Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Emotional Review

So I went into hibernation mode, which is normal for me, and I'm only temporarily peaking my head out right now to say, OMG! we went through a lot last year! Obviously, many people are way ahead of me in realizing this, but my emotions are just catching up. I am an anniversary kind of gal, so good or bad, anniversaries mean a lot to me. The anniversary of when Fred and I first met and had our first date and got married are very special. The anniversary, aka birthday for Kalyn, will always be a special and wild ride down memory lane for me.

The more difficult anniversaries are harder because they are not ones you celebrate, but I still feel the need to honor and mark the day as something big that happened in my life. My dad has been gone for four years, and the anniversary of his death is still really hard for me. On the anniversary of Fred's accident, I avoided the computer and expressing anything because it was still too raw for me. Now, as we are coming up on the anniversary of Fred being discharged from rehab one year ago, I find my emotions bubbling over and writing the best way to let it out.

I usually try to be the "glass half full" or "on the bright side" kind of person, and I do truly believe that there is good to be found in even the worst situations (sometimes it just takes some time and looking back to find it). Last year, in the midst of a really tough situation, I was in denial about a lot of possibilities, and I was trying to find any silver lining to each and every dark cloud in my horizon.

All of the dark clouds are gone now, and I am sobbing as I write this, because we are all ok. Now I'm laughing as I review that sentence because it doesn't appear to make sense. I held on to the hope and wish for Fred to be ok/fine/like he was before the entire time and never wanted to believe the doctors' diagnosis of the severity of his injury because I just wanted him to be ok and be back with us as our family.

I guess I am finally letting go of the part of myself that was so afraid last year of all of the worst outcomes and the part that I was never able to share or go to myself very often. I am releasing that pain and suffering now because we really are fine, especially Fred. He is back to his normal self, whatever that was before the accident. He hasn't yet been back on a bicycle, but I'll save that for another post...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grand Canyon

We had a great run in the Grand Canyon, and a wonderful weekend overall. At first I thought I was crazy to go out and do something physically hard as our weekend away without a kid, but it ended up being a great way to reconnect and spend time together like we did together before we had a child. Even the drive was easy and fun because I wasn't entertaining a toddler.

It's not a race, but I timed myself and had my personal best time by about 45 minutes! I made up most of that time by running the entire downhill and also never sitting down to rest. I have said in the past that the downhill is physical and the hike out is mental, and I could tell I was mentally stronger after the past year when it comes to facing a challenge. It also helped that is was cloudy the whole day, and I never got hot. Everything came together for me on the same day, and I felt proud of myself.

Fred had a good day too. Sunday was 11 months since the accident, so it was pretty amazing to see him do so well. He took it easy and enjoyed his day with a friend that was doing the run for the first time. It was great to see him get out and do something that he loves, and I didn't even worry about him!

Days later, walking is still difficult, but I'm starting to feel better and happy that all the soreness will mean more muscle power in the future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The State of Things

With everything going on in the world lately and then a few minor person annoyances, I have been in quite a funk lately. Nobody likes feeling down, but sometimes I have a hard time enjoying a day where everything seems wonderful and the stars have aligned because that means there is a bad day(s) coming. I am aware I do this, so I have been trying to just enjoy the good ones because when I have a bad day, I believe it is necessary to truly enjoy the good ones in the cyclical nature of life.

I spent a semester in Japan in college. The area I went to was between Osaka and Kyoto, so it wasn't anywhere near places that were affected by the earthquake and tsunami, but the whole disaster has made me feel a lot of pain and suffering. When a huge disaster happens, I have a hard time grasping the enormity of the situation, but any story about someone's person plight or loss can send me reeling. The loss, the people saving each other and the gratitude people find in such horrible circumstances brings me to tears.

Locally, a family's house burned to the ground this week, there was a head on collision with two vehicles on the highway and 3 people died and a friend's dad died. All of these things going on outside my little world have made me really take a step back and realize that the minor annoyances like my car being in the shop for 2 weeks is nothing to complain about.

