Monday, November 18, 2013

Head Checked - now it's time for a GUT CHECK!

When will I learn to listen to my "GUT?"

Two years ago I started reading articles on cOnCUSsiOnS in preparation for all the sports that my son enjoys playing. The hits were getting harder, balls and pucks were coming faster, and kids were getting bigger. I read everything I came across - Good, Bad, Ugly and even ... Scary. I wanted to be prepared if, God forbid, we were ever in that situation. Last year, our beautiful, strong, athletic niece had a serious concussion in a high school basketball game. She has recovered completely, but I saw what that recovery looked like. It wasn't pretty. But the symptoms and the recovery seemed to be in-line with what I had read and learned about this very serious condition.  Again, I was naive and felt reassured that surely I would be prepared and know what it would look like if, again, God forbid it would happen to B.

All this preparation went out the window on Saturday night.

Playing one of the nastiest teams in our league, I should have known something was going to happen.  B went out for his shift and was going after the puck when he was struck by a nasty elbow to his head and flew into the boards. He laid on the ice for what felt like hours, but was only about 2-3 minutes. Braden has taken many hits and many falls - some for dramatic purposes for, what I can only assume was to try to win a Hockey Oscar. But this time was definitely different. Just the way he laid there wasn't right. While the other player was being ejected from the game, Brady opened the door to the ice and went to check on our son, along with our friend, and nurse extraordinaire, Stephanie.

After going through, and passing, a very thorough series of tests he was encouraged to take it easy, but said he felt okay. Just scared that something had happened. He wanted to get back on the bench and be with his teammates. There were only about 5 minutes left in the third period. My GUT told me to take him to the locker room and get him home to rest. My GUT told me to pick him up and carry him out - smelly hockey equipment and all. The fear of embarrassing him in front of his friends and my fear that I was potentially making more out of it than it really was (this is also known as DENIAL ... it really isn't just a river in Egypt! Who knew?), and what would all the hockey parents think, kept me from doing just that. Furthermore, this denial also allowed me and his dad to believe that it was okay for him to sit on the bench and play a shift if he felt like it. Really? This is one of my biggest pet peeves of OTHER people - Who are the parents here? Anyone want to take a guess at what happened next? Well, of course I went to the bathroom, that's a given ... cuz that's what I do. But while I was gone, he got hit again. Not as bad, but still scary for him. This time he came off the bench for the rest of the game. However, still not showing any signs of anything serious, except for the usual tiredness after a hard-fought hockey game.

The team wanted to go eat dinner together. My GUT told me to politely decline and go home to rest. After all, it had been a long evening for all of us. He said he felt fine and really wanted to be with his friends. We went to dinner. Then on Sunday he said he felt fine and seemed fine and wanted to play with friends and go to batting practice. My GUT was getting quieter, but still a little nagging that he should just stay in and rest.

Today I got a call from the school. My GUT SCREAMED AT ME - "I was right. You were wrong!"  His vision was blurred, he was blinking uncontrollably when trying to read and his headache had returned. When will I learn to listen to my GUT??!! He has a mild concussion. Bed rest, lots of carbohydrates and protein (that sounds like PIZZA, right?), sleeping and NO VIDEO GAMES or phones. (i.e. he's bored out of his gourd). He's out of school until at least Wednesday.

This weekend I learned a few things about myself concerning my most prized possession-my son:

1) Listen to my GUT.
2) Why the HELL do I care what anyone else thinks about how I raise
     my kid (this is a work in progress - leftover from 
     when he was born!).
3) Be strong when my kid has appeared to be injured but says he
     wants to keep playing and, when in doubt, refer to #1.
4) As hard as you may try, you can never be prepared enough for
     parenthood. Never.
5) Do not waiver from #1.

If he doesn't have any more headaches he may be able to play hockey this weekend. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. But I guarantee that his dad and I will listen to our GUTS this time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The True Meaning of Mother's Day

As a girl with two brothers, I always wanted a sister. Always. My brothers were usually pretty good at playing Barbies, dolls and school, as long as GI Joe got to come along.

Luckily my brothers married well, and by “well,” I mean they each married smart, sensitive, thoughtful women, and I picked a husband with a great sister. I am truly blessed to have three PHENOMENAL sister-in-laws that I think of as the sisters I never had. I love them all.

