Life as MommyMo

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What was I thinking?

This weekend is one of the biggest of the year for our family. It's Relay weekend! Besides it being the culmination of a year's worth of planning, it's the time we set aside to formally recognize how blessed we are. We began Relaying five years ago to celebrate Rob's (and our dear friend Lisa's) fifth year cancer-free. We drank the purple Kool-aid, so to speak, and here we are five years later, ready to celebrate Rob's TENTH year free from cancer. Relay is not just my full-time job, it's an enormous part of our identity as a family.

It's gotten to the point that the Becker name is synonymous with Relay For Life for many people. We both bleed purple, so when it came time to film a new recruitment video for Relay nationwide, my lovely coworker decided that Rob was the perfect spokesperson for survivor involvement.

Some background: There are 3.5 million people involved in Relay, including 500,000 cancer survivors. We know that we can make a huge impact (even beyond the $400 million we'll raise this year) if we mobilize those participants to do other things year-round that fight the disease. Rob is a textbook case of someone who dipped his toe in the Relay pool, and went on to be on the front lines of the cancer fight. I'm proud, can you tell?

Back to my story... Because Rob was chosen to be in this new video, we have a four-person film crew joining us at the Relay this weekend to capture his story and footage of all of us celebrating together. Because that film crew is coming, the local paper has decided that they want to do a feature on Rob, too.

I work in PR. That means I like to promote good stuff that can help other people. It also means I like to stay behind the scenes! So, you can imagine my horror when I found out that the paper, with a circulation of 80,000+, wants background photos. I was digging through our stash, trying to find a few good shots of us at Relay, and came across the photo you see above.

Which brings me to this bit of well deserved self deprecation. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

No one should be so dedicated to an event that they see fit to go out in public, much less be photographed, like that.

I do recall that I started out the day in jeans and that tshirt. My hair was not covered, and the boots made sense in the wet grass.

Let's review what's wrong with that picture:

1. Purple bandanna? It says "cancer sucks" on the back. I promise to leave that bit of headgear to the teenagers from now on. It looks like a costume on me.

2. Since when did my ears look like I belong with the Keebler elves?

3. Turquoise shirt (that I had no control over... it was the committee shirt), olive shorts? I was not getting dressed in the dark, so that should never have happened.

4. White crew socks, brown hiking boots with that same turquoise shirt and olive shorts. Even worse.

5. How many things can I possibly attach to my body and clothing?

6. Can you tell that I am also wearing sunglasses with that outfit? All of this is resurfacing like a bad, repressed memory.

I have several quite stylish friends who will probably have a hard time forgiving me once they see this picture. They will say that years of hard work and training were clearly lost.

I will say, to redeem myself even a teeny bit, that I work for the American Cancer Society. Those pasty white legs are proof that I'm living up to our cancer prevention standards. There. I'm at least good at my job, even if I look like a nightmare doing it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I owe this blog a nice post about all of the birthday festivities of the past weekend, but that's bound to take some time. I'll get right on that.

However, let's just say we wrapped up Sam's final birthday soiree with a few new housemates that made me none too happy. I recall saying last week that I had NO IDEA how I got Lyme Disease. Now I know.

You don't need to live in the woods to find deer ticks. You just need to come to my house. INSIDE my house to be exact. I found not one, but TWO deer ticks (a male and female -- according to Google Images) in the house on Sunday evening. They were both taking nice leisurely strolls, one on the ledge upstairs and one on the kitchen table.

I think everyone who was here might have thought I was crazy for calling at nearly 10 p.m. to tell them to do a check, but I'd feel awful if someone actually ended up with Lyme Disease on my watch.

Rob, who's been quite nonchalant about the whole thing (with the exception of fogging the whole backyard before guests arrived. Twice. But, really, that was probably just to keep me quiet) is now stripping down to his shorts to have me check him out at least twice a day. Those little bugs are a bit more threatening when they might actually bite him!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sam's big day!

Sam's the big THREE today! He's been waiting for this for a long time... though he tried to convince us he was about to be FOUR for more than a few weeks. He's satisfied at being just three for now, particularly since he seems to know that cupcakes, parties and presents are involved.

I woke up this morning with many of the same emotions I recall from last year... I am thrilled to have this amazing boy to call our own, but am a bit sad at the thought of how much his birth family must be missing him today. I hope that they can somehow know that he's loved by many and a happy, if mischievious, little boy.

