Sunday, September 21, 2014

Project 365, Week 38

I'm at a loss for how to introduce this week.  At first I thought I might leave it at the face value of the pictures and protect my secret longer but as time has gone on I've realized I do want to share it here.  

Much of this week was consumed with cleansing, testing, waiting, telling, processing, praying.  Late Friday we got the news that I have cancer.  Specifically, colorectal cancer.

I know...crazy.  I wish it wasn't so hard to read that...I haven't found a way to just work it into conversation so that its not so startling.

The people we've told have lots of questions that we simply don't yet have answers to.  There will be more testing this week and so we hope by late Friday we'll know more.

September 14
While Shaun and the girls were at rehearsal, R and I drove 45 minutes to see Z's football game.  He played nearly the entire time and it was so good to see him out enjoying it.  I sat next to his mom and her boyfriend and did my best to pour love into them.

 September 15
These two brainiacs playing some countries of the world game.
 September 16
Sitting at soccer practice isn't so bad when you have a new book and tea.
 September 17
Amy took the girls to the Big E, because her six kids weren't enough to wrangle.  :)  Shaun and I are not fair people, so we mostly deprive our kids from that experience....the girls had a blast!



 September 18
Traditionally, the football team gets together for a pasta/carbs meal the day before a game.  This night it was our turn.  How much food is enough to feed an entire football team??  I've hosted many, many events but this was unchartered territory for me.

Amy came over and helped me prep and serve and clean up and gave moral support.  Together, along with Shaun's huge contributions, we fed about 30.  We were SO happy to see R hanging with these teammates and enjoying cool status for the evening.

The boys were all polite and cleaned up after themselves.


 September 19
Game time!  Aiden had just gotten home from a week at the Cape with Pop and Kiki and we had just gotten "the news" and we were feeling like we wanted to be together as a family.  So we skipped regular Friday activities and went to R's game.



 At halftime Shaun took the kids to run around in a big open space.
 It got a little chilly!
 September 20
We called a family meeting at 8 AM before our day really kicked off.  Shaun had us all sit close, huddled in a circle as he told the kids that their mom has cancer.  Its a time I will never forget.

And then we were off and running to football practice, rehearsal and soccer, just as it should be.



 Later that evening, some of our closest friends came over with food.  The kids ran wild, the adults talked and ate and laughed around the table and then we moved to the living room where we read beautiful Truth from the Bible and then these friends who all serve God passionately and have big, beautiful hearts laid hands on me and prayed.

Its a time I will never forget.

So what now?  I really don't know much but I will check back here this week at some point.  Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Milford Half Marathon

You've been anxiously awaiting a race recap, haven't you?  I have to put it here, because this is the only place I have to look back and remember what/how I did.

Since the beginning of June I have been training diligently 5-6 days a week....doing the hard stuff like speed work and tempo runs and getting up out of bed when I really want to just stay there another hour.

I've slowly but surely been making progress and since this race was advertised as flat and fast, I had high hopes of setting a personal record this day.

You know what makes me crazy?  Excuses.  Whatever that saying is about excuses are for people who can't get the job done.

But in a less callous way, the realization struck me anew that we all have a story.  There are struggles and challenges and victories that have happened along the journey even to get to the starting line.  But I'm certain that showing up on race day and fighting through will make you stronger.

We had overcast skies with temps in the 50s.  There were plenty of water stations.  The crowds thinned out after 1.5 miles.  A beautiful course in pretty neighborhoods and along the beach.  Really, perfect conditions.

This is the second time Sarah, Laryssa and I have done a race together and it was a lot of fun being with them.  It was also handy that Sarah's house was close by so we could do showers.   Nathan helped with logistics and met us a couple times on the route and Tony and the baby were waiting at mile 13, just before we hit the sand.

Ooph...the sand!  The last .10 miles was thick, fluffy sand...it felt like I was running in slow motion, but the end was in sight!

Honored to run alongside these two.





There was some discrepancy in the actual distance.  The course was set out as 13.35, which is roughly what Laryssa's device said.  Mine clocked it at 13.02....maybe it was the shortcut I took?  ;)

Among females 35-39, I finished 11 of 53.  My official race time was 1:58:31, a 9:03 pace.


Now my sights are set on the Marine Corp Marathon next month in D.C.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Project 365, Week 37

Good morning!  Its been a nice slow morning after playing the how-much-can-we-squeeze-into-one-day game yesterday.  I left for my race at 5:30 AM.  While I was gone Shaun: got the girls to voice lessons, Aiden to soccer practice, the girls to their soccer game, everyone to rehearsal at church, then to a lease signing.  Then we met up at cousin Alayna's birthday party, then church, then pizza, then C4's hockey game.  Lots of fun in one day.

That lease signing for the two offices we have means we are at 100% full occupancy.  Its been a long, burdensome road to get here...we are rejoicing!

Here's a peek at our week.  (I rhymed that in honor of Aiden, who is rhyming everything he says right now.):

September 7
R and I left early for church so he could do video during the service and I could take pictures of the ministry fair in between services.

