Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Running Week 4.5

Since the last week of March is only half of a week I thought I would give a mid week update. This week was beautiful, and I especially enjoyed running in shorts and tank tops again.

I also got this really great new running wrist band pocket. Kristen gave it to me when I was in Denver this last weekend, and I LOVE it. It is reversible, and the other side is solid pink. It is great because I can put my car key in it, and possibly a few more items.

This weeks running totals: 4 miles on Monday, and 3 miles on Tuesday.

This week I also tried 2 new things: Tuesday I went to my first Yoga class, and Wednesday I went to my first Pilates class. I really enjoyed them both and am looking forward to going to them again next week.

Learned: Warm weather rocks to run in... and Yoga and Pilates are a great thing to add to my fitness routine.

All Together Dead & From Dead to Worse

Juste needed to note that I have finished these two Sookie books. The first, All Together Dead, takes Sookie on a trip to a national Vampire convention where the safety and future of not only her local vamipres are in jeopardy, but so is Sookies love life.

The second, From Dead to Worse, throws Sookie in the midst of hostile take overs amongst the Weres and the Vampires. Sookie becomes even more confused about her relationships, Quinn the WereTiger, Bill the ex, Alcide the almost, and Eric the wishful... I can't say who I hope she ends up with, but I will say I was once again surprised at her resolve in these relationships, even if they sometimes seem flippant, and spur of the moment.
(This pic is from the hours spent at the hospital with my mom, I wanted to get what the view was, but also noticed that the title and the scenery are kind of bad taste... sorry !)

Learned? A whole weekend at the hospital with a whacked out mom makes for a quick read...

Monday, March 29, 2010


Quite a while ago I wrote about my aunt Penny needing a new liver, my mom got tested to see if she could donate part of her liver, and she was a match...

Last Tuesday was the date of the surgery, and I headed over the mountains to help out as much as I could. I planned on leaving Friday morning, but the weather forced me to leave after work on Thursday. It was a quick trip over, due to the fact that I listened to a book on CD, but once it got dark the head lights of oncoming traffic were killer, I was very happy to have made it there safely!

Friday morning I headed up to the hospital, and mom was doing AMAZING! She was awake and perky, and pretty much in no pain. At this point they were anticipating her release from the hospital Sunday or Monday. Penny, her sister, was pretty out of it due to the pain meds. She had been told she "could" push the pain meds button every 15 min, so she took it as she "had" to push it.

Then 3:00 am hit and my mom started puking, so they took her to get x-rays to see if she had bowel issues. The nest morning the surgeon said that she was probably just in pain, and put her back on a pain pump where she could push the button every 8 minutes. So needless to say Saturday she was wacked! Dan and I had a lot of entertainment with mom's dreams and conversations. We even conducted dream experiments by seeing how influenced dreams were by suggestion, and how much she could dream in a specific amt. of time. Her dreams consisted of brushing a brown horse, ice cream sugar cones with lots of colorful scoops, being a discus thrower at a track meet (this one she was even tossing her arm around), going to the drag races where an old friend was racing the car (we suggested the Indy 500 on a sunny day), being a stock broker, and coming back into the marina after a day of snorkeling in New Zealand. Our other experiment consisted of having her pinch a pair of scissors then when she fell asleep they would drop and wake her, and she would report what she had dreamt in that time. (Dan and I are both dorks, and we figured out through the use of quadratic equations that the time it took the scissors to hit the ground was 1/4 of a second.) It was pretty impressive what she could dream in that short amount of time.

The funnies part of Sat. was at the end of the day the nurse said that they would have to give her an enema to get her bowels going, as the nurse was talking mom dozed off for a split second, then asked the nurse if there were classes required for that... only realizing after she said it that she was talking about her dream! Dan and I cracked up and I was amazed that the nurse could keep a straight face. I know Dan and I's actions may seem a bit harsh or insensitive, but I PROMISE that mom was a willing - though drugged- participant.

We even got a laugh about her receiving this t-shirt. We thought it should have said "I gave away half my liver and all I got was this T-shirt." (Doesn't she look great?!)

But the majority of Saturday was spent just hanging out and reading while mom rested.
Sunday, mom was much better and the doctors were weening her back onto oral meds so she could start managing her own pain and hopefully get discharged at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately I had to leave and head home, my family was missing me, and I them. But as of today, Dan said that she was back to how she felt Friday and she is looking forward to being discharged soon!

