Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recent Happenings

Over the last few days, it seems the Lord is helping me along with staying at home more... we have had a yucky sickness going through our home!  We have all had turns running fever, headache, sore throat... It isn't the flu, it isn't strep, and it isn't meningitis.  How do I know it's not meningitis?  Well, Josh was the first one to go down, and the fever settled in his neck.  (I write that as a statement, but it is more of a guess!?)  By the end of the first day, he was running fever and not able to move his neck at all.  Worried about meningitis, a friend urged me to take him to the ER... because of course it was 8:00pm by the time it got severe!

We went to Tupelo, and our ER doctor was very nice..................... when we finally got to see one!  He ran several tests, and he said Josh really needed a spinal tap to check for meningitis.

Josh is the toughest kid I have.  No doubt.  If you know Josh, you are probably smiling, because the boy could run through a brick building.  But he HATES shots.  They really scare him, especially when he isn't feeling well.

A spinal tap is not only a shot... it is a BIG shot, in the back, on the X-ray table, lasted about 45 minutes, AND he was feeling about as bad as he has ever felt.  Poor baby!!!!  He was so incredibly brave and still, and continued to answer the nurse's questions with, "Yes ma'am..." even during the spinal tap!

He actually did better than his mama.  I wasn't grossed out or anything; I don't really know what happened.  But all of a sudden, about halfway into the deal, the room was spinning, I thought I was going to get sick, and the nurse was sliding a chair up under me!  What a failure!

Josh forgave me... and he was somewhat comforted by the 6 hours of TV he got to watch while laying in the ER bed with me.

When it was all said and done, the doctor was baffled.  He just knew it was meningitis, but all tests for everything turned up negative.  We arrived home about 6:00am Friday, and one by one, different Duleys have started running fever.  Thankfully no more trips to the ER, though!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Priorities and schedule for 2013

The last several years have been a little crazy around here.  Ok, well, maybe like the last 12 years...  Moving, major life changes, changing careers, moving again, me going to work... the list goes on.

Although I turned in my resignation last December, I continued to work for BMC until June 2012.  When I was officially unemployed, I went right into planning for the upcoming school year, making lesson plans for my Latin and Bible classes (we joined Excelsior again), and preparing for cross country.  This led right into cross country season and football season and in the midst of that I agreed to make aprons for AFA (apron post to follow soon).  All while trying to train for a marathon, homeschool, maintain housework, etc.

 In the midst of this, I finally reached my threshold for activity.  There were commitments that I had to fulfill, which I did, but all the while mentally rearranging my priorities and making plans for 2013.  This year is going to see some major changes.

My heart's desire can be summed up in 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11 ... "But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,"

Along with Psalm 46:10... "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 

First of all, my duties as Scott's wife (which are not ONLY duties... they are a joy as well) are taking priority.  He has over the years expressed much appreciation when the house is orderly and things are calm upon his arrival home after a long day of teaching and coaching.  I try.  I really do.  And it IS possible, but calm and orderly go against my nature... and becasue it is against my nature, it is one priority that often falls very low on the totem pole.

In order to make this a priority, I realize that other major things will have to change.  Like saying no and staying home more.  At least sometimes!  Our life is so hectic and on the go during the fall semester, and I am going to do my best to make the spring semester as much of a respite as possible.

Saying no and staying home more will also help me do a better job of being rested and more help to my husband, keeping kids caught up on school, cooking from scratch/ making better nutritional decisions, saving on gas money, etc.  These are all things that are very important to Scott, but are things that often fall by the wayside when I allow us to get over-committed and crazy.  

I have also re-worked our school schedule for the year.  The biggest change is this:  I have for years been trying to schedule morning exercise... but I HATE morning exercise.  And so the schedule never works, because I only sporadically work out before breakfast.  Then, I become frustrated with the schedule and toss it out and become consumed with the tyranny of the urgent.  SO, I have made a schedule that is based on what we actually do, rather than based on what I wish we would do.  So far, we are sticking to it and getting lots of school done... and keeping the house sort of decent!