Have you ever read the lululemon manifesto? I first read it on a lululemon bag while waiting to come through customs after my Canadian marathon. When I got home from that trip, my mom had been in toronto and got me one of their jackets, so now I love their clothing and their manifesto. I have a couple of their bags and think it would be beneficial to read the entire thing everyday because it is all things that are worth hearing every day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crazy People

When I first met Fred, he had been running the Grand Canyon (down the south kaibab and up bright angel) every spring for years. After a few years, I decided to try it for myself. This year will be my 7th time since I took a few years off while I was pregnant and Kalyn was little.

Most people think we are crazy to do this, and sometimes I agree with that, but it is an amazing day full of beauty and pushing myself to levels of strength and endurance I didn't know I had.

Here's to another great day in the Canyon!

My Evening Ramblings

One thing I learned about having a stay at home Spring Break - I didn't get a lot of work done or house projects done, but I was able to write! Then I had a week of frantically catching up on work things and didn't make any time to do things for myself. By the end of the week, I was a mean grouchy person and didn't like myself. I don't know how many reminders I must have before I get it, but that week was a big reminder of what I need in my life.

I finished reading Stones into Schools, and loved the entire book. I had borrowed it from the library, but now I want to buy it. I also want Fred to read it. He is not a novel reader, but I think he would really enjoy the book and relate to Greg's passion and determination.

There has been a shift in my life lately where I feel like my days are really full and busy, but I feel like I have made an effort to take unnecessary things off of my plate and only focus on important things like my family and what I really have to get done. Maybe it is the shift in trying to only do one thing at once rather than 5, so my day is still really full, but I'm trying to do a better job at each individual thing. My day is mostly filled with things that make me happy, and I am constantly thankful that I am not a mother that works in an office from 8-5 M-F to rush home and make dinner and try to squeeze in some quality time each night.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I started reading Greg Mortenson's book, Stones into Schools, yesterday. I was surprised to have him talk about speaking in our town in the first chapter of the book. I remember when he came to give his talk, but it was before I had read Three Cups of Tea, and Kalyn was small at the time, so I didn't made any effort to try and go.

Normally, I am not one to enjoy a nonfiction book, but this book has me at the first chapter. Mortenson talks about how amazed he was with how giving this community was when he gave his talk, and it brought tears to my eyes because of how giving this community was towards us last year.

I loved how he talked about making a difference in tiny towns that are hard to reach and get them to be self sustaining because I have been thinking a lot lately about how I generally don't do anything very well when I try to do too much. Right now in my life, anything beyond raising a happy child and keeping up with our small family feels like too much, so I'm not going to judge my life next to the greatness of people that can go out into the world and made a big difference for a lot of people because that is not where I'm at.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Medical Bills

We are getting very close to the year anniversary of Fred's accident, and you know what medical bill I'm still dealing with???? Swedish. He was flown to Swedish the evening of his accident because it was the best place for him to be, a level one trauma hospital, connected to Craig Hospital which only handles brain injury and spinal cord patients. There was some thought put into what hospital to send him to by the doctors here. I believe it was the right choice for him at the time, and they attended to him when he was in the most uncertain and fragile portion of his recovery.

Right now I feel like the left hand is not talking to the left as we try to sort out the bill. He had his accident on a Tuesday, and by Friday they were talking about admitting him to Craig the following week. In retrospect, this is REALLY fast when it comes to a brain injury. Less than a week after he hits his head, he can go to a rehab hospital because his physical injuries were not that bad, but his head injury was really bad. I have been reminding myself of that lately, and I have to because he has had such an amazing recovery. He was really hurt, and even a week or two post accident they were still saying it would be great if he could return to work within a year. The doctors in the ICU were asking what he did for work during the first few days after his accident, and I told them he worked at a computer and they shook their heads and said how brain injury patients tended to get headaches if they sat in front of a computer for long periods of time. I have pushed some of these things far back in my memory, and it takes effort to bring them back because they were scary and not fun. The happy thought is he had an amazing recovery and defied all the odds and statistics.

