Thursday, April 23, 2009
I am a daughter of God. I am daughter to Tony and Dian. I am a sister to Dana, Eric, Merlin, Jenny, Porter and Dixie. I am an Aunt to 22, a niece, and a cousin to too many to count. I am a wife to Jere. I am a Mother to Max and Maggie. I am LOVED. I am from Mesa, AZ. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am a returned missionary from the Indiana, Indianapolis mission. I am BLESSED. I am intelligent. I am a disciplinarian. I am a word-Smyth (whole post about that someday). I am a friend to many. I am a good listener. I am a teacher. I am a singer, an actress, a performer. I am a believer. I am one who loves to laugh. I am locked in a lifelong battle with fat. I am a former Mesa City Champion swimmer. I am a lover of exercise. I am sarcastic. I am dramatical. I am strong willed. I am in love beyond words with my children. I am a “fixer”. I am not good at change. I am one who likes everything clean and in place. I am tough. I am quick to jump to conclusions. I am a fan of reading. I am a closet (meaning, hidden) interior designer. I am a reality TV junkie. I am an adequate piano player. I am a procrastinator to a criminal degree. I am a really fast typist. I am very impatient. I am really loving cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I am a great Boggle player. I am so lucky to have the family I have. I am witty. I am very tender hearted. I am GRATEFUL for all I have. I am intrigued by people and their lives. I am…….
Wait for it………….
A CHRONIC UNDERACHIEVER.
And this is what I want to talk about today. I have some examples, and I will share.
I’ve always known I was a bit more “laid back”, less driven if you will, but doing this training, and going through this experience has just shown me once again that, well, for lack of a better phrase; I sorta suck. And by suck, I mean, I give up, give in, am afraid of putting in the full effort, or afraid of pain, or whatever. I grew up in a family of super over achievers, starting with my parents and going right on down the line. I only have one brother who is similar to me, and don’t be offended Porter. It’s just, he’s also more laid back, not seemingly as driven as the rest. My other brother has ALWAYS been DRIVEN to be the BEST, the top, number 1. If he didn’t succeed the first time, he tried, tried again. He’s done very well for himself in his career, etc. because of his drive and tenacity. My three sisters are all type A overachievers. In school they did the best projects, got the best grades, and followed all the rules. Each of them is driven in their own ways, and successful at their own things. I’m sure they all look at me and silently shake their head in wonderment at my “attitude” on things. Just as much as I look at them and think…..”Why get all crazy, it’ll all work out.” However, I realize that I just really need to get over this issue and work to get a little more drive, and stop being such an underachiever. Ok, you want examples; let me give you a couple.
High school: I graduated 80th in a class of 700. Now, I’m sure you’re saying, well that really isn’t anything to be ashamed of. I’m not ashamed, however, it’s really sad that I was 80th, when I could have clearly been MUCH higher. The ONLY reason I know I was 80th is because at the end of my senior year my counselor called me into his office (which I had NEVER been in before ever) and informed me that I had earned a Presidential Scholarship (full tuition) to MCC for academics. I looked at him completely clueless. Was he talking to ME? I got what for what? It was then that he informed me of my rank in the class. My first thought and response to this was….”Hmmm, that’s CRAZY”, and “I don’t even want to go to college.” I had somehow received a scholarship for my academics and I had not done one thing to earn it my entire high school career. I did ONLY what I had to do to get by. I never exerted myself in any way. I would barely glance at something just before tests, as my form of studying. I turned in papers at the last possible moment. I hardly remember doing homework, EVER. While I did have friends who did AP classes, I really didn’t grasp what those were, or what the point of them were. I took EARTH SCIENCE because chemistry seemed way too hard and scared me. I was that lame; never applying myself and STILL got a scholarship. STILL graduated at a fairly decent number in my high school. First of all, what does that say about the 620 below me, and secondly, WHAT COULD I HAVE achieved? Where could I have gone had I actually worked at it? Had I actually used my intelligence and applied myself? Who knows?
When I finally got around to going to college for real, I did the same thing. I did only what I had to do to get by. Well, in academic classes that is. In performance classes I kicked some serious booty, but that’s because I enjoyed that, AND it came easily to me. But, in the end, I had to take some classes over, make up classes in summer school and it took me a little longer, due to my laziness I’m sure.