On this Mother's Day weekend, I want to say an extra special shout-out to my sister-in-law, Mindy. This week she and Jason received some fantastic news about their beautiful twins, Maddie and Mason. These two kiddos have fought so hard since the day they were born. They were born teeny, tiny at 27 weeks. Maddie was 1 1b 4 oz and Mason was 2 lb 4 oz. They have endured many hours of therapy and too many doctor visits to count. This week the kids tested to be in a general education kindergarten next year!! Most parents will never had to worry about such things. But to others, like my brother and sister-in-law, it
was a HUGE milestone that seemed unreachable at times. But they never gave up. NEVER. Through faith and prayer, love, hard work, and trust in each other, God’s grace can provide.

As much as prayers and faith have to do with this, I really, truly, believe that this has just as much to do with Mindy's tenacity from the very beginning to make sure that they found the best doctors, they never settled with just one doctor’s opinion, she asked questions – hard questions. She was always searching for the right foods, the right climate, the right preschools, the right everything for Maddie and Mason, and their little brother Jackson, too! She has done all the (even) tougher stuff too. She made sure Maddie wore the helmet when she did NOT want to wear it. She made sure the kids wore their glasses when they did NOT want to wear them. She made sure they got the nutrients they needed when the textures were tough for their little bodies to figure out. Getting (and keeping) them on a very strict schedule, feeding them the right foods, reading to them, ANNNND always making sure they had FUN whenever possible!!! I can't even imagine how hard these first five years have been for her and Jason. But I can tell you she would say it was all worth it just to see these two thriving and growing and learning and dancing and singing and loving everyone and everything around them. They are two of the MOST beautiful, sweet, sensitive, smart, polite kids I have ever met. I'm not just saying this because I'm their aunt either - they really, really are super kiddos.

I love you Maddie and Mason – and I love you Mindy for being a FANTASTIC mother to my niece and nephews.

Happy Mother's Day Sis!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Rickiversary To Me

One year ago today, April 23, 2011 – I officially met Rick Springfield. Apparently the one time my friend Kim and I (actually, truth-be-told, my husband was driving and her husband was in the passenger seat) followed his limo all the way from a little concert in Osage City, Kansas, to the inside lobby of the Ramada Inn in Topeka, Kansas, and totally chickened out without saying anything, doesn't really count as "meeting him." Seriously, what ARE you supposed to say when you "happen" upon a celebrity? "Hello Mr. Springfield" or "Hey Rick!" or, what we were really thinking, "OHMYGAWD." None of those seemed right at the time, and our husbands were no help, so we missed our chance. He was three steps in front of us and we let the moment get away from us. BUT, it does make for a great memory, right Kimmy??

Thanks to the lanyard that has hung from my rearview mirror since the moment I left the concert at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma,(well, there was that brief moment when I worried that the guy servicing my car would draw a handlebar mustache on Rick's face *GASP* so I tucked it away safely in my glovebox - but only for a couple of hours) hardly a day has gone by that I don’t get butterflies in my tummy thinking about that day.

I know some of you think I'm off my rocker, but to say that day was a moment in my life that I will never forget, is NOT an understatement. It's really hard to explain. I also know full-well that it sounds outrageous for a 40-year old woman to think this way, but it's true. Is it too much to say it was life-changing? Probably not. I think I became a little more grateful and thankful for the people in my life. A little more thankful for ... my mother's gambling habits.  But seriously, I think it made me appreciate and celebrate my youth in a whole new way. It brought back wonderful memories of growing up that were long forgotten. I think, maybe most importantly, it allowed me, once-again, to believe that dreams REALLY can come true. *insert glitter, rainbows and twinkling wind chimes here*

Since then some of my highlights include meeting Snoop Dog, tweeting with Martha Quinn (and a quick shout-out from Michael McKean), meeting a couple of KC Royals players and hall-of-famers, and seeing a couple other concerts, but (and, I really do love you Martha) none of it has compared to fulfilling the life-long dream of meeting Rick, or is it Mr. Springfield? I’m still waiting to meet him again to get a good picture (hopefully without the tears). I admit that I do check the tour schedule weekly to see if a date is popping up near me. I also, only occasionaly, re-arrange the household budget to afford tickets, gasoline and tour trinkets, then I proceed to Mapquest to research how far a Rick concert may be from my house (for instance, May 17-19, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a mere 9 hours, 52 minutes, or 629.76 miles). I also have dreams of getting to one of the film festivals to see the wonderful documentary about Rick and his fans, An Affair of the Heart. I only checked plane tickets to Orlando and Toronto. Twice. :)

A girl CAN dream, CAN'T she?!

