Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Crossfit Lesson

This past Saturday, Jerad played stay-at-home dad for the day, so I could go play.  I entered my first individual CrossFit competition in Olathe, Kansas.  In true Crossfit fashion, the proceeds from the event went towards providing vitamins and nutrition for malnourished children all over the world.  The company is called Life Equals and you can check it out here.  The group does some really amazing things as well as puts on a great event.

A group of 10 of us went from the Crossfit McPherson Y team.  I've been training there off and on this off-season.  So it was SO much fun to cheer on my teammates as we pushed, pulled, lifted, and squatted our way through 3 workouts in one day.  Some of of the participant's PR'd (got personal records) in their lifts so that ALWAYS makes a competition worthwhile and amounts to a whole lot more bragging rights post-workout!  

This event not only tested our endurance, strength, mental toughness, and cardiovascular health...but this past weekend also presented another challenge I have not had to face in a Crossfit competition yet: people's (including myself) lack of integrity.  The workout was called Max Snatch.  So I chose to interpret the workout as just that.  Lift as heavy as a weight over your head as you can.  Others chose to lift lesser weight and do more reps.  Which wasn't how the programmers intended the workout to be done, but unfortunately a loophole left people with a what they ask and possibly lose a spot on the podium or do other than what they ask and place in the top 3.  Well, I chose to do the workout as they asked because I knew I couldn't accept an award knowing I didn't follow the rules.  

But this wasn't the lesson I learned.  After this workout was over, I became very angry and bitter.  I am an eternal optimist and so I choose to see all people as good until they prove me otherwise.  Well, that is what happened.  Some very athletic women, who I admire and looked up to, let me down, in a sort of way.  I was disappointed.  And I could not get out of my head why and how someone could do this...'cheat' the system to win...and so then I let it take over my thoughts and began to snowball and then I began to verbalize my disgust.  Words I never should have said began to tumble out of my mouth.  I had trouble sleeping that night as I tossed and turned over why I was letting it bother me so much.  

"Was I upset because I didn't place, even though I knew I did the right thing--knowing I probably would have otherwise?"

"Was I that disappointed this much in the athletes that did the workout different than I did, in order to win?"

"Was I upset with myself for selfishly wishing I had gotten the praise I thought I deserved?"

"Was I upset with myself for letting this bother me so much?"

"Or was I just so tired I was letting this take over my mind out of pure exhaustion?"

I woke up Sunday morning nice and early at 5 am, thanks to Autum's screaming.  I couldn't go back to sleep after getting her calmed down, so I flipped open my Bible, praying for peace of mind.  My reading for that day was Ephesians 4.  And it couldn't have been more timely. 
"Eph. 4:29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth's, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen...get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."


I guess God knew I needed it laid out quite obviously, with no error for interpretation.  So I immediately hit my knees.  Pleading for forgiveness.  For my selfishness.  For letting my anger turn sinful.  For the words I spoke out of bitterness.  For the lack of building others up.  For not being thankful for the compassion Christ continues to show me, despite my shortcomings.

And it was like a weight lifted.  Literally!  
Immediate release.  Freedom.

Thank you God for your mercies that are new every morning.  I went to that competition hoping to learn my weaknesses, physically, not realizing my biggest lesson learned would be a spiritual one.  

I added that one to my workout log for this week. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Birthday Built for 2

We celebrated Autum and Blake's birthday's this past weekend.  Since Autum is born October 1 and Blake November 1, it only makes sense to do the parties together.  Especially since at this point in their lives, they have no idea otherwise, and until they do, they will be sharing birthday' well as everything else that makes my life easier!

So we celebrated "Elmo" style!

We invited all of our family members and close friends and we ate Elmo cupcakes.  Blake wanted nothing to do with the red frosting at first sight.  He cried and pointed that he wanted it 'off.'  So I proceeded to cut Elmo's face off...and Autum began to cry "Elmo...bye bye...Nooooo!" So we had to do some reconstructive surgery on Elmo's face to stop the crying. So I proceeded to shove a bite of frosting in Blake's mouth to get him started and the rest was history...he gulped it all down in typical "Blake" style...shove it all in at once and make a huge mess!

We snacked on fruits and vegetables.  Guacamole and tortilla chips.  Pumpkin cake.  All the kid's favorites!  Then we got to the good part.  Opening gifts!