Happy Birthday, Sam!! We love you!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sneaky little buggers

Five weeks of fevers, way too many needles, regular doctor visits and an xray thrown in for good measure and I finally have a diagnosis.

My doctor's office called today to say that I have active Lyme Disease. I have absolutely NO IDEA how I got it. New Jersey is a high risk area, but I haven't been laying around in the woods lately! I am sure there are other ways to come in contact with deer ticks, but I'll be darned if I know what they are.

I have to take horse doses of a antibiotics for three weeks, then see if I'm cured. I guess my fever finally going away will tell for sure.

Not fun news, but it's at least good to know what the deal is. "Fever of Unknown Origin" is not a fun clinical label. My silver lining? I get fabulous service at my doctor's office and the lab. They know my voice when I call and have been quite helpful. Let's hope I don't need their services much longer!

The doctor's office made sure to tell me to take my pills with food and get plenty of rest for the next three weeks. Um, I have a son who's turning three tomorrow and Relay is in nine days. Rest isn't exactly easy to come by in these parts!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Still no answers

Either my doctor really is worried about my "fever of unknown origin" or he's practicing voodoo on me illegally.

I got sent for MORE bloodwork. He's testing for more specific ailments now. We had a nice long chat in the office on Friday. He pretty much told me that he's thinking two things right now: it's possible that I either have rheumatoid arthritis or that I'm just plain weird.

No joke. He actually phrased it by saying, "Well, we know you're weird. This just might be more proof." Gotta love a doctor with a sense of humor.

In addition to a funny bone, my family physician also has a keen fashion sense. I own the footwear pictured in black. I had those shoes on when at the office. He was checking, ostensibly, for swollen lymph nodes in my lower legs when he stopped and said, "those are really cute shoes."

Totally deadpan. Which is not surprising if you know my doctor. To say his delivery is typically dry is an understatement. Who knew that a snazzy pair of Rocket Dogs would liven him up so?

He followed the cute shoes comment up with, "I've never noticed before that you have incredibly small feet. Seriously. What size shoes do you wear?"

All I could think was that I'd wound up in the Twilight Zone somehow. I'm at my quiet-as-a-church-mouse doctor's office for a disease with no symptoms whatsoever. A sizeable percentage of our conversation ends up being about my little feet with fancy shoes, not the underlying illness that, so far, has necessitated multiple diagnostic tests and trips to be physically examined by every doctor in the practice. (There are only two, by the way, but that sentence sounded more dramatic than if I'd said "both doctors in the practice." It's my blog. I can be dramatic if I want.)

Before I sign off, I want to wish the very best of luck to my bud Leslie... She's one of the approximately 4.2 people who actually read this sorry blog and she got a very fancy pants job with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association this week. It's the American Cancer Society's loss, but she is, after all, going to work for God. (Leslie -- I should tell you that my brother-in-law, when I was pondering my offer from the ACS a few years ago, likened working for the Society to working for God Himself. Now you'll be able to tell me if that's true or not.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

A teeny update

Frankie got out AGAIN. He must have figured that he knew the tricks now, because as soon as we tried to leave for church yesterday, he ran... Rob tackled him just two doors down, though. It helped that he had real shoes on this time. He'd been wearing mandals for the Saturday excursion.

Mother's Day was so nice. Rob let me sleep a little bit. He insisted it was because it was Mother's Day, but I also think he was tired of hearing me roll over all night, audibly wincing.

On that note, I don't heal as quickly as someone Sam's age does, but I am getting better. I will see how much fun traipsing through the airports turns out to be a bit later today. I'm grateful to have been assigned seat 2A by trusty US Airways. No bumping into my left elbow. My right knee is another story. Enough whining.

For those who have followed the great fever trials of the past few weeks, in a weird way, I have a new symptom that actually makes me very excited to know that I might get this figured out FINALLY! Now I know it could be from falling, but I started coughing a bit last night (again, normally not at all exciting) but it really hurts near my left ribs when I cough now. I sound like a glutton for punishment, but if it hurts to cough, I have a fever and my xrays turn up any fluid in my chest, I'll have diagnosis and be able to move on with my life. Yippee!!

