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The day-to-day ramblings of my life. Everything from Sabe to Sorrdid Lives.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

The longest walk in the history of all time

***It has taken me months to write this because it makes me emotional just to think about it. It was the greatest most difficult experiance of my life and I can't wait to do it again. Disclaimer- This won't be very funny. Cancer sucks that way.***

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of watching my sister walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It was heart warming and emotional and being newly pregnant didn't help the emotional part of the situation. I brought my daughter and we made posters and set up camp outside the lunch area to wait for her. What we saw was indescribable. I cry now just thinking of the women (and men) that we saw walking and struggling and pushing themselves, all to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. That day I told my husband that I was going to walk the following year.
39.4 miles and $1,800.00 was a large hill to overcome. I thought the money would be the hard part, but it wasn't. The support I received from my family and friends was overwhelming. In a matter of months, I had the money I needed and had started walking to prepare. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, could have prepared me for that weekend.
I started off the weekend with one goal: to finish. I didn't care if I came in dead last, I just wanted to finish. I'm not in great shape, I bake the worst banana cookies in the world, and my house looks like a hurricane came through it. All I wanted to do was start something and finish it.
I rode to Houston with my gracious friend and her husband. I was thankful to have him to drive us because I knew that after walking almost 40 miles, I wouldn't be in any condition to drive. Looking back he was our own knight in shining armour! Checking in was wonderful and the event eve could not have been better. Our group showed up with about $250 extra dollars and we were able to pass it on to another walker who was just shy of her fundraising goal. We had a nice dinner out, and a less than nice conversation about the air conditioner setting in the hotel room.

Me: I hope you like to sleep cold.

Ria: Not really. Like how cold are we talking?

Me: Really cold. You're lucky I didn't bring my travel fan.

Ria: Shit, that's cold.

Me: OH MY GOSH! Just put on some more clothes and go to sleep!

The morning of the walk, I was buzzing. Literally, because it was freezing cold Medina outside and I was in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. We rode the buses to the starting line and huddled together in an effort not to freeze our ta-tas off. During the opening ceremony, we stretched and listened to various women speak. I was crying before I ever took one step. Listening to these women talk about their struggles and triumpts and losses to cancer was sobering. It had been almost two years since losing my grandfather to cancer, and the weight of the grief still knocks me over sometimes. I was a hot (freezing) mess. Never in my life did I feel like I had such purpose just walking. When it was time to go, they cut the rope.... or dropped the gate... or something else really symbolic. I was way in the back so I'm not sure exactly what happened, but people started moving.

By the first quick stop, all of the women I came with were ahead of me. My sister hung back to walk with me, but I know that I was slowing her down. After a few more miles, she slowly made her way further and further ahead of me. Within the first two hours, I was walking alone. There were women in front of me and women behind me, but I knew not one person. The miles were falling away and I wasn't bothered to be in my own company. I knew that my sister was out there somewhere, and that was enough for me. I listened to the conversations around me. At the rest stops, I was greeted by young men and women who had lost so much in their short lives, but continued to cheer us on as we walked in honor of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and all the women that had lost the fight before us. Their spirit was invigorating and their cheers corny as all get out. They were wonderful.
At the first official rest stop, I was introduced to something that changed my life. The peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwich in the little purple wrapper. I swear, next year I'm walking again just to get the chance to eat another one of those sandwiches. They also gave us the coldest, most refreshing orange slices I've ever had in my ENTIRE life. Maybe it was the heat or the miles getting to me, but everything was just so wonderful. By the time I left the first quick stop, my friends were getting to the lunch stop. My sister waited for me at lunch and we sat down and inhaled a sandwich, got some medical attention and headed back out on the road. This was when I started to hurt. I don't know if it was because we stopped so long for lunch or if the miles were catching up to me, but it was getting harder. When we reached the halfway mark for Saturday (13.1 miles), my sister called it a day. She was walking a half marathon each day for one complete marathon over the course of the weekend. As much as I wanted to go back to the hotel with her, I made up my mind that I wasn't stopping. In hindsight, I probably should have. Once I was back on the road, I found myself walking alone again. The women in front of me were getting further ahead, and there were fewer women coming up from behind me. Then, out of nowhere, I heard this car honking as it was coming down Post Oak. People had been honking and waving and cheering us on all day, so this was nothing new. I threw out a quick wave and kept walking. But the crazy woman in the car kept on honking. When I finally turned to look, it was the most amazing sight in the world. It was my mother! My mother and my crazy Aunt! They pulled into the quick stop to sit with me for a bit. We hugged and cried and hugged some more. Seeing them, and knowing that they were in the city was enough to keep my pushing forward. They left to go shopping and look for some blister pads and I kept walking. It was turning into a bad episode of Finding Nemo. "Just keep walking. Just keep walking. What do we do? We wallllllllkkkkkk." When I hit mile 16, I had to tell myself, "This is it. You only have 10 miles to go. KEEP WALKING FORWARD."