Here is what we are currently doing during our school day:
6:30 Wake up kids/ breakfast
7:00 Bible
7:30 AM chores/ dressed
8:00 Math (mom takes turns with different kids)
9:00 Grammar/ composition (mom takes turns with different kids)
10:00 Josh reads aloud to mom
10:30 History and literature
11:30 Lunch break/ chores/ start supper
12:30 Science
1:00 Latin/ finish school
2:00 Chores
2:30 Exercise
4:00 Grade school work, school prep for tomorrow/ kids have free time or finish up assignments
4:30 Work on dinner, breakfast prep, laundry

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Very GOOFY Marathon!!! Running commentary...

Once again, the goofiest part of the day was waking up at 2:30 in order to catch the 3:00am bus!  This time it was for the full 26.2 and Lynn and Roan were joining us.   A friend of Jimmy's was also with us until the start.  Esther and I wore our TuTus and glow necklaces again, but this time we kicked it up a notch with Minnie puffball ears for Esther and a Minnie hairbow for me.  

Jimmy kicked it up a notch also, adding the Goofy hat... definitely the finishing touch!  Roan and Lynn looked super cute and matched from their boingy mouse ears all the way down to their shoes!

We had time to kill in the holding area, so Jimmy practiced his old cheerleading stunts... and Esther and I were still marveling at the amazing number of porta pots in the background!

We made our way to the starting corral and waited for our race to begin!  It was a little like deja vu... Same announcers, same jokes, same music... BUT it was all very enjoyable even the second time around.  It definitely would have been more enjoyable if I was a little more awake!  

The race began with a brilliant fireworks show, and we were off!  At mile 2 or 3 Esther and I decided to pick up the pace just a tad, so that she could have more time with her family in the park...  even though it was sad to leave Roan, Lynn, and Goofy- the third member of our training trio!  Although we were running a bit faster, this was no race for a PR, and we decided to have another FUN race... We had so much fun that our watches registered 27.4 miles!  We did a lot of weaving, re-tracing steps, etc!

At mile 6, we had to stop and take castle pictures again...  
This time Royal Mickey and Minnie were standing outside the castle to greet runners as we ran through!  Running through Cinderella's castle was so amazing!  

After the Magic Kingsom we ran past our resort again and this time went into the WDW Speedway.  We ran around the race track, and there was a car show going on all along the banked part... Esther liked this red truck!  

Of course Tow-Mater was there!  

We thought about hitching a ride in this VW bus, but decided that we didn't want to miss the rest of the fun!  

That fun included some cute comedy acts along the service roads between parks...

Trying to avoid being eaten by aligators close to Disney's Animal Kingdom...

Stopping to pose with Pocahontas ...

And then saying hello to the goats!  I had been gone from my kids and my goats for a few days, and so I had to stop and pet this little fella...  A man running beside us was disappointed that Disney let us pet sheep and goats... but kept the tigers in their cages! 

At the halfway point in Animal Kingdom, we once again considered hitching a ride.  Esther was too scary of a driver, so I convinced her to keep running...

After Animal Kingdom things started to heat up, and we began to think we had made a mistake.  Maybe we should just join Jay Walker and Man U.L. Labor here alongside the road... 

 NAH!  Although the damp grass felt nice and cool, we figured we better get up and keep going...  Since "The Pain is Temporary!"  But wait, "Who moved the finish line?" 

About mile 15 we passed Launch Pad... I simply had to stop and tell him that "Duck Tales.. Woo woo" was my favorite!  

 At mile 18 we entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  We snaked around in here FOREVER!  I had just taken a complimentary Clif Shot Mocha gel... and so when we hit the track, we were ready for a little SPEED WORK!  

Why not do some 400's in the middle of a marathon!?  

Whew, those sprints always did make me pass out on the track... 

There was a giant Mickey hot air balloon in a soccer field...  
 And we got to run around the baseball stadium!  They had video of runners streaming on the jumbo tron, and the guy called out, "Heatherrrr Duuuuuley from New Albany, Mississippppppiiii!"  

After leaving (FINALLY- we ran around the ball fields for ever!!  Ok, 2 miles...) the ESPN complex, it was time for the MAGICAL MILE 20!!!!

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy were waiting on us at the 20 mile mark!  This one was worth waiting in line for!   