In church callings, I have always done just what I needed to. Nothing less, nothing more. I’m the world’s worst visiting teacher. And I know that by not giving it my all, I’m the one not learning and growing as I should.
In this triathlon training, what finally made me realize my loserishness is….if something starts to hurt, hurt at all, my immediate reaction is to quit. I don’t want to experience the pain. Except that you HAVE to experience the pain in order to improve and move forward. If I’m told to do something, and I don’t deem it something I want to do, I just dismiss it, even if it’s totally gonna help me out in the end. I’m totally that person in a class that when they’re doing stretches at the end and the teacher is holding a stretch…I just move on to the other side, ‘cause I’m done waiting for them. If I feel like moving on, quitting, whatever, I do it. So, when Dixie says one day, we’re gonna ride 20 miles, I immediately say, I’m NOT. We haven’t ridden over 12, what makes you think I can just add 8 more? Jenny and Dana were all ready to do it. They’re obedient little overachievers. Jenny has taken this whole situation and pushed herself to crazy new limits. She joined a running club, and she has a crazy trainer that makes her do things I’m sure aren’t humanly possible. Except, they are. Dana has pushed herself further than she EVER thought possible. She’s lost nearly 40 lbs. in the process, all because she committed in her heart and mind and wasn’t gonna quit. Don’t’ worry, that day we rode 14 miles, ‘cause we didn’t know how to find the right place to go 20. And, truth be told, I would have gone the 20, but shame on me for immediately being lame-o quitter girl.
I am not saying that I haven’t endured and broken new barriers and improved immensely through this all. I have. I have ridden further, swam farther, run faster (or run at all for that matter), sweated more than I EVER knew I could, or ever did before. I ran for ALMOST an entire ½ mile without stopping today. That is HUGE for me, HUGE! I have ridden a bike through intense pain, I’ve walked 5 miles, I’ve lost weight, strengthened muscles, forced myself out of bed with only 4 hours of sleep, etc. I know that I HAVE achieved. All I’m saying is, I’ve also NOT achieved all I COULD have. I have cheated myself not only in this process, but in life.
The triathlon is 2 short weeks away. I’ve trained; I’m ready as I’ll ever be. I know I can do it, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m scared, I’m nervous, but I know it is possible. I AM ready. And when I cross that finish line, whether it be first(snort!), last or somewhere in the middle, I’ll know that ANYTHING is possible. I’ll know that I CAN do it, I DID do it! And then it’s time to think about the next challenge, the next mountain for me to climb.
I don’t want to be the underachiever anymore. There is so much MORE I need to give to my children/family and to my students. They all deserve my best. What ultimately am I afraid of? How do I change a LIFETIME of mindset and bad habits? Where do I even begin?
Because someday I want to be able to say:
I AM EVERYTHING I can be. I AM an achiever of her goals.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Max was scheduled for his 6 month well check THIS Friday. And as history has proven, that means he couldn't possibly make it. He couldn't make it because he is too busy having contagious diseases, as he is wont to do.
He's had a wet, loose cough for about a week, but no fever, no other issues, etc. But, the last 2 days I was noticing that when he was asleep he was struggling to breathe. He was having really short, rapid breaths, and this was concerning me. I took him to Dixies last night for a breathing treatment, which didn't seem to do anything. His lungs sounded like he was breathing through mud. And on top of this, his goopy eye had become profusely so throughout the day and had now spread to the other eye, which could only mean one thing right?.........PINK EYE! Clearly I could not put off his visit until Friday.
I called the doctor at 8:00 this morning, no answer. Called again at 8:10, was on hold until 8:17. I KNEW they'd tell me they had an 8:5o available, I KNEW IT. Sure enough, after explaining the sitch, they said to come on down at 8:50. Mind you, it's 8:17, Maggis is STILL in bed, Max is in his pj's and now the race is on. Impressively, I got Maggie out of bed, diaper changed, dressed and hair done, Max dressed, in his seat and all of us out the door by 8:30. THEN, as I was flying down the freeway, complaining to Lana on the phone about my sickly children, I blew right past my exit. UGH! So, took the next exit and made it to the doctor with ONE minute to spare.