I am so thankful to God for putting Dan in my mom's life, he was/is such a good care giver... It really hit me while I was up there with him, how difficult this must be for him. His late wife had passed from brain cancer, and for the last two years of her life he was her caregiver, now to do it again for my mom must be a difficult situation. I am thankful to God that he is Dan's strength, his peace... and I pray the He will continue to bless him for the road to her recovery is not a short one.

Penny continues to show great success with her new liver. Her color is gradually changing back to normal. When I left her eyes were all white and her finger tips were turning pink... both great signs that the liver is working for her! She was all smiles when I saw her on her morning walk and when I said good bye. Every time she would come see my mom she would say "I love you sister!" It was an amazing thing...

It was so nice to stay with Kristen and Nate while I was there, they lived just around the corner and it took only 3 minutes to get to the hospital! The other perk for staying there was I got to love on my nieces. I am constantly amazed at their talent for making things beautiful. Their house transforms and becomes more beautiful each time I see it.

Learned: Seeing a human, your mom, give her life for someone you love and loves you is amazing thing. Makes what Jesus did even more amazing because He did it for all, even those who don't love Him and never will.

March Running: Week 4

No excuses.... this weeks total 1.3 miles....

OK.. well my reason (not excuse) I had a pretty bad asthma attack because burning started in the valley, and my inhaler was expired... I had tight lungs with little relief till the end of the week when it got refilled.

Then I left early for Denver to see my mom after her surgery, because there was a big storm coming in... (glad I left cuz the road closed the next day). And I spent the entire weekend at the hospital.

So all I can say is... better attempt next week! ( I guess it's this week now.)

Learned: Having a goal to run 10 miles a week has really helped me up my miles this month, and I can't feel too bad about myself for falling quite short this week.

The Last Song

This book was suggested by a student/friend of the family... she LOVED it. When I started reading it I was really frustrated and it put me in a bad mood. The main character, a 17 year old girl, has a MAJOR attitude problem and it was painful to read... to be honest it made me down right cranky. Finally I asked the suggester if she ever got a better attitude, and shortly after that there was an attitude change and the rest of the book was very enjoyable.

Following a young woman during her coming of age summer, through the rehabilitation of the relationship with her father, and the feelings of first love. Rich with lessons of life: forgiveness, integrity, honesty, and embracing second chances makes this book an excellent read.

Learned: Life is too short and full of many unexpected turns, so don't ever take for granted what you have... make the most of each day with the ones you love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grandpa's Birthday Gifts

Years ago when we first moved into our house, my grandma gave me a bunch of her bulbs to plant in my flower beds. She also told me a story that every March her first daffodil blooms on (or very near) my grandpa's birthday.

That next spring I eagerly awaited my blooms to burst open, and just as my grandma had said, the first of the blooms was a beautiful yellow daffodil on my grandpa's birthday.

So every year when my first daffodil blooms I am reminded of my grandpa. It is like his continual gift to us, brightening our dreary winter with the beautiful promise of sunshine.

This year was no different. My first bulb sprang forth with the brilliant colors of sun and warmth this week, slowly opening to its full splendor today, today March 24, my grandpa's birthday. I called and shared the news with my grandma, since she didn't bring any of her bulbs with her in the move. She was so tickled to be reminded of Grandpa's Daffodil.

It was such a great sight to see, so I had to share it with all of you... Happy Spring and Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Learned: I am so thankful for the memories I have of my grandpa, I only wish my kids could have met him...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Running: Week 3

So last week I really did meet my goal of running 10 miles (miscalculated my serpents run)... so I don't feel as bad to report that I missed my mark of 10 miles.

During soccer practice on Thursday I felt really good and ran 5.5 miles. I almost quit at 4 just because, but thought since I felt so great I should keep going; man am I glad I pushed it a bit more cuz it turns out that I didn't have much time to run this week while trying to work and finish the bathroom.

Sunday I ran Serpents (just once) with Anne for her birthday, though I use the term "run" loosely... the serpent is still kicking my booty!!

So for this weeks total I made it 9.5 miles!!

Learned: being a teacher, a construction worker, and a runner is asking too much of I can cut myself some slack for not making it a full 10 miles!

Remodeling The Bathroom

Over spring break I decided to remodel the bathroom. It was the only room in our house that has not undergone complete renovation... Brain pointed out to me that I always start these big projects when he is working his 12 days straight, and is unable to help. Thankfully Summer came over to help with the demolition, even though she was giving her own bathroom a face lift! Also my dad came over to help (as well he should since he was the one that suggested the project be expanded from just floor and vanity, to include the shower) It was so nice to spend a few days with my dad too!

