Picking up the pace

Once upon a time, I loved to exercise.
Running, Biking, Kickboxing (does that date me?), Aerobics classes, Weight training, you name it.
I loved it so much that I studied it. And don't be fooled, degrees in the exercise sciences are no walk in the park. At least for me. Kinesiology nearly ended my academic endeavors. But I made it. I survived kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology, and all the other sciences that challenged my brain. I didn't do so well in tennis but that's another story. A very pitiful one that reveals my lack of coordination.
Exercise was part of my life for a long time. I studied it, then I taught it. For seven years I worked in a hospital wellness facility where I helped others find their inner love of exercise. Or at least scared them into it with all the statistics about how bad the future is for those that don't make regular exercise a part of a busy life.
Then, I left my field of study. I went to seminary. With no free place to workout and no extra cash to join one, combined with the demand of studies and work, my commitment to exercise started to slide. My motivation wasn't totally lost though. I walked and ran and, thankfully, still had a great metabolism.
Then it happened. Marriage. Followed by kids. Followed by an aging body. The combo has turned me into one of those 40ish women that my 25 year old self pleaded with to get serious about leading a healthy lifestyle.
So, with months of sporadic trips to the gym behind me I am turning over a new leaf. Or is it an old one? I am going to get back to the gym in a serious way. We have a free membership to the YMCA (something they do for pastors) which I have not taken full advantage of.
Up to now my trips to the gym have been half-hearted at best. I decided I need a class. One that pushes me beyond what I might do on my own. So, with fear and trembling, I went to my first spinning class in over two years. Something I once enjoyed.
Immediately recognized as a newbie to the class the big burly male instructor, named Andy, approached me, asking if I needed help. Knowing that in just minutes he was going to see how out-0f-shape I was I played dumb and asked for help setting up my bike. I wasn't about to tell him I was once an Exercise Physiologist.
Once he set up my bike and explained to me everything I already knew about spinning he looked at me and, in his big burly rough voice, said, "IN FIVE MINUTES I WANT YOU TO BE ASKING YOURSELF WHY YOU CAME IN HERE!!!" Uh, okay sir, yes sir, I am sure I will. Thank you.
And five minutes in to the 50 minute class I was doing just that. To get through the torture I started thinking about other things. Like spring. And whether I want to add any new plants to my perennial garden. What vegetables I should attempt this year, making a mental note to do some research when I get home. I was thinking I shouldn't invest too much more since we want to move downtown when I heard his voice again.
I looked up and Andy was pointing at me. "GIRL, YOU ARE SETTING THE PACE FOR THE CLASS TODAY! LET'S GO!!! PICK IT UP!"
As I laughed nervously, looking around at all the uberfit 20 something first time moms in their super cute workout gear, I tried with all my might to increase my rpm and then vowed to get on the back row the next time I darkened the door of Andy's class.
And I will. It was just what I needed. For the sake of my ever-changing body and for the old me, that I thought was long lost.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Big Brother

Luke was 2.5 when Wil was born. He was one excited big brother-to-be. He has taken the role of big brother very seriously from the time he found out he would hold the title. For Luke, if he was to be a BIG brother he had to change a few things. Soon after we told Luke that I was pregnant with Wil he announced that he wanted to start using the toilet. And he did. We "trained" a few times and that was it. I don't even recall him being in pull ups for long. BIG boys don't wear diapers OR pull ups, after all. Shortly after that, he announced that he was ready for a BIG boy bed. He transferred with ease and never looked back. Too, he took great interest in everything we were doing to prepare for Wil and told everyone at pre-school that he would soon have a brother.

One of the early thoughts I had after we received Wil's diagnosis was of Luke. And his excitement to have a little brother. To have a playmate. I wondered how Wil's delays would impact him. How would we explain it to him? How could we help him understand what having Down syndrome would mean for Wil when we didn't even understand?

I wondered whether Luke would protect Wil when needed. I wondered if Luke would accept and love Wil like we do, especially as he aged and began to notice the differences between them.

Yesterday, Luke came into the kitchen with a question.

Luke: Mom, when will Wil learn to talk?

Me: I don't know for sure. He is communicating with us now, through signs and some words.

Luke: But will he be able to talk one day?

Me: Yes, I believe he will. Kids with Down syndrome have different abilities when it comes to talking. Some speak a lot like you and me and some don't have as many words. And some have lots of words but might not speak as clearly as we do.

Luke: Will we know what he is saying.

Me: I'm sure we will. We know what he wants to communicate now so I feel sure we will be able to understand him just fine. Others may not always be able to understand him as well so we may have to help him out sometimes.

Luke: Will they make fun of him?

Me: Well, I hope not. But sometimes kids make fun of other kids that are different from them so it may happen from time to time.

Luke: Well, if that happens. . . I'm goin' in!!

Me: You're "goin' in?" Watchya gonna do after that?

Luke: I'm gonna let 'em have it (demonstrating pitiful boxing maneuvers).

Me: Hmmm, well, letting them "have it" may not be the best way to handle it. Maybe you could just tell them about Wil.

Luke: Yeah, I will tell them that Wil is really nice and just because someone has Down syndrome doesn't mean that they aren't really great. And I will tell them that Wil learns differently but he still learns stuff just like we do. And that he is a really good brother.

I don't think I have anything to worry about. Well, unless he "let's 'em have it!"

Safety First

Springtime in February

The cold and gloomy skies of winter have lifted, if only briefly, to give us a hint of what is to come. Lounging in the hammock.

Throwing the frisbee.

Skipping rocks.

Picking the perfect rock to throw.

Looking for trouble.

Running in wide open spaces.

Playing on the tractor.

Riding Beau.

Stopping to take it all in.

A dream realized

This morning while at the gym, struggling to put one foot in front of the other on the treadmill but finding the distraction of the Today Show helpful, they teased me with a story to be shown in their next half hour.

It was about a high school senior with Down syndrome and his time on the basketball court. Well, I had to see that. So, I stayed on the treadmill and learned about women's heart disease, exercise equipment "as seen on tv" and their claim to fame, and more about our struggling economy.

Finally, the story I was waiting on came on. It's about a boy named Patrick who had his dream of playing on the high school basketball team realized. For me it was about a boy who was loved, cared for, and accepted by his peers. So glad I waited and got an extra 30 minutes of exercise to boot!

Enjoy! Patrick's dream


This pro-life ad was meant to be seen during the Superbowl. However, the NFL and NBC decided not to air it claiming they were not interested in ads involving "political advocacy or issues."

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