Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013

If you are my friend on Facebook or around me in Boston, you know that I was STOKED for the marathon this year. No, I was not running it. I have no clue that that will ever happen, but I was still going to be involved this year.

In January I signed up to be an official volunteer. I just wanted to be a part of this cool event, even if it meant handing out water, stuffing race bags, anything.

As race weekend approached I learned that there is an Expo the 3 days before the race. For date night, Justin even agreed to go with me. We had a great time scouring the booths, watching video clips, and just enjoying the atmosphere.

My shirt/souvenir from the expo. 
I decided to take the girls back the next day and they had more fun than Justin and I. The vendors like to give kids stuff. They scored cow bells, little tattoos, stickers, snacks, posters, all kinds of stuff. We left as it was getting crowded and I noticed that the finish line to the race was all set up. SWEET. We walked down to it and I let the girls run across it and explained as best I could what it was. They've been to my races before, so at least Emily understood. You could tell who the runners were because they had their "race bags" with them. Emily wanted to know why I didn't have a race bag. I decided the best answer was, "I have a baby in my belly, so I can't ran that race this time." After the finish line, we went to Sugary Heaven and I let the girls each pick out a piece of candy. Then we headed home.

Monday morning bright and early, my friend Jen picked me up (at 5 am) and we headed out to our volunteer spot: the starting area!!! (Not the official starting LINE- that was almost an entire mile away). Our job title was Clothing Check. Since the starting line is far away from the finish and most runners take buses out from Boston, they have personal belongings they want to get back at the finish line. There were 3 waves of 18 school buses for the runners to load their belongings onto. Each window of each bus was designated for a set of 50 runners' bibs numbers. Runners were responsible for finding their appropriate window and passing their bags through. We would make sure the bags were in the right spot and would be ready for pick up at the finish line.
I LOVED these giant signs all over. Eek! Made me think that someday I want to run this.... 

My "official" volunteer swag. 
My friend Jen and I after our shift.
I worked on the Wave 1 buses, which meant the elite runners. It was pretty fun to see their intensity. It was great to wish them well and yell, "Have a great race!" through the window. At this point in the day there was so much excited energy. The wave 2 and 3 runners just as much fun to be around, after all they were running the BOSTON MARATHON! Our shift ended and Jen and I headed home.
Jen and I on our empty bus- before the craziness.

Our bus! 
When I got home, I knew I wanted to go cheer runners on. Emily said she wanted to come, but Justin wasn't interested, so he and Lyla stayed home to take naps. Emily and I went and met up with some friends who have a great spot they go to every year. This particular year, they had a family member running, so it was exciting to cheer for her as she passed.

Justin and Lyla, enjoying their afternoon.
Emily ringing her cowbell for the incredible runners.
Believe it or not, Emily wasn't too excited about sitting on a sidewalk and ringing her cowbell for too long. Once our friends' cousin passed, so they packed up to go meet her at the finish line. Emily asked me if we were going to go as well, and without even thinking the words, "No. The finish line is too crazy for kids." came out of my mouth. We loaded up and went home. Didn't think twice about. (*this is the unusual part of the story for me. I'll get to that in a minute.) We got home and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. I woke up when I felt my phone buzzing and saw that my brother called. First instinct was to ignore and call him back when I was done sleeping, but answered anyways and he was calling to check on Emily and I. I didn't even believe him, when he told me there had been an explosion at the finish line (not that people joke about that kind of thing or anything). I started surfing the internet and not finding very much, when DUH! I live in Boston, all I have to do is turn on the tv. Sure enough, there was plenty of footage. I promptly called my friend who I'd just said goodbye to as she headed to the finish line and when she DIDN'T ANSWER, I didn't panic, but of course texted and was relieved to hear they were A-OK.

Wow. From this point on in the day, time flew by. By Emily and Lyla pointed out the finish line and that we had just been there. There, RIGHT BY one of the blasts was the candy store we were at. Emily saw a picture and said, "Wow, I'm glad we weren't there today." It was kind of a bizarre afternoon.

Since I'd been posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram all day, I recently so much lovin' from friends and family all over the country checking on Emily and I. I was so grateful to report that we were safe and sound on our couch. As a death count of 2 came in my heart sank. As I saw pictures of people severely injured my heart sank. As I thought of all of those runners this morning, I'd smiled at told them, "Have a great race!" or "Have a great day!!" I just thought, this day has turned out awful for them! There they were, walking aimlessly around the streets. There was no celebration, they couldn't find their families, some were on stretchers and in wheelchairs. It was unbelievable. I JUST saw them. They were just getting excited to run the BOSTON MARATHON! It was suppose to be an awesome day they could brag about forever.