Maddox was a good helper (most of the time), and only lost patience after 5 days.

The whole project has lasted 12 days. I started on Wednesday during break, and it was just finished last night. By the end of the first weekend we at least had a working shower so we could stop traveling to the parents in the evenings.

Currently we have a fully functional bathroom, all that needs to be done now is the baseboard, knobs, and towel hooks. But I really consider it done!

The best part of the whole thing was that it cost us less than $1000 when all was said and done!

Well.... enjoy the pics!

Learned? A project I thought would be finished in a week, but took a lot longer... reminded me I am not the best judge of how long things take....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Running: Week 2

EDIT: I am SO happy to report that I calcuated my totaly inaccurately for this week. Serpents is 4 miles round trip so if I did it 1 and 1/2 times then I really ran 6 miles soooo.... that means I really did run 10 miles!!!!

Well my total for this week fell a bit short... only 9 miles instead of my goal of 10. I know it seems a bit silly and I could have gotten out and ran that one mile to make my goal. BUT (and this is a big but...) my every waking moment was spent remodeling the bathroom during Spring Break (pics to come later). So I am happy to report that amidst all of the demolition, wall removal, wall building, tile laying, pipe moving, and painting I did manage to squeeze in 9 miles- oh! and a 4 mile bike ride too!

On Wednesday I went on a 4 mile run through some feather like flakes and shining sun, it was as close to a heavenly run as I have ever had.

Sunday I headed to the Monument for a run up Serpent's Trail. I haven't run Serpent's since the end of last summer, and I knew I was in for a butt woopin'. Man was I right! I could barely make it up half way before I had to stop running and hike for a few. We only ran up it 1 and 1/2 times, but it was plenty for our first meeting of the season. My toosh was sore for several days, which I felt with every squat during the bathroom remodeling. (I am headed there again next Sunday, hopefully it will be a better outcome for me.)

I also took the kids for a 4 mile bike ride during the week, towing Maddox on his little trail-behind-bike. But that doesn't count for running miles!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

A few weeks ago Madison came home raving about a book her class had just finished. She ranked it in her top 3 of her favorite books. So before spring break I checked out True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as one of the books I would read over my week off. It was a quick read, and I did enjoy it.

Charlotte makes her first trip across the Atlantic to meet her family after she finishes the term at her boarding school. Immediately Charlotte is faced with fear and mystery when those charged with carrying her trunk will not even approach the ship, due to its reputation. Once on board she finds the crew less than unfriendly, giving her warning to abandon the voyage and find a different ship to make the crossing. Once she is committed to staying (because the ship has already left port) one crew member gives her a knife an suggests she keeps it close at hand. On board a ship surrounded in mystery and possibly on the verge of mutiny, Charlotte knows not who she should trust for the two month trek across the Atlantic.

Learned? It was fun to read a book suggested by my daughter. She kept asking me where I was and what I thought was going to happen. It was almost like the roles were reversed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Running: Week 1

Because my running has been so pitiful throughout the winter (due to winter weather and a sore knee), I have a goal of running at least 10 miles a week for the month of March.

Monday I ran 3 miles after work but before I picked up the kids (this is my plan to get running in before I get home and distracted with my other motherly duties). Wednesday I had a staff Meeting and so I had to settle for running in circles at the track during Madison's practice but managed to get in 3.5 miles. Then today I ran 4 miles and it felt pretty good, putting this weeks running total at just over 10 miles!

My mom is in Hawaii and I said I would check on grandma while she was gone, so I thought I would combine the two today and run to her house. It was such a beautiful morning and on the way there I realized that I once again had over dressed for my run. When I got to grandmas I noticed the black clouds rolling into the valley so decided to head home. The run home was much cooler, and I was thankful for my warmer clothes. Just as I turned onto our street the first drops of the rain. I was so thankful that I got out this morning while it was still nice and didn't put off running till later in the day... because it stayed pretty nasty and I would have never made it out!

Learned? Don't put of until later, what can be done now.

Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins once again weaves a amazing tale with action and suspense, the conflict of following heart over duty, and courage to take a stand against evil. How one girls act of defiance brings courage to a nation to take action against their government.

After defying the Capitol by ensuring that both her and Peeta survived the Hunger Games, Katniss returns home to find that she she has fooled no one outside the Capital with her faux show of love for Peeta. On her victory tour she discovers that there is unrest in many of the districts, and that she is to credit as the spark of defiance that is catching fire in the country of Panem.