If I bruised ribs or something when I fell, I'm going to be really irritated. I'm only turning 33, not 93. I don't need new aches and pains. I'm sleep deprived enough to make me feel plenty old enough, thank you very much.

I'm off to Atlanta now...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And he's off...

Ah, how easy it is to take for granted how well trained your pets are. My seven-year-old dogs, usually too lazy to do much other than bark at the mailman, recalled the good ol' days tonight.

I remember when they were just wee pups, all too eager to watch for the first glimpse of a crack in the front door so they could take off running, their weary humans chasing them down, screaming like lunatics the whole way. We had more than one such episode before deciding the doubts we might have had about invisible fencing were nothing in comparison to our very real fear of two adorable dogs getting squashed on the King's Highway.

Turns out there's not much warning when the batteries for said fence go kaput.

Frankie's were apparently shot, and he took off like a shot out the front door. I know it was a combination of the commotion of the company over for the evening and the thunder that was rolling through, which he is absolutely terrified of.

He got out the front door, realized that he could escape, and did just that. He RAN straight down the street, Rob chasing after him. I tossed my purse on the sidewalk, yelled at Sam to stay with Aunt Kim on the driveway (thankfully Ethan was staying, too, which helped keep Sam in place) and hopped in the car. Ted, thank goodness, was already running down the street, too.

The biggest mishap came when we got to the corner. I thought Frankie looked like he wanted to jump in the car, so I leaned over and opened the door. He ran off again, straight for the busiest street in the area. I ran around the car, shut the door and attempted to run back to drive off again, when I slipped on a few wet leaves. I was airborne long enough to think about how much it was going to hurt when I hit the ground.

In one fall, I managed to scrape both hands, both elbows and my right knee. My left knee got a nick or two, but not much. I had no idea I could hit so many parts of my body on the ground on the way down. I'm not tall. It's not like I had far to fall!

I yelled for Ted to drive the car, leaving him to frantically wonder if it was more important to run after my husband and dog or ignore my request so I wasn't left laying in the middle of the road. Thank goodness he followed Rob, because they caught Frankie soon. They even had time to come back and get me as I hobbled down the street toward home.

I did get an interesting lesson in human behavior through all of this. We must have looked like loons too crazy to help as we tore through the neighborhood. There was a couple sitting in a minivan right near where I wiped out. They didn't even roll down their window as I lay in the street to see if I was ok. Once I got up and literally drug my sorry rear back home, they did seem as though they were following me. At that point, I decided that I didn't want to deal with them, so I forced myself totally upright so that they wouldn't ask me anything. They turned around and left.

A nice lady down the street must have seen me coming because she came outside and asked if I needed ice or to sit down. That was nice, but Ted and Rob arrived just then.

I'm all patched up now, and remembering how much it really does hurt when you scrape skin off of your body. I'll remember that next time it happens to Sam.

A quick Sam funny... I told him we were going to Fort Dix to see Ethan and the airshow. After a hundred questions as to why we were going, he moved on to "why does Ethan live there?"

I replied that Ethan's daddy is in the military, so he has to live there.

Again... "Why, Mommy?"

"Because he works for the government..." (That should end the conversation, right?)

Not so much...

Sam stopped asking "why?", long enough to squeal... "EEEWWWW! I don't LIKE the GOVERNMENT!!"

I swear, he did not learn that from me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Reason to hope???

I had stopped visiting Rainbow Kids for a while for my own mental health. Seeing JaeHo continue to be listed was too hard to see and just left me feeling frustrated and helpless. I caved today and scoured the Asia list, but don't see him on it.

I HOPE that means good news for him. I want to believe he's found a forever family to love him!

A few things have delayed our formal application, but I think we're just going to send it in now, and figure things out as we go. We ended up having to take out a small loan we're weren't expecting to be responsible for, but are going to keep working to get that resolved and focus on the exciting parts of a new baby. I think any social worker who reviews our case will understand our situation and be more than willing to see that we're capable of raising two kids.

I have proof, too, that Daddy is ready for another baby. He asked me out of the blue the other day what we were going to name the next kid! As some people know, this is not the easiest of subjects for us (as Rob only likes super traditional names or insists on the goofiest nicknames for the names we do agree on) but during a rare lunch alone last weekend, he brought the subject up on his own. Not only that, he'd been doing some thinking...He'd made up his mind on a girl's name!

I think he'll still let me vote, though.