Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cowboy Up again!

Rodeo two nights in a row.  
If I was able to keep getting killer deals on tickets I would go every single night this week.
Yes really.

Usually I'd be all "I can't stay out late every night because I need to get up early to run!" but since I am currently on day 3 of peroneal tendon induced rest, I'm living on the wild side and once again staying up past 10:30 and sleeping in past 5.  I may need some psychiatric care if I still can't run come my scheduled long run on Saturday.  But that's another post.  Let's get back to rodeo!

After the craziness that is taking eight children age 12 and under out to an event that doesn't end until after 10 and is then followed by an hour's drive home (on which NO ONE fell asleep), we decided we wanted to go and really enjoy the rodeo.  Not that we didn't have fun with the kids, but sometimes Tuesday date nights are the very best ones!

We were tempted to bring Charli along because she heard me say "rodeo" and commenced a celebration that included jumping in place for nearly five minutes and screaming "Me want go see the horseys!  Let's go rodeo again!  yay!  yay!  Horseys!  Yay!"  I love that girl.
Thankfully she was good with going back to the activity that had occupied most of her day, swinging a rope over her head and yelling "yee-haw!"

I totally neglected to take pictures of Aaron eating dinner.  Which is a bummer because he loved it so much last time.  But I still managed to take a sufficiently obnoxious number of pictures from arm's length.
Like these in the car.
The "I have pointy vampire teeth and a gigantic jaw" picture:

The "whoops I pushed the button before I meant to" picture:

The "laughing because I pushed the button too early last time" picture:

The "I have a double chin which totally shocks Aaron" picture:

The "all these pictures are making me tired" picture:

The "we're stuck in traffic and.....I'm not sure what face Aaron is making" picture:

The people at Costa Vida would have totally loved it if we'd have done this all through dinner I'm sure.
By the way Costa Vida was super yummy!  Right up there with Cafe Rio.

Also even though I was all gussied up in my western wear (yep, even a shirt with boob pockets and snaps!), I stayed true to myself.

Boots and Balegas.  Awesome combination.
Also it made me feel a little better since I missed my 8 miler this morning because I was busy icing my foot that better get better real soon because otherwise all of the calories I am still eating but not running off will start catching up with me dangit.

Monday night we were down at the roping chutes, Tuesday we got tickets down by the bull/bronc chutes.
Fabulous seats again!  And more arm length pictures!  And lots of exclamation marks because he loves them so much!!!

Also, I told Aaron if we went again I was wearing a hat.

I wasn't kidding.
And he needed one too.

Aww...look at us being all country together....

And me laughing because the people around us were wondering why the heck we were taking so many pictures of ourselves.
See that girl in the pink next to me?  I think she was bugged at the pictures.  Never mind the fact that her leg was actually ON my chair most of the night which had me sitting sideways so my legs were practically on top of Aaron.  He never said anything so I really don't think he minded all that much but seriously-sit on your own chair please!

This is Aaron's favorite event-other than barrel racing-the wild cow milking.

Sorry for the blur, I turned off the flash because I am a rule follower like that.

Do you see that guy running?  This is good stuff.

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing this, teams of two-one on horse, one on foot-rope a cow then have to milk it and get enough milk in a little bottle that it's pourable.

First team to do that wins.  It's hilarious.  Half the time after the cow gets roped it lays down to get the guys to back off, but you can't milk it while it's laying down so then they're trying to get it to stand back up, at which point it bolts again.

Way too entertaining to watch.

I enjoyed the bronc riding more than I have in the past.  Our across-the-street neighbor rides broncs, he got stomped on pretty good a couple of months ago.  Smashed femur, hoof kind of scalped him....pretty messy.  Those guys are crazy!

Almost as crazy as the bull riders.

8 seconds can be a very very long time.

And this was one of the more quiet gentle rides.

Now I'm going to go ice my foot and watch 8 Seconds.  And make a conscious effort to stop speaking with a drawl.

Cowboy Up

It's rodeo time people!
Well, it has been for a while now, but it stayed entirely too cold (and yes, snowed) into June again so those outdoor rodeos just weren't happening with a herd of little kids.   When I brought up rodeo Aaron said "pick one INdoors!  Like Days of '47 or something".
Even though there is now a rodeo arena less than two miles from my house.  Maybe next year we'll hit that one.

True to form, I took him up on that.  Twice.

Imagine my little heart going pitter patter when I found a killer deal on tickets to the Days of '47 Rodeo on Monday.  Take the whole family (yes, all 10 of us!) to the rodeo for less than one ticket to the Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger concert that the hubs brought up last week?  Yes please!  A-I'm not old enough for that concert, and B-I would have been looking for Hasselhoff all night long because when I heard Night Ranger I thought Night Rider.  Which I guess means I'm old enough to remember that.  But just barely.

