Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Halloween was a success.  Nick may have had the easiest costume ever: Percy Jackson.  Not sure why he didn't wear blue jeans like Percy wears, but oh well.  He carried a sword and wore a "Hello, my name is Percy Jackson" name tag.  Blake was some sort of Star Wars...thing. 

Lex stayed home with mommy and wore her Pooh costume.  It's the same thing she wore last year.  There's a benefit to growing slowly.  We mixed it up a bit by putting on the Abby Cadaby slippers.  We're wild and crazy like that.

The pumpkins, l-r, Darth Vader, Minecraft, Percy Jackson.
We have bags and bags of candy left over.    The most perplexing thing of the whole evening:  the boys went through their loot to take out anything they didn't want.  My kids prefer the Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, and suckers and want to chuck the Twix and Snickers and Butterfingers (not a Milk Dud in the pile.  Dang.).  What kind of kids did I raise?  Preferring a sucker over chocolate?  Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This is as deep as I get.

I was fitting in a final long run this morning before I participate in the Monumental half marathon which, at the time of this writing, is only 10 days away.  And while I was running, I got to thinking about how this 10 mile run is a good metaphor for life, with each mile representing a decade of my lifespan:  what’s occurred so far, and how I anticipate the rest of my life to be.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to have this brilliant revelation, but I thought I’d share.

Mile one.  Even though I’ve been running for over a year now, every time I start out, it feels like the first time.  I’m awkward as I get my footing.  My arms are flailing.  I don’t feel balanced or secure.  The occasional face-plant has been known to occur.
As I approach mile two, my teenage angst sets in.  I hate running.  I’m miserable.  This is stupid.  Who on earth put me up to this?  How in the world am I going to get through the rest of this long miserable run?  I’m still a bit awkward, but really, running is just dumb.

Mile three is a whole lot better than mile two.  I’ve found my footing and I realize that it’s not so bad.  But just as I questioned my career path in my early 30's, I’m still contemplating my decision as to why I took up running in the first place:  is running what's best for me?  Maybe biking would have been better.  Or the luge.  At least I’m not in any pain yet.  I’m distracted though.  Had I not looked up from the pavement, I might have missed this:


And now, as I’m knocking on 40’s door, I am happy that mile four felt the most comfortable.  I ran my fastest speed.  I was as fluid as I get, and felt I’d gotten into my rhythm.   Even my somewhat sore knees weren’t slowing me down yet.  So is it downhill from here?
Nope.  I started running uphill.  Mile five.  The fifties.  I was excited to realize I was keeping up with the pace I’d set in mile 4.  Then I was over the hill.
The sixties.  My parents are running their figurative mile 6.  They may have more aches and pains than they did in their youth, but they are still very much on the move.  I did, however, just get passed by some young punk runner.  Blasted kids.  Even I can hear your music through your earphones!  I think he's in mile 2.
I realized at this point, I was entering the golden years.  Ah yes.  I had to pee.
Mile 7 is slower and things are definitely sore.  My legs want me to quit, and I need to find something else to focus on.  I get to thinking…I get a bit reflective, a bit philosophical.  I start thinking of my run, my journey, and it's at this point when I start creating this writing in my head.
The next mile.  I don’t remember.  What mile is this?

And suddenly I'm in mile 9.  Yes, things hurt, but it's fulfilling to see how far I’ve run.  Now that I’m here I realize that the pain and discomfort I felt early in the run were nothing.  I’m sore.  Really sore.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  But now I’m ready to be Home.
Mile 10.  It’s done.  Now give me an ibuprofen and a bagel.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Buddy Walk 2012

We participated in our 3rd Buddy Walk this past Saturday.  We lucked out with no rain, comfortably cool temps, and a great turnout for our team, Lexi Lou's Whos.  Both family and friends came to the event to walk the 2.6 miles around the canal in downtown Indianapolis.  No one fell in.  Always a sign of a successful walk.

 By the numbers: 
Lexi Lou's Whos raised $2375, placing us in the top 20 of a record 188 teams.  And we had 26 walkers for our team, all decked out in Seuss-style (or IU) red and white.

Even our hardcore Perdue Purdue alumni wore more red and white than she ever had in her life.
Such a trooper! (Thanks Jen.)

Alexis has taken to combining Pops and Grandma Connie, into "Papa Connie".  That way, she can spend
 less time talking and more time lovin'.

