/> Raising Angels: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Has Been Busy

Between Nelson and I there are 5 birthdays and 2 anniversaries in our families in the month of August (not to mention my brother's birthday is Sept.1). They are, of course, all wonderful occasions. But when it's all said and done, the August accounts look very much like the December ones if you know what I mean.
We are blessed to have parents who, were married in the same month and the same year and also enjoy each other's company. This year, we decided to give them a gift together. We served them a fancy dinner at our house and hired a violinist to provide some live background music. It was really fun to be able to serve them for once.

The food was pretty fantastic too.

We also celebrated my mom's birthday at a local bakery owned by some dear friends. And let me tell you, I've had Cuban sandwiches in Miami that didn't touch the deliciousness of the one I ate at Lily's Bakery. YUM!

We finished off the week by celebrating my baby girl's 10th birthday. How did this happen? I have to say that watching her all summer has prepared me slightly for this momentous jump into the double digits. She has grown several inches over the year and her legs seem to get longer by the day.

Mackenzie, your spirit is so sweet. I love the little lady you are becoming. You are my right hand and I don't know what I'd do without you. I just love being around you. It's been a wonderful first decade. I can't see what the next one holds!

Part of Mackenzie's 10 year celebration was a pedicure which I got to join her for. As you can see, even though the temperatures are still soaring here, my toes...they are ready for the fall!

Friday, August 27, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days that are so full that you blink and it's over and you sit down and say, "Did I really just do that?" Seriously, it was a banner kind of day. So big that I can't tell you about it now because I have to fold some clothes and get to bed so I can wake up in a few hours and attempt an 11 miler at 6:30 AM.

Stay tuned. And until then, pray for me tomorrow. I'd love to keep running injury free. It's so...freeing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Good

We've had a pretty major leak in our attic that I just recently discovered because I was rocking Max and looked up at his ceiling to find a gigantic water stain. Not good.

We've tried a few things but as the days wear on, the spot grows and the ceiling now has cracks in several places. Really not good.

Tonight at a family dinner we were relaying the details and my dad and brother got up to go look at the damage. As they did, Max announced, "My sky is broken." Super cute, in spite of being totally not good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grocery Woes

I went to the grocery store today...with all of the kids. Now this is not an abnormal event. I've been doing it all summer out of pure necessity - unless I want to shop after Nelson gets home(dark), which in our neck of the woods is not a good idea; or go on a Saturday, which I try to avoid at all costs.

It seems that the behavior of the group has declined as the summer has progressed. Yesterday was the crowning glory. The kids were nearly out of control and I was a vision of a mother on the edge.

Needless to say, we left with me in fumes and a few children in big trouble.

At dinner I was letting Nelson know about the trip and the repercussions. I decided to let the boys explain it themselves, foolishly thinking that this might have some kind of wonderful, thoughtful impact.

"Well, we were bad," Aiden said. "Do you just mean that or all of the stuff we did?"

"I think you two should take turns telling Daddy each thing you did," I said, hoping if nothing else, Nelson might get a small window into my world.

"Okay," Aiden began, "well, first I knocked over those drinks."

"I walked by those cards and knocked them over," Dawson added.

"I ran down the opposite aisle of Mama and surprised her," he explained as he drew out the game plan on the table with a big smile erupting.

Dawson now began to giggle as he admired his brother's handy work. "I hopped down the aisle when you told me to stay by you."

"We blocked that man in the wheelchair cart from coming down the aisle because we were both laying on the floor looking at that huge crack," he giggled again nearly high-fiving Dawson.

"And when you were checking out, I ran over to the change machine instead of staying by you," Dawson remembered.

"I guess I did that too," remembered Aiden.

Nelson's eyes were huge; mine were near tears from trying to hold in the laughter. Somehow it all seemed pretty funny in retrospect. Nobody has shopping trips this bad.

I did not feel that way at the store. In fact I told Nelson that I'm not sure I was a very good witness. "People must have been looking at me and thinking that I'm the meanest mother on earth."

Nelson stopped me and said, "I see mothers like you and think, 'Good job!'"