**I was so impressed that within minutes, the women I go to church with had already sent out an email basically asking people to "check in." I am going to miss these women like I never thought possible.

Then, personally the saddest news as of yet came in. That was that one of the deaths was an 8 year old boy. I can't even go there. 8 years old means he was taken there by his family either to support someone they love, or his parents wanted to have him experience something really special. Both of those things my kids do. My girls come to my races and meet me at the finish line. I took Emily to this race today, so she could be a part of something incredible. Same as that little boys parents. I don't know.. I just can't go there really.

Anyways. I have not wanted to be overly dramatic about this horrible event or even go through "what if" scenarios, that clearly did not happen. I even felt a little guilty when I would read that people prayed for my family, I mean we were Safe. We were fine. There are hundreds of other people that aren't. HOWEVER, as I was decompressing tonight my mind was opened a little and I found a GIANT tender mercy.
Sharing a special afternoon of something I love with one of the people I love the most in the world. 

I love being IN THE ACTION. I want to be front row at fireworks shows, I want to eat at delicious restaurants, I want to experience things. Especially Boston things, since we are moving. On a normal day, I would have seriously considered taking Emily down to that finish line. We were three miles away, right by a train stop that was a straight shot there. No problem. Just me and Emily, no problem. I might have still decided that even though she wasn't really into it and I didn't want to drag her around, but it would have EATEN at me all afternoon that I was going to miss something exciting. The fact that none of that even went through my brain is really quite colossal. Would we have been front and center at one of the blasts? Probably not. Would I have exposed my daughter, my unborn daughter, and myself to possible danger and at least a scary image or 2? probably.

What started out as a fantastic beautiful day, ended in tragedy. I hope even those injured will be able to find some resemblance of peace in the next few days.

 Thank you Heavenly Father for proving to me AGAIN, that in a real "situation" you will relieve all anxiety and help me make good decisions and protect my family.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter Egg Dying

We were a little late with our Easter egg dying this year. Thank goodness I boiled them ON Easter, or else it probably wouldn't have happened. We dyed them using Kool-aid this year. The picture I got the idea from produced these very vibrant eggs, so I thought it would be awesome. Ours did not turn out so much as vibrant, but totally funky. It's all good though because the girls had a great time doing it, and it's all about the process, not necessarily the result... right??!!

I only had a dozen eggs to dye, so once Lyla dyed all of hers, she re-dyed them again. 
Emily did multi-colors on hers. Some of them turned out really pretty, "like sunsets" she said.

Not really sure how this happened, but after the eggs dried some of them looked like this....
Sometimes I wish I could just video tape our lives, so this video isn't anything super, it's just the girls being themselves.

Random Comings and Goings

It rains a lot here. It snows a lot here. All of the girls in the house own a lot of boots & coats. This particular day I thought Emily looked rather adorable, so I took a picture. Enough said, right?!
 Market Basket is our favorite grocery store, but for different reasons. I (Allison) love the cheap(er) groceries, especially the produce. Lyla LOVES that there is a horse and a mini carousel outside that she gets to ride every time we go to the store. Emily always gets left out since we go while she's in school, but we'll get her there one of these days.
 Park Days. We have been lucky that spring is starting to peek its head out here. We've been to the park a few times. If you look close in these pictures you will also notice that Lyla has to dress "fancy" every. The first picture is complete with sparkle boots, sparkle tights, hat, and fancy beautiful dress. 

 This is the only picture I have of Lyla and her BEST friend. You can never tell her that Sophia is her friend without being corrected. In fact, you can't mention that anyone is her friend without being informed that Sophia is her BEST friend. Gotta love a best friend. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Minor Complication

A few weeks after Lyla had her tubes put in, she caught a cold. Runny nose, fever, the works. Since she had her tubes though, I didn't worry too much about it. Luckily though, a few days into the cold was her post-op appointment for her tubes. I say "luckily" because the cold had cause her tube to get clogged and basically not work. I didn't even know that was a possibility. Since it was caught early enough the doctor could dig the 'gunk' out and make her good as new. Had he not done that it could have made the tub obsolete and they would have had to remove it and put in another one. To prevent it in the future, he gave me a prescription with a few refills of drops to put in her ears if/when she gets colds in the future.