Then I got to the park. There should have been a sign when we entered the park that said, "You are entering the park. You will not see another walker or sweeper van for the next 100 years. Stop walking now and get in a sweeper van!!!" There was no such sign, so I entered the park. The park was my breaking point. There were no other walkers. I was becoming convinced that I was the end of the line. I was getting text messages from my friends that they had crossed the finish line and were heading back to the hotel. Even though we weren't supposed to talk on our cell phones while walking, I tried calling some of my friends. I kept getting voicemail. Never in my life have I ever felt so alone. Alone and on the verge of death. I'm known for being dramatic, but I will tell you I seriously contemplating laying down and just waiting for someone to come find me and take me home. Every step was a struggle. I had to literally start repeating in my head, left foot, now right foot, now left foot, now right foot. As I walked along I started hearing singing. The worst singing I had ever heard in my life. Coming up behind me were six walkers. They were delirious, like me. When the reached me, we all sat down together and cried and laughed. (It was a weekend of crying!) I felt so much better knowing that I wasn't the last one and that they were struggling, just like me. Not long after we sat down, the official Avon Walk caboose bike rider came along. It was official, we were the last seven women on the course. There was no one behind us, and all the rest areas ahead of us were closing down. As much as I grew to hate that women and her bike, I never would have finished if it wasn't for her. She got us all back on our feet and pushed us ahead. It didn't take long before my group of six was slowly pulling ahead and separating from me. Out of almost 1,000 women, I was the lone ranger. When we emerged from the park, there was a sweeper van waiting for me, but I refused to get in the van. I know that was their job but I had made a deal with myself and I was determined to finish. Another mile down the road, another sweeper van. I was walking and crying and could not even begin to try to explain to these women that, as much as I appreciated their help and support, I had to finish. Please just let me finish. Please? PLEASE???
That van left, but another one took its place. It wasn't just any sweeper van, it was the head of all the sweepers. He was nice and caring, but I wasn't having any of it. He finally stopped the van and got out on the street with me. After briefly explaining that it was getting darker, and the neighborhood was becoming unsafe for me to walk alone in, he managed to get me in the car. When he closed the door an entire day of emotion and physical stress came pouring out of me like Niagara falls. I'm not talking about slowly falling tears and a slight frown, I'm talking FULL ON UGLY CRY! Like, Kim Kardashian and Julia Roberts combined UGLY CRY. All I wanted to do was finish. That was my goal all day long, just to finish. I JUST WANT TO FREAKING FINISH! As we rode past the dark building and made our way to the closing ceremony, I began to hatch a plan.

Me: So, that was a bad area of town?

Captain Sweeper: Yes. It's really not safe for you to be walking alone over there.

Me: Where are we now?

CS: Getting into the Rice University area. This is a great area of the city. The Wellness Village isn't very far.

Me: So this is a safe area?

CS: Yes.

Me: Great, stop the car.

CS: Excuse me?

Me: You said I couldn't walk over there because it wasn't safe. This is safe area. PLEASE let me finish this walk? Please?

CS: Alright lady. You've got about a mile and half left to the Wellness Village. Think you can make it?

Me: Nope. But I'm damn well gonna' try.

And so I started walking again. My feet and legs felt like jello. Extremely painful and sore jello. At one point, my mother and aunt found me again. My aunt even got out and walked with me a little while. Once in the center of Rice University, I started hearing signing again. The absolute worst singing in the world and my heart exploded! It was the six women who sat with me in the park. They were waiting for me! Through my tears, I hugged them all and I had no words to express what it meant knowing that these women had waited for me.
Together, we turned the corner and walked that last 100 yards hand in hand. At the end of the day, I crossed the finish line with six of the most wonderful women I've even had the honor to meet. I finished last, but I wasn't alone. I had never met them before that day, and I've never seen them since, but that day we were sisters. United as one and walking towards a common goal. Waiting for me at the finish line were my wonderful mother, my crazy aunt, my devoted sister, and my two beautiful twin nieces. Seeing those baby girls, I prayed that our efforts over the course of the weekend would not be wasted. Every dollar raised and every step taken was another step in the fight against breast cancer. Maybe if we keep walking, those girls won't have to grow up in a world full of cancer. Just maybe.