And besides, Bull riding is SO much better than watching old men jump around stage in pants that are still too tight.  If I'm going to watch men in pants that are too tight, they should be on livestock not on stage.

What does it look like to go somewhere with 8 kids?

Thank heaven for the buddy system.
We got there super early to get the best seats we could.

As is evidenced by the rest of the arena being completely empty.
(yes I'm wearing boots.  Wait till the pictures from Tuesday night.)
For row 8, I'll sit there an extra hour!
We picked a spot right behind the roping chutes.  It was awesome.  And gave the kids something to do while we waited.

Look at Dallin.   Apparently he lacks the part of my genetics that loves a big deep breath around cows.
Since we have fields of cows minutes from our house, I was shocked that they were so enthralled hanging out with the calves, steers and wild cows (for milking.  yes really.).

Then Alaina found the royalty and was all sorts of excited.  She practically tackled them.

And after a quick photo op sprinted to my purse where she rummaged for a pen so she could go collect autographs.

I was roping kids while they roped calves,.....


We had a great time, and the kids mostly loved it.  It got a little long for the middle kids, but Charlotte loved it till the last second.
The evening redeemed itself for those 4, 6 and 8yr old restless boys though when the after-show entertainment was motocross.
Equals this:

And since for a while there was more rodeo going on in our row trying to wrangle kids into their seats than there was down on the floor, Aaron and I went back on Tuesday for date night. Complete with lots of pictures.  Because he loves it when I take 863 pictures of us just sitting there.
 And we bought him a hat.  Come back for that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Run, run as fast as you can!

Last week was a drop back week for me.  Fewer miles each day, and a shorter long run on Saturday.

Since there was less on the schedule I thought I'd try something new on Thursday, my rest day.
Inspired by Marjorie, I thought I'd see how fast I could pound out a mile.  She does this monthly to see how her time is coming along.  After that 5k that came out speedier than I thought, I was wondering just what I could do.
My fastest mile split on that 5k was 7:16, so I knew I could do a little over a 7 min mile.  I wondered if I could hit 7 right smack on the head.  16 seconds less per mile may not seem like much, but when you're pushing your pace, even five seconds can be a huge stretch.

I had Aaron drop me off out on the path on the way home from the kids' karate lesson.  Out far enough that I wouldn't have to worry about running over curbing or anything like that-I could just run.

I laced up, slathered up the Biofreeze, and reset the trusty Garmin.

It hurt.  I pushed it, my knees got angry and my ITBand yelled at me too.  But I tried to embrace that "the faster you run, the faster you're done" idea, and remind my body that it was only one mile and no further.  Just one.  So I pushed through when I felt my body trying to slow down and left it all out there.

In the end?

(yes, I know that's out of focus)

Check. that. out.
I cleared seven!!
And did you see that "best"?  Somewhere along there I kicked up to a 5:52 pace.  Granted it may have been for only a fraction of a second, but fun to see that number nonetheless.
My knees are still angry with me four days later, and I even ended up wrapping my worst side for Saturday's long run so I won't be doing this little timed mile test again till after the marathon wraps up, but it was super exciting to see what I was capable of.
Maybe one day off in the future I'll actually do some working on my speed.  Maybe there is a speedy runner in there after all.


Monday, July 11, 2011

MRI Nitty Gritty and a visit to Neurosurgery

I find myself grateful that these heaps of dr appointments just come in small doses for us.  I know many people for whom this is the norm, either on a weekly or monthly basis.  It was supposed to be our norm.

Also, this is your warning that this is a long post.  

Lately we've had the monthly check in with the pediatrician to make sure that Sam is gaining weight and check his iron levels because they've been so low.  Because the anemia situation hasn't changed-except to get worse-these monthly appointments have expanded to include iron injections.  Those are rough.  Big shot, and one that has be given with a z track injection so it doesn't leave a tattoo mark.

The good news is that his body seems to be responding well to the injections.  Slowly, but well.  At least he's not going down anymore.
The better news is that he's finally gaining some weight!  While he gained just over a pound between 4-6 months, and just over a pound from 6-9 months, he's managed to pack on a full pound from month 9-10, and another full pound from 10-11!  He's now tipping the scales at a whopping 18lbs!

He kind of fell off the charts there for a bit but is now solidly back the 4th percentile!  Woohoo!

His head growth on the other hand.....

That penciled in dot is his most recent measurement.
Also off the charts, just in the other direction.
"It's like an orange on a toothpick!"
(Settle down, settle down....humor is a good thing.  You know I love my baby to pieces!)

