Monday, October 09, 2006

Walk On Baby!

WARNING: This post is long, but I promise I made it as brief as I could. It was just a lot to get into one post.

Quick Summary: We finished 26 miles (instead of 39) of the walk. (Blessing 1) Just one of the ways the weekend ended up working out a little different than I planned. But in most cases, it was different for the better. Lots a blessings to account for over the course of the weekend. Here are a few:

People warned me that it would be an emotional weekend. I imagined that they meant Opening/Closing Ceremony, but it was more than just the "ceremonies". It was women walking in honor and memory of their daughters, women walking with bandanas and hats to cover their baldness, men walking for their wives (some in memory of), daughters walking in memory of moms who had passed away only weeks earlier and just the feeling of unity that everyone was there for a single purpose. It was heart wrenching and sad. It was difficult and emotional. It was beautiful and wonderful. It was just as it should have been. (Blessing 2)

A few days prior to the walk, my back acted like it wanted to go out on me again, but after some talks with the Guy Upstairs, I woke up Friday morning without even a twinge of pain. (Blessing 3)

Upon finishing packing and getting ready, JM (my BFF) arrives and we head for the train station. We decided to go into DC to catch the train, rather than King St. Station. We are still unsure if this was a wise choice or not because when we walked into Union Station, a voice over head announced that all trains were sold out until 6 PM. We needed to leave by 2 PM. SO ON TO PLAN B- We walked around the corner to the bus station, which was surprisingly, nearly empty, and got two tickets to NYC for the 2 PM bus. (Blessing 4)

We took the last two seats that were together in the very last row (yes next to the bathroom, but it was not bad at all). JM and I talked, read, slept, worked, made calls, etc. While the bus mainly sat still in I95 traffic. Here's the deal: it was raining and a holiday weekend and a Friday afternoon, all recipes for sitting in traffic on I95. Six hours later (should have been 3 1/2 hours) we arrive at the NYC bus station. Kudos to the driver who actually did a great job bypassing a lot of traffic with back roads. None the less, I needed to be at the hotel to check in for the walk by 8, about the time we were waiting for a cab. We make it to the hotel around 8:45. There was one computer still up and working, they got me checked in, I got my packet and we were off to meet our hosts for the weekend. (Blessing 5)

We hopped back into a cab and made our way to The Guys apartment. "The Guys" is how I will kindly refer to the four thoughtful young gentlemen who let us stay with them this weekend, even though they did not know me at all and only knew JM through her Sis. There hospitality saved us a ton of money in hotel costs. (Blessing 6) We met up with one of The Guys, we will call him Tennessee T. He was so sweet by helping us into the building and then took us across the street to a pub where we finally got to eat dinner. We had not eaten since noon and we were starving. SIDENOTE: I could not help but notice their apartment over looked Ground Zero. I knew that I could only handle one emotional event at a time. So I pushed that out of my head and concentrated on the reason I was there. I proceeded to make the shirts I would wear for the walk and went to bed.

We woke very early the next morning and hopped a cab to Opening Ceremony. We had breakfast, did some stretching, listened to the speakers and I choked by the tears (first time of many this weekend). Then the walk began. JM said, "I will just walk with you until they kick me off the route." (Blessing 7) They never kicked her off the route, nor did she leave my side. Clad only in jeans, a jacket and old sneakers, she braved the misting rain, cold wind and crowds right beside me. What a trooper! The first mile was tough. So many people, narrow sidewalks, stop lights, traffic, that first stop-n-go mile alone took an hour. But once we got on the Hudson River bank, we were home free. My back was feeling quite bad again when I woke that morning, so I was walking slow and stopping frequently to stretch. It was not fun having everyone pass us, but I just kept reminding myself that this was not a race (first of all) and those ladies whose names were on my shirt (plus many others) endured much more pain than I was going through at that time. So, I pressed on. JM was again a trooper and never once complained.

A few hours into it though, the pain subsided enough that I was able to move a little faster. On the flip side, the shoes were perfect, feet felt great, not rubbing, no blisters, that part was going better than I could have ever hoped for. (Blessing 8)

Fast forward to mile 13, I was feeling tired and my feet were beginning to burn. JM was not in her best shoes and we feeling it too. We decided that if we were going to walk at all on Day 2 we needed to not go 26 miles on Day 1. So we called it quits and got on the bus headed for the wellness village. She helped me set up my tent and then went on her way back to The Guys apartment. I got a hot shower in the portable showers, that was very different, but got the job done.

