I don’t think it is a secret that my husband loves birds. Birds in the backyard (of which we currently have zero), birds migrating in the sky, birds sitting on power lines as we drive by at 70mph, and especially rare birds within driving distance of our home. This is our whooping crane adventure.
The whooping crane, the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. It is one of only two crane species found in North America. There is an estimate of only 400+ left in the wild and we saw 3 of them. They established a winter home at Granger Lake in December, outside of Austin, and Ethan heard the news. We all headed out searching for the cranes. It wasn’t hard to spot them based on the collection of old people and scopes. We followed the crowd and got a peek at a pretty cool piece of nature. And as a bonus, we spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tall tree. Pretty amazing even for us who aren’t totally consumed with birds.
Don’t let these photos fool you. The girls took one or two looks and then played in the dirt for 30 minutes.
This is a photo through a telescope. We could see it a bit more clear with the scope, but it sure made me wish Ethan had one of those really expensive scopes to see them crystal clear. To my surprise though, many an old lady asked to see the cranes through his scope and were impressed with the view. He must know what he is doing.
Before I can move on and show you pictures of where we are now, I needed to backtrack to what we came from. I know I mentioned my friends, my support, but I would like you to see their faces. And one day when I make this blog into a photo album, because who knows when I will ever get back around to scrapbooking, I want to remember each one of them.
Sean and Audrey
Kari and Shayna
Bosquet kids and mine
Anna and Megan
Amanda, Stephanie, me and Dana
Karis and Dakota
Alyssa and Presley
Do you have one? I think everyone deserves at least one generous, thoughtful, totally committed to your life, sweet friend. And I know God orchestrated so many things in my life to bring JB to me. I have many wonderful friends in TN. Many friendships that God has blessed and I will deeply miss. But sometimes there are friendships that you just can’t explain. How did we really meet? How did she go from just an acquaintance at MOPS to the first person I call to have a laugh with or a listening ear? We have enjoyed a passion for running, shared our accomplishments and defeats. We have shared our struggles of motherhood, been around to encourage or just talk some sense into each other. JB is one of those people that would do everything in her power to help. She asks how you are. When she says she is praying for you, she means it. She is a Godly woman, who loves her family and her husband and loves her friends well. But despite my love for her and how much I will miss our runs and early morning phone calls, I am not sad to leave her behind. Because I know she is a once in a lifetime friend. One that will always be around and never just slip through my fingers. Besides JB loves Austin, so she will be around for one reason or another. Thank you, girl, for teaching me, loving me, and most of all walking through life with me. Now dry your tears and bring me one of your famous “happies” to help me get this packing started.
One random day a few months back, JB found this women’s triathlon and we thought it sounded like a great idea. The training on it was actually a little easier than I recall for the 1/2 marathons and what a rush of accomplishment when we finished. They announced over the speaker your name and “you are a triathlete”. Should have been a “mini-triathlete” but I will take it. It was just so fun to try something different.
I was most nervous about the swim. You enter the pool about 10 seconds apart and I was worried about bumping into or passing people. But the tough part came for me on the bike. I had trained 8-9 miles once a week for the last several weeks, but I really didn’t feel like I was on my game. I mean, I get I am not the fastest. I placed 139 of 227 which is by no means top dog, but I just felt bad as I watched a handful of girls pass me on the bike route. I still say, my back brake was rubbing the tire and it was causing some drag or I was working too hard in the wrong gear, something… surely? I think the transitions didn’t do me any favors either seeing how #1 girl did T1 in 52 seconds and mine was 3min 33sec. I finished it up with a 2 mile run which I felt like I had down good. My legs were not cooperating as well as I liked, but I did good on that stretch.
The best was that our families were able to come and cheer us on. The race and crowd was very small so it made it easy to see each other on the course. We looped around Centennial Park so the kids got to see us several times. Second best, was of course doing this with my friend. This was the first race that we both were healthy and feeling good. We didn’t get to race together, but we knew the other was out there too. I love you girl. Another in our books, friend.