In the end, it was just another day doing "the hardest job on earth", according to my father-in-law. Some days are just better than others. My only hope is that working through days like this will make days in the future a little easier.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fun with Food

At the dinner table the discussion turned towards barbeque.

"What's that meat we bought for our barbeque Mama? Boston..."

"It was a Boston butt," I mistakenly reminded them.

Giggles ensued as the conversation continued. "I really love barbeque," Mackenzie said.

"Me too," Aiden piped in.

"I (giggle, giggle) like it (smile spreading across the freckled face) because it has BUTT in the name!"

All out laughter ensued.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Favorite Moments of the Day

Walking out of the grocery store today I turned to see Aiden tugging quite tightly on Dawson's shirt. "What are you doing?" I asked him, suspicious of foul play.

"I'm just helping him not to lose his balloon since it has so much helium," he informed me. Then he turned to Dawson and said, "I'm helping you right? That's just what brothers do."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This morning I was in the kitchen scooping out potatoes to twice bake them. It was my first attempt at making these and I was pretty proud of how nicely they were turning out.

Mackenzie came over to take a peek at what I was doing. "Aww," she admired, "those are so cute. It looks like you should just put the baby Jesus in there."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hide and Seek - Rocket Version

Aiden runs into my bedroom and yells at Max, "Okay it's your turn now. You stay here and count to ten."

"Okay Aiden, you hide in there so I can find you," shouted Max in a thrilling voice of a 2 year old included in a big boy game.

"No," Aiden instructed Max, "you stay in here and close your eyes and count to 10. I’ll go and hide."

I walked in closer as Aiden ran from the room. Max looked at me in utter glee. "I'm going to close the door and count right here. I'm going to count to 5."

"Aren't you supposed to count to 10?" I asked.

"No! I'm going to count to 5. 1-2-3-4-5...BLAST OFF!", and off he ran.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


We have a new therapist this year. He looks like an athlete and Max loves him. He is like his own personal trainer. When he’s working with Max, I hear him cheering him on as they toss the football and climb the stairs and it is really pretty awesome.

The only hard part for Max is his name, Andy.

"Max," I asked him this morning to gear him up for the workout ahead, "do you know who's coming to play with you today?"

"Mr. Handy?" "Mr. Mandy?" "Mr. Dandy?" He asked each time as I answered no.

After a little coaching, he finally got it as the doorbell rang. He ran to the door and opened it. "Hi Mr. Candy!" he shouted gleefully.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My mom, in the tradition of grandmothers everywhere, likes to keep a bowl of candy on hand for when the kids visit. Lately it has been filled with taffy. It's been a huge hit.

Max, lover of all things sweet, makes his way into mom's kitchen, and then says, "Hello Bama! Can I have a piece of happy?"

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day for Max

Today was a big day for Max, his first day of preschool. Since the playground is a very rough surface outside, the kids have to be walking before they can sign up. Because Max was not walking last year at this time (or crawling for that matter), he could not go to school.

In fact, he started walking so late into the year that I didn't see the use of paying the registration fee for a few months. This year, however, the world is much different for my little guy.

So this morning he put on his backpack with total joy.

He disappeared from my side before I could even hang his backpack on his hook. He never looked back. In fact, I had to tear him away from the trains to kiss him goodbye. I think he was ready. I think I was ready.

For us, it was a victory much bigger than just going to school. And for that, we are truly grateful!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

10 Down...3.1 to Go!

Today was the day, the dreaded 10 mile training run. I dread this one for a lot of reasons.

First of all it's TEN MILES! That's double digits folks, which is a very long way to run. I know it doesn't sound like much but the next time you're in the car, watch your odometer and clock ten miles...then think about running them...without stopping.

Secondly, because of the blazing heat we've been having lately, the meeting time was 6:30 AM which meant a wake-up time of 5 AM. Although I got to bed at a fairly reasonable hour, I didn't get much sleep. I was nervous and up and down all night.

Lastly, this is the point of training every year where I deal with some serious injuries. I live in fear that this will always be the case.