Next, I took an appointment with a chiropractor, just to give me a good stretch. After which I did some yoga, had a lovely dinner and was in my tent asleep by 5:30 pm. I did not wake until 4:50 am the next morning. (I might have been a little tired, ya think?) Amazingly, I was able to get that much needed sleep even with all the noise around me and with the sun still in the sky. (Blessing 9)

Day 2 took us through different parts of the city. Places in Manhattan (Chinatown, Little Vietnam) I had never been, then over the Manhattan Bridge. (Blessing 10) We had lunch in Brooklyn at a park under the bridge, walked through a sweet little neighborhood, then over the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan, finally arriving back at Pier 17 where we started. All along the way, same as Day 1, their were cheering stations with some strangers, some crew, some friends/family of other walkers, some locals, all their cheering us on . It felt great and awkward at the same time.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the finish line because I was so tired and my body was just relieved to be done, that I could not get the camera out. Those last few miles were brutal. I must admit, I almost gave up. I was very slow, but made it to the finish line. (Blessing 11)

And the finish was the best. It was the most touching of all. The welcome from strangers, friends of other walkers, the familiar faces of the crew, the hug from my "cow-boy" who cheered us all on the walk, a woman with a bandana on her head holding a sign that read, "Thanks for walking for me", I could not contain the tears any longer.

We got a shower at The Guys apartment and took the train back to DC. Once there, we were welcomed with open arms of D and the kids, bearing lovely gifts in the form of handmade "I am proud of you Mom" cards. (Blessing 12) Crying yet again, I ended the chapter of my Avon Walk Weekend with great appreciation to all those who supported me along the way, and thus supported all those who benefit from Avon as well, THANK YOU!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

MAPOM Review

Well, the Mid-Atlantic Parents of Multiples convention on Solomons Island in Maryland has come to an end, but the memories and knowledge gained from those few precious days will last a lifetime.

For instance, being around so many others with 2@1ce was so fabulous as we traded birth stories, embarrassing moments and how we deal with the famous question to MOM's with boy/girl twins, "are they identical?". Not to mention wonderful experiences like staying up late drinking and talking with friends, sleeping late, showers every morning including doing hair and makeup, and some great seafood!

AND, all of this fabulousness was in addition to leaving a husband behind with three kids and a life in "my shoes" for a change in which I hope a clearer appreciation for my job was gained (and I believe it was).

::She says/writes in her best British accent:: Ahh yes, a great weekend indeed. And when great weekends are so few and far between, I strongly feel it to be most important that proper thanks and appreciation be promptly distributed with a most sincere heart.

So here goes,thank you Lord for making the trip possible and safe. Thanks to D for agreeing to the whole thing(taking off work, financially, support, etc). And thanks to L.B., M.G., and D.R. for making it all worth while, fun, fabulous and such a lovely weekend. It would not have been the same without ya'll (you know who you are, love ya ladies!).

Monday, April 03, 2006

If Goose-->Geese then Moose-->Meese?

I have once again temporarily deprived myself of the joys of blogging for other activities in life. My frequent absences are certainly the primary cause for so few readers of this blog.

Anyway, my absence was caused by my spending so much time getting ready for the Fairfax County Moms of Multiples clothing sale, which was a smashing success. It is one of the very few and far between opportunities for me to contribute a very small amount of income toward our suffering family budget. Therefore, I take full advantage of this rare time to make that miniscule contribution, plus I volunteer during the sale. Both tasks ARE wonderfully rewarding. And I get to do it twice a year, YAY ME!

Next, it was time for CJ's annual, 7-day trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his Memom and Grandpa. However, this year we ALL tagged along. That's right folks, SEVEN very different personalities on one trip! This combination makes for a week of UPS and DOWNS!!! This trip could best be described as exciting, interesting, challenging, fabulous, tedious, and unexpected to say the least! And I have a ton of pictures to prove it : ) Of course I will only post a few here.

--Caasmom's injury and ER visit.

--D learned to snowboard and bruised his coccyx. (Uhuh, uhum she said "cocks", huhh)

--CJ began paralleling in his ski moves and stops and thus was allowed to go the very TIP TOP of the Targhee slopes and ski down with mom and grandpa, WOW!

