Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living to JUST GO FOR IT!!

Part of being home and embarking on life post almost losing your child is you realize you have to just GO FOR IT!  You really do; no questions, no hesitations, but to just live life fully and try everything.  We have always encouraged our daughters to do that, and while it is nerve-wracking at times, it is also freeing to know that we all genuinely hold the potential to do any and everything.  When you don't over think and do, your life feels 10 pounds lighter. 

This past week, I have just DONE. I took some risks, had so much fun and packed a lot of new adventures into one week.  You know what.... it felt great!  It felt liberating! I was LAUGHING a lot with every new adventure. One of the biggest ones was entering a contest to become the new Real Model Cover Model for Fitness Magazine.  I entered last Friday night, February 18th, not knowing what I was getting into. I was nervous to press send on my photo and essay, but I figured what do I have to lose! Why not, life is to short, right? We know that so very well with our miracle daughters, so I thought I should just do it.  I am not 5'10 and big chested, but 5'1 with a small chest, strong legs and can run for miles.  I was nervous about putting a swimsuit photo up with the girls, because it's not a women flexing in a bikini with make up like the others, but it is REAL and me! 

Now I am in the Top 10 in the Country and have been all week! Currently I am #6 and in 36 hours we find out who wins.  Friends and family have been very supportive and sharing the link and my story with everyone.  At first I was uncomfortable saying what I did, and then I stepped back and thought who the heck cares!  Let's see what happens and I will tell all my family and friends to VOTE!!

So please take a minute to vote- it is very fast.  10 seconds at most!  You vote, submit, answer the question, submit the vote, and share the link. Press like on the FB button, and voila vote is done!

Makenzie and Emerson are getting excited and while Jack doesn't like the voting process (the technical element) he is supportive too.  From something on a whim, is now something of a chance and means a lot.  

Why I decided to do this some friends have asked--- The story
I have never been one to not try something because of nerves, hence jumping off high rocks in Waimea Bay in Hawaii, or the high dive at age 5 giving my Mom a heart attack.  But I do have natural hesitations and nerves that pop through.  While I know it is normal, I also know that they need to be thrown out the window because each moment is a new opportunity to live fuller and more vibrantly. 

When in Portland, I did tv segments with Better TV.  I loved it and had fun, and while there were natural body image concerns with being on tv, I felt confident that I was a real Mom and Trainer who didn't have a boob job and had strong legs.  It was fun to do TV, and I had met with producers about potentially making some Fitness DVD's.  But it came to financing, and then some of my nerves got the best of me. When pregnant with Emerson, I thought I would get right back to that goal after she was born. I had connections, my mom-students in Baby Boot Camp and Power Outdoor Fitness asking me to make them, and was comfortable with a microphone.  But...I got pneumonia when 6 weeks postnatal, Emerson got pneumonia-pertusis-RSV at 7 weeks old, and my Dad was with an unexpected heart condition.

I had the rug pulled from under me and suddenly I didn't have any energy left to focus on my own goals of television or growing my fitness business personality.  I tried to juggle Emerson's needs, 4 year old Makenzie, and owning two fitness businesses while being a full time Mom.  Anxiousness set in and my juggling wasn't working. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, it's what I helped train women to prevent in Baby Boot Camp.  Yet I couldn't fight nature and had to face it. I did, through exercise, therapy and hard work.  I decided to sell one of my businesses and cut back on work.

One year later, Fall of 2009, I was ready again to make my mark!  I sold my Baby Boot Camp business, owned Power Outdoor Fitness and Power Fitness PDX, and was trying to garner my schedule to work best with the girls.  Makenzie was in Kindergarten, Emerson was having fun, I was trying to be at peace ...but with the economy Jack's job wasn't going well as a Recruiter and he got laid off without severance or benefits.  I thought, "Oh no, wait, how could this be we were at a great place!".  Yet again, rug pulled out, I jumped over the dust bunnies that remained and made sure to start over again full force in a new city and new state.  So after no jobs in the Portland area, we moved to California in the New Year. The seed to just GO FOR IT was still planted away, and I knew my time would come to have fun on camera in the Bay Area.  I needed to get settled first in life. To find a house, have the girls comfortable and meeting people, support Jack in his new job, start my business again, and attempt to feel situated in our new, but my old, city.  Yet, I knew it would work! I did, I knew I could gradually get there again to put myself out there for maybe local fitness pieces, etc. Come Summer, we were there! Life was grand, we were flourishing as a whole and I was ready to focus on my business goals.

