Monday, September 22, 2008

Heather's Hope: Racing for the Cure 2008

As I write this, I'm still a little sore & tired from yesterday, but it was SOOO worth it! Kyra & I had the privilege of joining my dear sister, my mom, several of my mom's friends, and a whole bunch of my sister's friends & coworkers in the Portland Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, the largest of its kind on the West Coast, and third largest in the world.

Our team, Heather's Hope, was named for my sister, who as most of you know, was recently diagnosed with extremely aggressive & invasive breast cancer. Her daughter actually came up with the name, and it couldn't be more perfect. In addition, my sister is a great lover of shoes of all kinds, but especially high-heeled ones, so when someone found a Hope shoe statue for her (see below), it was a given that shoes, in some form, would be part of the team as well. By the way, the hats (pictured at the beginning of this post), were put together by Righteous Clothing in Clackamas, and I highly recommend them if you ever need custom logo apparel!

When we first signed up for the race, I decided Kyra & I would do the 1 mile walk, as I knew she wouldn't make the 5k (3 1/2 miles), and I didn't want to throw her in a stroller. Then we found out the rest of the team, including my sister, had signed up for the longer walk. This caused some problems as I knew we couldn't do the whole 5k, without bailing out half-way through. But to be with the rest of the team would be really cool--some 60 people strong at this point.

In the end, Kyra & I, & David, too, it turned out, did the 1 mile walk, under skies that threatened to rain at any moment--thus the matching yellow raincoats :-) After we were done with our race, we thought we might try to meet up with the rest of the team, as their race didn't start for another 30 minutes.

Have you ever been at an event with 45,000 other people, and tried to find someone, or even a bunch of someones? We thought, "We'll just call (my sister's) cell phone", as she promised to have it on. No such luck.

Their race began, and still no sign of them. It turns out the race folks had split the crowd to go up two different parallel streets in order to avoid a huge backlog at the beginning of the race. We walked up one street, mainly in search of some coffee, but also in hopes of seeing them. We found out later they were near the beginning of the crowd, AND they were on the other street. Oh well.

We stopped for some coffee at Starbucks, and then sat on the curb to watch the parade go on, and on, and on, still thinking we might see them. Then we continued to follow the race down Broadway, and let me tell you, to see the whole length of Broadway, as far as the eye could see,just a sea of colors, and people, was pretty overwhelming.

By this time, we'd pretty much given up trying to catch them during the race, so we decided to head back towards the finish line down at the waterfront, thinking we'd at least be able to walk across that with the team.

We made it back to near the finish line--some 7 or 8 blocks, and actually caught up with them before they crossed, which was totally a God thing!!! I got to cross the finish line with my sister in sight, and holding both my mom's and daughter's hands. Then after that, we walked around a little bit at the waterfront, seeing all the sights, and then headed back to the car, and to Beaverton for some yummy Chinese food at House of Good Fortune in Murrayhill.

So our 1-mile walk ended up being a little more than that, but Kyra was a real trooper, and hardly complained at all--I think I griped more than she did! She also got to be a princess up on Daddy's shoulders for most of the walking, other than the race, so that helped :-)

I'll leave you with some snapshots from the day...

Starting the 1-mile walk

The Starbucks stop

Kyra & I with our hero,
my sister Heather,
at the finish line

Some of the Heather's Hope
team members

My mom, Kyra & Kristin

Kyra & her Auntie Hedy

Please continue to pray for my family as Heather starts her first round of chemotherapy this Wednesday.

Blessings friends,

Manzanita & Mom 2008

I just realized when I was pulling some other pictures from our cameras today, that I had never posted about my Mom's Annual Birthday celebration at the beach, and since it's an annual pilgrimage, we need to document it properly :-). By the way, click here for last year's trip--I can't believe how much Kyra has changed!!!

Every year my Mom likes to go to the beach for her birthday, as it's one of her favorite places in the whole world to be. This year the plan was to spend a whole week at some friends' house in Cannon Beach, the week of her birthday.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen as we were thrown the huge curve ball with my sister's cancer diagnosis around the same time. But Mom still needed to feel the sand between her toes, so we decided on a day trip instead. It was also supposed to be really hot in town, so a trip to the cooler coast was especially desired.

Mom, Dad, Kyra & I drove out to my favorite Oregon beach, Manzanita--where we also spent Mom's birthday last year, and had a fabulous time. The morning was a little cool, and we began to think we would never see the sun. It was also really windy, so sweatshirts were our friends.

After eating a nice picnic lunch that Mom had packed, the sun finally came out, and it was down right balmy :-) Kyra had a blast playing in the sand, Mommy rested on the blanket, and Grandma & Grandpa relaxed and read. Then about 4 o'clock, I realized I couldn't take any more sun, and thought it might be nice to start packing up, and thinking about where we wanted to go for dinner.

We ended up driving up the coast to Cannon Beach, where we ate at Moe's, right on the beach. Then after a nice stroll on the sand, we headed home. All in all, it was a very nice day...not what we had expected for this year's birthday celebration, but nevertheless, nice.

Here are some pictures from that day:

Grandma & Kyra
playing in the sand

Grandpa taking pictures

Sweet Kyra

Grandma & Kyra
(with Grandpa looking on)

Happy times,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Expectations, great or otherwise

When you're 18 years old, and you think about your future, your 20 year high school reunion seems SO far away. I mean, come on, you'll be 38!!! That's practically middle-aged :-)

Well, this past weekend, what seemed so far away then, became the "here and now"--My 20 year high school reunion for good old Sunset High School, was to happen in a 2 night event. The first night, Friday, was an Alumni-only get together at a sports bar in the Pearl district. The second, Saturday night, was a semi-formal affair at the Governor Hotel downtown, and you were welcome to bring your spouse, partner, etc.

