Monday, August 30, 2010

what a week!

What week we've had! Some good, some not so good, some to come...

  1. Last Wednesday we had a party for Harlie's birthday. We had lots of kids, moms, and friends over. It was fun to have a group of people to help us celebrate her big day. Then in the evening my dad came up and took us out to eat so that was a double special treat for us.
  2. Thursday and Friday were normal days for us... at least nothing stands out at this point.
  3. Saturday Phil and I had a big "bike" practice run scheduled for our triathlon. We got a babysitter and then planned to ride out to George Wyth, where the race is, and then ride our triathlon route. (16 miles for me and 23 miles for Phil). We rode out 8 miles with the wind to our backs and felt great.. then we returned. Phil smoked me about 1/2 way back where he turned off to finish his leg and I returned back to our starting point. Our plan was that he would be about 30-40 minutes after me so I was going to run 2-3 miles and do a back to back workout. Well, first, the wind KILLED me on the way back. Straight wind right at me, I was going 17-19 miles per hour out and then 7-10 miles per hour back. So lets just say it took FOREVER and was PAINFUL. So by the time I got back, I tired to run but just couldn't so I waited patiently for Phil to get back, and waited some more, and some more and after about an hour I thought I better ride back to see what was going on. Of course I had left my cell phone with the babysitter so I was sitting phoneless. Well, I rode about a 1/2 mile back and found Phil walking his bike towards me. He had gotten a flat.. about 5 miles back.. ergg. Pour guy had to walk his bike in that wind and heat. So I rode home quickly, took the babysitter home and then picked up Phil. The real bum thing is that Phil has had about 7-8 flat tires on this bike.. and after several different fixes.. we are starting to think it's just bad luck. He's very frustrated as race day is near and what if this happens on race day?
  4. Sunday - crack of dawn - I'm at work sleeping peacefully and Phil is awakes to a bat in the house. He had seen the bat twice in the past two weeks but we could not find it anywhere so we just left it. Then it wakes him up as always seems to happen. This bat wouldn't leave through the normal way - out the door - so eventually Phil had to swat it with the broom. What a brave guy! I would have run out of the room, curled up in a blanket with a ski mask on, hiding under the table or with Wendell up in bed. Anyways, this is Phil's third bat so he's getting quite experienced at this... but he's not happy about being woken up. Couldn't this happen at 9 or 10pm?
  5. So today is Monday.. and I sure hope life slows down.. but on Wednesday night I go back to work and will be a new house, with two new ladies, and one new staff in the morning. I am banking on it all going well but it will be a big change for me. This and the triathlon and MAJOR events for the summer are done. Thank goodness!!
  6. This weekend we're off to see Phil's family. I'm looking forward to getting out of Looville!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Harlie's First Birthday Party

Harlie turns one tomorrow (August 25th) but we had first big birthday party on Sunday with our family. We had a great time and got some good pictures!

First we have to get the cake ready.. so here is Harlie waiting patiently but giving hints that she's ready for some cake.

Then we have mom frosting the cake and who else but Miss Harlie... watching and waiting patiently.

Then the big day is here. Is it time yet?? It is time yet?

But first we have to open gifts...

A doll? hmm.. not sure what to think about this?

Oh the cake is finally here... and I couldn't resist so I stuck my hand in it before we could even light the candle, put a bib on or for mom and dad to stop me.
Ohh... that looks good mommy! And it was good.. so good that I'm making it again for tomorrow.


If you recall, we decided to plant a garden this spring... and so far it's been an odd year. We planted many things and about half of it has come through and about half was unsuccessful. We did NOT get many green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, or cucumbers (maybe later this fall?? ). But we have had success with our yellow squash, peas, popcorn (still in progress), cantaloupe, and watermelon. I have been the main caretaker for the garden this year so who knows what happened. It's always fun to pull out food from your garden and eat it. Our most recent pleasure was the cantaloupe. And soon we'll have watermelon... yum, yum!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

first day of preschool

Well, we survived our first day of preschool... actually, it went really well.

Phil and I both dropped him off today as it was the first day... no tears from me, didn't even choke up : ) I think I'm just excited for him.

In the future, we're pretty sure Phil will drop him off most days on his way to work. Today Harlie was really tired and napping so Phil generously picked Wendell up and brought him home.

So here's Wendell with his new outfit and backpack.

And Wendell coming home...