 At this point we were doubling back on the other side of the road and began keeping an eye out for Roan and Lynn... and Esther spotted them!  We crossed the median and chased them down to get a picture together...

At mile 21 we passed the green army men soldiers from Toy Story- and he told us to keep soldiering in the tule...  We were just glad that he didn't tell us to drop and give him 20 pushups like he did the guy in front of us!  

At mile 22 we were entering Hollywood Studios!  Posing as super heroes with Frozone was a must...

At the mile 22.5 water stop, we were all the way through it when Esther asked if I had seen the candy table.  When I said no, we had to turn around and run back.. to check it out and get a picture of the volunteers' fine handiwork!

Shortly after, we got to run through the breezeway between the two costuming warehouses!  I loved the banners with the mice from Cinderella in the background, and I decided that I am going to work there when I retire.  Scott can be Mr. Incredible in the parades.  

As we were about to Exit Hollywood Studios, we stopped to try on this giant hat... 

 It was a little big, so we headed out of the park, through the Boardwalk resort, and on to EPCOT!  By this point we were both getting HOT, a little bit tired, my knee was starting to twinge, and we were both ready to be DONE... 

But as we entered the World Showcase, we stopped to say, "Bonjour!" to Belle.

We also stopped to get a picture of Esther in front of the Japanese building (they lived in Japan for three years), and I am flat on my back in front of her trying to get the whole tower in the picture... it was hard to get up from that one!  

 Since we had lots of pictures of the Epcot ball from the day before, we moved on past to the FINISH LINE!!!!   

Look at us... we barely made it... 

 Just Kidding!  We finished and got our 26.2 medals and our 39.3 medals!  Woohoo, it's official- we are Goofy!  

I was feeling fine, but my feet were just tired, so I stopped at the tent to get some ice on my feet while waiting for Roan, Lynn, and Jimmy.  

 I don't have any pictures yet from when they all finished, but I will add them when I get some!  

I had to hurry back to the hotel, shower, pack my stuff, and get to the airport!  When I landed in Memphis, where it was 34 degrees and raining,  look what was waiting for me!  I had an amazing trip, but I was sure glad to see my family!  

Goofy Challenge 2013- Arriving and 1/2 Marathon

When I told people I was going to do a challenge involving a half marathon one day and a full marathon the very next day, "Goofy" was not usually the word used to describe the race.  "Insane," "ridiculous," and "psycho" were just a few.  Nevertheless, I travelled to Orlando last weekend with several families to participate in the "Goofy Challenge" at Disney World!

On the first day, the Johnsons and I arrived in the afternoon, checked into our hotel, and headed directly to the Magic Kingdom to meet the Sanders and Mims for the afternoon!    It sure was nice to enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures after rain and 40 degree weather!  The highs were in the 80's each day!  Nice!

Our first roller coaster for the day was Thunder Mountain Railroad... Roan and I both screamed as much as the kids!  In the early evening, we found the Mims and Sanders... After riding a few rides (including Space Mountain... which involved much more screaming than Thunder Mtn) we headed back to the hotel for pizza and a good night's sleep.

The next day Jimmy, Roan, Lynn, Esther and I were on the first bus over to the expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 
It was a good thing we arrived early- the lines were crazy long by the time we were leaving.  EVERYTHING from the expo to the race to the post-race stuff was incredibly organized, well-run, and big!  Just being there was exciting!

After getting our packets, we had a little fun at the Cigna booth- they had a green screen where you could make fun pictures.  (This is not actually at the race!)  We also got race souvenirs and enjoyed looking at all of the things the vendors had to offer.  

On the way out, Jimmy, Esther, and I put on our Goofy shirts and got a picture in front of the race poster.  Packets picked up... only 39.3 miles to run and we would be done!

After putting stuff back in the hotel room, we joined the rest of the group for a fun day at Hollywood Studios.  We caught the Pixar parade and took several group photos... Below is the Johnson family

Esther and her 7 girls in their cool Disney shirts... you can't even tell which one is the mama!  (Esther is 2nd from the right)

I didn't get one of just the Mims, but here they are with us all in the group photo.