Back to the bill. His final night/day at Swedish was Sunday night and Monday afternoon he was admitted to Craig, which only admits on weekdays. He wasn't ready to admit on a Friday and by Monday he was just scraping by as being ready. The whole bill dispute comes down to a matter of precertification. If you are lucky enough to never have had any major medical experience, it is basically the hospital calling your insurance company to say you are in need of such care and your insurance company agrees to pay for some portion of your care. The hospital never called the insurance company for his final day at Swedish. Who do I need to talk to and explain I could not have checked him into a hotel at this time??? He was still a risk to himself, trying to get out of bed while still unstable on his feet and not remembering much. Luckily, I have been able to talk to the rep from the insurance company that works with the company he works with, and she is trying to get it all resolved.

We are so fortunate to have health insurance while going through all of this, but it is so frustrating when the medical billing companies and the insurance companies can't work together and figure it out. The cycle currently goes like this: the medical billing company calls be about the bill (which is exactly for his last day that wasn't precertified; therefore, I am not paying it), I call the rep at the insurance company that they called me about the same issue we just talked about, the rep calls the hospital (different company than the billing company) about sending the paperwork they need to pay the bill for his final day. A few months go by and we repeat the whole process.

No promises, but I might just throw a party when this whole thing is resolved!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nonspring Break

Kalyn's spring break is starting out to be not so much of a break or a spring. I tried to wake up early to get some time to myself, but her mamadar went off, and she was up earlier than she would have been if I had slept in. So now I am trying to just go with what the week presents and not try and have too many to-do lists or plans because those always seem to get foiled on a week like this. We also woke up to a snowy day, and it hasn't in awhile here, especially during the day time.

I am doing my best to not feel whiny in this situation while the other half of the town in basking in warm weather in cities further south. I am having a nice day at home with Kalyn. We got out for a walk while it wasn't snowing; she has started asking to ride her Dora tricycle around the neighborhood; we made a batch of cookies together. Most of all, I feel fortunate to have a fairly flexible job where I work from home and can plan ahead and not have to scramble to find somewhere for her to go on a week like this when her school is closed. I know I am one lucky lady with everything I have in my life, and I don't forget it, even if I am having one of those days...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Good Run

I went for a long run the other day in preparation for a very long run I will be doing at the end of the month. The morning had started out as a nice day that looked like it would be a long sunny afternoon like the previous days of the week. Once I had completed my errands in town and actually started my run, it was clouding up and was threatening to snow on me. I set out with water, snacks and and my dog, carrying extra warm clothes for me in his pack, and decided to just be brave. This being said, I am not a brave person. I spent most of the morning debating with myself about going running on a trail with no one other than my dog. I can easily get scared running on trails by myself because lions and tigers and bears could be out there, right?

Finally, I convinced my mind that the trail I was going out on was somehow going to be "safe" and went out for my run. The trail was a mix of mud, snow and actual nice dry trail, but mostly mud and snow. Once I left the main meadow portion of the trail, I was following one set of footprints through the snow and mud. It took me awhile to figure out they weren't footprints from the same day because I found a set that were frozen over near the top of the trail, but they did help me know I was staying on someones trail when the snow covered the actual dirt/mud. My dog was a good running companion, and I kept a close eye on him when he would sniff the air for whatever dogs sniff the air for, lions, tigers and bears, right?