Here is the post interview:

Mom: How was preschool?
Wendell: good
Mom: What did you do?
Wendell: saw my friends, went to the park, and made cookies
Mom: What did you learn?
Wendell: my friends
Mom's final comments: I'm glad he went, the morning went well as I got an oil change, Harlie and I went for a walk, she fell asleep in the stroller and while out walking we stopped at the the donut shop (she woke up as we walked in, that's my girl, smells good food even in her sleep : ). When we came home she was still tuckered so she ended up taking a real nap and I took a 15 minute nap before Wendell came home. We had a nice morning but didn't get much done at home.. oh well. maybe next week.
Wendell's final comments: "we played and had milk after eating cookies"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

news flash!

Wendell is going to preschool! We got a call last Thursday that they had an opening. On Friday we went to see his classroom and meet the teacher. We have a "parents" meeting tomorrow and he starts this Thursday at 8:30am.

Craziness! I think it'll be a big change for us but in the end I think it'll be good for all of us. I'm a little teary eyed sending him to "school" already but it's only twice a week for a few hours. Wow, our little boy is growing up!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We were currently in the middle of quiet time when Wendell comes downstairs to inform me that a "person" is in his room. ???. He also said they came in through the wall. Hmmm...this is getting interesting. So I asked if he talked to them and he said no, they don't have a mouth. Hmff.. and then informed me that they are going around and around as he points to the ceiling fan in the living room and circles his little finger around in the air. I proceeded to ask what color were they but he didn't answer.. he just keep saying they were going around and around. I also asked if it was a bug and he said no, a "person". So, I thought I better escort him back to his room in which luckily, I did not find a mouthless person flying around in his room.

warm up

Harlie's first birthday is coming up soon... and I think it's going to be a messy one!

I think she's going to be like her mama and love anything sweet, like icecream, cookies and donuts. Yum, yum!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Choosing Naia

Every once in awhile you read a book that is so intriguing that you have to tell someone about it. Well, I just read a book like that.

Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey by Mitchell Zuckoff.

In short, this book is about a couple who gets pregnant with their first child and find out at 20 weeks that the fetus has Downs Syndrome (DS). The first part of the book is about making the choice whether to keep the baby or abort (they had until 24 weeks to decide). The second part is Naia's birth and the medical complications. The last is kind of the after part - reflections.. and her first few years.

Just a few notes, this is a non fiction book written by a journalist who also included some history and statistics on the topic.
I have been shell shocked by some of what they say and amazed at others.. and then the ethical issues that I would struggle with as well.

Here are a few examples:

"As recently as 1968, the average life span for a person with DS (Down Syndrome) was just two years, mainly because of the large number of people with the disorder who died in infancy from the uncorrected heart defects, blocked digestive tracts, and other ailments. .... In 1997, the average life span had reached fifty years. "

My thoughts: interesting.. no one was to blame here, medical technology is amazing for the disabled and for the non disabled.

"One question the father asked an adoption specialist for children with DS: What if it's more than we can handle after the baby's born? Her answer: No problem, I have a long waiting list for these babies. You want to put the baby up for adoption, it's not a problem, not an issue. She explained that she had a hundred people waiting for babies with Down syndrome. ... people simply understood the value of these kids and knew how much they needed families." (pg.99)

My thoughts: wow! I never would have thought that people had such respect for life that they would be willing to adopt children with disabilities.. but it makes sense to me. I just never thought about it.

A baby was born in 1982 with some major health complications (.. some I don't really even understand). But the parents chose to not give the infant any treatment which in turn made the infant starve to death. Courts became involved but not in time as the infant died. This prompted action by the government and in 1984 Reagan signed what became know as the Baby Doe Amendment, which expanded the definition of child abuse to include the denial of care and treatment to newborns with disabilities. (pg. 129-130)

My thoughts: wow again! I guess I don't know where I'd draw the line of where to save a child and where to just say enough is enough. I just hope that I never have to make that decision.

topics like infanticide, eugenics, sterilization, this was written by someone in 1993 - "When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospect of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would according to the total view, be right to kill him... It may still be objected that to replace either a fetus or a newborn infant is wrong because it suggest to disabled people living today that their lives are less worth living than the lives of people who are not disabled. Yet, it is surely flying in the face of reality to deny that, on average, this is so. (pg. 132)

My thoughts: who could say such a thing? I totally 100% disagree with this. I believe God has a plan, and it's better than mine.

In the 1940's a lady was misdiagnosed as severely mentally retarded when in fact she was severely hearing impaired. It was so much she couldn't understand people. She was institutionalized at age seven and and spent the next thirty-six years locked in a human warehouses. In 1986, it became clear that hearing was the significant part of her hearing and her sister removed her from that setting. A year later, she was creating such wonderful artwork that would later sell for thousands of dollars. (pg. 147)

My thoughts: what a sad story. I know there is really no one to blame but how many people out there are simply misunderstood?