Now-on to the MRI!
We had a chance to chat with the Dr who reviewed his scans and wrote the report before we even left the hospital post MRI.  Usually we just get the report and work our way through this:

It was really nice to talk with a reviewing radiologist, we haven't had that opportunity before.  It was also a little sobering.  The first thing he said was "I'm really shocked that they haven't done surgery yet."  Well, ok.  He did clarify that he certainly isn't the neurosurgeon and that the surgeon would know best, but by looking at the hydrocephalus he was surprised they are just letting it go still.
But check this out:

He said that he disagrees with the previous MRI findings regarding Sam's optic nerves.  There was concern noted last time about them being small or somehow distorted, but Dr B thinks they look perfectly normal!  Great news there.
He also mentioned that he disagrees with the idea that it is a tumor blocking the aqueduct and causing the hydrocephalus.  He feels like it is just a dysplasia, especially since it would be consistent with the location of the other malformations there in his brain along the midline.  That is also great news.  Although it came with a very sobering conversation about the fact that if it is indeed a tumor there, that is not a good thing.  Typically tumors located there in the tectal plate don't occur on kids this young, they aren't seen until years further down the line.  With where it is located, it would be inoperable no matter what.  He mentioned that if it does turn out to be a tumor it certainly looks to be slow growing, but we could be looking at chemo or something along those lines years down the road.  It's hard to hear those things about your child.  Even if they are just a "maybe" thing and not a definitive diagnosis.

With all that in mind and digesting, we waited until this morning to meet with our neurosurgeon.  Typically the appointment with the surgeon is scheduled the same morning as the MRI, but I wanted our dr to really be able to see Sam and not the post-sedation loopy Sam.  I wanted him to see how alert and active he is.  I wanted him to see all that personality that is bursting out of that boy.  I wanted him to see how physically capable he is.
I'm so glad I pushed for the appointment on a different day!

As Dr K walked into the room today he was joined by another neurosurgeon.  He wanted another set of eyes to go over things and meet Sam and get a feel for how to proceed.  They walked in with the ever thickening folder of Sam's history.  Looked at the most recent head measurement and started flipping through charts.  They had that semi-grim look about them, as they asked "How is he doing?"  I told them he was great and they asked "What is he doing?"
"Well, he's army crawling, he's doing better at sitting, he's just the happiest kid ever...oh-he started pulling up this weekend too!"
"Pulling up?"
"Yep!  He did it in his crib on Saturday, I wondered if it was a fluke or if one of the other kids had helped him, but first thing Sunday morning he grabbed the dining room chair and up he went!  Then a dozen more times that day too."
"Pulling up?  Pulling up to standing?  Really??"
"Yep, really."
The looks on their faces were priceless.  It was obvious they weren't expecting that.
Dr K looked at the other dr (yes he has a name, I have completely forgotten it), who looked back at Dr K in surprise and said "Wow, I wouldn't go messing around in there-you don't want to mess that up!"  Dr K kind of laughed and said "Yeah, wow, well if he's doing that well, we don't want to go in there.  If it's not causing problems.....looking at his chart and his head, he's doing great."
I expressed my concern at the radiologist's comments about being shocked that he hadn't been shunted (or ventriculostomy-ed as the case will likely be) and he said "well, yeah, looking at just the numbers and the reports, that makes sense, but looking at him?  I wouldn't have expected this-he's doing great!"

And there you have it.

Dr K wants to go over Sam's case with the rest of the neurosurgery department just to make sure that everyone feels he is on the right page with this-putting off surgery still-and said he'd give us a call later this week after conferencing with everyone.  I appreciate that despite the fact that this man in the department chair, very well known nationally and even internationally for his work and research with hydrocephalus, the co-founder and chairman of the National Hydrocephalus Research Clinic, pretty much THE guy that you would pick if you had your pick of anyone out there, that he wants to go over this all with the other surgeons in his department to make sure that the feeling is unanimous that it is still safe to wait, that there isn't cause to go ahead with surgery any time immediately.
As for now the plan is to wait until November for our next check up, pending of course any signs of increased pressure, or any change or stall or regression in Sam's development.

My baby will be 15 months old in November!

You know, that baby that everyone wondered if he'd survive to the end of pregnancy.

That baby for whom we had life-saving measures in place at birth.

That baby that was given a 60% chance of making it through his first month.

If you don't believe in miracles, you simply aren't paying attention.


The longest run

This whole marathon training thing is interesting.