We are adding a 4th service to the weekend starting next month, which is going to require more people to make it all happen.  In the couple weeks of this "campaign" for volunteers, we added more than 400 new people!  Very exciting to see what God has in store.
From there we went to Shaun's mom's for a picnic.  It was such a pretty day to be outside and we got to spend some time with some of Grandpa Tom's family, who we hadn't seen since the wedding.
 September 8
Avery got super sick, starting the day before with a nasty headache.  I made her a bed on my bedroom floor in the middle of the night so she could be in close proximity to the bathroom.  She laid there listless all day, but really didn't want to be alone.

So Aiden did his brotherly duty and watched the iPad in the room while she was in and out of sleep.  Then Amanda thought it only fair that she join once she was home from school and her homework was done.
 September 9
One of Colombo's suppliers offered him a couple spots in their skybox at Fenway and he passed them on to Shaun and I.  Definitely a really nice way to watch baseball.  It was a beautiful evening and it was so good to spend some alone time together.

Thanks to Kiki who took on a sick kid, soccer practice and such.


 September 10
The thing that did best in our garden this year was the marigolds.  I planted some around the edge because that's what my parents always did.  I used to think they were so stinky but now I kind of like the smell, because it reminds me of those days.  Forever my mom and dad will come to mind when I see/smell marigolds.
 September 11
Remembering 13 years ago when the world changed.  For many of us its still raw and seems like it happened "just yesterday", for others its an event read about in history books.  So very thankful to be an American.

Beautiful evening at soccer practice.
 September 12
Shaun and Amanda working through Math homework.  As I was half listening to them, I was taken back to my high school days when he and I would sit (close) on the couch for hours and hours as he helped me through Algebra.
 September 13
Race day!  Beautiful running conditions with beautiful running partners.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

September's 10 on 10

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month (Wednesday)!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

9 AM
I went for a dental cleaning....how adorable is this??
 10 AM
My morning was a little backwards, which thankfully only happens about 5% of the time.  So important to get these runs in though.
 11 AM
Doing school, still dressed up from going to the office with Daddy.
 12 PM
There are pluses and minuses to working from home.  A plus is comfy (inexpensive) clothes and coffee or tea anytime, with my feet up.
 2 PM
I left a little early to pick up the girls so I could do some yard work at one of our properties.  Very soon I'll be shoveling snow there and these hedges are always such a pain, so I'm taking back the sidewalk.  Sadly, ten minutes in, the clippers broke into seven pieces right in my hand, so my project was post-pined.
 2:30 PM
A favorite time of day...school pickup.  Its about 50/50 how Amanda is going to be.  Half of the time she greets me with a huge smile and a big hug, the other half she walks over slowly, shoulders slumped, ready with her tale of woe.

But soon enough both girls are chattering, telling me about their days, all at the same time.  That lovely noise, along with a hand in mind, is pure bliss.

Other days they fight with each other and complain about the activities planned for the evening or about the fact that I didn't bring the car so they wouldn't have to walk all.the.way.home.  Not pure bliss.  :)
 When we got home Uncle Nathan and Aiden were back from their tree-taking-down escapade, reading a book together on the tire swing.
 4 PM
With homework done, it was time to head to the grocery store (I'm finding it difficult to keep healthy food in the house with an 18 year-old boy playing football living here).  Two minutes into the four minute car ride, Aiden had to go potty really bad.  So we parked at the end of the lot so he would have the cover of this big rock, which the kids ended up playing at for a while.

In the meantime, Pop and Kiki had called because they were driving through town and could they come grab the kids?  They probably saved me $20 at the grocery store by taking the kids.  :)
5 PM
They love Oliver's, a new place that opened up over the summer.  Ice cream, play scape, petting zoo, often live music...fun!
 6 PM
Shaun and the kids went to work on soccer skills.
 7 PM
UNO, snapped right before I headed to bed because I wasn't feeling well.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Pre-Lobster Fest

I am posting Lobster Fest weekend backwards, mostly because I know people were anxious to see the Lobster Fest pics.  And while it was an amazing day, we also had a grand day on Saturday.  

After a yummy breakfast and showers, we paraded walked to R's football scrimmage (where Meg dropped off the kids) and then headed to my mom's for the afternoon.  She has a beautiful spot in the country and the weather was a ten.  

The pictures should speak for themselves....

























 Could she have a more adoring face toward her big sis?

 These two are trouble together.

 The '06 Club, getting bigger by the day.  Lainie proves to be the responsible voice of reason among the group.  :)
 So sexy attractive to see my husband volunteer to take a fussy baby while also taking the time to talk through the latest catastrophe with his daughter.
 Or gladly gathers his niece in his lap to help with her attempts to get closer to the desserts.
 We had Z and my sister's six, plus ours...that's 11 kids...so we called it a day before there was melting.  In record time, they all had a shower and a bed.  Most even had a pillow!  So very grateful for our house that can accommodate everyone.


 Once the house was quiet we sat around the table.  The conversation turned to two pressing issues...what should C4's name be for Spanish class and what should Shaun name his new financial services business.  Melody went crazy brainstorming and in the end came up with the winning name: Juan.

Just kidding, we actually didn't come to a conclusion on C4's name (though we had a lot of laughs trying).  Shaun's new business is Sterling Principle Financial.  Look for it on the NYSE in a couple years.  :)