Once I had reached the top of the trail and started to turn towards my car and home, the sun came out and I had a glorious time running in some March sunshine, feeling strong and not scared of lions, tigers and bears. There was still more mud and snow to get through plus a few scary minutes when I couldn't find my dog, but overall, it was one of the most empowering solo runs I have done and left me feeling happy to be me.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Kalyn has not wanted to go to school most mornings that she is scheduled to go. She has always liked playing at home and rarely gets bored with many days at home in a row. Usually, she can be talked into going to school and sometimes had a hard transition getting settled into school but then has a good day. At three and a half, she has quite the imagination and likes to pretend she is a character for a day, usually related to a princess or a movie she has recently watched. For awhile she would be upset walking into school saying "they are going to call me Kalyn!" I tried explaining to her to not get mad about it because that was how people knew her and to just ask nicely for people to call her whatever she wanted for the day. Now she walks into school and says "would you please call me Pocahontas today?" The teachers are good at calling her the name she wants to be, but three and four year olds can be a littler harsher. The other day I noticed 3 boys sitting at the table and when she told the whole room who she was that day, the boys started making up other names and laughing. They weren't bad or rude names, but it was a form of teasing her, and it made me wonder if that had something to do with her not wanting to go to school. Even as an adult, I don't like to be teased like that. I talked to the teacher later in the day, and she said she will talk to the boys. I'm so sensitive about being teased, and I felt it personally when my daughter was teased.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have found I have a hard time emotionally when someone I know is experiencing something really difficult that I have had a similar experience with. I feel like I should reach out and relate to them or do something to help, but it brings up difficult emotions for me, so I end up feeling paralyzed emotionally. I like it when I can fix things and make everything all better, but there are times when you can't put things back to the way they were and only move forward with life.

The other night when Fred came home and told me that the husband of a woman who did his rookie fire training with him committed suicide over the weekend. This is never information you want to hear about, especially when you know the people involved.

Unfortunately, I am relating the woman's experience because of my dad. I am feeling some of her pain and disbelief, and I'm at a complete loss of what to do for her. When I was experiencing loss on this level, there wasn't anything you could do for me because there wasn't a way to make it not have happened. I want to be there for her as someone who can relate to a similar experience, even though right now, her pain and mine feels too raw. It makes me wish I had the ability to not let anyone I know directly experience any of the really difficult emotional experiences I have been through like this.

With everything I went through with my dad's suicide and Fred's accident, I will reach out to her because even though I don't have the magic wand to make everything better, I do have the gift of friendship that so many people gave to me. I can only imagine what scary emotions and thoughts everyone had to swallow to reach out to me while I was in the thick of those deep, dark times. Now I will dive in and be there for someone else, knowing that I was held on one side of going through the experience and trusting that I will also be held while being there as a friend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Screw Lose

A couple of weeks ago Fred thought he had something in the corner of his eye. I took a look at it, and thought it looked like an ingrown hair. Further inspection made us realize he should make a doctor's appointment to get a closer look because it felt metallic to me and I didn't want to hurt anything. He wasn't able to get an appointment for about a week and a half and in that period of time, it didn't go away. The night before his doctor's appointment I was looking at it and realized it was a screw. Yes, a SCREW, like a phillips head mini eye glass screw coming out right next to his eye. Yikes! (You can see it in the outer corner in the picture above)

In April of 1995, Fred was in an avalanche and had to have the left side of his face rebuilt with titanium plates, so we knew where the screw was coming from, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be anymore, under his skin, holding the plate together.

We really like our family doctor, so I went along to the appointment because I couldn't wait to see what he had to say about this. We had some good laughs joking about Fred having a screw lose, made even more laughable with a traumatic brain injury within the last year. We could laugh about it because the screw didn't have anything to do with his recent head injury and he is practically fully recovered.

The doctor did take it seriously, even if he told us it was the coolest body piercing he has ever seen, and we got an appointment for the next morning with the plastic surgeon who rebuilt his face back in 1995. The plastic surgeon determined the screw was no longer attached to bone or metal and numbed the area locally and then pulled the screw out.

