24 November 2010

unsolicited advice

last year i made this post and this post about unsolicited advice. the past few days i seem to have acquired the same sign for i have been receiving quite a bit of, shall we say, suggestions on what to do and not do with my little one.

i would like to say that advice given by strangers, and even family members, which is contrary to the way rhys and i want to raise e is ignored. especially when said advice is not asked for and quite negative. however that is not always the case. like eleri, i too have a sensitive spirit. i cry at movies (even tv adverts), i laugh easily, i feel a wide range of emotions at the drop of the hat, and my feelings are hurt more often than i would like. being sensitive is good because it allows one to connect and empathize with people in unique ways. being sensitive is bad because it gives one a tendency to take things personally, or worry about what other say/think. and the advice i have been given lately has been bothering me a lot.

e is 16 months old today. and not really talking. i wasn't the least bit worried about this fact until earlier this week. eleri has unbelievable comprehension. she understands and follows instructions better than most adults. seriously. she knows her colours, some of her letters and her numbers 1-10. but she wont say any of it. you can ask her to point to the number 5 or to hold up 5 fingers and she will. but she wont say 5. same with red, yellow, blue or green. but ask to her say a colour. nothing. i thought that was ok. clearly she is understanding things. not to mention the kid has crazy bat like hearing. no problems there. but aside from a handful of about 15 words, she doesn't say much. and apparently she should already be talking. and counting. and saying complete sentences, so clearly i am a bad mother who doesn't spend enough time with her daughter who should promptly be removed from my care and placed with someone else who will have her speaking at the level of a high school senior in no time at all. and that sentence could have kept on going and going and going, breaking even more grammatical rules, creating the largest run on sentence in the history of the world. because that is how behind my daughter is. and that is how bad of a mother i am.

i felt about this big for a good two days.

i spent hours looking at baby websites and reading medical journals. i even called some doctors. i polled friends and thought about speech therapy. i instantly jumped from one extreme to another; not worried in the slightest to thinking my daughter needed to have evaluations and would end up with life long problems. it was so frustrating as i tried to find information because one article would contradict the next. some said not to worry and some screamed panic, your child is disabled! i was in tears by the rhys came home on the second day. 'what are we going to do?' i sobbed. i had ruined eleri.

after many minutes of irrational ranting and raving on my part, and sane counter arguments on the part of rhys, i calmed down. later that evening, i checked my email and followed a link to a well known baby website. it was an article about food. absolutely nothing to do with speech. and the food article said if your child is between 12-24 months you should avoid feeding them whole peanuts, popcorn, and granola bars. grapes should be quartered before being given to the child and meats should still be finely chopped. hmmmm. eleri has peanuts, popcorn and organic granola bars for snacks. she eats whole grapes and chunky pieces of meat.

what it boils down to is this. people, and websites, will always be full of advice. some is helpful and some is not. i am eleri's mother. save rhys, i know her better than anyone else. it doesnt matter what someone else says, i know my daughter. if i wasnt worried before someone offered their outside opinion, then i shouldn't be worried afterwards.

it is a shame that people feel they have a right to compare your child to theirs. it is not right that people feel they have the freedom to say negative and nonconstructive things about the way someone else chooses to parent. every baby is different. every parent is different. and unless you are physically, mentally or emotionally abusing your child, you should be left alone to parent in the way you see fit. i am a big fan of baby einstien dvd's and products. i like the praise baby collection. and i also like peppa pig. (do they have that in america?) e doesnt sit in front of the tv all day, but those videos are great to pop in whilst i am making dinner or in the shower. we have flash cards and word games. we read books. we paint. and if i am really honest, sometimes we just sit on the floor and skype with my friends and family back in america. some days we are productive and educational. some days we make a tent out of the bedspread and play with toys. some days we watch a couple of dvd's and sing songs. some parents may not agree with any of the things that eleri and i do. and thats ok. eleri is my daughter and i am raising her the way that i see fit. other parents may do things differently and it is not my place to judge. if i see you punch your child in the face, you can damn well expect me to say something to you. if not punch you in the face. but save that, you can do whatever you want. it is your child.

the old cliche of 'every child is different' really holds true in these situations. i confided in a good friend of mine about some unpleasant conversations this week and I was able to ask her some questions about her two kids. one was speaking in sentences at 17 months and one is still not saying words at 14. and she is ok with both. another friend has a 19 month old who only says 5 words. and she is not worried in the slightest. yet another friend has a baby who is just barely 18 months and has an incredible vocabulary, but doesn't yet put the words together to make more than 2 or 3 word sentences. every baby is different.