Special thanks to my camera girl Emily. I didn't even know she was taking pictures of Lyla. They had to strap her to a Papoose board while the digging went on. I was busy trying to distract her by telling her a story. Lyla is so tough she didn't cry at all, she just seemed very surprised by the whole thing. I've said it once and I'm sure I'll say it a million zillion more times, my Lyla is one amazing little girl. 

Tonsil Time

After a long history of ear infections, snoring, and grumpy kids the girls FINALLY were scheduled for a couple minor surgeries. Emily was getting her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears. Lyla was just getting the tubes put in. 

I scheduled them both on the same day, and since my Mom declared me a crazy person, she planned to fly out and help with the girls. 

In preparation we bought popsicles, fudgesicles, ice cream, yogurt, and borrowed a Vitamix to make smoothies. Emily was STOKED!

Morning of we checked in at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. They gave us a whole room for the day and here was our incredible view. 
 We all had to change into fancy clothes. The girls looked really cute in their little gowns. 
Justin went with Lyla while she got her tubes put in. When she woke up from her anesthesia she was super snuggly and sweet. She came back up to the room and watched cartoons while we waited for Emily to be done. 
I went down and met Emily when she woke up and the experience was not the same as Lyla's. I cried a little when I saw her because she had already woken up and was so unhappy. She was in so much pain, with no real understanding of why or what happened. This particular cranky Emily was unlike anything I've ever seen in this girl. Any time a nurse would talk to her she would glare at her and then turn to me and say, "Why is this person talking to me?" through clenched teeth. I tried desperately to get her to sleep, because that seemed to be the only thing to keep her from crying. Eventually they put her on a some pretty heavy painkillers and she was able to relax a little bit. 

Being at the hospital that day was basically like being at an all-inclusive resort for Lyla. She was in no pain, so she got to lay in her own bed that she could control and watch Disney Jr. and Nickelodeon (we have neither channel at home). Every time a nurse would come in Lyla would say, "I have another popsicle pease? red one?" It was very much like me laying by a pool saying, "I have another strawberry daiquiri pease?" haha. She was very sad when we had to go home. 

This little monkey also enjoyed relaxing at the hospital, but not quite as much as her sister. She liked that I snuggled her on the bed for a couple hours, but that was about it. When it was time to go, she didn't want to go though. I don't blame her all that much. 

Life at home was pretty rough at first. Emily did NOT want to take her medicine and Lyla did NOT want her ear drops. I ran out of Lyla's ear drops a few days early and when I called the pharmacy to see if I could get more, cash price for the drops was like $200 or something crazy like that, so thank goodness the insurance company ok'd it. 

Grumpy Emily stayed around for a little bit. A couple funny things she said were, 
"I thought it would be bad, but I didn't know it would be THIS bad!" 
"I wish Lyla had gotten her tonsils out instead!"
"I am never ever ever going to feel better!"
I felt so bad for her.

Another benefit of having grandma come is she brought a craft for every day she was here. Here the girls are painting horses. Thank goodness for Grandma, because I was all set to snuggle and sleep the whole time. 
We made it through. Grandma went home and I only cried a little bit. The rest of recovery went well. Well enough that a week later the girls and I decided to go to Arizona for a vacay. So glad that's over. Let's cross our fingers for good health in the future.

**One last note. It's interesting how something minor puts life into perspective. A tonsillectomy is really not that big of a deal, but as a parent there are still a lot of emotions felt, seeing your child in pain. It broke my heart just thinking about the parents who have truly sick children and have to go through those emotions day after day. I am truly grateful for the good health of my family and have so much more respect for the mothers and fathers or any caregivers whose lives are affect(ran) by health issues. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Love You

Emily had her first crush when she was 2.5. It was pretty funny to me, because she had lots of friends who were boys, but there was something different about one. One day she even said, "I am going to be a princess and Kimball will be my prince." Then in preschool word got out that her and a boy were smooching and Justin and I put the kabosh on that. Then there was an actual wedding ceremony that took place during playtime one preschool morning, and the rest of the year all of the kids recognized Emily and the friend as married. Anywho- we've had this lovey stuff in our lives for a while. Luckily things are turning around a little bit.

I was going through my phone one day and found a video Emily took of her playing with one of her friends. They were new friends and they were being really goofy. All of a sudden this interaction takes place:

Boy:"Emily, I love you."
Emily:"what?! You're weird! Oh, what's your name again?"

I think I am going to keep the video forever.

Today Emily was playing with one of her boy friends. They are eating a snack and this is what I overhear:

Boy:" Emily, I wish I could be you."
Emily:" why?"
Boy:" because I love you."
Emily: "seriously, you're weird."

That's my girl.