Fred does his best to keep it interesting around here!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Quiet Weekend

I got to have a quiet weekend to myself at home last weekend, and it was wonderful. My mom had planned on taking Kalyn for the weekend so Fred and I could have a weekend away to ourselves. It took a lot of planning to find that particular weekend, and after my mom and I had it squared away, Fred realized he had signed up for a training for Saturday and Sunday 8-5. Kalyn was so excited to go to Nana's house that I decided to keep the weekend as planned and just enjoy some time to myself. IT WAS WONDERFUL. I feel guilty saying that because of course I love my life and wouldn't change a thing, but it felt so nice to be able to sleep in my bed and sleep in late in the morning without anyone needing anything for me.

Saturday, after sleeping in, I went for a long run and then got a massage. It was a perfect combination and might have to happen! I came home to a quiet house and sat and read my book and drank tea for the afternoon. Fred came home and we went out to a nice dinner and then I got to sleep in again! I spent half the day in my pajamas, caught up with a girlfriend that moved away last year, and didn't pick up the house at all. It felt rather rebellious to not do any of my normal roles for the weekend. I realized how strict I can be with myself sometimes, but to give myself the time to do whatever I wanted, even if it was nothing at all was very rejuvenating. I got my batteries recharged which was helpful before this past week when no one has been sleeping very well. I only made one comment (outside of earshot of a certain 3 year old) that night times are for sleeping, but otherwise, I managed to not get mad and know we would all catch back up on sleep eventually.

To have a weekend to myself at home was a gift that I received at perfect timing. I wasn't at my whits end before the weekend, but I definitely needed it before this week we had. This weekend is not going to be a quiet weekend, but it is also not too busy. There is always balance in life, sometimes you just have to take a step back to see it.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I've learned a lot about love this past year. Becoming a mother taught me a lot about love, and so did having my life turned upside down after Fred's accident. These moments allowed me to see exactly what was really important and forget about all the rest. I feel so fortunate for my husband and daughter. They have both taught me so much about love and showed me more love than I feel I deserved at times.

I tell Kalyn I love her so much that she just laughs a little and says "I know, I love you too." Language has always been fascinating to me, and especially how we learn and understand it. I know my daughter knows what love is, but when and how do we learn and associate the word with the feeling? I always think of learning a foreign language and how words that are super powerful can be said without realizing the impact a native speaker would have. Kids are such emotional sponges, so I'm guessing Kalyn has learned what the word love means because she can feel what my heart is feeling towards her when I say it.

Fred and Kalyn mean the world to me, and I love them both with all of my heart. It feels hard to narrow down what I love about them both to a couple of things, but I'll give it a try. I love Fred's strength and determination, but especially his sensitive and quiet side. He is one of the most giving people I have ever met in my life. I love Kalyn's belly laugh and her sweet cuddles after she wakes up. She has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible and is the best gift I have ever received in life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Strong Woman

I recently found out that a friend's second baby due early this summer has Down syndrome. Hearing the news made me very emotional. I have a hard enough time dealing with the emotions of how others treat my child for things as simple as her food allergies or if other kids like and accept her. It made me realize how small these worries are, but how wide the range of fears and worries a mother can have for her child. My friend is brave and strong and facing the situation head on. She knows her life is about to change drastically, but she is determined to be the best mom she can and knows her new daughter will bring so much joy and love into their lives.

I tear up when I think about it, and it makes me think of when I saw this same friend at Fred's benefit party last summer. She came up to me with tears in her eyes and told me she had no idea how I had stayed strong during such a tough time. Looking back, I don't know how I did it either, and I certainly didn't feel strong. I've always loved the saying, "A woman is like a tea bag, you don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

My friend is going into the birth of a special needs child with an open heart. To me, this seems to be the only way to survive and find the beauty at the same time. As a mother, my heart hurts for the challenges she will have to watch her child go through. As a friend, I am fortunate to have such a strong woman as my friend. I know I will learn a lot from her.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Missing My Dad

I didn't realize until after I had written last that it was actually the 9 month anniversary of Fred's accident. It was nice to have that day pass without it sending me into a tailspin. There are other anniversaries this week. Last Sunday, Fred and I had the 11th anniversary of our first date. As one friend put it, that one is almost more important than our wedding anniversary because that is the day our lives truly changed forever.

