Sunday, November 15, 2015

the twenty second week

the world of Hot Dog

Pace and distance really has not been impacted at this point.  Most runs are completed without "feeling" pregnant.  My bladder is only slightly a problem.  I haven't' broken out the maternity running belt just yet but will probably do so any day.  I don't have any more races planned for the duration of the pregnancy.  I do intend to continue running for as long as Hot Dog would like.  

Zero.  Since the nausea went away months ago, I haven't had any cravings to speak of.

Food Choices: 
Yikes.  I'll be straight up to say that I'm mostly eating whatever without any concern.  That's not anything to be happy about.  

Weight Gain:
Probably has a lot to do with the above.  I've pretty much gained twenty pounds at this point.  It isn't alarming or even extraordinary.  It is a faster rate than my last pregnancy.  At the last appointment Hot Dog was measuring 19 at the 21 week appointment.  Yes, my food choices could be a bit better, but I don't need to do anything rash. 

Callum is aware of Hot Dog.  He tickles my stomach and kisses baby without being prompted.  He'll even ask to see baby by lifting my shirt no matter where we are.  

Sleeping/Energy:  Fantastic.  No concerns.  

the lake powell half marathon

We signed up for this race months ago.  I never thought I'd be faced with earth shattering news just two days before a race that I had trained months for.  

The consensus among my other two sisters was to go ahead and run the race.  In a show of solidarity for my dad, we did it.  Was it easy?  Heck no.  Doing it with sisters did make it more of a united-let's get through this together-kind of thing.  I do think it was theraputic and helpful in the grieving process.  

All three of us did well despite the tough circumstances.  Usually I'd go to great length to discuss my mile pace, placing, and overall race.  However, it just doesn't matter.  It isn't why I raced.

For record keeping sake, I ran at 19 weeks pregnant.  Crossed the line at 1 hr 48 min and did place for my age group.  The course was a beautiful tender mercy.  Running through one of God's most amazing creations-northern Arizona-was something that did give my heart a bit of a smile despite the circumstances.  


I'm 22 weeks pregnant.  I'd like to share some details about my current status, but I also feel impressed to share something extremely difficult.

On October 15 my dad died.  Typing that sentence just made me cry.  What do you say?  Where do you start?

My dad has faced dementia related health problems for several years.  I never cared to share any of those struggles in this forum because they were personal.  Whether or not his health had declined in recent years, the coming of the news on October 15 would have made it even 0.1% easier.  

Jason and I rushed to my parents' home to be at my mom's side the second we heard the news.  He still lay in the house when we arrived.  To say it was hard to see him is the understatement of all time.  I would say that it is a bit of a spiritual confirmation to know that a person has a spirit and a body when you see someone who has just died.  He was clearly not there.  The him that makes him, him was somewhere not there.  I knew that, and I knew that I knew it on a spiritual level.  Within several hours all of my sisters had gathered with my mom, and my brother was in flight to Arizona.  

All along we had an ultrasound scheduled for October 15.  Once I learned what had happened, I was ready to cancel the stupid appointment and not think twice.  My family thought I should go.  We knew that going would give us a glimpse of our baby and reveal the gender.  I didn't care.  I couldn't even be excited.  Well, we did go, and that proved to be a tender mercy for this day.  

As I lay on the exam table staring up at the ultrasound screen, I was mesmerized and lost in the moving baby.  She, yes, Hot Dog, is a she moved gracefully and repetitively throughout the ultrasound.  She even showed her face for us quite a bit.  The doctor made several emphasized comments about how healthy and animated she was.  These little observations combined with the special experience of seeing your baby inside of you were enough for me to know that Heavenly Father blessed us with a little tender mercy that day.  I couldn't help but think that this new little life was somehow a passing on of the torch of life in my family.  I don't exactly know how and when the spirit enters a baby in the womb, but I'd really like to believe that Hot Dog did indeed get a chance to brush shoulders with Bappy on that day that he entered into his place of rest.  I certainly hope so.  