--BA went "weeee" down the mountain.

--BB slept on the snow for an ENTIRE day when he was sick, although the first day he did ski quite well.

--Hot Heads, Hot Springs, and looking for MEESE!

--Baby snowmobiling and pulling a sled ALL DAY! (thanks Sachse girls)

--Caasmom dropping the ball on the whole "need for sunscreen on a snow covered mountain" thing and having the entire family suffer greatly for that with blistered faces, sorry ya'll. : (

--BB getting the brunt of snowmobile "turning-over accidents."

All in all, a fabulous trip and of course a great chance to spend some family time together in one of the most beautiful places God ever made.

Monday, March 06, 2006

2 of My Favorites

Two of my favorite girls in the whole wide world!!

This picture is compliments of a relaxing Sunday evening, just the way Sunday evenings should be. Hangin' with your favorite people.(Snoozing and snoring on couch, included by yours truly, hehe)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A New Thing 2 Try

This Monday on our free day off we went ice skating! It was the first time on the ice for the kids. And it had been way too many years since D and I had skated, so I was not sure how it would go. We discovered, however, that they really enjoyed it. CJ more so than the twins I think. (But then again, he excels in nearly every sport he tries, so no surprise there.) They were all troopers with trying something new and did much better than I had thought they might.

However they did fall...a lot. The poor things look like they have been abused. They have bruises in places I did not even know a human could bruise. CJ has one that covers his entire elbow and about an inch all the way around it. BA has one on her bum that is questionable at the very least. BB's knees and legs look like he has been pelted with small stones. Not pretty at all.

D and I, thankfully did not fall. But considering age, fitness, old injuries and holding ourselves and the kids steady, I have been feeling it pretty bad this week. I believe "hardly able to walk or move" would accurately describe my days following our "ice-capade" on Monday. D handled it much better than I and actually had to work from home one day because I questioned my ability to adequately take care of the little ones. Sad, so sad.

I believe that my lack of fitness and the extra weight has definitely exacerbated my symptoms. So I have vowed to return to my healthy lifestyle as of today. I know what to do, I have just for some idiotic reason decided to abandon it for the last YEAR! I am getting way to old to ignore my health, wellness and fitness needs. Not to mention the 3 pairs of eyes looking to me daily for guidance to their own health and wellness. Yep, I definitely must get back to my old, much healthier, ways.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Others with 2@1ce

I adore meeting other M.O.M.s (Mothers of Multiples). It is so great to talk to someone in which you feel so many remarks or sidenotes can go un-said because, you know they know what you know, ya know? They know how it feels to worry, times two. Some know what it is like to feel like a dairy heifer. Most know the hideousness of serious sleep deprivation. I think most MOMs enjoy getting advise, giving advise and of course, comparing notes. It makes me feel a part of a special club.

That is one of the reasons I L-O-V-E going to my twin club conventions. There, I am in a room full of hundreds of women for whom I know have walked in my shoes. And that feeling is quite comfortable.

Some of us share a closely similar story, while others are unique, but they have all been there. Some have twins only, twins plus 1, 2, or more. Some have two sets of twins, ouch! Then there are those with higher order multiples, bigger ouch! Some had children very close together, like mine. Others started over by having twins later in life after their first child(ren) was/were grown or out of the house. Some were young when they had them, some had menopause babies. They either stay home with them or work full-time jobs. Some are raising them as a single parent, an even bigger ouch!

Any way you slice it, everyone in that room knows what it is like to have more than one baby at one time. We all know where the rest of us have been and we all respect each other for it. Yes, a very comfortable place to be indeed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V-Day 2 You!

D (my hubby) has been of the opinion for the entire time I have known him that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday and therefore does not celebrate it. Early in our relationship I would fight him on this and try to force him into celebrating it. But he is a very stubborn and convincing man, so, if you can't be 'em, join 'em, right? Right. So, now we acknowledge the day. However we do so with out dinners, cards, flowers, chocolates, etc. It really takes the pressure off of us. Don't get me wrong, I am, of course, respectful of others feelings about the holiday. My family got a Valentine card and the kids are doing their Valentine card exchange at school. I'm not a "Valentine Nazi" for crying out loud!

Therefore I shall bid y'all a very Happy Valentine's Day! I do hope it is all you wish it to be!