My wonderful brother-in-law drove us back to the hotel and all I wanted was a long bath and a soft bed. I got neither. There was no bathtubs in the hotel. Seriously? What. The. Hell. My only complaint to Avon over the course of the entire weekend was the lack of bathtubs at our host hotel. After walking over 25 miles in the course of 12 and half hours, I think the least I deserved is a freaking bath. Standing in that shower was almost as hard as walking all those miles. Our friends came to see me once I was back at the hotel. Apparently, the girl who nearly fell over and died while walking was a sight to see.

Chris: How are you feeling?

Me: Like I've been walking for the last 12 hours. How the hell are you feeling? 

Jess: We are just so proud of you! This was a long day and I know it was really hard at the end. We are going to go. We'll let you get some rest. 

Me: Please, just let me die in peace. 

*** Did I mention I get cranky sometimes. Because I do. Very. Cranky. *** As I lay in bed, I found myself unable to move. My back hurt, my arms hurt, my legs hurt. There were parts of me that I didn't know existed that hurt. AND I still had another day of walking ahead of me. After a few minutes of laying down, Ria came back to the room to come to bed.

Ria: Shit girl. It's so cold in here!

Me: It's really not.

Ria: Well, I'm turning it down. And if you don't like it, you can get up and change it yourself! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

***It's possible she didn't laugh quite like that, but it's been a few months and I'm the one with the blog, so I get to write what I want. This could also be where I insert the HORRENDOUS picture that she took of me passed out, but again, my blog, my rules.***

Look for the conclusion of my Avon Walk experience in the next post. If you are interested in donating to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and to my fundraising efforts, here is a link!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zooing it up with a smart ass (Alternate Title: My cousins are better than your cousins.)

Last weekend we (husband, cousin, cousin-in-law and myself) took five children to the Zoo. The Zoo was fun and the animals were cool, but the best part was spending the day with three of my favorite smart asses.

I'm almost immune to my husband's wise cracks. After 13 years, it just rolls over my head most of the time. My cousin Blaine however, I don't know that I'll ever stop being surprised and humored by him.

***Walking side-by-side pushing strollers and pulling wagons***

Me: aaaacchooooo. aaaacccchoooo. (That's me sneezing.)

Blaine: (silence)

Me: God Bless me. God Save me.

Blaine: What the fuck? You're gonna die if I don't say it? You're gonna die from an unblessed sneeze?

Me: YES ASS FACE! I could die and you don't even care!

I laughed for the next 100 feet or so as I thought about the remarks we exchanged.

A little further down the path we came across a snow cone vendor.

Me: Holy hell, a snow cone would be amazing right now.

Becc: I know. I wonder what flavors they have?

Me to snow cone man: How much is a small snow cone?

SCM: We only have one size. (Of course you do. ) It's $2. ($10 for each kid to have one, I can deal with that.)

Me: Ummmmm, do you have any clear flavors?

SCM: No. Sorry.  (yep, I'm not returning home with five kids, three not belonging to me, with ruined clothes from snow cones.)

Me: Thanks anyway.

Little B: Look Aunt Jessie Snow Cones! Mama, I want a snow cone.

Me: Sorry buddy, all they have is strawberry.

***I should mention that he is allergic to strawberries.***

Little B: Oh, okay.

Crisis averted. But of course, Blaine realizes that this is an awesome way to divert the kids attention away for a desired item.

Little B: Can I have a candy?

Blaine: All we have is strawberry candy?

Little B: Can I have some of your drink?

Blaine: It's strawberry drink.

Little B: Can I have a pony?

Blaine: Sorry dude, ponies are made out of strawberries.

***I am making most of this up. I just assumed this is how the child's life has been since our zoo trip.***
That's the thing about cousins. When you family is as big as ours, your cousins are usually your only friends growing up. Until you get to school and start branching out, they are the people that you get stuck with every weekend. You love them, you hate them. You grow incredibly close, then you grow up and drift away. I was lucky to have some of the most amazing people I know for cousins. Being the middle cousins out of 15 on my dad's side and the baby cousin out of 10 cousins on my mom's side, I've had everything I ever needed in my family. Older cousins to look up to (or to learn from their mistakes!), cousins my age to play with and on occasion really screw up their hair with a home-dye kit (sorry 'bout that Pook!) and younger cousins to help take care of and watch them grow into amazing young men and women.