i am not a bad mom. i am a great mom. and eleri is a smart, capable, intelligent, advanced little girl. no, i am not bragging. i am stating fact. speaking the truth. because when we are confronted with negativity and harmful comparisons, it is helpful to speak aloud the truth to remind ourselves of the positives. some people mean no harm, and i am convinced that some set out to tear you down. but regardless of intentions, i am choosing to believe the truth that I am doing the best i can, which is enough. and eleri is just fine.

busy times ahead

i just wanted to include a random picture of little e being cute.

that said, it has been a busy week. and i have a lot ahead of me in the next few days. some exciting and some rather not so pleasant.

little e is 16 months old today. she is so big.

my dear friend devi flies in today from geneva. i can not wait to spend some time with her. so very, VERY excited.

rhys goes away for the weekend. even with devi here, i will still be a bit sad to say good bye to the husband. i hate it when we are apart.

i have an MRI on Monday

i meet with a surgeon on Tuesday. i do not want to have surgery.

my new baby/toddler yoga book should arrive by wednesday. hooray!

and some little bits between now and then. not to mention decorating for christmas. granted as we really only have one room in the house that is ours, we will only be decorating one room, but still. a lot to do. so probably not a lot from me for the next few days.

22 November 2010

green card success

my husband is now an official permanent resident of the united states of america.

never mind that we live in the united kingdom still, he is considered to be an official resident. his green card should arrive at my parents in 3 to 4 months. clearly the embassy appointment last friday was a success. after nearly 5 hours of waiting, and 3 separate trips to windows, counters and interview areas, we were given the great news that our application was approved and rhys was given his residency status. it even involved him raising his right hand and saying a little oath. even crazier is that we were given 2 envelopes. one with a chest x-ray and medical information and the other is sealed and tapped shut. we have no idea what is in it. and we are not allowed to open it. we were instructed to carry both envelopes in our carry on to the US. when we get to customs and the officer asks "how long will you be staying in america" we are to tell him that i am a citizen and my husband is immigrating. then hand over the sealed envelope. the officer will then take said envelope, and us, to a side room for another interview. the envelope will finally be opened and rhys will receive the official resident stamp in his passport. weird.

and we have until 19 May to leave the UK or the visa become invalid and we have to start the process over again. it took us 9 and half months and cost nearly £3,000 ($5,000) for this green card. we are not doing it again. we will be out of the UK by the 19th of May. fact.

i finally have a time line.

i am overjoyed at the prospect of having our own place. even if that place is just a rented flat in arkansas. i can not begin to describe how excited i am that we will soon have a home that we can call ours and not be mooching off of someone else, living by someone elses rules. seriously, i can not wait. but it also means that we are leaving europe. i am very sad about that. i love so many aspects of european life that when i look at my time frame, i am sad that we only have a few months left. mainly i am sad that we only have a few months left to cram in as many cheap holidays to continental europe as possible.

it has been over a year since rhys and i first began discussing moving to america. we carefully and prayerfully considered all of our options and really felt like a move to america was the best choice for our little family. and from the time we made the decision to move until last friday i have had absolutely no say in what happens in my life. every major choice has been left up to the governments of our respective countries. visa times, citizen applications, tests, fees, and waiting. we have been left waiting on other people's time for so long now that i am a bit unsure what to do with the new found knowledge that we actually are moving. and soon. and that leaves me with so many questions about what it will be like. leaving here and going there.

one of the reasons we are waiting for me to get british citizenship is so that we have the option to move back. over the weekend rhys and i discussed the possibility that we may get to the states and decide that it is not for us. not for us? really? my own country not for me anymore? i am not sure how i will fare back in the states, but it is nice to have options.

and i suppose it is nice to have a time frame. i am pleased to finally have an end in sight. i am pleased that now we can plan out our time more appropriately. and i am pleased that my husband is now legally allowed to live in america. all in all it was a very successful weekend.

18 November 2010

because its thursday....

as today is 'thankful thursday' i am forced to stop wallowing in my self pity, look around me and really remember what i am thankful for. because even with frustrating circumstances, there is a lot that i am grateful for.

I am very grateful that I have amazing friends. As i posted yesterday, its been a rather tough week. two friends in particular have really blessed me heart this week. thanks Devi and Katie. you are both very much appreciated.