So, trusty Dr. Deardorff came in, gave Maggie a looksy, checking to see if her ear infection was gone. You'll be "surprised" to know that it was NOT. SO, another round of antibiotics coming right up. THEN he looked Max over....not pretty. Max's ears were STILL infected (after 2 rounds of antibiotics already), he does have pink eye, AND a respitory infection, meaning breathing treatments every 3 hours. I tried to hold myself together, 'cause hey, what's another 100+ bucks in Dr. visits and medicine? SERIOUSLY! But the best was yet to come. The conversation went a little like this:
Dr. Deardorff (or DD): Are they around a lot of children?
Me: Well, yeah, I guess.
Me: Their cousins.
DD: I want you to keep them home, away from other children. I don't want you to take them to the store, out in public, no church, nothing. Just stay in your house.
DD: They just keep getting the same cold over and over again. We need to see if we can keep them away from others and REALLY knock this out. Because if we don't, your next option is tubes. (Max has apparently had one ongoing ear infection since about 2 1/2 months).
Me: (Internal whimpers and crys) Ok.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? What the H man? It's not that we have such a glamorous play group kind of life. We pretty much stay home most of the time as it is. We make our weekly forays out to Costco, Fry's and an occassional Target run. Then there are some very random stops at Lanas or Danas, with hangouts at Dixies. Really, we're not out in public that much. So, he wants me to truly never leave this tiny little box where we're tripping all over eachother and losing our minds. I'm not s'posed to EVER get out with them? Along with me losing my mind, THEY will positively lose their crap. I am SO not ok with this. I'll do it, 'cause I occassionally like to follow a command or two, but I won't be happy about it. AND, I'm VERY interested to see if we can actually get my kids better. Truth is, I simply can't handle paying out another round of EIGHTY dollars for antibiotics, and I'm not interested in either of my children having tubes put in their ears if we can help it.
I s'pose if I had to find a silver lining, a bright side, if you will, it would be that God gave me fabulous children that don't cry, or act sick. At least Max isn't screaming, whimpering, or crying all the time with his apparent sickly ears. Nope, he just smiles, giggles, plays and coos. He's pretty much perfection, and it humbles me. And really, Maggie, an ear infection? You wouldn't know it, 'cause she sure doesn't act like it. So, there's that, I guess.
What this means: Melissa, I'm suuuuuuuper sorry, guess we won't be coming over on Friday to spread our filth. Perhaps next Friday, if your girls haven't contracted some disease by then, haha.
Adults are welcome to come visit us, but guess no dirty little children beasts, carrying vile bugs of destruction.
Don't mind us, we'll just be here in Hell, I mean quarantine.
Ear aches and empty cupboards,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
It is so hard to believe that just 6 months ago you came to join our little family. I didn't know what it was going to be like to have a little boy. I didn't know that I could love something/someone so much that my heart would explode every time I looked at them. I learned that was possible with Maggie, and you have enlarged my heart and my capacity to love even more! You came to us with your perfect round head and perfect 8 lb. 6 oz. body. You came out with your eyes wide open, ready to take in the world around you.
Your first night in the hospital you were sooooo calm and so quiet. You slept through the entire night. I kept waking up every hour or so just to make sure you were ok. There you were, breathing peacefully, sleeping soundly.
