Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lucy and Santa Barbara!

                            SAAAnta Barbara California. Woo wee. I am in looo-Uh-Uh-ve.
This trip was so amazing I'm still basking in the afterglow of it all.  Haven't fully come down off the high of meeting Lucy, spending unforgettable cousin time, experiencing the beauty of this city, being exposed to the GS foundation which was created by possibly the most selfless and impressive little family on the planet,(The Strong's.) Oh and running my first race ever that happened to be a half marathon.

I expected this weekend to possibly be a bit emotional.
It was. But all positive emotions.
Lots of touching moments where I found myself choking back tears this weekend.
I'm glad Cherisse never saw me, if she did she would have rolled her eyes, laughed and told me to knock it off!

All weekend between watching Cherisse tirelessly and constantly take care of Lucy, (with tons of laughter and never a complaint mind you.)  I do mean CONS-TANT-LY. Never a moment that Lucy cannot be monitored, adjusted, suctioned, stretched, breathing checked etc etc etc etc etc... It is not possible to give more physically than Cherisse gives to Lucy each day, even despite part time live in nurses. But as Cherisse says: "Complaining is the most pointless thing on earth." So she doesn't.  She smiles a genuine smile, laughs at blunders and works her fanny off keeping Lucy alive every hour of the day. I am not exaggerating.  I was tired just observing, but Cherisse made me feel right at home, teaching me how to suction Lucy (She can't swallow on her own),  and feed her "food" through her cute little tummy portal.
 Lucy sent home one of her Pinky Pie ponies for Naomi.
Oh she has no idea how much Naomi loves that Pinky Pie.
Lucy educated me on every ponies cutie mark.
She has them all.
Lucy. Oh Lucy. She is a hoot! Cracking me up and melting my heart all at once.  This little girl is nothing short of a miracle.  She talks exactly like Strawberry shortcake.  Sweet oh so sweet.
I'll never forget looking back in the car and seeing her little upside down face (in her special car seat) saying: "Mom you are SO Beautiful."
Or "Aaamie, Amie where is Santa BAR bara?" And my favorite is her little high pitched, "uh HUH!" Followed by a smirk, when asked questions.
I just smile every time I think of her little eyebrows going up and down.  (Meaning YES.)

The Race.
 I ran the first 6 miles in 8 minute miles, knowing it was way to fast of a pace, especially since training stopped and was replaced with candy eating the last 2 weeks before the race... whoops. ( I was stressed.)  The first 6 miles my thought process was basically this:
This is Fun!
Oh Wow those guys are crazy fast.
My pants are not good running pants.
This city looks just like Princess peach land in Mario cart!
I am running too fast. I'm pretty sure I have 40 pounds on anyone else keeping this pace...
Oh well, Yay!
I wonder if all races are this fun?
Picture source.
Ah look at those little boys with the upside down signs (That said Go Daddy!)
Then I realized I was running by that Daddy when the boys chucked their signs and ran to him with their mama chasing them down.  The Daddy who was beaming, gave them each a big kiss on the mouth before their Mom whisked them off the race course.

My thought process from about mile 6.5 and ON:
Um. I'm done!
No really, I don't want to run anymore.
A 10k woulda been perfect.
Oh man, there are lots of people passing me.
I shoulda trained harder.
I want an ice cream cone.
This is not fun.
I still have half the race left.
Half the race? Oh, I don't think my body can run sev-en more miles.
Seven? shoot.
I need to knock off this stinkin thinkin.
Lucy would love to be running.
Her life is a marathon.
I can run a silly little race.
(That got me up those never ending hills.)
One mile at a time Amie.  Just do one more mile and don't stop.
Okay just 20 steps at a time. I can run 20 more steps.
Okay now 40. I can run 40 more steps.
Hey, you know what? This is easier than child birth!
Yep that was harder than this. I can keep running.
Then another hill came.
Maybe I can walk just 5 steps?
Right then a guy with the same shirt on as me  jumped out from the crowd and in my face  screamed, "NEVER GIVE UP! Never say die! RUN RUN RUN till the end!"
Although part of me thought it would be kinda funny to stop right then and say, "Nah, I'll just walk."
I didn't.
The Ocean!
I want to take a picture!
This is amazing!(That thought lasted for 5 seconds)
Where the HECK is the finish line?
OH I am so so flame lickin mad right now.
Okay just around THAT corner it's gotta be there, Okay that one, Okay that one.
OH I'm gonna kill someone.
Yay! There it is.
Sprint legs!
No? okay just keep moving then. Don't trip.
I did it, I did it! I wish Devin was here.
He would look good in these shirts.
Stomped on the finish line.
Done. Give me water.

I averaged a 9 something minute mile and official time of 2:05.  Meh. Not much to brag about.
You know what IS to brag about though...
Cherisse.  That's right, Cherisse was running in the 6 minute mile pace and placed 12th! Say WHAT?
I was so proud of her. All my cousins finished super close to 2 hours or under. Even Angela and Thomas  with their matching fanny packs WHO DIDN'T train! haha.