I am grateful for a toasty warm house on these very cold winter nights.

I am incredibly grateful for my content baby daughter. i never knew what a gift contentment truly was until I had my little girl. her spirit is an inspiration to me. i pray desperately that she can keep her spirit of peace throughout her life; what an incredible blessing she will be.

I am thankful for great toy sales which has enabled rhys and i to get all the things we wanted for eleri for christmas at a fraction of the cost.

i am very thankful that it is thursday. which means tomorrow is friday. friday is rhys' immigration interview at the American Embassy. the last step for his green card. I am grateful the process is almost over. i am grateful for the mini-break the two of us will have in london.

which reminds me, i am really thankful (and excited) about Ikea on Friday.

I am thankful for online shopping which has allowed me to buy the necessary grocery's and toiletries even though i cant actually go to the store.

I am thankful for Sandra Boyton books. they are awesome. seriously. Ele and I can spend hours reading the same handful of sandra boyton books. Moo, Baa, La La La is our favourite.

and finally I am grateful, beyond words or measure, for my husband. he is stability in an otherwise tumultuous world. he is loving, faithful, compassionate and strong. he makes me laugh like no one else can. he truly is perfect. that hasn't changed since the day we met. i couldn't have dreamed of a better husband. i cant be thankful enough for him.

as an interesting side note, rhys is told often that he looks like david beckham. minus the insane amount of tattoos obviously. so i have included a few pictures of rhys and david beckham....there is a bit of a resemblance i must say, but clearly rhys is much better looking.

17 November 2010

so this will have to do

i have stared at a blank computer screen for several days now. even my journal remains empty. the words are not coming. i should rephrase that; the words i want to write are not coming. my thoughts are full of negativity and self pity. full of the emotions and words that i dont not want recognise with an entry. here or in the journal.

i feel discouraged. at first i thought i was sad. then angry. then lonely. but what it really comes down to is discouragement. it is like i fell down and instead of helping me up, every person that walks by kicks me instead. i am just discouraged with life, our circumstances, and my injury. i feel trapped.

i dont want to continually focus on the negative. i dont want to repeat destructive and discouraging words over and over so that they become my reality instead of the positive, truth of the situation. but i am having a hard time recognising anything but the pain, hurt and frustration of the day to day living. things could be worse, and they are worse for a lot of people out there. but this is my reality; and the world in which i live my daily life is getting me down.

not depressed. not hopeless. just discouraged.

so instead of an exciting post, i will leave with these things. i have re-done my blog reading list on the side of the page. woo hoo. excitement right?

and even with a grumpy, discouraged wife, my husband is pleasant, upbeat and very encouraging. he is awesome.

15 November 2010

the little one

she is 16 months old. i actually had to look at the calendar just to make sure. next weekend she will be 16 months. i cant believe she is that old already. she is not a baby anymore. she is a gorgeous little person.

I feel like so much has changed in these past few months; not just with eleri, but with myself as well. the move from London to Wales was hard on all of us and i dont think i took into consideration how it would affect eleri. i would never intentionally discount her opinion as a member of our family, but she was only 11 months old when we made the move. and how much can it really matter to an 11 month old. the answer? a lot.

in the past 5 months eleri has gone from being the only child in a family of 3. to being the youngest child in a family of 7. everything from meal time, to nap time, to play time has changed for the little one. some for the better and some for the worse, but changed nonetheless. i tried my best to prepare mentally as well as physically for the changes rhys and i would undergo, but never prepared for changes e would have. to be honest, i never even thought of them. bad parenting perhaps? but regardless of my glaring shortcomings, e has pulled through like a champ. and at 16 months has settled back into an amazing routine and is still the happy-go-lucky, content little person she has always been.

one thing that has remained constant through the transition was her sleep. man, e loves her sleep. we had a few restless nights as she adjusted to the new noises and being in a room on her own, but after about two weeks she was comfortably back to sleeping from 730pm to 730/800am. her naps have shifted a bit and i think that she is slowly moving away from an afternoon nap. she stills sleeps two hours in the morning, exactly two hours after she has woken up. but the afternoon we are lucky if she sleeps for 30 minutes. and thats ok. if this is how she is transitioning as she gets older, i am fine to be flexible with the little one.

as for general 16 month things......