Then BOOM, like a mac truck we were hit the blow of Makenzie getting so sick and almost dying. The doctors had no idea what was going on, and within hours of being in the hospital we didn't know if Makenzie would make it, what was going on with her, why or how long it would be.  Life stopped and while others were moving on in the world outside Children's Hospital and UCSF experiencing Fall and Winter, we were going day -to -day trying to cope and live.  I dropped everything to be there for Makenzie and make sure to be her Mom, nurse, friend, supporter, advocate, and nurturer.  I also tried to nurture Emerson and Jack in the same.  And...we did it!  We all survived and made it through. Not unscarred mentally and Makenzie physically, but we did it and learned so much about the human spirit, community, blessings and the true will to live fully!!!

We have been on a gradual climb back to normalcy and back to feeling good!!!  Makenzie is settled in school again, doing incredible (Read her latest Caring Bridge Update), and getting stronger each day!  Emerson is LOVING preschool in Tiny Tots, flourishing in being 3 with ALL of us at home.  Jack has been able to submerge himself to his job and likes his new company more than he realized. He is even starting a new 5013c! I am maintaining my sense of balance in juggling all of this, trying to digest everything, I realized it is my time to just GO FOR IT AGAIN! 

Thus, I entered the contest which for me took some courage, but it was so very freeing and exciting!  I didn't even think at first of the potential opportunities that can evolve from this for my family, my business and personal goals, other women to be exposed to some of my own experiences that may give a sense of guidance and hope, and a real means to overcome and do the Fitness DVD. 

In one week, I entered the Fitness Magazine Cover Model contest (eek!), did a pole dancing class with my dear college bestie Bo, played with our loving dear friends Erin & Dylan, went to the PRINCE concert college Bestie Erika, did open gym gymnastics class last night with the Power Fitness PDX ladies, and today subbed Baby Boot Camp Oakland. How much I have missed just playing and having fun with my girlfriends too!!! It has been a week of balancing, while taking care of me too and making my own goals of FUN with FRIENDS and living fully happen!  My Power Fitness PDX goals are getting accomplished too faster than I thought with relaunching in January. Had an incredible meeting with Lucy on Tuesday, which had me leave smiling.  I worked with them in Portland, and now, a new working relationship that is mutually beneficial.   It is incredible and while my families life is getting balance, my own life is getting some balance too!  It is dynamic and fun and while I am waiting for a little rug to potentially be pulled from under us again, I'll just keep GOING FOR IT like my daughters have taught me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Running in fog but through the wind

Yesterday was one of the windiest days and one of the clearest in many months.  It has been a ride the past 6 weeks post UCSF, especially the past 5 that Makenzie has been back in school and we have all been back to our new normal lives.  She is doing incredible, which brings a huge sense of peace, but also scare.  The nerves of not knowing if she will go back to the hospital are trying, but also gradually going to the side when allowed. 

Last week I had a list of things to get done with re-launching my business and the fitness challenge coming up, but Emerson was very punky and needed to be home getting better.  She had a cold that is pretty brutal.  It's not a big deal though compared to anything else and we just moved along and went with how she felt. So I dropped my "to do list" and cuddled a lot.  She would cough through the night, whine out and immediately we'd jump to get her.  When snuggling in our bed she would pull us right close, so tight that we are cheek to cheek all night, and then would cough all night.  Lovely visual, eh? Let me tell you it is a gift to be a Mom, but moments like that of coughs in your face as you calm your kiddo let you know it is a nonstop "gift" of patience and calm since you know you're next in line for the cold. 