Regardless of all of this I was up before the alarm, so I figured I might as well give it a shot. It was still dark when I arrived at the meeting point and I tried to stretch away the tightness, both in my legs and my throat. I reminded myself of my own resolve, turned on my music and took off.

I did a couple of things differently. I didn't start at the front of the pack and I made up my mind that I would not think about my time...at all. Once I got to that place mentally, I was able to shake off the nerves and get to the work ahead.

The first two miles are always tough. You have to work through the soreness and get the kinks out. We were running part of the actual race course today and the second two miles is straight uphill - a hill that I've yet to make it up without walking this season. As I hit the beginning of the climb, I decided to try to keep myself going by offering it up for Max and his total healing. Praying for my little guy and thinking about his weak muscles made it hard to complain about my sore legs and even harder to give up.

It was a long hill but I got to the top still running. I turned the corner and ran another mile or two uphill. This time I prayed for my "adopted" brother, Fr. Chidi, who is recovering from a kidney transplant.

That got me to over half way and the downhill turn. The next four miles was full of prayers. I prayed for each of my children, my husband, my parents, my siblings. I prayed for some of the businesses I passed. I prayed for anyone I could think of. I thanked God continuously that my legs were feeling good enough to keep moving.

I was thrilled when I at last saw the finish. I was totally stoked that I was still running. I was truly surprised that I was not the last one in.

I did it! I don't care (well I do but I'm not focusing on it) how long it took me. I am happy. I am excited about a new way to approach running. And, I am really, really tired.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Early Scientific Experiment

Tonight we went to a friend's house to pick up some peaches she was giving away. I gave one to Max to hold in the stroller as we made the walk back home. He held his prized possession and examined it on the 10 minute stroll.

Still in his hands when we came inside he brought it to me with a big grin and noted, "This is one is like a ball Mama. Let's throw it!"

"No buddy," I said right away. "These are not balls, they are peaches and if we throw them they will break."

He turned and ran with the peach still in his hand. From the other room I heard a little giggle and then a soft thud. Max came running in proudly, peach still in hand, "See Mama, it not break when you throw it!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moving Forward

School is still a few weeks away but the summer feels like it's slipping through my fingers. Last summer I made a concerted effort to make no plans, take it easy. I did and it was good.

This summer I intended to do the same. But somehow, I've missed the boat. I'm not sure what the difference is.

Tonight, on what apparently was the hottest night of the training season so far, I watched as runner after runner in my training group passed me by. I felt as if this was the story of me lately. Trudging along, watching life pass me by.

Instead of enjoying the view, I was getting more and more depressed that, try as I might, I did not have it in me to catch them. Pretty soon I was on my own and, well, I just gave up. I finished the distance but I didn't do it well.

Life is a lot like this. When my focus is on the people around me, my life seems to get out of whack. Instead of enjoying my own pace, realizing my own limits and working with them, I think about how my life doesn't look like theirs.

My life is good...actually pretty great (and so much better than my running!). If I could just put on the blinders and forget about the other runners, I would be so much happier. I know because I've been able to do this with good luck in the past.

So I’m going to get myself in gear and get moving…forward, no matter the pace.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sometimes So Is Life

I've been holding onto some thoughts lately. Thoughts I'd like to hold in until I can find the time and the words to wax eloquently about them. It's not happening - the time or the eloquence.

It seems sometimes life is. There are no other words. It goes, you follow - nuf' said.

I made another visit to the pediatric neurologist today with Max. It's funny to think that just one year ago I had such heavy emotions about this and now I know the ladies in the office and it feels just like any other appointment with Max.

This one, however, was different. It was. I felt. I thought. We left.

Still thinking.

The neurologist thought everything would be resolved by now. It's not. "He definitely has pronounced weaknesses. Your observations are right on," he told me.

"Think about a biopsy." "I'm thinking he may have one of several rare muscular diseases." "Drugs won't change him." "Could be genetic." "Could be passed to future children." "We know it's not a serious one." "Let's watch and talk in December."

