosed" down by a fire hose with ICE COLD water.  I'm talking FREEZING cold water.  It was so cold, it took your breath away.  I don't know how he did it, but Ryan emerged from the cluster of muddy people virtually clean, as you can see in the picture below, and he was the muddiest of us all.
The whole reason we did it, the hats of course!
I'm not going to lie, I was sore the next day, and my right leg is an array of various bumps and bruises and there is skin missing in places.  Will I do this again?  In a heart beat!  We are all doing this next year, and are planning to dress as superheroes.  We are also recruiting for next year, and we may be coming for you (yes, Dennis, that means you).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


No, I'm not talking about the dragon from the movie, "How To Train Your Dragon".  I am talking about my two year old daughter and her latest activity.  On Saturday, I was at the Wilton Tent Sale with my sister and 2 friends and my cell phone went off.  It was Ryan.  "Juliana faceplanted in the grass and her mouth is bleeding.  I pushed her lip down and her gum is torn a bit.  I think she is okay.  What should I do?"  In the background I can hear Juliana screaming.  Now, Juliana is not your typical child.  She fell down the steps (all the way from the top to the ceramic tile at the bottom) and did not cry.  When she falls and skins her knees outside, she doesn't even whimper.  My response, "Call the dentist and see what they want you to do."  10 minutes later my phone goes off again, and Ryan tells me that he and Juliana are on their way to Lombard, because our dentist is closed this weekend but the Lombard office is open and they want to see her. 

The next time I hear from Ryan, he is calling because they are on their way home.  "One of her bottom teeth is very loose.  The dentist wanted to pull it right then, but because they couldn't get ahold of her cardiologist to see if she needed to be pre-treated they couldn't pull it."  "So what are they going to do?"  "They are sending us home with a prescription for antibiotics to start today and she can only eat soft foods.  On Monday we have to call and get her into the normal office so they can re-evaluate her and have time to talk to her cardiologist."

So, today was the first day they were able to get us in.  I was able to leave Noah with Theresa, and she told me to bring his swim stuff since it's so hot out.  Dr. Chung looked in Juliana's mouth and noted that the tooth had stabilized a tiny bit and said that we could continue the soft food diet for a few more weeks and then re-evaluate again or we could just pull it today and be done with it.  I made the decision to pull it, because since we started the soft food diet, Juliana has barely eaten anything, and we've been pulling out the "big guns" to bribe her to eat: ice cream, pudding, yogurt, milk shakes, but she has wanted nothing to do with it and instead has wanted to eat the "forbidden" food.  I weighed her this morning and she was already down in weight, so even though I didn't want to pull one of her teeth, I didn't want to go through another few weeks of her not eating when it's hard enough to get her to want to eat.

They brought us back into a room and closed the doors so that her screaming wouldn't be as loud to the other patients.  I got into the chair with her and she knew something was up and began to whimper a bit.  I started praying hard.  First they needed to numb her, so they had me lay back and wrap my legs around her legs and my arms around her to restrain her.  Then a tech held her head down while Dr. Chung numbed her.  Juliana screamed through that.  Then we had to let that kick in a little bit, and Juliana settled down.  Then, Dr. Chung came back in.  I resumed my position, and Juliana started to scream again.  It didn't take long to remove her tooth, and as soon as they were done Juliana stopped screaming.  I think it was more traumatic for me than it was for her (since it seems like I'm always the one doing the restraining).  Dr. Chung said that this won't affect anything, she will just have a gap there until her adult tooth comes in several years from now (all this from falling in the grass!).

After we picked up Noah, he made sure to let me know that I need to put Juliana's tooth somewhere so the Tooth Fairy will find it and bring Juli something special.  What a day!  But Juliana came through it like a champ.  I'm so proud of her!
Juli's tooth!  This big thing came out of her mouth!  Nasty, eh?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Heart Of A Lion...

It takes a special person to work in special education.  I couldn't do it.  I have known a lot of awesome special education teachers, Emily, the Heathers, Rhonda, etc.  Last year was my first year teaching REI Chemistry (REI stands for Regular Education Initiative), and I met my collaborative special ed teacher, Lisa. 

Lisa is a tiny lady with a big voice, an infectious laugh, and the heart of a lion.  You always know where she is because you can hear her coming down the hallway if she's yelling or if she's laughing.  Lisa is a no-nonsense lady who doesn't take anything from any of the kids, but once they break through her outer shell, they see that she is just a teddy bear inside (hee hee).  She has several black belts and almost made the Olympic team when she was younger- how cool is that?!? 

Lisa helps me stay sane, and sometimes our classes think we are nuts (sometimes they think we are the devil as well).  No matter what they think, I couldn't teach my REI classes without her help.  We feed off of each other and when one of us is having a bad day we carry each other.  This year was a tough year for both of us, emotionally and physically.  I know that if I didn't have her support, I would have crumbled halfway through the school year.

Last week we invited Lisa over for dinner (her husband was out of town or we would have invited him as well).  Juliana LOVED her!  Ryan and I have never seen her eat so well, and we think that it had something to do with our dinner guest.  We grilled burgers for dinner, and Juliana sat across from Lisa.  First she ate her part of Noah's burger.  Then Ryan cut her some more of Noah's burger and she finished that.  Then, she ate the rest of Noah's burger that he didn't finish!- Unheard of.  At bedtime, she gave Lisa a big hug, which she doesn't usually do to people she meets the first time.  While she was going to bed, Noah put Lisa to work helping him peel stickers to decorate a paper he was making.  Noah wants to know when she's going to come back over and help him with his art projects.

So, thank you, Lisa, for all that you do.  I look forward to working with you for many more years!

Lisa refused to let me take her picture so I had to get it while she was coming out of another classroom (I know, almost stalker-like)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Preschool Graduate...

Noah graduated preschool a few weeks ago.  One of the nice things about him going to the preschool at my high school is that I was able to sneak in during his graduation ceremony and see part of it.  During my 5th period class, I have a co-taught class and when my co-teacher isn't there, I have a TA in with me, Adam.  Adam told me to stay as long as I wanted at Noah's ceremony. 

I walked into the classroom, and I was sure Noah saw me.  Then his teacher thanked all the parents for coming, and Noah said, "My momma isn't here.  She had to work."  His teacher told him that I was right behind him, and I was able to capture part of the look on Noah's face when he started to turn around to look for me.

Then, the high schoolers started to call their names for them to receive their "diplomas".  I got that on video on my camera (not very high quality, but I didn't want to bring my nice camera to school).  If you watch the bottom corner of the screen, there's a little boy who falls off his chair right as Noah goes up to get his diploma- kind of funny (the kid wasn't hurt, so it's okay to laugh).

As a special present, Noah's teacher made each preschooler a scrapbook of pictures of their 10 weeks with the Advanced Child Development kids.  It was really sweet and Noah shows his to everyone who comes over to our house.  My little boy is growing up!