At any point in time, I know that if I need something I have a cousin to help me. Got a flat tire? Call your cousin. Need to borrow a bow? Call a cousin. Want to drink beer and talk about the time Marty got a goose for Christmas? Call all your damn cousins and have a freaking party.

For me, it's amazing to go places with my cousins and all of our kids and see them making new cousinly memories. Because one day, the kids will be talking about their trip to the zoo. Maybe by then I'll be an old Aunt who gets to tell the truth behind all the stories of their youth. It might go something like this:

Big Little B: Hey, remember the time we all went to the zoo and we got to pet snakes and alligators?

Me: Yep, and you asked for a snow cone and Jettie said it was strawberry.

BLB: Yeah, that sucks that they only had strawberry snow cones.

Me: Sorry B. They weren't strawberry. Jettie is just a little cheap and a lot bad at laundry. Life sucks that way sometimes.... Could you fix me another Lemon Drop?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today I'm thankful for a life that rocks. Hope you can say the same.

*** This is one of those post where I ramble on about nothingness. It won't be funny or witty. You've been warned.***

On occasion, I get wicked bummed out and think about how sad my life is. But it usally doesn't take much for me to snap out of it. Just yesterday, I was filling in my calendar with baseball games, wedding events, baby showers, water aerobics, etc. I started getting overwhelmed and thinking that I just needed a few days off. Just me and my little family to unwind and enjoy life. I went on about my day and forgot about my fantasy vacation for a few hours.

After work, we picked up the kids and headed home. Regular afternoon events occured. Water the plants and threaten to spray the kids. Fed the baby and had to change because the little rugrat grabbed the jar then gave me a hug. Adelaide and I packed some ice pops and headed to ball park to watch my nephews play t-ball. Small talk with cousins, handed out ice pops, cheered on the best little t-ballers ever and then back in the car to head to the high school. The Speech and Drama department was putting on Cinderella and I wanted to take my daughter. We laughed and clapped and chatted with old friends. A few pictures in the carriage and a mean mug with Cinderella then back home for quick baths and bedtime stories. Leftovers for dinner while chatting with the hubs and another late bedtime.

Some of you might be thinking, "Yep, just another boring, mundain night. I can see why she needs a few days off." Except that it wasn't. Because the hug from the baby was worth a change in clothes. The enormous smile on my nehpews faces when they realized that so many people came to watch them play ball was heart warming. The small talk with my cousins was the one chance we've had to talk in weeks because we've grown up and have our own familes. The trip to the musical brought back more memories than I could count, including the one when I met my now husband.

The next few days will contiune with long afternoons and late bedtimes, but I'm okay with that. Because,  this weekend I'll get a new sister-in-law and she happens to be one of the coolest ladies I know. We'll also be celebrating the birthday of one of the coolest little dudes I know.

Sometimes I think I need a break from life, but then I look around and realize that my life rocks. I have the best neighbors in the world and a family that can drive you crazy from all the love and support they cover you with. It's Thankful Thursday and today I am thankful for the simple life.  What are you thankful for today?

Friday, February 3, 2012

My one monthaversary and my blessed crumb snatchers

So, it's been almost a month since my second wedding and things couldn't be better. We are crazy in love (mostly because we are both a little crazy) and still in the honeymoon phase of life. You seem confused. Let me explain. While this was my second wedding, it's still part of my first marriage. Two weddings, one marriage. Still confused?

Basically, we were married for the first time five years ago at a charming little bed and breakfast. We were married by the Justice of the Peace, who I'm pretty sure is a cast member on Swamp People now. Five years and two children later, it started to feel like something was missing. We were not married in the church, because back then it wasn't important to us. Over the years, it has become important. We decided to baptize our children and bless our marriage. I arrived at the church expecting the priest to say, "Join your hands. *insert short marriage prayer here*. Welcome to Jesus' house!" That is not what happened.

It was a complete marriage ceremony. Starting with "Dearly Beloved..." and everything. Standing on the alter with my already husband, my very pregnant sister, and my full-bearded brother-in-law, I began to laugh. This seemed utterly absurd to me. I was wearing a purple dress from Burlington Coat Factory and the guys had on blue jeans. I laughed because I was already married. It was ludicrous to believe that we would stand up in front of a handful of friends and family and this would be just as important as the wedding we had five years ago. And you know what, it wasn't. It was more.