Jere had been having an especially hard time with his left side. It just was hurting him A LOT, and it was getting red and spreading. Then, randomly on Saturday night it started to "leak" a little bit. We watched it, to make sure all was ok. On Sunday it started to "leak" some more, and by Sunday evening it was pretty much pouring out this liquid every time he stood up, or sat, or moved, or whatever. We put gauze and tape over it and it would soak through. I wasn't too concerned because it wasn't puss (sorry, so gross) just mostly clear or a little bloddy liquidy stuff. However, by Monday morning it was clearly more of a problem, so we called the doctor. Long story short, they had us come in and when the doctor saw it his first words were, "I don't like the looks of that at all." And then he followed with "I'm gonna have to open it up Jere." This, you should know, was jere's BIGGEST fear. He was surrrrrrrre he would die if the doctor said he'd cut him. Wish you could have seen the look on his face....priceless! So, he numbed it up and then proceeded to scalple the site open. I'm here to say, that I find nothing more revolting than the sound of skin being sliced open. UGHHH! My stomach was squirming and lurching at this point. Jere was looking at the cieling and humming loudly. Pretty soong the doctor said, "Ummm, ok, Allyson, I'm gonna need some MORE guaze, could you hand me some?" So I obliged and handed him a wad, without looking in the direction of the foulness happening over there. Wouldn't you know it, even that was not enough, he soon asked me for some MORE gauze. Apparently, there was A LOT of infection inside of there. I tragically looked over at this point to see a fountain of what can only be described as FOULNESS flowing into the gauze. Holy barf buckets Batman. So, after he "cleaned" it all out, he then asks if I'll be able to pack this wound. He asks me this as I'm noticing his ENTIRE finger is now inside of Jeres wound. At that point I said, "but your whole finger is inside of him." Jere whimpered and the doctor said "That's probably not something you should say right now?" Sigh. But the answer to the questions was....No, not just no, but HELLLLLLL NO! There is no way that my overly squeamish stomach could handle packing this "wound". He asked me again if I could, I said AGAIN, NO! I assured him I'd call my cousin the nurse, or some of our friends that are nurses. And his wound was packed and we were o n our way. On the way home I placed my phone call to my cousin Wendy and told her of our little situation, and she was totally willing to come and help us out. So, below I'm going to share some pics with you.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! Hideous picture of Jeres gaping hole underneath. Run away now if you can't handle it. Loves to you!
This is my dear, dear cousin Wendy who so willingly traipsed herself and her two young cuties over at 8:45 a.m. to pull out the old and pack in the new. I heart her so for being willing to do this!!
Welcome to Jeres "hole". It really is far grosser in real life, if you can believe it. On the upside, he feels a lot better now that the infection is out. He is practically bouncing around in his walking.
And here is Wendy working hard to re-pack the wound. Unfortunately she did not have many or ANY proper supplies to make it work, so it was a bit more difficult for her to do. But, after a lot of effort, she got done what she could....all with a smile on her face. Not only that, but she's willing to come back tonight and do it all again.
So, there you have it, the latest news on the surgical front. Oh that, AND the fact that he's now lost 29 lbs. in a week. AWESOME!!
Gaping holes and packing gauze,
Sunday, April 19, 2009
There once was a boy named Jere, his virtues were many and very. He liked to eat, he always liked to eat. He was a BIG baby, a chubby kid and a "thick" adolescent. And in spite of always being a "fat" guy, he was always active and able to move and do whatever he wanted. But at some point, when you CAN'T wedge yourself into an airplane seat, or resteraunt booth anymore, when you run out of breath just walking into work, or when you wake up one day and realize it hurts like hell to be alive you know that SOMETHING has to be done. There MUST be some way to gain control of your life again. When I met him he weighed around 280 lbs., so yeah, a big guy, but not so out of control either. He could still buy clothes at Target, which I call buying at a normal store. In the course of our THREE years of dating and 7 years of marriage he gained over a 100 lbs. To be fair, so did I, and then I got to have gastric, and he stood by the wayside, WISHING he could have it too. Clothes were a HUGE (no pun intended) burden. The only place we could shop was the fat mans store, and do you have ANY idea the rape they perform there? A t-shirt was apt to cost you $40.00. Pants were close to $100.00 half the time. It was painful and awful. He was up to 5X shirts and even then sometimes those didn't fit. He wore 60 waist pants. Neither of these sizes were easy to come by. Hence why he wore the same 3 pair of pants and same 5 shirts allllllllll the time. And just so you know, he said it's ok for me to divulge this info. There is something magical about getting the gastric, you suddenly don't care if everyone knows how much you weigh or what size you were. I guess it's because you know that you'll never weigh that or wear those sizes again. It's like a wierd badge of honor to say, I USED to weigh, or I USED to wear....Anyway.
Jere LOVES ice cream. He lived for ice cream. Bummer for him that he'll never be able to enjoy it again, not to this degree anyway. I still can't eat more than a couple bites of ice cream, or I get icky feeling. Anyway, this picture is just a great representation of Jere and his love for the food.
This is a shot of Jere going for his 2nd walk. He was in so much pain, it was really more than he could bare to be doing this, but he was a trooper and did as he was told. All the happy and joviality was gone, and remained gone until at least Friday.