eleri's favourite toys are stuffed animals and books. she could sit for hours flipping through pages and pointing at the pictures. she talks to herself whilst 'reading' the books, making up her own story as she goes along. most of the time she will grab a stuffed animal (piggie and doggie are her favourite) grab a book and come sit in your lap. one of my favourite times of the day. she also loves toy cars and anything with a handle. a purse, a bucket...anything she can fling over her arm and walk around with.

as for words, e has acquired a few new ones this month like 'eyes' and 'mimi' but she is still not speaking a whole lot. she has started to say something that sounds a lot like 'cheese' but its hard to tell, it could be 'please' as well. ball, dog, mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, papa, nose, toes, pig, up, down, read, book, cup, this, that, look and kiss are the words she says the most often. i am not concerned at her lack of speech because her level of comprehension is immense. ele doesn't say much, but she understands and correctly responds to everything that we say to her. she follows three and four part commands, she knows when to say what words, she points for most things and if she wants your attention or help, she will come to your, grab you hand/leg/shirt/whatever is within her reach and guide you over to where she is. she can act out what she wants done quite well. and her memory is incredible. she knows where things go and where things are kept after one time of being told. she may not speak, but she does understand.

it is interesting to watch her little personality develop more and more. but 16 months she has proven to us that she is VERY tidy. she wont leave a room without putting her toys away. and that is without us even asking. she separates her food into neat piles by colour at meal times. she sorts out her toys by shape or type. if something falls off the bed/couch/chair she must stop whatever she is doing and put it back. if she gets a toy out of the toy basket, she has to close the lid before moving on to play with her toy. and if she is finished with a puzzle, she put it back in t box before getting another one out. this is no exaggeration. one day last week we heard her crying and getting frustrated in the other room. we went in and the toy box lid had managed to wedge itself between the couch and the wall. she was desperately trying to close the lid but it was stuck. rhys went over, pulled the lid shut and e immediately stopped crying, picked up her toy and went off to play. crazy. OCD a bit?

i would like to take this opportunity to point out that cleanliness is not something i have taught e. whilst i am not a dirty person a little mess is perfectly fine with me. a little mess is not ok with eleri. her personality is truly unique to her and i love that. she is my daughter and like me in so many ways. but jesus made her uniquely special. and this is just one way that is evidenced.


one of my favourite things about e, especially as she gets older, is her spirit. rhys and i have always said that eleri has a sweet, gentle spirit. she is just so content and pleasant that there is something peaceful about being around her. at 16 months that soft spirit has shown itself more and more. as i am injured and pretty much immobile, e has been an invaluable help. that is quite an accomplishment for a child so young. she plays on her own, brings me drinks, brings me my crutches and comes to give me hugs every now and then. she even pats me on the bag and kisses me. she knows i am hurting and is doing everything her little 16 month old brain and body will let her to help make it better. her soul is sensitive and i love that.

e is also quite adventurous. she is not afraid to try anything (well expect food but thats another story) she climbs up and off of anything, runs to anyone, talks to anyone, rides all kinds of rides,
jumps off beads and down the stairs (with supervision of course) and insists on doing whatever the adults are doing. the baby has no fear. as a result of her adventurous nature, she takes a fair number of falls and bumps. and never cries. rhys and i even wondered if she had that condition where you cant feel pain. e is seriously tough. i would say she is pretty bad ass, but i am not sure if that is an appropriate way to refer to a baby. instead i will say eleri is awesome.

as for food, she is slowly become quite a fussy eater. i hate saying that because she used to eat anything. and was actually quite adventurous. not anymore. occasionally we can get her to try things, but it is hard to get her to eat more than a few bites of anything. anything expect peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that is. and even though i feel like a bit of a failure for admitting this publicly, we have started giving her fish fingers and, of course, she loves those. they are only lightly dusted with breadcrumbs and we put them in the oven so they are not fried...but still. fish fingers. not terribly healthy and something i didnt want to do. but at the end of the day, she needs to eat. and the fish inside them is good. so.... listen to me. i am trying to justify my food choices to the blog world. anyway, she eats fish fingers. cous cous, hummus, cheese, carrots and peas are her favourite staples. and along with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich she eats a fair amount of wraps with some kind of chopped chicken or ham inside. i am working on getting more green veggies in the diet, but if i am honest some days i am lucky to get her to eat at all. still no candy or chocolate, but she has enjoyed the occasionally cheese and onion crisp. because come on, who doesnt love cheese and onion crisps?

e is active and loves to run everywhere. where we go she loves to run a few steps ahead and then turn back, run to us and then run ahead again. she is always on the go. not going to lie, that has made it difficult a time or two last week as i tried to hobble along behind her on my crutches. i am sure it made for quite a funny site.

eleri is an amazing little girl. i know we are lucky to have such an easy baby. people say all the time "do you know how lucky you are to have an easy baby?" and since i have never had a hard baby, no i probably dont know just how lucky i am. but i do realise that i am blessed tremendously with eleri. she is content, independent, lovable, sweet, peaceful, full of joy and laughter and truly the light of my life. she is my little star and 16 months into this journey i wouldnt trade a second of it for anything.

