Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Ten years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in New Hampshire, I would have laughed.
Five years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in New Hampshire, I would have laughed. 
Two years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in New Hampshire, I would have said, "It's a possibility."
And one and a half years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in New Hampshire, I would have answered in the affirmative.

And I'm so glad we live in New Hampshire. 

Ten years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in Iowa, I would have laughed.
Five years ago, if you had asked me if we would ever live in Iowa, I would have laughed. 
One and a half years ago, when we moved to New Hampshire, if you had asked me if we would ever live in Iowa, I would have said, "Nope."
And half a year ago, when Ryan was interning at a company based in Illinois (right near Iowa), if you had asked me if we would ever live in Iowa, I still would have said no. 
But today, if you were to ask me if we would ever live in Iowa, I would answer in the affirmative. 

Because today, Ryan accepted a full-time position to work with John Deere at its headquarters in the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa. 

We are Iowa bound. 

We are heartbroken to not be making our way back to the California bay. We are heartbroken to be leaving our now-beloved New Hampshire. And maybe in 5-10 years, I'll be heartbroken to leave Iowa? Or maybe we'll never leave. I'm excited to begin a new phase of life with our family of four. I'm so proud of Ryan and the hard work he has put in throughout his time in business school - and juggling it with his responsibilities at home {which have been many}. And I'm super proud of John Deere for choosing a man as smart and hardworking and amazing as Ryan to come and work for them. 

Way to go, Deere. And way to go, Dear. 

p.s. Ryan is starting out his employment on the right foot. This summer, we purchased a John Deere wagon for the girls. When it came to our house, it was damaged from shipping. So, we returned it and they shipped us a new one. When we got our bill, they had billed us originally, then reimbursed us when we returned it, but they never billed us again. Ryan called to set things straight. It's something they never would have noticed and it probably wouldn't have even come close to making a difference in their bottom line. But it would have made a difference to Ryan. They were impressed and grateful and, as a small token of their thanks, they sent him a nice green hat.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We have much to be thankful for this year. And on this particular day, I'm thankful that Thanksgiving festivities went better than last year. Leah didn't have 15 seizures, just two (and no bonked heads). The turkey didn't take 2.5 hours longer to cook than planned, just 25 minutes. Ryan's torn meniscus made him miss the annual football game, but he was able to clean up a kitchen-wide gravy explosion, so at least he had that going for him.

After our turkey trot that morning, we had some Tuck friends over to see how to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey. They are from China and were so interested in learning. I'm not sure I'm the best person to be giving this kind of demonstration, but I tried my hardest! 

As the turkey cooked, we prepared a few other dishes, went on a family walk and relaxed. That afternoon, we gathered at the community center with a number of our good friends to enjoy our feast and each others' company. Everyone's dishes were divine and we stuffed ourselves full. 

Kate even got the memo that it was Thanksgiving and pounded twice as much as she normally does. Nice work, Kate. 

We are so grateful to be surrounded by so many close friends at this time of year when we are unable to be with family. Happy Thanksgiving!!

turkey trotting

We live in a small town, so a lot of things that big city dwellers take for granted, we have to create ourselves. Turkey trots included. There was one turkey trot in a town about 30 minutes away, but it started at 10:00 and that didn't jive with most of our feast-making plans. 

So, I sent a few emails, made a results poster, and gathered together with six good friends to run a hilly 3.1 miles right from my house. 

I had only been out running once since the half marathon, but I was determined to beat my friend from CA's 5k time {thanks for the motivation, Erica!}. I started out too fast, trying to keep up with Miss Tiffany. But 3.1 miles later, I nearly overtook her {not really, but I was still right behind her!}. As I reached my front porch, I honestly wanted to collapse and die. I'm not a fast runner, this was by far the fastest I have ever run this particular course. 

After we all finished we tried to warm our frozen bodies with some warm apple cider and hot chocolate while we chatted inside. We didn't get a shirt or a medal, but we had a lot of fun!

Thanks for trotting, ladies!

p.s. The pink was NOT planned. Promise. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

First frost

Although it's not officially winter, we've had some pretty chilly days, one snow storm that lasted for about four hours and another that lasted for a day - then back to bleak. But, we've tried to enjoy the winter wonderlands when they come. 

Ryan took these pictures of that first frost and I just love them. They make cold look so beautiful!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Am feeling a little overwhelmed and a lot humbled this evening as I realize that in less than three short weeks, Ryan and I are more than half way to our goal of raising $10,000 to run in the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise funds for Rett syndrome research.