Newsweek: 90% of women who find out they are carrying a fetus with DS choose abortion. (pg. 161)

My thoughts: WHAT?? This makes me angry. very angry... and very sad so much that I would like to get a second opinion on that stat.

Most kids with DS are in the mild to moderate range of mental retardation... meaning, most are NOT severely retarded. (pg. 278)

My thoughts: all the more reason to believe they are worthy of life... as sad as even that sounds.

Other thoughts:

As you can see, in this book, the couple chose to keep the baby. The girl was born early as with most infants with DS. She had a heart defect and was not able to get open heart surgery until she was 8lbs. She didn't not reach that until she was 4 months old.

In this book, and I'm sure would be with mine. One family member asked, " is it fair to keep the child?.... It's fine for people who don't have that decision. They have to have the baby, and they have to take state money. But is it fair for you to do it? ". pg. 71. That poses the question, how do I feel knowing my taxes go to help people like this? Do I feel like it's a burden? How would I deal with my own family who already make comments about "retarded people"? Also, can people with DS have a quality life?

I understand that some people have difficult decisions to make and it's scary not knowing what we as parents can handle. I guess that's where I thank God that I know he's there and will always help me along the way. It's a hard faith to have sometimes but man, what would I do if I didn't believe that? And I wonder what God thinks of all this? I'm sure he's a lot more saddened and frustrated than me... as he knows the truth, the value, and that what amazing things he could do in situations like this.

So, I'm not sure I'm open to discussion for anyone that strongly disagrees with my thoughts. But if you have an interest, this book is at Wloo Public Library. It's a tear jerker but has a happy ending.

** once again, sorry if there are typos, this is a very long post and I'm tired of proofreading

Saturday, August 7, 2010

training update

Thought I'd take a minute to give an update on the triathlon training. I'm sorry if this seems a bit long winded.

  1. I'm excited that we have open water swims every Monday for the month of August. That means once a week, I will be out in the open water, swimming to my hearts content. I think I've said it before but I love swimming out there. You get out and look back and think, wow, I swam that far?? And I love being outdoors so it's so nice to be out with the blue sky and watching the sun set while swimming away. And it's a bit harder (the water seems thicker) in the lake so that makes for a bit of a harder workout. This last time I went I was pleased with my ability to site as the time before that did not go so well. I have figured out that I prefer to swim alone or at least not with 20 other swimmers next to me. I would much rather go at my own pace than to compete and I can see better when I don't have a lot of bobbing heads in front of me. This next time I'd like to challenge my self to go a further distance, perhaps 3/4 to 1 mile instead of the usual 1/2 mile. Anyways, if you have any interest in all, the swim is free and every Monday night at 6pm at George Wyth's boat ramp.

  2. I have been working on my biking portion as the distance is a lot further than I thought it would be and I'd like to average a 15-16 mile per hour speed. This past two weeks, I have actually done a couple workouts alone (not with kids in the trailer) and have gotten a path that doesn't require that I stop several times (a pet peeve of mine). My path, in case you are curious, is to leave my house going West on Bismark and I go slow for a warm up from my house to Ansborough Ave., then the real work begins. Going North on Ansborough, I turn left or West on the trail that follows 218 to Greenhill, and keep going taking a left on the Hartman Reserve trail. I take that trail going West until I come to Pfeifer (sp?) park and turn North crossing the big bridge that crosses over to George Wyth. I go down that bridge and then turn left going into Cedar Falls towards Main Street. I go under Main street and curve back around turning left or North on Main, taking the trail that loops around eventually to Big Woods Lake. I go around the lake and then come back home. Total distance: almost 16 miles. Today I was able to do the loop in just under a hour... not counting my warm up to Ansborough Avenue. If I can keep this pace on race day, I will be keeping my goal.

  3. Today, I had the chance to do a back to back work out. I did a bike ride (above loop) and then came home and ran three miles (did I mention it poured rain on me for about 3 miles on my bike ride but I toughed it out). The first mile I didn't think I would make it just from being tired but I made myself keep going since I knew I'd be disappointed if I quit. I actually made pretty decent time on mile one which brought my spirits up. In the end, I was able to do the three miles right at 33 minutes, my normal pace without the hour long bike ride warm up.

  4. Phil and I are already talking about next year. I'm so glad I've stuck this out since I've really enjoyed it. It takes a lot of time during the week but Phil and I love talking about it and we love doing it. Working our bodies like this actually feels good! And we both like the challenge.