11 November 2010

thankful for their sacrifice

Today is Armistice Day.

the 11th of november goes by many names. the historian in me prefers Armistice Day as a special remembrance to the First World War. regardless of whether you call it Veterans Day, Remembrance Day or Armistice Day the purpose is the same; to honour those both past and present who have so courageously fought for their country.

Over the years I have written quite a few posts regarding the military, my two favourite are this one and this one. I am constantly in awe of their courage and bravery and feel they deserve special recognition. which is why I love Armistice Day so much. A day dedicated to the service men and women of the world. It is a hard job they have, and whether or not you agree with the current conflict, it can not be denied that the soldiers of today deserve just as much respect and honour as the soldiers of yesterday.

the sacrifice soldiers and their families make is incredible, one I will never understand. but a sacrifice that I am eternally grateful for nonetheless.

I can not express enough gratitude for their service.

fellow blogger Whitney has started a thankful post every thursday from now until thanksgiving. basically a list of what you are thankful for. in keeping with that idea, this Armistice Day Thursday, I am most thankful for the incredible bravery, courage and sacrifice of servicemen and women.

without the sacrifices of soliders, both past and present, nothing else I am thankful for would be possible. It is because of their courage we can even have a thankful list. and i think that fact needs to be remembered, especially today.

That said, I am also thankful...

that I have my family here with me during the holiday season

that i have a healthy and happy 15 month old little girl.

despite torn cartilage, I am thankful that it is not any worse. i am thankful i have the ability to run in the first place.

that i have a wonderful husband who is happy to take care of me, without complaint.

that i have the experience of living abroad

i am thankful for US Marine Tim Wiley. Tim I put a cross in the courtyard of Westminster Abbery to honour your service on this special day.

snow covered mountains right outside my window

and once again, i am thankful for those who so selflessly defend our freedom. as the saying goes....freedom is not free. i am thankful for the people who fight for it day in and day out.

as a side note, i enourage all the readers to click this link HERE and read some of the greatest speeches of world leaders. theyy are encouraging and awe inspiring. remember the historical importance of wars past and reflect on the significance for our life today.

10 November 2010

my attempt at an ultra marathon

the pembrokeshire coast challenge has come and gone. and what a challenge it was. i had quite a few expectations of what the event would be like. and how the subsequent blog post would read. but as is often the case, nothing ever quite turns out how it is expected.

my journal entry for the 4th of November reads..."I am a strange mix of nervous and excited as I prepare for what I can imagine to be one of the most physically daunting tasks to date. As the 3 marathons are not road race marathons, I am quite confident I can complete all 3 since time wont be a factor. Finishing is more crucial than finishing in a good time. The forecast for tomorrow is heavy rain and a strong northeasterly wind. a bit miserable if I am honest, but I am hoping and praying for the best as this race is something rhys and I really want to do..." I had a fairly positive attitude heading into the runs. even though neither rhys nor myself had ever run a marathon before, since it was not a road race but an endurance challenge I just knew it would be fine.

i could not have predicted what I was about to face on Friday morning. I was expecting coastal path as in grassy and/or gravel. what i was met with was constant undulating ground of boulders, loose rock and mud ankle deep.
I was expecting some rain on and off throughout the day but what I got instead was constant, heavy rain at a slant with a breeze so chilly that it went right through you. within 10 minutes of the start friday morning i was soaking wet and covered in mud.

my journal entry for the 5th of November reads..."it was a ROUGH day. It rained about 85% of the time. the kind of rain that is so constant and heavy that it catches on your eyelashes, making it next to impossible to see. oh, and the wind. it was just enough of a breeze that coupled with the rain, it made any skin exposed sting and burn. We were soaked to the bone by mile 2. we were up and down constantly on a trail that was so narrow only one foot could fit at a time. the path ran no more than 50 meters from the cliff edge, with a 100 foot plus drop to the sea below. sometimes we were a mere 2 or 3 feet from the edge.
It was tough. At mile 14 I had a bit of a breakdown, but I powered through and by mile 18 had a steady pace back. well, as steady as pace as the rocks and mud would allow. i was glad to be finished, but so glad to have actually finished it. 26.2 down, another 52.4 to go. cant wait for tomorrow"...