I'll be honest, I had no desire to attend the Alumni only event....Mostly because I didn't want to go by myself--I know, I should grow a spine!, but I also didn't want to spend the extra money on something I wasn't that thrilled about going to anyway.

Instead, David & I went to the Saturday night event, and he arranged for us to spend the night at the Hotel Vintage Plaza as a bonus!--Kyra, in the meantime, had a sleepover at Grandpa & Grandma H's which she loved!

We checked into our hotel room around 4:30, and had a couple of hours just to relax. Here's a picture of our room, which was on the top floor, and had one wall which was entirely windows--pretty cool!

After grabbing a light snack to hold us over until dinner, we changed into our nice clothes, and walked the 4 blocks or so, to the Governor Hotel.

She cleans up pretty well...

When we got to the Governor, we were a bit early, so we hung out in their lobby for a little bit. Finally it was time to go upstairs to the reunion. By this time, I was more than a little nervous--Would anyone even remember me? Am I under-dressed? I hate these shoes...

While standing in line for our name badges, I hear this, "Kristin?" I turned around, and standing there is my best friend from my sophomore year, Christy Baker Hurlman. I literally have not seen or talked to her in 20 years, even though we both live in Portland. And then she says, "You know, I came tonight just to see you." I said, "Oh, you're sweet." And she says, "No really. I went to the thing last night, and I almost didn't come tonight, but I knew it would be the only time I'd get to see you as you hadn't come (last night), so here I am!" Wow, that's pretty cool!

So we found a table with Christy & her husband, as well as another couple, Susie Doty Romani & her husband, and had a great time catching up and reminiscing. Then it was time to eat, and the food was really good--A lot better than at the 10 year, even though it was held at the same place, and this time I don't think they ran out of food.

After dinner, we sat and talked some more, although by this time it was really hard to hear each other because the "background" 80s soundtrack had been cranked way up. In addition, some of my illustrious classmates had visited the open bar a few too many times, so the overall noise level had risen significantly.

Looking back, I would have to say that I was a little disappointed with the reunion. Although I was thrilled to reconnect with Christy again, I was surprised at how "clique-ish" everyone still seemed to be, and as a result, how intimidated that made me feel. I just thought since we're all now adults, we could get past those inevitable and sometimes very painful/hurtful "labels". It shouldn't matter if you were the biggest geek, or the most popular person in school. We've all lived 20 years of life since then, and are definitely not the same people we were in high school.

So David & I were talking afterwards, and I was telling him how I wished the evening had been a little different, and he said this: "If you weren't friends with someone in high school, it's not likely they're going to strike up a conversation with you to 'catch up'." While this is true, I guess I thought it'd be more like at a party or get together, where you don't really know someone, but you exchange pleasantries or funny quips or stories, because that's what adults in social situations do.

That's why I titled this, expectations, great or otherwise. Because I had hoped people could move past all that was high school, and get to know people for who they are, now. Because there are some really great people out there, and it would be too bad to let a 20 year misconception get in the way. Maybe we all need another 20 years...

Blessings friends!

P.S. We got some great news today! My sister's cancer has NOT spread to anywhere else in her body, per the whole body scan she had recently! This is a huge praise! Also, this Sunday (the 21st) Kyra & I will be walking the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, as a part of Heather's team, Heather's Hope, so that should be fun!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Precious Prayer

When you have your first child, you're so overwhelmed with pure joy, you think your heart is going to burst out of your chest. And you think, "Nothing can beat this!"

Well this week our dear daughter succeeded in catapulting me right past Joy to, "I can't speak, I'm so overwhelmed."

I'm one of those people who unfortunately gets pretty bad headaches on a fairly regular basis---the joys of being a girl. And although I have prescription medication for them, it makes me so loopy, I try to avoid taking it, unless I absolutely have to. Usually I just take 2 Tylenol & a caffeine appetizer, and I'm good.

The other night, though, I had waited too long to take any pain medication, so my headache was really bad. I mean, like really bad, I think I'm having a stroke, bad! So I crawled into bed, turned all the lights off, put a cool washcloth on my forehead, and tried not to throw up--sometimes I get a double whammy as the headache makes me sick to my stomach as well.

David had already read to Kyra, and normally after that, I tuck her into bed, pray with her, and then sing to her. From my bed, I apologized profusely to her, and said I couldn't, because I was feeling so lousy. Then I said to her, "You know what would make Mommy feel better? If you would pray for her."

Now up until this point, every other time we've asked her if she wants to pray, whether at dinner or otherwise, she's said, "You pray." This time, she must have sensed a Holy Spirit poke, because all of a sudden I hear this little voice, saying, "Jesus help Mommy as she doesn't feel good." And then she went on to pray for a bunch of other things, most of which I couldn't hear from where I was.

Needless to say, I was completely choked up, and I kid you not, my headache went away immediately!!! Now it could have been that the additional 2 Advil I took finally were kicking in, but I choose to believe God honored the prayers of our sweet daughter.

And the best thing was, the next day I got to tell her, "You know it was so cool when you prayed for Mommy last night. Jesus loves it when we pray for other people, and ask for His help." Her response? "Yeah!"

Thanking God for this sweet moment,