In a final attempt to subdue any uprisings the president increases the presence of peacekeepers in the districts and announces the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games: The Quarter Quill. The new games seem to withdraw all the rules and make no exceptions. With rumors of uprisings through out the country, will Katniss continue to be a catalyst for the rebellion, will she run into the wild with her family, or will she find herself once again fighting for her life in the arena.

This was another great read! I found myself up, once again, turning pages while burning the midnight oil. Really you should go read it...

Learned? What is best is rarely what is easiest.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Hunger Games

Wow! This book was amazing! It hooked me from the beginning, and kept me turning pages till the wee hours of the morning. Even with work looming just hours away I could not put it down.

It is a great story of action, suspense, love, and hardship. Telling an amazing story of a future society where the government has suppressed all uprising with in its districts and as a reminder of how futile it is to rebel each of the 12 districts must send a boy and a girl to compete in the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a televised event celebrated by the Capitol (the only district that does not send contestants to the games), where the players must fight: fight for food, fight the elements to survive, and fight each other... to the death. Only one may be victorious, and with the victory comes great wealth, fame, and gifts for your district. District 12 has only had one victor in the past 74 years, but with two candidates that show spunk and wit, will they have the chance at a new victor?

The author does an amazing job of addressing the issues of a capitalistic, voyeuristic society with out sounding preachy or condescending. Told through the eyes of a teenage girl, who has been fighting for the survival of her family for years, you see just how corrupt, ridiculous, and glutenous the Capitol (government) is.

I TOTALLY recommend this book, VERY entertaining!

Learned? I'll think twice before I slow to watch the accident at the intersection, or the reality TV shows that exploit the willing and unwilling for our own entertainment.

The Name Tags Name

Today when I picked up Maddox from his grandmas, he got in the truck while I was still talking to Machelle. When I finally went to buckle him in he had an ornery grin on his face. When I asked him what he did he just said "nothin'" and kept giggling. Then I noticed that my keys were not where I had left them in the truck and said so, and he just giggling.

Finally he told me where they were and he laughed saying "I also took your people knower" and gave my back my district ID.

So from hence forth in the Caster household we shall call name tags "people knowers"!

Learned? It is amusing (and amazing) to me how well kids can communicate things when they don't know the real word for it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mr. Socks

Lately when Maddox has been taking a nap, he will take his socks off his feet and then put them on his hands. I finally got a picture of it because it cracks me up. Hope it gives you a giggle too.

Learned? I just hope his hands don't end up smelling like his feet after this quirky action.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Definitely Dead

Finished Definitely Dead, and I enjoyed it just as much as the others. This time Sookie discovers that she has been left the estate of her cousin, who is also a vampire, and also a favorite of the vampire queen of Louisiana. While she is in New Orleans taking care of all her cousin's stuff, she finds herself in a bit of trouble (shocker I know...). Trying to solve the mysterious murder that took place in her cousins home, the missing wedding present, the truth about her ex's (Bill) motives, avoiding and recovering from multiple Were attacks, and the in the midst of a coup leave Sookie heartbroken, and tired of the vampire world and seeking the comfort of a real tiger of a man (wink wink).

Learned? Even though I enjoyed the book, I just need to take a break from Sookie, at least for a book or two.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March, have I told you I love you...

Dear March,

Today you captured my heart with the sun shining bright in the sky, and the temperatures reaching the mid 50's. You also didn't even spoil it with a cold wind.

I took advantage of your gift after work today by going to the park and running. I have been so used to your evil cousin, February, toying with me with cloudless skys but bone chilling breazes. So of course I was a bit over dressed since I had packed my fleece pants, long sleeve thick running shrit a fleece and a jacket. Fortunately I also brought a t-shrit. So I made due with the clothes I had by folding up my pants into capris, and wearing only the t-shirt. I am just so thankful to have been able to be warm while running. Maybe with your continued show of affection (clear skys and warmer temperatures) I will actually get some real running in. My goal this month is to run 10 miles a week, so it would be really great if you could keep up this promise of fair weather and not end up being a tease.

I also was thrilled to see that my spring bulbs are peeking out of the ground, another reason I love you.... I can't wait to see the luscious green take back over my yard.

Well I am sure that you are pretty tired after your first day at work, with all the effort it took to make this positive change in the weather, but I wanted to take a minute and make sure you know how much I truly appreciate it.

Your crush,

Learned: amazing what some warm weather and sunshine can do for your spirits!