saying it was rough is an understatement. It is hard to describe the terrain that rhys and i were running on day one. at some points it was so dangerous that we actually debated about carrying on. and the rain made it all the more challenging. but, it was a good feeling that evening as we ate dinner with the other 82 runners that completed the day; we had just run a marathon. (103 started on friday morning. only 82 finished)

Getting up saturday was a challenge. My body ached in places i didn't even know you could be sore. but somehow every ache and pain seemed to fade away as I pinned on my running number and took my place at the starting line. the forecast was sunny and cool, perfect running weather. we were promised that the scenery on day two was magnificent. and we were not disappointed. it was beautiful. sandy beaches down below, rocky cliff lines ahead and beautiful sunshine on our shoulders. the first 10 miles of day 2 were amazing. Rhys and I kept a great pace and were feeling quite strong. (first 3 miles of day 2. up a rocky hill and then up some more)
and then my knee popped. not a big pop, just like an over stretch kind of feel. hmm, i thought, thats not really comfortable. but we kept going to check point one. I had my knee examined and wrapped by a paramedic, but made the choice to continue on. To say our pace was cut in half would be generous. we slowed down to a walk at some points. we finsihed in the dark, very grateful for our headlamps.

52.4 miles down, only 26.2 to go.

By the time we came in on day 2, I could barely walk. As I have always had knee problems, i was convinced it was just a flare up of a past injury. nothing too traumatic, and definitely nothing to keep me from day 3. Rhys had concerns about me carrying on, but I was quite defiant. I was doing day 3 NO MATTER WHAT. I would just wear my knee brace and all would be fine. I iced my knee all night and probably took more advil than is recommended.

As the 3rd day was the most physically challenging of the 3 runs, it started just before sunrise to get the most of the day. watching the sun come up over the Atlantic ocean, light bouncing off the water, reflecting on the towering rocky cliffs, without a doubt one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. perhaps I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I had not been in such excruciating pain. At the first checkpoint, about 7 miles in, the paramedic suggested a torn ligament and recommended that i pull out. Pull out? he couldnt be serious! NO WAY! I had to finish.

but i was struggling

I made it to mile 65. exactly 2 and half marathons completed and i simply couldnt walk anymore. I gave up running about mile 57, but by 65 walking wasnt even an option. physically i could not carry on. mentally i was doing everything i could to will myself on. emotionally, i was heartbroken. i knew there was no way i could finish. my challenge was over. only half a marathon short of completion. i was gutted.

rhys carried on and finished the full 78.6 miles. he carried on at such a place that he finished in the top 20. I waiting for rhys at the finish line and when i saw him pop up over the last stile and start running down the hill, tears started to well up in my eyes. Here was my husband, running the last few meters of his 3rd marathon. I was so proud and so much in love with him at the moment. It rivals our wedding day and holding e for the first time. he is my hero.

look for the little, tiny man int he red hat bobbing down the hill. thats rhys!

He is finished!!

(as way of explanation, our first 'date' so to speak was a 5 mile run together the morning after we met in new zealand. running together has always been our thing. it is one of the things that brought us together in the first place. so you can see why the race was such a big deal to us. its just what we do.)

I went to the hospital monday morning and the doctor thought it was a torn ligament. i had some x-rays and then he sent me over to a surgeon yesterday who confirmed it was a partially torn meniscus. but his main concern was he thought I had torn all the cartilage in my knee. awesome. so he has sent me for an MRI to see. (ah, waiting on the NHS but that is another post completely) I do not want surgery. I am praying that nothing is torn really and that all my cartilage is still in tact.