Emerson being an RSV-pertusis- pneumonia kid has us worried when she catches a cold since she can go from 0 to 60 in a few hours.  I took her to the doctor's on Tuesday to take a peak and see. It was the best MD appointment we've had in a very long ears or throat infections and Makenzie read to her the entire visit.  Gradually she got better and then I got it.  No big deal though, I run through it.  I know it can be much worse and outside of my running gloves being washed after each runny nose induced run, it's all good.   But why was it I still was getting flustered and feeling foggy?  Why, some mornings after teaching or training, would I feel a punch to my gut and some nerves being stirred?  I was doing everything right I thought.  We were all getting a routine, Jack and I were communicating about schedules, and talking a lot about our own balance within the family.  E had no ear or throat infections and loves school and M was doing incredible in school making it 'till 1:30 most days already.  Yet I couldn't get the weight off my shoulders to feel "light". 

Then yesterday I had a revelation when running with Emerson. I booked it to pick her up at preschool since I was almost late, going against an intense wind.  She wanted to picnic after school so I brought her lunch even remembering her favorite yogurt.  We enjoyed lunch with some friends and I had a nice time watching as she interacted with her buddy S.  She was talking about her "friends" and smiling a lot.  When the wind almost blew us away, we decided to run "home", but I knew I had to get some miles in and we'd be running a long way home.  E was singing to me and talking to her doll, Baby Sita, for a while and suddenly stopped.  I peaked in and she was conked out, looking so sweet and yummy all bundled up protected from the wind.  I continued on the beach path.  When looking out across the Bay to San Francisco the crisp beauty took me away.  The city popped out like on a postcard. 

In all this windy clarity it hit me....I have been given the time to process what happened with Makenzie and to "move on" and be grateful she made it.  But I fear that if I move to far forward I am setting myself up for disappointment and scare if she suddenly has to go back to UCSF.  I have been working on creating balance again, a sense of structure and schedule for not only Makenzie but for all of us.  My business is set for training between 4:45-7:45 am, so I don't miss time with the girls or Jack and can work with my clients and boot camps.  Emerson has Preschool twice each week, Makenzie is doing better each day and gaining even more courage.  Jack is loving his job and feels good, even tough he works late because he is happy with what he is doing.  All of this is incredible...and feeling clean and bright.  It feels good and blissful in many ways, but it is starting to feel like when we moved into our house and were starting to feel settled last September.  It was the time right when Makenzie got sick and our lives were changed. I think that is what scares me. 

Yesterday morning a friend from Makenzie's school asked me if we knew the cause for what happened. She asked me with a fearful laugh adding, "Do you know so we can all make sure to not do it?".  I didn't take it as rude, I took it as her being nervous about it happening again and concerned if it could happen to her daughter.  We've been asked the question regularly by friends and acquaintances and dealt with it each time with similar answers, such as "We have no idea, she is an anomoly". But  I go back and repeat every event leading up to Makenzie getting sick; thinking if there was any moment we could have prevented what happened.  If there was anything we could have done to avoid her experiencing all the pain, scares and scars.  But as we've been told by the doctor's, there isn't any rhyme or reason why and if it will happen again.  Still, I ask myself and have to find courage and peace to face the answer of no answer.

When I stopped at the beach to look at the City, I realized I am scared BUT craving balance because it means we will be getting more and more back to "normal".  But we'll never be "normal" again, and knowing anything can change in an instant, is scary.  We just have to LIVE and know it's OK to be scared about the unanswered questions.  It is not being pessimistic as someone said to me, as I am a glass "half full" type of person, BUT I don't have to be brave all the time and am allowed to be scared of being "normal" again. Normal is when our world fell apart...and we had to just go with it and not resist but be patient and pray.   I feel clearer with the ability of knowing that it's ok to grieve as I heal since the more we get back to normal, the harder it will be if anything happens again.  But being back in a normal routine balances out my inner peace, and normalcy is ok. It doesn't mean a rug will be pulled out from under us again, it means we can just "live" each day.  It means I can keep running and not have to stop for long periods of time. But if I do, I know how to pick up and keep going again and again.