And to say the least, we should be set on toys for a long while.  Blake got lots of fun sensory toys that will help me when working with him on his motor skills, verbal skills, and interactions.  They got 2 of a lot of things, because that's how it goes around here now.  Saves me a lot of conflict resolution work and redirecting.  I did not have to entertain much today because they were busy playing, hopefully the newness sticks around a few more days so I can get caught up on laundry and cleaning!

I couldn't help but look around at all of the family and friends that surrounded us during the party.  People who have accepted Blake into our lives so easily and have loved him unconditionally.  My cup was full as I drank in all the blessings and praised God for His goodness.  That is the best gift I could ever give my kids...the love of family.  And I hope someday they are able to look back and realize the blessing it is and has been in their life.

And we ended the day with another dive in the leaf baby and all!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Metcha Day Anniversary!

This day last year, we got off a smoky, 15-hour train ride, in Lugansk, Ukraine.  The home of our little man, Blakester!

This was a day we had been planning for months, as excitement, nervousness, and so many emotions were swirling around in our hearts, minds, and stomach!

You can read about it all here  "Metcha Day!"

Such a little guy a year ago.

This is still one of my favorite pictures from our first day meeting him!

You can see his fear and uncertainty here...

Compared to today!!  We love you SO much little buddy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Giving Thanks.

Lately I've been overwhelmed with the sin of this world.  The echoes of the thundering fall of man in the Garden of Eden so long ago are still reverberating today.  Loud and clear.  And they are weighing heavy on my heart lately.

The echoes of injustice.
The echoes of an infant's death only 4 hours out of the womb.
The echoes of the cries of so many orphaned children, lonely, desperately wanting love and attention.
The echoes of a grandparent's sudden death.
The echoes of enacting 'tough love' on a rambunctious 6-year old.
The echoes of bad decisions made.
The echoes of fear of the unknown.
The echoes of having to let go of control.
The echoes of depression.
The echoes of homelessness.
The echoes of financial trouble.

So many things, so near to me.  All weighing in on my soul.  It can seem so hard.  It can seem hopeless.  Some days feeling like throwing in the towel, while crying out, "Why? Why?  Lord, save me from this.  How can this happen?"

But one thing I have seemingly forgotten.  Is to be thankful.  It is so easy to become worn down by all the pain.  The heartache.  The unexplainable.  The unknowing.  The hurting.

There are SO many terrible things happening in this world.  Way worse than the worst pain I've experienced.  But lately, in relation to my own life, one of the echoes I spoke of, comes directly from my difficulty here in our home.  Hint..hint...we have a 6-year old...

And it has just plain been tough, lately.  Sometimes I feel like I'm raising a 16-year old already.  Many nights I just pray, "Lord, why can't I just have a 'normal' child?  One who doesn't question everything?  One who doesn't fight back with so much passion?  One who can handle the 'typical' things in life?  One who just goes with the flow of life?  One who doesn't get so much under my skin?  One who doesn't know how to push my every button?  One who takes up so much of my energy and thoughts and prayers?

One who isn't SO MUCH LIKE ME..."

And there are days when its so tiring.  So hard.  And very difficult to love.

And I've seemed to let those negative thoughts take over and consume my whole being.  To infiltrate my mind.  My efforts.
And have left me not being very nice or patient, or kind, or joyful...

And then I remember that joy always comes with giving thanks.
So I have been working to write down every thing that comes to mind about my child that I'm so VERY thankful for.
Because I need my heart, mind, and focus to be changed.  I need a break in the clouds of darkness I've let loom over my soul.
I have overlooked the beauty Christ created in my child.  And that He created her and said "it was good."  And that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  And that He has big plans for her future.  Her passion.  Her zeal for life. 

So for today...
I am thankful for her wholesome love for people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Steeler's Tix & Getting Physical

So you remember the Basile's, right?

Our adoptive family.  We adopted our kids together last year in Lugansk, Ukraine.  Mila is their daughter.  With me now?

Well, guess what!  They are adding a 3rd daughter to their family!!  Baby Zofia.  Aka "Curly Girlie".  She is beyond sweetness.  Anyway, because they are paper-ready, their adoption process is going fast.  They could be traveling by the end of this year!  So they are having a huge giveaway.  Which includes 2 Steeler's football tickets for the December 30th game against Cleveland.  (They are from Pennsylvania, you know!)  Plus a ton of gift cards!  Anyway, you can donate $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets.  Go to: and then let Sarah know you donated!