When my husband began reciting his vows, with the "better or worse, richer or poorer", I suddenly became overwhelmed. Because, this was a man who had now seen me at my worse. This was a man who had stood at the kitchen counter with me, staring at an empty bank account and realized that we were poor. At our first wedding, we had no idea what was waiting for us. We had never lived together and we were in the processing of moving 200 miles away from everyone we had ever known. This time around, he knew what all these words would mean. He knew all about the late nights with sick babies and the early mornings with crappy jobs. He was fully aware of what our life would be, and before God and my grandmother, he firmly vowed to be mine, all over again. When it was my turn for vows, I went from laughing to almost crying. It was terribly unexpected and completely wonderful. There we were five years later, still agreeing to be part of each others lives. One kid pulling at my dress and one kid crying in the pew. We are a family..... I got all my sister with me! (Sorry, I couldn't help it. )

After we got re-married, we proceeded to bless our cranky children in one of the worlds most unorganized baptisms. Trying to bless two children who want nothing more than to go home is nearly impossible. One child crying and one trying to run away. We finally made it through and headed home with our new Christians in the backseat. Adelaide promptly changed into her Tinker Bell dress and we undressed Julien and put away his gown. It was the same gown that I was baptized in 27 years ago.

Our life is back to the same routine now. Messy house, crazy kids and fights over socks being left in the couch cushions. I never thought I would get married twice, but I did. And both times, the groom was smokin' hot. Lucky me!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wanting a star and being a dork.

Hello humans. It's been a while. In short, I've had a baby (he's awesome BTW) and survived an epic day of paintball. Other than that, things are pretty much the same. Now that we are all caught up....

I'm a Weight Watcher. I am not ashamed of this. It is a fantastic program and it helped me lose a great deal of weight after my daughter was born. Now that Big Jules is here, I'm back on the plan and looking to get healthy for good. As a motivator, I've signed up to walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Houston, TX in April. More on that in an other post.

Last night was my WW (that stands for Weight Watchers, keep up people) meeting. My weigh in went something like this:

Friendly Staff Member: Okay, I've got your weight. Are you staying for the meeting?

Me: (assuming she wanted me to stay for the meeting because I had skipped last week and gained some weight) Yes, I'm staying.

FSM: Great! Would you like your rewards now or in the meeting?

Me: I get rewards? Hell yeah I want them! And I want them in front of EVERYONE!

I sat through my meeting super excited. I peeked at my weight record after weigh-in and realized that I had hit the 10lbs down milestone! At the end of the meeting, my leader started handing out rewards and I was ready. She got to me and handed me a 5lbs star and everyone clapped it out for me. Apparently, you get a 5lbs star each time you lose 5 lbs. There is no 10lbs star.

This was not acceptable. At the end of the meeting, I went to the front of the room and had a talk with my leader. It went something like this:

Me: I'm sorry, but is there a 10lbs star?

L: No, you get a 5lbs star each time you lose 5lbs, until you hit 20lbs down.

Me: That's cool, but here's the thing. I wasn't here last week, so I kinda got shorted a star because I hit both milestones since the last time I was here.

L: So you didn't get your first star? Would you like one?

Me: Well, if you're offering... HELLS YEAH I WANT MY STAR!

She laughed and gave me another star. Because really, I'm working my butt off (seriously, this big ass HAS to go) to lose this weight and I feel like I've earned those freaking stars!

I texted my husband and my WW buddies to tell them the good news and I headed off to Rousse's to stock up on more fruits and veggies. I felt so good walking through the produce department. I made witty conversation with ladies near the apples. I smiled at the cute boy in the melon section. I felt like, even though these people had never met me before, they could see that I was 10lbs thinner and they were so proud of me! I even ran into a couple WW ladies from my meeting. We talked about fruits and new ways to prepare Kale (bake it like a chip, BEYOND DELICIOUS).

The girl inside of me is funny and smart and outgoing and for a long time I feel like the heavy girl I've become has suffocated her a little. With every pound lost, I feel more and more like the person I want to be. Because that person is pretty awesome. Just ask my husband!

Walking back to my car, I was giddy. I had my new fruit and my smaller figure. I jumped in my car, ready to head home. As I was putting on my seat belt, I noticed a giant white sticker on my left boob. It was my name tag from my meeting. My gigantic Weight Watchers name tag. I'll say it again, I'm not ashamed of the fact that I go to Weight Watchers. However, nothing makes you feel more like a dork than realizing that the cute boy in the melon section was probably smiling at me because he was amused by my name tag.

Oh well, I had two even cuter boys waiting for me at home.