In many ways it reminds me of pregnancy.
Yes, I've spent so much of my adult life pregnant that I end up comparing a freak number of things to pregnancy.
Marathon and pregnancy.
Slowly counting down to and preparing for the main event.
Measuring the time until that big event in weeks.
Most appropriately, everything gets bigger toward the end.
And yes, with 12 weeks left till St George, I pointed out to Aaron that it's just one trimester away!

I'm slowly building towards some big runs.
Obviously the one big 26.2 mile run at the end, but a couple of 20 milers before then as well.  Some days that thought is really exciting, some days I wonder what the heck I was thinking.

So far all of my long runs have been distances I've run previously.  Week 5 had a 13 miler on schedule for the long run.
I set out that morning realizing that the longest I've run previously is 13.1 miles.  The beloved half marathon-my current favorite race distance.  (We'll see if the full marathon replaces that spot.)  Being the person that I am, I just couldn't handle the idea of stopping a tenth of a mile shorter than my previous longest run.
So I had to tack on just a tad bit more.  0.2 more.
13.2 miles.
And boy it felt good.
I ran it in 2:02:22.  Day of the 2's anyone?
(yes I'm a numbers geek)
A full 7 minutes faster than my half marathon PR, I finished this run feeling fabulous and looking forward to my next actual half marathon event so I can smash my PR, and have that happy sub 2:00 finish time.

Next long run:  15 miles this Saturday to wrap up week 7.
Can't wait.


Friday, July 8, 2011

MRI, the next round

I can't believe it's time for this again!

Mostly I can't believe it's been nearly 5 months since the last one.  Geesh those months have flown!
Sam hit 11 months on Monday.  He was an itty bitty six month old last time we did this.
Ok, really he wasn't that much smaller than he is now, but it seemed like he was.

Ironically it has also been just a few days past the one year mark of the first time we received MRI results from that very first MRI when I was pregnant.   That feels like a lifetime ago.

Here he is Monday night just before bed in his MRI compatible jammies-that also happened to be appropriately festive for the fourth.
 So cute!
(thanks Aunt Kelsey!)

Bright and early Tuesday morning we headed in for Sam's MRI.   Since Aaron is still off work recovering from his surgery he came along.  It was nice to have some company this time.
Also ironic that the first time we took Sam in for an MRI when he was really little-6wks old-Aaron was home recovering from surgery.  This time he was actually coherent and not delirious from pain.  Nice change!

The 6:30 appointment means that we beat some of the staff there to the hospital, but Sam had a blast playing while we waited.  Didn't even phase him that he hadn't eaten yet.  What a great kid.
He LOVED the car.

Aww....look at my little puffy eyed bed head baby!
Just cruisin'...bein' cool like that.

Once we were ready to go we got to blow another 30 minutes getting prepped.  Hanging out, answering questions, the big weigh in (he has reached 18lbs!  Grow Sammy Grow!), the IV...all that good stuff.

Such a trooper.
And look, they gave him one of the saline syringes as a souvenir.

Biggest syringe ever!  This will make a fun bath toy.

I got to hold him as they administered the Nembutal again, so he dropped off to sleep in my arms.  It is crazy how fast that stuff kicks in.  Less than a minute and he was out cold.
It was really hard to see him out this time.  He actually looks like a sick baby with neurological issues when he's sedated.  The rest of the time we get to pretend that nothing's wrong.  But when he's laying there limp and pale, it's a little scary and all too real.  And you can REALLY tell how heavy that head of his is.  We had to be careful handing him off and it still flopped more than any of us would have liked.  Sad.

With 35 minutes to kill and a hospital that has an actual restaurant with a chef there to customize your order, we went to eat.
And then I took pictures of Aaron just to bother him.

I know he secretly loved it.

Mmmmm.....breakfast....  We had the chef whip up some french toast for Aaron and some eggs with veggies for me.  He was awesome and threw some cheese on there, because I like a little egg with my cheese.
Also I only had three pieces of bacon instead of matching Aaron's four.  That way there was less guilt.
Never mind the fact that I think I ate two of Aaron's pieces.

We hobbled on back to recovery as fast as Aaron's crutch would carry him, getting back just as they were finishing up.  Then in came my sleepy little babe.
He started to wake up as soon as they laid him down, which is not preferred.  Typically they like kids to sleep for about two hours from the time the drugs are administered just to let them get it out of their system a little better before they try to function.  Sam was just not settling down so I snuggled him for a minute, till he grew heavy in my arms and slipped back into sleep.

When he woke up he was his normal cheerful sweet self.  This kid is amazing.

And just for fun, a little snippet of him all loopy after he woke up.
He kept trying to eat that cracker and just couldn't quite get the hang of it!

So much his father's child, especially post sedation.....

Run down on the MRI results to come....