So, here we are. This is where Jere is currently spending his days...sitting on the chair, in discomfort, waiting it out. He's been very good about getting up and going for his "walks" and drinking his water all day long. He's also a total rock star on the breathey thing and can now get higher than he did before the surgery. As I said, each day brings a little more healing and a little more mobility. I can't wait for him to feel all better and truly be on the way to his new life. Each day, each pound lost feels like a new sense of freedom. The ability to move freely again, the ability to wash yourself, to bend over, tie your shoes, whatever it may be, all feels sooooo invigorating and wonderful as you start the magical journey downward.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This is my stunningly beautiful sister Dixie and her man Shane. She found true love and a GOOD man the second time around. They were married a year ago last week in San Diego. It was a "long" wait for them, but they're finally sealed forever and ever and ever. It was exciting to see them in the Temple together, and I was so glad I could be a part of witnessing their eternal union. They really do make eachother so happy, and it makes me SO happy to see my sister finally and truly treated and loved, like she deserves.
Congrats to both of you beautiful women for meeting the man of your dreams and making it a FOREVER deal!! We sure love you all!
Brides and bows,
Friday, April 17, 2009
No really, you have NO idea how grateful we are. Max is so delighted, can't you tell? I mean, I just can't thank you enough. And to be fair, my Mom was incredibly generous and her gift to me/us was a box of diapers a month for the first year, so this was her first box having to purchase. So really, she's probably thanking you too, 6 months in she gets to start the purchase. MAN, I am so blessed! And thank goodness for hers and YOUR generosity, because yesterday I had to go and do this:
That my friends, coupled with buying formula, that is painful. Not gonna lie, might have shed a tear. $100.00 later. OUCH!! Babies are expensive little buggers. But you know what? They're SO worth it!!!
But really, please forgive me for my HUGE lameness of never getting my thank you notes out for the shower. It's embarassing really, and I have no great excuse. Ok, truth be told, Dixies and Jenny D's are written and in the envelope, have been since the hospital, just never handed them to you. UGH! Just let it be known that my heart is overwhelmed at the love and generosity of my friends and family. I am MORE than grateful for ALL you do, have done and continue to do for me and my little family. Thank you so MUCH for all the gifts. Max is a studly little fashion plate because of YOU!
Diapers and divas,
Max's debut as Baby Jesus was a very good learning experience. The first few nights he would be fast asleep, or giggling, or happy as a clam in my arms, just moments before going on stage. But, as SOON as they wrapped that blanket around him and "Mary" took him out, he would scream, and he would scream uncontrollably (except when he was shown the lamb, and looked up at the fire) the entire time. Then, the MOMENT they handed him back to me, he'd stop crying and usually fall asleep. However, he turned a bit of a corner the next week when pageant came around. He was usually sound asleep, and would wake up and just lay there cooing at "Mary and Joseph" and was so calm and happy. Not gonna lie, much preferred those performances. He is apparently the biggest baby Jesus they've ever used, but he was loved by all backstage. And I mean, c'mon, what is NOT to love about that face? Have you SEEN him? All in all, it was a really cool experience for Max to have. How many kids get to say, they were baby Jesus?
On the last night, we went down early to meet with "Mary and Joseph" and take a few pics. The backstage people were so cute, they pulled the manger and the special blanket out and had them waiting. That was a cold and very rainy day, so the stage was dripping and wet. But, we managed to get some good shots. AND, I was lucky enough to happen into Robert (the man who portrays Jesus, and to me embodies what I think Jesus looks like in every way) and got a couple of fabo shots with him. So, without further ado......
Robert and Max, "Jesus" at each end of the spectrum. He truly is such a wonderful man. My FAVORITE part of being in pageant last year was the "healing and teaching" scene. I am telling you, it literally felt like you were watching Christ do those things. It was very moving, and I would generally cry each time. I can't imagine pageant without HIM in this part.
This is sweet and adorable McKay Tucker, who played "boy Jesus" this year. He is the best, as is his wonderful family.
Monday, April 13, 2009
This is Easter Grumpies!!!!
And THIS is Happy Bunny. Would you LOOK at this kid? He was nothing but smiles and sweetness all day!