My eyes have filled up and spilled over with tears on multiple occasions as donations large and small have come pouring in. Donations from family members, friends, classmates, coworkers and even complete strangers. I don't think one single day has passed that we haven't watched the amount increase.

We are so grateful that so many people believe in our little Leah. And we are grateful for so much support in thousands of different ways. We know not everyone can donate money, but rest assured we feel of your love. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

And keep on spreading the word!!

mother puckers

I can say, without hesitation, that playing in the Tripod Ice Hockey league at Tuck has been one of the best spontaneous decisions I have ever made. 

I never do anything spontaneous. 

I never do anything semi-dangerous. 

I never do anything having to do with organized team sports. 

And I did all of the above as a 31-year-old mother of two. 

I'm feeling kind of awesome. 

Even if the Mother Puckers did have a season record of 0-7. 

Tuck. Puck. Love.

go big green!

In the past two weeks, we've had the chance to go, as a family, to Dartmouth hockey football and basketball games.

Friday, November 2
Dartmouth vs. Yale ice hockey

  • Dartmouth won 7-2, 
  • we got to bundle Katers in her winter best for her first-ever live hockey game, 
  • Keggy the Keg made an appearance, 
  • and after attempting to play ice hockey myself for a season, I actually understood what was going on!!

Friday, November 10
Dartmouth vs. Brown football

  • We got free tickets from our friend Catherine who works in the football department, 
  • we got to watch with tons of friends, 
  • when we left the game in the 4th quarter {because it was FREEZING}, Dartmouth was ahead {but we ended up losing 24-28}. 
  • A first live football game for Leah and Kate!

Tuesday, November 13
Dartmouth vs. BYU COUGAR basketball

  • We got a rare chance to wear our BYU blue {three shades of it, apparently} and cheer on our cougars with lots of other cougar fans! 
  • AND, they {the cougs, of course} won with a near buzzer beater 58-57. Here we go cougars, here we go!

hide and seek

Ryan and Leah play hide and seek. 

And I kind of love it. 

Ryan hides and tells Leah to count to 10 in her head {and I know she really does because she sits patiently on the couch while I count to 10 in my head and she hops off when I'm at 9 or 10 every single time}. Then she runs to find him. He scares her. She squeals with delight and then they switch roles. 

And I kind of love her hiding spots. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and she did this on her own.  



Dear blog, 

Apparently that last post of mine was my one thousandth post. 

One thousand thoughts. One thousand events. One thousand stories of my last almost six years. 

And I didn't even thank you!

You, dear blog, have been such a blessing in my life - a way to attempt to clear my thoughts, to vent my frustrations, to celebrate my accomplishments and to record my life. You have connected me to family and friends from my past and to complete strangers. 

For some reason, when I write on you, I feel like I can complete my thoughts and I usually end up in a happy place. When I speak, I just go around in circles. When I write on you, I can attend to my introvert needs and relax with my hair up and glasses on while wearing my jammies. When I speak, I have to practice my extrovert skills and that just makes me tired. When I write on you, I relax as the thoughts are pulled out of my brain and onto the screen. When I speak, my brain is jumbled and jumbled brains hurt. 

So, dear blog, thank you. Thank you for helping me to complete my thoughts and end up in a happy place. 

Thank you for connecting me with family, friends and strangers. 

Thank you for helping me share my own little stories. 

Thank you for helping me relax and un-jumble my tired brain.

Thank you, one thousand times over. 


p.s. Wouldn't you like to know who is reading you? Me too. Those readers should leave a comment and maybe, in honor of 1,001, I'll pick a number and send a prize.  

p.p.s. I know you need a makeover. It's been a few years. A new look is hopefully forthcoming in the next few months. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The personalities of Leah and Kate might be nothing alike, 
but their mannerisms sure prove they're related. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ktg: 6 months

I'm really not sure how half of a year has flown by. Katers is now six months old, which in our house is called "point five." 

It's been a fun and crazy month. She is slowly but surely getting happier and mostly because she is on the go! She can roll every which way, spin in circles, scoot backward and get up and rock on her knees. Our Christmas tree won't even know what hit it. She loves to roller herself up into blankets and get her little body wedged in between pieces of furniture and underneath the couch. She is also starting to sit up and can do it unassisted for a minute or so before she forgets what she's doing and falls to the side. A few times I've found her completely bent in half touching her head to her toes wondering what in the world just happened.

And it's so weird because she's doing all these things and we didn't even have to get her evaluated or go to therapy or anything. She just...does them! Strange feeling.