How quickly it really goes. Childhood, summer, life… all of it. Here we are ready for another year and Alyssa was ready too. Summer is fun, but she (and her mom) enjoy the structure of school schedules. We had a few jitters and a few “I am nervous”, but she did great. We met her teacher earlier in the week and Alyssa gave her a hug at the door (of course she did) and walked right in. Found her seat, obeyed her directions and was off. She gave me one last look as to say “mom? stay.” But we both knew she was fine. Here is a little clip to document some of her thoughts at age 7.
Today is chemo #7 out of 8. You can do the math, I am almost done. I am counting down my days. But today I found a new reason to be thankful. Today, I met Lauren. She looked young. Maybe late twenties. She was alone. She had a soft buzz haircut. She looked like she knew her way around the room, so I didn’t think it was her first time. I thought and thought. I would love to talk to her, how do I open the conversation. Let’s go with the hair. Me: Is your hair coming or going? Lauren tells me that she shaved it when it began to fall out and this is what had grown back. So, it was coming. She goes on that she has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She explained it a bit to me and has chemo every other week with 4 more to go. Trying to just engage, I asked if chemo had been easy on her. She had a quick answer of NO. She said she is queasy to begin with, but gets sick from just entering the room. She had a smelling solution while her port was accessed, she had a blue bag in case she got sick. She remains sick for up to a week, then a week off only to repeat the process. I watched her as she unplugged and wheeled these nasty drugs causing her pain to the bathroom again and again. I can hear her, and it hurts. She comes out strong, sits down for a bit then up again. And here am I… no guilt for feeling good, but I take things like scrapbook stuff to keep me busy for the 2+ hours. I have the luxury of spreading my stuff out and working. She on the other hand, just waits until it hits again. Hodgkins is one of the most curable forms of cancer. And I pray that Lauren will undergo this nasty phase in her life and then never look back again. Where as, Ethan and I wonder. Did it work? How will we know? How long till we hear the bad news that it is back? And words from your doctor like “I like to leave your port in for about a year in case something happens and we need it again” don’t sound good.
But for now, today, this post is about being thankful for what I have. I have a body that has responded excellent to the chemo. My numbers look good. I feel good enough to train for my next 1/2 marathon. I can get up each morning and take care of my family. I have had virtually no signs of nausea through it all and I am surviving. So, thank you Lord for that. Thank you for prepping me and my body to take on this disease. And thank you for encounters like today to remind me. For now, my mind is on Lauren. Wondering how the rest of her day is? Does she have friends or family to help her and they just weren’t there today? I liked her. She was confident. She was strong. She looked like a fighter. Most likely, I will never see her again, but for today she touched my life.
To the day. We arrived in shifts. Ethan and Blair drove one car to TN. The other car rode in the moving truck which came a few days later. And my parents, me and the girls flew in to our new city Aug 1, 2007. We closed on the house and took the family to see the new, empty house. We met our neighbors, we met the heat. We learned about stairs and a baby. We looked for a church, we looked for a school. And by God’s blessing, here we are. I love this place. I miss my family and my life-long friends, but I love it here. God took a huge fear in me and worked it out. To bless others and to bless us. Here’s to 3 years E…and how many more till I get that suburban?
* I hate playing catch-up on the blog. But I suppose I have done it to myself. Several new posts below.*
While surfing blogs one day, I came across this cool camera
. It is underwater safe and to my surprise even does video. We are headed off for a mini, water related vacation next week, so I thought it would be worth it. And of course, I wanted to test it out before we leave.
Ethan and I have agreed to relieve stress and make ourselves feel better by planting pretty things. Those that know us well or have been to the house, have seen the bird sanctuaries that Ethan tries to create. We feed most of the neighborhood birds at some point throughout the year and now we are trying to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. We love the color. We love the randomness we are creating. And the butterflies do too so far.
Attempting to harvest our own pumpkins this year.
Our giant sunflowers. This is even taller than me, and I am so anxious to see them bloom (if I don’t kill them first)
Attempting to get a simple picture of my three girls…..impossible.
The annual 4th of July parade.
And one reason I love this neighborhood. You just need a Nana to buy you something fun and wait for your friends to walk by in the evening. Instant party.