There were many more words, questions, discussions between us. He sat with me a good 15 or 20 minutes hashing it out. He gave me an out with the biopsy option and I took it. So we made an appointment for December and then we left.

I am still a bit numb. Like I said before, it is what it is. I don't know what the future holds for Max. But then, if he had no weakness, I still wouldn't know what his future holds.

I tell myself this is not a big deal. I think. I pray. I keep going. I waffle between letting go of athletic dreams for him to seeing him train for a race with me someday.

Then I think, so what. So what if he never plays soccer or football. So what if he never runs as fast as everyone else (I can keep him company there). So what if he has a muscle condition.

Max is a gift. He's just the way God made him. I get to be his mom and I think that's pretty great no matter what. I love him - fiercely.

It's not eloquent. It's not poetic. But it is. And sometimes, so is life.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Brotherly Love

Today was not a good day. Nothing horrible like this or this, just a lot of little things.

Things like living with only one of our two AC units working since Saturday's big lightening storm. This means that the part of the house we live in is getting hotter every day. Thankfully, we've been sleeping in the cool side...until today, when that one went out too. When you're sitting in your own home and you start to spontaneously sweat (heat index hovering around 100), you know something's not right.

With weather like this, the kids can't really go outside. That means it gets a little wild inside. And around here, wildness, potty training two-year-olds, and sweaty boys (one who is on restriction from TV and Wii due to this) equaled lots of time outs and crying today.

By the time Nelson got home around 7, I was spent. Totally. I showered them and threw in the towel. I collapsed on the couch as the squeaky clean crew came running in full of every bit of energy I attempted to wash off. I was trying desperately to ignore the noise until I heard, "Mama, take a picture of us!" I looked up and saw this.

Upon investigation of the photo, I remembered why I keep this blog. At the end of the day, after taking a little time away from the actual events, I begin to see the humor - the moral - the love.

Ah, the love.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Something Like That

"Mama," Aiden asked from the back seat, "do we need new wheels?"

"You mean tires?" I clarified.

"Yes, tires. Do we need new tires?"

"We will one day," I answered to the best of my ability.

"Okay, so you have to get new tires every then and now?"

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Unfortunate Mishap

Upon hearing the initial screams of pain, I discovered little Dawson with blood gushing from his mouth. After letting him spit and grabbing a towel, I discovered these bloody, puffy lips and all bottom teeth in tact. I gave him a piece of ice and a kiss and sent him on his way.

It wasn't until he rejoined the other kids that I heard a squeal saying, "Dawson lost BOTH his teeth!"

Apparently, I didn't investigate close enough. Both of his front teeth were knocked loose with a little help from his brother. Thank God they weren't permanent teeth.

Jesus, help me be the mother of boys!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

No Pain Would Be My Gain

This evening the training group took on the Central hill. For those of you out of towners, it's a 2 1/2 mile climb up hill that's part of the Half Marathon race course. It's hard, but it was even harder because the temperature at 6:45 when we started was 90 with a heat index that made it feel even hotter.

On the way back down, which is supposed to be the "fun" part, my hip locked up and I was in pain. It happens every year and it's so disheartening. My only wish every training season is to do it without pain.

Hopefully this is just a bump in the road and not a road block.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Ride the Wave

When we were at the beach the waves were huge. I'm talking over my head, knocked me off my feet kind of waves. We loved them!

The first time I went out, I instinctively turned around when they hit me. Facing the shore, I thought, might make it easier to withstand them. Instead, they picked me up and threw me into the water.

The next time out, I chose to face the waves head on. In this position I discovered that I had a few options. I could jump over them, dive under them or stand strong against them. And, when I managed to steal the boogie board from one of the kids, I could wait for the perfect one and let it carry me all the way to the shore - seriously, body on the sand, totally fun kind of ride.

Life is often the same. There are times when the waters are rough. When you close your eyes and turn your back, you can get knocked off your feet. However, when you face them, your options are much better. You can stand strong, jump high or dive deep.

And, if you're patient and your timing is just right, you can catch one of those waves, ride it into the shore and have a great time doing it.