  5. One last note, I'm disappointed to say that I am not losing anymore weight. My goal was another ten pounds before the race but I don't think I'm going to do it. I have been watching my eating and have done well for the most part. Reality is, I think I'm gaining muscle and I think my body is storing the fat since I'm working out so much and not eating high calories. I might have also hit a plateau, which has happened before about this time of year. I haven't really gained weight so that's a good thing. One other depressing thing for me, is my belly fat. Since being such a pudge for so long and having two kids my belly is not very attractive.. at all. But I recently read that I'm young enough that my skin should tighten just fine, chances are I still have a lot of old fat hanging around my belly, so until I loose more weight, my jelly belly will remain. One last note, I'm amazed that I look down at my legs and think they look just as pudgy as before but when I look in the mirror then I see these sleek muscular legs. I see now how people become anorexic or bulimic, saying they think they look fat. What I see when I look down is not the truth... luckily the mirror shows my nice legs that I can be proud of but it makes me feel for those who can't see their true body. In opposite, I think it's funny that I have gotten so used to my chest that it doesn't seem that big to me, but when I measure and ordered a new bra, the size is still quite big. So I see a normal chest on myself, when in reality, I'm very well endowed (sorry if this is too much info. for some of you).

  6. Oh, one more thing. My neck/back injury is gone. I feel back to normal. I have in the meantime ordered a new sports bra but when I got it, I did not like how it fit (the straps seem to cut in). I am now in the process of sending it back and getting a different kind. Hopefully this next one will work better. I so wish I could just go to a store and try one on but the closest thing I have is go to is Scheels in Des Moines.. and last time I was there, I didn't really care for what they had to offer. I would also like to have someone that I could talk about this issue with but unfortunately, everyone I know is normal in the bra department.

  7. Wuufffee.. that's enough for now. If you actually made it through this long entry, I thank you for listening. This has been quite the adventure. I'm hoping in the future to drag someone along with me.. even if for part of the ride.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

11 months old

In my tummy a year ago and now we're gearing up to celebrate her one year birthday. What a sweetie pie we have. She's not a huge snuggler but she does put her head on our shoulder once in awhile, especially when around strangers. Phil has been rocking her at night time so now she's learned to rest her head and snuggle in (or go to bed). She's also very rascally with getting into things and climbing on things. I didn't think to take a picture but today she was standing on the arm of this little white chair (pictured below) hanging onto the woodwork. Both feet on the top arm (actually one was kind of hanging off into mid air). Anyways, she usually cries when she gets stuck and this was one of those occasions. So she loves to climb and explore just like her little brother. She is crawling everywhere, very fast and has just started taking a few steps. She's up to five but it takes a lot of encouragement.. but she loves to practice.

Here's a few stats: Harlie naps twice a day, usually around 9:30am and again in the afternoon. She nurses 2-3 times a day and eats about 4 times a day. Her favorite foods are mac-n-cheese and spaghetti but I think the spaghetti sauce is giving her indigestion as she's starting to spit up again. It's like a mini puke and then she's fine... hmmm. She doesn't usually eat in large amounts so I don't think that is it. I think she's a bit pickier with foods than her brother but is still a good eater for the most part. She definitely likes her desserts unlike Wendell so I'm excited to see what she does with chocolate cake on her birthday. She hasn't been to the doctor in awhile so I don't know how long she is or how much she weights.. speaking of that I probably need to make her appointment.

In the last month, Harlie has gone to the petting zoo and been around a few other dogs so now I see that she also loves animals. She's willing to her hands on anything that loves her back. This is scary for me because I know she pulls hair and who knows what'll bite her.. I know I would if she pulled my hair : )

Harlie has discovered what her bedroom means so anytime we start to climb the stairs and go in her room she cries and arches her back... because it's nap time.. or bed time. I think it's kind of funny unless she cries and cries and cries which she does on occasion.

She also loves her brother very much. On the rare occasion that Wendell takes a nap he usually sleeps longer than him.. and it doesn't take Harlie long to start climbing the stairs to go look for him. The best is listening to Wendell talk to her. Sometimes in the car she's not so happy so he'll tell her "it's okay" or "we're almost home" in a soft gentle voice. Usually he's a bit rowdy with her (and any other baby). He loves to get in their face, grab their wrists and growl... not sure what's up with that as I don't believe Phil or I have EVER done that to him or a baby.

One last thought, her hair seems to be lightening and a lot of people say it looks red. I'm almost positive that they did the same thing with Wendell so I think she'll end up with brown hair like the rest of us but for now its a blond reddish tint.. and wispy.

And I leave you with some pictures from my favorite photographer (WPH), he cracks me up.