i was asked if, knowing what i know now, would I still run the race? yes. yes i would. no hesitation in answering that. sure injury sucks. and it sucks even more that said injury kept me from completing all 78 miles. but the fact that I even attempted to run 3 marathons in 3 days is well worth it to me. the fact that i made it 2 and half is an accomplishment to me. and even though it was only 3 days, I feel changed. My confidence has returned. something that i have been missing in full since before I had eleri. I feel secure, strong and capable. I no longer question who I am. I had lots of time to think and process during my 65 miles. and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

this race was the most physically and mentally challenging thing i have ever done. after day 1 rhys asked me which was harder, giving birth or running the course of day 1. whilst the two are not exactly comparable, after something thinking, i have decided that the Pembrokeshire Coast Challenge was more difficult than my 22 hours of labour, with no pain relief, to birth a 9.7 baby. Labour was not fun. it was gruelling and at times, excruciating. not to mention the 9.7 lb baby at the end. that was tough. i think what made the race tougher was that it was not just physically challenging but mentally as well. The two guys who set up the race are ex-royal marine commandos. they picked the particular bit of coast line they did, with checkpoints just far enough apart, in an attempt to break your spirit. they set up the race the way they did with the option of quiting at any time. they told you to toughen up or walk away. the challenge really was designed to break you every part of your body and mind. when having a baby no one sets out to destroy you mentally. people are there to make things as easy and as comfortable as possible. labour is the only way to get a baby. you have to do it. you dont have to run 3 marathons in 3 days. you can walk away at any point. mentally the race was a killer. physically the race was a killer. emotionally the race nearly killed me at mile 65. while most say physically nothing compares to having a baby, i think this race exceeds it. so I will say it again. this race was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done.

the race is an annual event. i know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will be back to run it again. this time to completion. and in the meantime? I have already started looking at Iron man competitions I can enter. There is a nice one in Austria coming up.....

3 November 2010

what? 2 days left? ankjfhdsiuabfdskjfs

it is wednesday. the first of my 3 marathons starts bright and early friday morning. i only have 2 days. TWO DAYS until my marathon weekend begins. I like saying 'marathon weekend' because that is an expression that people use often to describe the business of their lives. when schedules are overflowing people will exclaim 'what a marathon week/weekend I have' However in my case it is literally a marathon weekend. a full 26.2 miles friday, saturday and sunday.

as a result of the grand total of 78.6 miles staring me in the face, every time i try to write something what comes out is....

"3 marathons, 3 days. 2 days left. aklfhiahfndskjnfladsk;fhadkjfnadsklfnkl 3 marathons, 3 days. only 2 days left ankfhaifnhdsknfksldfnhakjlsn oh my gosh what was i thinking?! 3 marathons! kighadsinfkldasfidkafnkldsnfl"

so instead of typing that over and over again, i have decided to include pictures of my favourite things at the moment. that way at least i can publish a coherent post instead of "3 marathons! akfhkiaeudjsancfidsafknkd"

I LOVE this man. not only he is unbelievably attractive (seriously, look at how cute he is!), he is an amazing father as well. little e cant wait until he comes home everyday. and believe me when i say she is attached to rhys at the weekends. they have a very special bond and i love that.

The BBC has a big fundraiser every year called Children in Need. They sell various articles in stores to help with said cause. little e was a big fan of these ears. she wears them pretty much all the time. here she is sporting the bear ears with her halloween costume over at the pub. e was a BIG hit.

It is a bit early to be talking about Christmas, but I saw this the other day and had to buy it. How awesome is this nativity? it is a puzzle that tells the basic story of Jesus' birth. plus it is 3D. I love it and e loves trying to put it together.

I have awful time management skills. that is probably the single biggest cause of stress in my life; i budget my time poorly and therefore do not end up accomplishing all the things i need to. my solution? the cupcake timer. i set it for varying times based on my activity and when it dings I have to move on to the next task. amazingly enough, it works! I waste far less time, and accomplish quite a bit more, since purchasing the timer. bonus that it looks like a cupcake.

little e's potty. thats right, we have started potty training. nothing intensive, but we are getting her familiar with the idea. About a month ago she was consistently letting us know when she needed a new diaper. I took it as a sign that she was ready. e saying 'diaper' and bringing me a new one, even when she had peed, was pretty clear. so we put the little toilet in the bathroom and every time we went, we put her on it. now she goes to the potty about 50% of the time on her own. but whenever we are in the bathroom, she pees on the toilet 100% of the time. I am pretty pleased with that result considering she is just barely 15 months old. she is no where near potty trained, but its a start. and because the toilet sings every time you sit down, or flush, or touch the toilet paper, little e loves it.

and this will be it from me until after the race. we leave thursday evening to drive down to the coast to sign in and get our accommodation sorted. we will be back sunday night with 3 marathons under our belt. wish me luck!