Right now I have a more difficult anniversary to experience. Sometime between the fourth and fifth of February, my dad killed himself four years ago. As each year has passed, it gets a little easier, but it is still a sad time for me. I was pregnant when he died, and one of the hardest things for me is he and me daughter never met each other. He never got to experience being a grandfather. He was so excited when I had told him I was pregnant on Thanksgiving day, but he soon when into a downward spiral of depression and was too proud to ask for help or let his family know how much he was hurting.

It's hard to not look back and wonder if I could have done anything to save him. Of all the times in my life that I look back and wish I had or hadn't done something, this is the one time I wish I could change. I struggled with my relationship with my dad for a lot of my life. Quite often, he was never the father I wanted him to be, but I would rather have our imperfect relationship back than have him be gone too soon. Life is short to begin with, so don't end it too soon and don't throw away time by holding grudges and not taking time with family and those that you love.

I know he loved me and my brother, but he just got lost in a fog of depression, debt and feeling like everything was going wrong in the world. He had reached out to his sister, my wonderful Aunt Pat, for financial help in his final month, and she helped him without question. In his final week, she told myself and my brother that she was worried about him. Both of us called him, and I pretended like she hadn't told me anything. I knew he was struggling to find work and was trying to stay positive for him. To be honest, at the time, I was mad at him because he was being stubborn and was trying to find one specific job when he was really desperate for any sort of income.

This is coming from a very stubborn person that does not like to ask for help, but please don't be too proud in your life to see what really matters. We all experience pains and ups and downs. Don't forget the beauty in life and remember to have some shred of faith, even in the toughest times.

I'll always miss my dad, even on the day he would have been 120 years old. I will always be brought to tears special father/daughter moments, and I will always cherish the special moments we had together. I'll leave you with one of those memories, and thanks for letting me be sad right now.

My dad and I were waiting in the basement of my mom's house to walk down the isle so I could marry Fred. I was emotional and nervous, and my dad started telling me silly jokes. He was about to walk his only daughter down the isle and was trying to make me laugh. Then when we started walking down the isle and the piano player started playing, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, he said - oh, I love this song and started humming along with a huge smile on his face.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More to Say

I've been going back and forth since my last post on whether or not I would keep blogging. After months of putting everything out there, I needed a little hibernation time. It scared me how much of myself and our experience I exposed to everyone, but in reality, I am an honest person that loves to tell a long drawn out version of a story that could be told in two sentences, so I would have told the same stories to any person who had read what I wrote.

What finally made me decide it was time to decide to break out of hibernation was reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just finished the book, loved the entire thing, but the final paragraph of the book brought tears to my eyes because it rang so true for my life.

"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."

Right now, that is me in a nutshell or a paragraph - however you care to look at it.

I have resurfaced, and I am realizing I want to write, no matter how scary it is to think about people reading it.

For a quick update, we are all healthy and doing well. As weird as it may sound, it frightens me how calm and happy our lives are right now. I have my own fears with settling into and accepting the happy, calm times in my life because I've seen the tormenting times a few times. I'm trying to take this time to be aware that I'm feeling centered, peaceful and connected and enjoy it and not go to the fear of whatever is brewing on the horizon. Life is cyclical and has its ups and downs, so I have to enjoy the ups because I have certainly felt the downs.

I don't quite feel like I'm in the eye of a hurricane, but there is a lot going on right outside my little family of three circle in the people that I care about. It feels strange to be happy and healthy in our own little unit and have others close to me going through so much. I mentioned that to my mom the other day and her comment was, "that was everyone else last year about you." My intention is to be present in the calmness in my life right now and send loving, healing thoughts and prayers to the people in my life that I care about.

May we all try to be present in our current moment whether it be calm or traumatic. These are the times I find myself most likely trying to escape but the most beautiful and teaching if I stay.