She is eating solid foods like they're going out of style. She had oatmeal + a veggie every night at dinner this past month and sits up in her high chair like it's no big deal. She grunts and groans the entire time I feed her too. We're now up to two solid meals daily {usually a fruit in the morning and veggie at night} and I still feed her four times during the day, sandwiching the solid feeds. 

Her sleeping sure took a turn for the worse this month, no thanks to Mr. Daylight Savings. Ugh. Any time with a 4 in front is simply too early for anyone to get up and be okay with the world. We've spent a few weeks slowly trying to get her to push it back and we're up to about 6:00am right now. 

We've found a few tickle spots and each time we get this low toned grunt as a result. Her face goes red and she has no idea what to do as she hasn't quite figured out how to belly laugh. It is hilarious, so of course we do it all day long. 

Kate and Leah are pretty much best friends. Every morning Leah runs - seriously, runs - from the base of the stairs into the front room where Kate and I are and plows me over as she climbs onto the couch next to Kate. In the afternoon when Leah gets home from school, she pushes the door open and runs into the living room to find it void of Kate, who is usually sleeping. When I bring Kate down, both girls grin from ear to ear, Kate squeals and Leah kisses Kate. She is constantly trying to sit next to her {or on her} and gives her kisses and smiles and longing looks all day long. And, without saying a word {obviously}, Leah is sure to get a smile out of Kate before anyone else. I love, love, love it. 

Kate's six month checkup was flawless. She is ahead of the pack on all the boxes we got to check. I'm still getting used to that. But, for the record, it's something I'm totally willing to get used to. She got five shots, and wasn't a fan of any of them. One of the shots was the flu vaccination, which I don't think I will ever be repeating as she's been a puffy, crying, throwing up mess ever since she got it. 

Aside from the flu shot aftermath and the early mornings, I simply could not love my squishy Kater Potater more. Happy six months!!
6 month Stats:
Weight: 15 lbs. 10 oz.
Length:26 inches
Head: 43 cm
No. of diapers used: 120, give or take
Diaper size: 2
Clothing size: almost all 6-12
Longest stretch of sleep: somewhere around 12 hours {7:00pm-7:00am, waking once in the night and going right back to sleep}
NEW Nicknames: Kater pie, Kate the turd. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

the road trip that wasn't

New York City Marathon weekend is a big deal. And this year, it was a really big deal. If you'll remember, our friend Amy raised funds and was running 26.2 miles in honor of Leah and so many other girls with Rett syndrome. 

We had planned a quick weekend to cheer her on and were more than excited. 

And then Super Storm Sandy hit. 

We waited with baited breath to see if the marathon was still a go. And, on Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced it was. Amy and her husband boarded their plane in Texas and made their way to the big apple for what was to be an unforgettable weekend. And then, as she emerged from a subway station into bustling Times Square on Friday, she read a scrolling news ribbon that the marathon, in fact, had been cancelled. 

Now, I am not one to judge here. There are many differing opinions on whether or not the race should have been run and whether or not it would have been good or bad for the city. I think there are good arguments on both sides. It drains resources and it brings resources to the city. People were trying to rebuilt from complete devastation and see it as a distraction and a waste. Others see it as an inspirational way to unify the city and bring normalcy back into their lives. But from a runner's perspective who was told the race was on, it's just plain awful. Training for a marathon is no joke. 

With the marathon cancelled and traffic and gas lines in the city a mess, we decided to stay home. I was really bummed, but just felt it was the right thing. 

Amy, in true Amy fashion, wiped the tears from her face and decided to live it up for her few days in the City. Sunday morning, she decided to still go for a run through Central Park, since she was planning to run that morning anyway! And as she entered the main path, she saw thousands of runners running anyway. Four laps through the park, which includes the last few miles of the original course. The signs were up, people were passing out energy gels and water and spectators were cheering loudly. 

So, right then and there, Amy decided to run a marathon. And run she did. 

You can read her experience here

As I read an Instagram update from her stating that she was running anyway, I felt so bad that we had decided to not come! I had to keep reminding myself of the many reasons we decided to cancel, but I wish I could have been standing there with big signs - and Leah - cheering Amy on as she passed us all four times. 

Thousands of runners completed their 26.2 miles that morning. And thousands of others {including some who ran!} helped with relief efforts in various areas of the city. So all in all, it turned out to be a pretty memorable and productive and inspirational un-official marathon weekend. 

I'm so happy to have been a part of Amy's training and racing the past few months. Our family is humbled that someone would do something so selfless and giving. She raised nearly $1,000, which is just amazing! 

So thank you, Amy. Thank you for training and fundraising and racing. Thank you for helping us have hope. And congratulations on your first 26.2. I'm sure it won't be your last.