As we were walking around the parks and running the races, I would send photos home to Scott and the kids.  I sent the picture below during the Pixar parade with the caption, "Hey look, Scott, you were at Disney world after all!")  

I also got my picture taken with Mickey to tell the kids, "Mickey says hello!"

About 7:00 I was ready for my PJ's, so I caught the bus to our resort and got some supper from the restaurant.  

Here is the first and goofiest part of the Disney races:  you have to catch the bus at 3:00am.  

2:45am came very early that next morning.  Esther, Jimmy, and I were on the first bus departing at 3:00.  AM.  Sheesh.  When we arrived, we funneled along with a million other people to this giant holding area.  There were jumbo trons, music blaring, photo opportunity places... and there were more porta potties than this Mississippi girl has ever seen in one place.  ever.  

So many porta pots, in fact, that Esther got on Jimmy's shoulders and took a video so that we could show the folks at home.  Here are the three of us goofy runners in front of the photo stage...  

About the TuTus- we figured since we were doing a 39.3 mile race for fun (not even considering time or PR), we might as well dress up and have some fun with it... 

We went from one holding area to another, then from the second holding area down a road to the starting corrals.  (Of course, passing many more porta pots on the way!)  At the starting area, there were even more jumbo trons, music, MC guys telling jokes, etc... it was all so fun and entertaining, and the air was electric!  And humid!

When Disney does something, they do it right.  Each corral started with a firework display, and I'm not talking sparklers and bottle rockets!  What a beginning!  After the race I told Scott that the WDW marathon made the St. Jude Marathon seem like the Tupelo marathon in comparison... just to give you an idea of the thing.  (Nothing against the Tupelo marathon- it is a very very cool race in a different way!)

At about the first mile, we passed this giant pirate ship booming loud pirate-y music.  We ran past several other fun things, like giant kites, a huge billboard with blaring Star Wars music, the entrance to the Speedway...
And finally we entered the Magic Kingdom!  This is Jimmy with his two cousins, Stacee and Leanna right outside the Magic Kingdom entrance.  We had a good time getting to know them a little better during the race!

Here are Jimmy, Esther, and I.  "Caution Runners:  Speed Bumps Ahead."  We actually just THOUGHT we were going into the Magic Kingdom.  Really, it was a joke.  It was the parking lot, and you had to run at least a mile before really entering the Magic Kingdom on Main Street, USA.

But it was worth the wait.  So worth it that I have about 50 pictures of the castle... all different combinations of angles and people... And my photos can not even come close to conveying the atmosphere of the pre-dawn morning.  Excitement, adrenaline, awe... it was such a "magical moment!" (Or several moments... like 15 minutes!)  

After running around the castle and then through it, we were heading out of the park.  The Disney train even came out to cheer on the runners!  It just seemed like the thing to do when I laid down on the tracks and acted like I was tied up...

After leaving the Magic Kingdom we took some back roads that led us past our resort.  The crew was there to say good morning, take our glow necklaces (it was now daylight), and have a photo shoot... 

After we passed our resort, we snaked around some more back roads (where we MIGHT have taken a few walk breaks)

And we saw Phineas and Ferb... my favorites and worth waiting in a short line for!  

Finally, we entered EPCOT!  Woohoo!!  Almost done, but we had to stop for more pictures... 

We circled through EPCOT, ran around the big golf ball, and back out in the parking lot to the finish!  Here we are with our first finisher medals!

After the race I saw these guys on "Team Don't Die," and I had to get a picture... too funny!  13.1 down and 26.2 to go!  

After the race we showered and made our way over to EPCOT.  I had a delicious lunch at the Seasons grill, and then I made my way over to the World Showcase.  I saw the Sanders, Johnsons, and Mims off and on throughout the day, but I mostly enjoyed piddling around and shopping for souvenirs for my kids!  

When I saw Donald in Mexico, I HAD to stop and say !hola!  

In France I enjoyed some mousse au chocolat.  I spoke in french to the lady when I ordered, and the lady understood me!  She laughed at me, but she understood!  (And that was a little dish of YUM right there.  My mouth is watering.)

I ate and shopped my way around the world and then headed back to the hotel to ice my feet and get ready to do it all again the next morning... times 2!