Happy Rickiversary to me.

UPDATE: AHHHHH!!! I just looked on the schedule - he's going to be in Wichita on June 2!!! Who's going to get me backstage at the River Festival????

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dreams Really Do Come True

ON APRIL 23, 2011,

When I was a little girl I dreamed of this day. Literally. Not even joking. I dreamt I would meet RICK SPRINGFIELD.

So, it wasn't *exactly* as I had imagined it. When I was little, I had sort of pictured him coming to my home, his tour bus was lost, he asked my dad for directions and then he would meet me and we would become fast friends. I'd go to all his concerts and meet his family. Just so we are clear, this did NOT happen on April 23.

Some of you may know that my mom is a "regular" at the local casino where she lives. Well, not that she *lives* at the casino...well, not technically. It's not like she has her nightgown and slippers hanging on the back of one of the bathroom stalls or anything like that. Let's just say they know her there.

Anywhoo, thanks to this relationship she has with the casino she can get some KICK ASS concert tickets! I have been fortunate enough to have almost-front row seats to see the likes of Eddie Money, Jason Aldean, Bret Michaels, Little Big Town, oh, don't forget the Village People (yes, within the last year!) and KC and the Sunshine Band, and RICK freakin' SPRINGFIELD!! I'm telling you - dreams really do come true.

I went with my mom and my husband. It was a FANTASTIC concert. The man is 61 years old and still rocks as hard as the 20-somethings. He was entertaining, funny, super cute, a guitar genius, and most of all - engaging with his fans! I was doing okay and having so much fun, and then he performed "Human Touch." I thought I was going to come unglued! He came right up next to me. Quick hug and then off to give my MOM a HUGE BEAR HUG!!! She was loving every minute of it. I couldn't get there quick enough to snap a photo. From that moment on, I could barely keep it together. I just couldn't believe I'd been that close to him and that I was going to meet him after the show.

So, afterward, we lined up to meet him. Found out we couldn't ask him to sign anything. As I was putting away 5 or 6 CD covers that we had brought for him to sign and my camera, I kind of started to tear up and kept trying to tell myself, "DO NOT CRY - do NOT cry - WHO DOES THAT!?!" The more I told myself not to, the fuller my eyes got with tears. I looked up to see him helping this lovely lady out of her wheelchair to give her a hug. I lost it. Just started crying. Couldn't stop. Mom and Brady were in front of me in line and both turned around to see what that sound was. Mom said, (in that MOM voice) "What's wrong? Are you okay?" She clearly thought something had happened to me and I was hurt or sad. Brady on the other hand, said, "You're not REALLLLLY crying, are you?" And then just smiled like it was the craziest thing ever. The support was overwhelming. Of course then everyone else in line was pointing and gawking at the 39-year old crying during the meet-and-greet. Ok, so they weren't "pointing and gawking" but it sure felt like it.

Before I show you the picture that the hotel took of my encounter, let me just warn you... I am NOT a pretty crier. Some people can bawl their eyes out, blow their nose and look the same as they did five minutes before they started crying. Not this girl. See..

I warned you it was bad.

When Rick saw that I was crying, he gave me an extra big squeeze and said, "Awwwwww." Brady tried to smooth the waters by saying him, "You're like her Beatles." He chuckled. All I could think was, here I am with the chance of a lifetime and my dork of a husband just said, "You're like her Beatles." Seriously. That's the best you could come up with. Not, "Isn't she adorable?" or "She is so embarrassed. She just loves your music." Nope. On the other hand, I got an extra hug at the end of our encounter, probably just a pity hug - but I'll take it!

I wish I could have said so much more. I wish I could have said SOMETHING. I was such a bumbling idiot. I can't believe I did that. Rick, if you are reading this I would appreciate a do-over. Maybe next time I can keep my emotions in check a little better and form WORDS to let you know how much your music and your stories have entertained and inspired me. Ah, who am I kidding, if I met him again, I'm sure I'd still be a wreck!!!!!