Thomas and Angela  doing their fanny pack dance at 6am. Haha.
Lucy and her beautiful FAST mama Cherisse.
My beloved cousins below 
( These are ALL Cherisse's sisters! She has 2 more sisters that couldn't make it to the race.) 
Mel, me, Cherisse, Crystal and Angela.
Team Lucy.
Fly by just for us.
The Strong Family ran with their daughter Gwendolyn the whole race.
Gwendolyn was so excited to be in her first race too.
This picture makes me cry every time. I have to hurry and scroll past it. :)
All these awesome pics (the non grainy ones) I didn't take FYI. SHE did.
Look Gwendolyn even had her own running shoes. 

I revel in being around people that are lots lots better than me.
I love it because I see them do it and think: "If they can, then maybe I can."
And then I want to just observe and try not to stalk them to see just HOW they do it.  A lot of the times I see some of the sacrifices they make to accomplish so much and think: "Maybe I'll just take a nap instead." But I always feel that being around people that live at a higher level, be it, health, cleanliness, compassion, giving, conviction to God, joy, creativity, fitness, drive, discipline, patience, or just being well spoken, and refined naturally gives me a boost to raise my families or personal standard of living, simply by being in their presence.
Sure I have moments of insecurity being around amazing people.  But if the admiration lasts for that  person they always encompass a graceful manner on top of all their other awesomeness that puts me at ease. (Otherwise the admiration fades pretty instantly.)

This weekend encompassed and show cased human beings at their best.
From Cherisses' care of Lucy, her family and friends truly incredible support of her, the level of fitness and speed of SO many of those runners, to the Gwendolyn strong foundation fundraising and events.  

The moment I landed in San Fran the message that kept blaring at me was:
Human beings are amazing.
I am the only one putting limitations on myself.
I can try harder with enthusiasm AND I can run faster.
Plain and simple: I can do more good than I do.

More on this amazing weekend Here and Here.

Okay now just let me overwhelm you with a bunch of cousin time pictures.

 Below: a van full of cousins ready to run! (Mel and Cher are sitting beside me not pictured.)

 Crystal's husband Colby is a foodie and found all the little specialty food shops that were featured on the food network.  This bakery was one of them. We all crowded in and bought $6 french pastries..

All of us cousins shared a couple of hotel rooms that connected.  Doubled up in beds and air mattress on the floor. We didn't get much sleep.
All of Lucy's Machines in the hotel behind us.  
Lucy was so excited to sleep in the "holy tell."
Some of my favorite things she says:
We could hear her in the night yelling at her dad: "Chad, CHAD! CHad." 
Chad: "Call me Dad." 
L: "Chad! I need suction."
L: "Chad! Will you tell me a story?"
(Chad is sweet and tells her a story at 3am)
Lucy why are you awake?
"Joce woke me up."
(Jocey is sound to sleep.)
Lucy blames everything on Jocey and it is so so funny. 
Even if Jocey is not in the building.

Pre-race benefit dinner.
swag bags.
 Lucy was in love with the entertainment.
She wants to be a princess Barbie pop star she told me A LOT of times this weekend.
"Mel will by me a guitar."(And then her Aunt Mel did do just that. )
Lots of cobblestone streets in Santa Barbara.
Afternoon on the Pier.
We all raided the candy store.  
 Mel treated us all to a museum where I touched shark.
 Cousin Crystal, Colby and their two cute boys.
Fishing for treasures at the museum.
Moon jelly fish.
 Even though Angela and I could barely walk after the race, we did a ton that same day. Swam outside, and Chad ordered the entire family lunch room service. Nice guy. ;)  Then  a beautiful afternoon on the pier, followed by post race pizza dinner with the rest  of the runners at a lighthouse. I was ready to hit the hay but everyone had shopping on their mind. We did just that. Perused the streets looking at all the surf shops etc. Such a charming city. Picture perfect truly. 
Jocey's(Lucy's big sis) favorite store in the world. Forever 21.
This girl is a whipper snapper and I loved looking at jewelry together.

 Long layover in AZ and my Bro Benny and fam came and met me and chilled for a couple hours.  
Here is Claire being  a 6 year old.  Savannah being tricked to show her face to the camera.

I got to cuddle and meet Jonas for the first time. Oh he is so delicious and happy.

I day dream about this perfect weekend.
My heart warms every time I hear Lucy's little "Uh Huh!" in my head.
Aaah such and amazing trip.
I brought my boys home little wooden boats that look just like these.
 I can't wait to go back.


Cher said...

I just love that you came. Loved every minute of it!! Can't wait until next year:)

DancELation said...

Ok-seriously love love reading your blog-especially this one. You have such a gift to bring the reader on your journey. I love your thoughts that you share and life lessons. They inspire me to look for those in my life. You have such a great perspective and fun sense of humor-always laughing at some point as I read your posts. So glad you got to go-Cherisse absolutely was so grateful and had so much fun with you. Maybe next year I will have the gumption to run :) Hope your family has a wonderful holiday.

sillynicolegirl said...

Um a half marathon!!! Good grief, you are more amazing than I was giving you credit for ;) Good for you!!! And such an amazing story to go with it. This really made me miss you. xoxo