Susan and Lacey joined us for the first time.  We loved having you there!

Not sure who loves the other more, Lex or Uncle Ron.  I think it's mutual adoration.
Paula with Nick, and Amy and Kenzie with Chris Burke. 

The girl loves her freedom to just GO.
So anyway, back to the numbers.  Nationally, there are over 250 Buddy Walks.  (There were 17 when it started in 1995.)  DSI surpassed their fundraising goal of $220,000 and there were an estimated 5000 walkers in all (I think).
Another statistic: our team consisted of 12 wheels.
So maybe to say we had 26 "walkers" isn't quite accurate.  At least 4 kids were in wagons the whole time, and my dear friend Amy was in a wheelchair.  She's stubborn and insisted that she was going to do the walk on her crutches (torn miniscus--not fun).  But luckily, her boyfriend is sneaky and Sean got her in a wheelchair.  To make it better, Amy and her daughter Kenzie got out the bedazzler and went to town.  There was glitter, there was fur, sequins and pompoms on that blinged-out wheelchair...that is the sign of a true friend.

In attendance: Lexi, 4 grandparents, 5 aunts and uncles, 2 parents, 2 siblings, 6 cousins, and 6 dear friends.
This was the 3rd Buddy Walk we've participated in, and definitely my favorite, simply because I've met more and more people and was able to talk to a lot more people than I have in the past.  It was overwhelming the first year.  We didn't even go to our very first Buddy Walk when Lexi was 6 months old, not only because she'd had heart surgery a month before, but because I wasn't yet ready to celebrate Down syndrome.

By the next year I was ready to try it, and it was overwhelming.  The sea of people is incredible, in an overwhelming yet powerful way.  Seeing older kids and adults with Down syndrome was stressful, because it's the unknown of Alexis's future that is my biggest worry.  Of course I worry about all my kids and what their future holds, but it's more so with Alexis.  There will be more challenges, more unknowns, but I look at her and her infectious smile, her determined stride, and her twinkling eyes that are only magnified by those thick lenses and I know she'll be okay.

And now I've gotten to know more and more moms, more dads, more families of kids with Down syndrome and I know I'm surrounded by a stong and capable community of people that want great things for this little girl.  I met a mom in my neighborhood when Alexis was first born.  Her daughter, who has Down syndrome is exactly my age, and the mom told me of how, when her daughter was young, she had to go to court to get her on a soccer team.  We've come a long way.  This community is getting stuff done.

Our team (in red) within the sea of Buddies

And as I walked along with my family and friends, and thought of people who had never even met Alexis, but still wanted come walk with us or donate to our walk, I see another support system for Alexis, maybe even more strong, because we love her to the moon.

Thats right.  We had 3 celebrities in our midst.
Thank you for you love and support.  We are grateful to all of you that walked with us, that donated, and those who were with us in spirit.  Next year's walk is set for October 12.  See you there!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

A milestone! (Not for her, for me!)

I've been running for just over a year now.  It's definitely the longest I've stuck with any sort of exercise.  I still don't love it, but I've yet to finish a run and think, "I wish I hadn't just done that."  And I've also learned that I have to keep setting goals in order to stick with it.  The Indianapolis Mini Marathon is the furthest I've run.  I've done a couple of 10 K's.  I did a 100 mile challenge this summer (to clarify, it was 100 miles over the course of the summer, not all at once, you silly.)  I'm currently training to participate in the monumental half marathon. 

This morning I ran 7 miles.  The milestone is not that I ran 7 miles.  The milestone is that I passed someone.

I PASSED SOMEONE!  And before you go getting all sarcastic, we were running in the same direction and he was actually running.

He may or may not have been about 80 years old.  I don't care--I passed that grandpa!

And for your viewing pleasure, I photo of my dear 3 year old who has me living in a constant state of exhaustion:
A few notes:
  • No children were harmed in the taking of this photograph.  Yes, the responsible thing would have been to immediately grab her.  But my phone was in my hand when I discovered her like this and I couldn't resist.  I'll apologize to her in a few years when we're in counseling together.
  • It's October which is not only the month for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Did you know that it's also Down Syndrome Awareness Month?
  • The Buddy Walk is less than 2 weeks away and I'm blown away by the generosity of our family and friends.  Our team, Lexi Lou's Whos, has currently raised $1,775!!!!  Thank you so much!