The first thing I almost always hear when someone finds out I'm a Rick fan, is, oh, he was so cute on General Hospital. They assume that I was a fan of his when he was on the soap. Nothing could be further from the truth. I didn't really watch him on the show. I really only knew/know him as a musician. I really, really love his music. Of course he's adorably cute too - especially in those cute glasses he wears. But, honestly I love his music.

Recently I discovered his book, "Late, Late at Night." Some of you know that I have struggled with some anxiety and a bit of depression over the years. After reading this book I felt a special tug at my heart over some of Rick's darkest times and his constant struggle to be happy in his life. It is a very open and honest book. I think it's a must-read for those of us that grew up with his music. Sometimes you find out that these celebrities that we adore, are really much, much more human than we ever gave them credit.

Some have eluded to the fact that since this awesome encounter with RICK SPRINGFIELD, I may have become a teeny bit obsessed. I say that I am just "awaking the passion I've always had for Rick and his music."

I still pinch myself that I actually got to meet Rick. Maybe someday I can make this a dream come true...again.

A girl can dream, can't she???

P.S. As a little girl, I also dreamt of meeting John Schneider, a.k.a. Bo Duke, if anyone is listening....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Vows We Made

My Aunt Jackie's funeral was today.

My Aunt Jackie and Uncle Leon were married for
49 1/2 years!!

Today, I found myself reflecting on the vows that Brady & I made 15 years ago tomorrow. I thought of all that my aunt and uncle had been through recently and how, in those final weeks, my uncle NEVER questioned doing anything and did everything for his bride of nearly 50 years.

That is what love and marriage is about.

It's not about fancy dinners and gifts on your anniversary. It's about how you love and support each other. In sickness and in health. In the good times and the bad. For better or worse.

I'm so proud to say that I am married to someone who gets that.

I love you Brady!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's true! I can walk and take pictures at the same time!!

Can you believe it?? Who knew?

I went on the Scott Kelby 3rd Annual Worldwide PhotoWalk on July 24. I surprised myself and really had a fun time. I sort of went a little bit out of my comfort zone. I didnt' know anyone and I wasn't sure what to expect and almost chickened-out the morning of the walk. I figured everyone would have 10 different kinds of lenses and talk in photographer lingo the entire time. I couldn't have been more wrong! My little Nikon P80 fit right in and I held my own. Saw a couple people I knew, and lots of different kinds of cameras. I still think I should have bought a disposable camera and brought it out when everyone opened their camera bags. THAT would have been a fun thing to capture on camera. HA!

I took over 250 pictures in less than 2 hours. How fun is that??!!! Of course not all of them were worth keeping, but several of them I am really proud of and am actually thinking of framing. It has inspired me to do more walking and picture taking. I think my next venture will be Gage Park. Kind of fun to see these places where we live, and see every day, in a different light and at different angles.

Here's just a sampling of my work in Downtown Topeka, Kansas, on that hot, sultry July morning: (let me know what you think - there's more on my facebook page!)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back Pain Sucks!

Ok, It was the Friday of my garage sale a couple weeks ago. I woke up to ABSOLUTELY no feeling in my right foot. It just kind of flopped around. "I don't have time for this," I thought. It's bad enough my back had been killing me for weeks, now this??!
I had an MRI done to find out what was going on. I found out I have a bulging disc in my lower back and it's pushing on a nerve that goes STRAIGHT DOWN MY RIGHT LEG to the tip of my big toe. PAIN and numbness at the same time! Who would have thought that was possible? The MRI showed the bulging disc at around L5 for you chiropractic types. I was sent to an anastesiologist this week for a cortisone shot. They feel as if the dropped foot-thing is temporary and should come back to life once the nerve has time to heal. Meanwhile, I continue to walk around very unstable! (Even more so than normal)

I had significant relief for the first two days of the shot. However, the pain seems to be creeping back. I'm pretty discouraged by this information. I am supposed to call in the next week to let them know how I am feeling. We may be looking at a second shot. I hope not. My 39th birthday is this week, and I feel like my body is letting me down. This is partly my fault for treating it so terribly for so long. But dangit! I'm not ready for all these doctor appointments!!

On a happier note, Brady went to Dallas for the last week for driver training for his work. While he was there he got to see the Texas kiddos and took a few pictures for me. I sure miss them. Hopefully I'll get to see them soon. THEY ARE SOOO CUTE! Here...look...