We are beyond excited for them and hope you will join in our excitement!  I will also be hosting a Yankee Candle fundraiser soon to help raise funds for them to rescue Zofia!  My heart is softened for Ukraine and will always be, so since I can't go back with her, this is the least I can do to help them out!


I've been really working hard focusing on Blake's development: physically, mentally, emotionally.   Obviously the physical part is on the forefront of my mind because of my work and interests.  So we purchased a tunnel for the kids for their birthday's and we broke it out the other night.  Here's a glimpse of the reaction...

Part of the reasoning for the tunnel is that it makes them crawl.  Crawling is HUGE for coordination and brain development.  As you know, children with Down Syndrome have low muscle tone but also don't process information as quickly...which leads to slower reactions and progress. hope with this tunnel is that it will make Blake have to crawl more as well as work alternating arm and alternating legs (aka crawling)...which requires both sides of the brain to work at the same time.  And this is VERY important for him!  And Autum, for that matter.  We push so hard for our kids to walk at a young age, but it is crucial for these kids to crawl as long as possible to build appropriate leg strength to walk, but also for the brain to really work as it is growing with the child.

Now jump forward about 30 years...and my goal now is to maintain and improve motor skills, brain development, and muscle tone of the clients I work with.  We are currently doing a CrossFit workout regimen to improve these skills.  It is a mini-experiment you could say, to prove that CrossFit is adaptable across the board...even for those confined to a wheelchair!
I can't wait to show you some videos of my wheelchair clients rocking out an exercise called wall balls.  But for now here is a video of 2 of my clients doing a deadlift and bench press workout!  FYI: I even make them crawl as part of their warm-up.  Yes, it is that important.

I believe if we teach and continue to maintain the physical aspect of the lives of people with special needs, the mental and emotional will naturally develop and show improvement.  I'll keep you posted with how it goes. :)

PS--Does anyone know why the green line shows up?  I don't have it on my camera or when I view it on my computer?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oktoberfest 2012

We spent our Saturday morning in McPherson, at a place that is and will always be near and dear to me.  Disability Supports of the Great Plains has become one of my favorite places to be every Tuesday and Thursday.  I contract out my personal training and nutrition services to the amazing adults that live and work there.  I started my journey in working with adults with special needs in October 2007.  I came into contact with a family who had a sister that lived/worked at DSGP through my nursing home work and services.  I immediately began working with Amy in pursuing her doctor's order for weight loss.  And so we did.  And we still are.  She's been down nearly 85 lbs. at one point and now we are working to maintain her lost weight and keep her muscles strong.  My journey with her has lead to my work with nearly 15 other adults who reside at DSGP.  I always tell people this is the only job I would leave my kids with a babysitter to go do.  I LOVE it!  I have found my personal training niche and don't feel like I could ever stray too far from the gratifying work I now do. 

Anyway, this year was VERY special because I was able to take Blake to visit the one place that was so crucial in forming Jerad and I's decision to make him part of our family.  So we loaded up in the freezing rain and blowing cold air and headed west.  We were going to participate in Oktoberfest 2012.  It includes bierocks, sausage and sauerkraut, german chocolate cake, root beer,  a german brass band, face painting, games, rides, inflatables, caricature drawings, and lots of laughter and hugging! 

The kids had a great time!  And even got their first taste of Root Beer...haha, it was a mixed reaction by all parties.

Blake did NOT know what to think about Leah's face paint..haha!

Autum's reaction to Root Beer...

Blake's reaction...! 
Amy, Blake, and I.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday to my Baby!

Not sure why this video has a green line through it. Sorry!

We celebrated Autum's 2nd birthday this past weekend as a family.  We had vanilla frosted cupcakes at supper, snack time, and for breakfast.  Autum would slap her tray and then say 'cake'...and I'd say 'no...and she'd say 'cake'...and I'd say 'no'...then she'd scream...louder and louder, until even Blake covered his ears...and then I'd give in.

Obviously we have another 2-year old at our house now...making her desires known...

Then Sunday afternoon we skipped naptime and headed to Papa's Pumpkin Patch, where we went down the giant slide 4,403 times.  Touched every pumpkin.  Chased ducks, pet the horse and donkey, fed the chickens, pet the cats, played on the giant dirt pile, swung on barrels, rode on a barrel train, swam in corn bin, threw rocks, went down the slide another 1,200 times, sling shot a pumpkin, posed for pictures..