This tender mercy did a great deal for me to carry on through the next week of grieving and preparing for a funeral.  All I have to say is that going through this has taught me a great deal about the gospel and my place in serving within His kingdom.  Friends and family alike brought meals, gave hugs, and shared memories.  The best way I can describe it is that they helped filled the cracks and holes that couldn't be filled in any other way.  

The day before the funeral was extremely memorable and difficult all at the same time.  We made a decision to accompany my mom to dress my dad for burial.  It's not something that I feel I should share electronically, but I will say that it was difficult beyond measure but a final act of love and service to provide my mom and dad.  It brought us sisters together , and again, reminded me that our bodies are sacred and that our spirit goes back to its home.  

The funeral went well?  Is it okay to say that?  I feel that the services were a lovely tribute to a coach that gave his all to basketball.  Because of this, he imparted life lessons to players, students, and his children and grandchildren.  As expected, I walked away being proud to be one of Coach Bratt's daughters.  I walked away with a restored and refined determination to keep running and doing my best at everything that comes my way.  

Again, through all of this I learned many important lessons.  My testimony was strengthened, and my resolve to fulfill my service responsibilities to others was increased.  I know that the Plan of Salvation provides comfort and hope in this time of sadness.  I know that completing my dad's temple work will be a momentous day.  It goes without saying that I have to continue living the gospel.  As my dad rests from his trials here, he is probably right now learning about a gospel his heart began to love and accept late in his life.  

Whatever you do in life, do your best.  Coach Bratt

Friday, October 2, 2015

the hot dog announcement

Hot Dog is coming.  
We expect him or her to arrive on or around March 20. 
He or she has been growing and growing for the past 16 weeks inside of me. 

I'm really excited about Hot Dog.  Being an over planning fool, I purposefully aimed to have a new addition in our family not a day before the last quarter of the current school year.  Teacher moms everywhere know what's up.  You have to maximize your time with the around the clock nursing and cuddling that make up tiny newborns.  The thought of having a baby and having to abruptly come back in the middle of the school year makes me want to die.  I'm all about that spring baby that gives me time to nurture and love my newborn to a baby.  

It was kind of a neat day when we found out about Hot Dog.  I ran the Bucket of Blood Half Marathon that morning.  Totally rocked it, if I might add.  Won the race and crushed my previous personal best on the course.  It was dangerously hot and a perfect summer Arizona race in every way.  For kicks, we decided to have me take a pregnancy test not thinking anything.  Lo and behold, Hot Dog was on his or her way!

A few days later Callum and I were at a birthday party.  Callum's daycare person was there, and she privately asked me if I was pregnant.  I didn't deny or confirm because I was still super secretive at that point.  However, I was flabbergasted that she observed Callum doing a downward dog type move quite frequently at her house and started to wonder.  She is from Alaska and said that the Eskimo people observe that move as a surefire sign that the child's mother is pregnant.  I couldn't believe it!  She totally called it. 

I made it through the first trimester alive.  Motorcycle never gave me any morning sickness, nausea, or fatigue.  This little one really really gave me those things.  I was pretty tore up for six weeks.  I had a hard time finding the ability to eat anything.  I pretty much came home from work and laid on the couch and never got up.  Luckily, my running wasn't completely impacted.  I still managed to log 80 and 81 miles during those first two months of pregnancy.  It wasn't pretty, but I got out there to run.  

Now that I'm comfortably into the second trimester, I feel like a million dollars.  My pace hasn't been negatively impacted.  My distance hasn't either.  I'm even running a half marathon in two weeks!  I'm taking a yoga class as well.  Haven't been to the weight room in some weeks, but that is mostly due to a busy life.  

More exciting news on Hot Dog to come

Sunday, August 23, 2015

the new school year

I am now 6 weeks into my third school year as an academic coach!  What a difference experience makes.  I feel like I know what to do and how to do it effectively.  I feel like I've created the trust and rapport in my buildings for my colleagues to reach out to me.  That's half the battle in this job!!  As much as I really enjoy my work, I can also say that I have my fair share of trials and frustrations.  This year I'm finding that I have to stay positive.  I'm having to go out of my comfort zone to make sure that my personal feelings on something aren't impacting my work.  Relationships with colleagues is always a delicate balance.  This is the most weighty matter on my mind.  I try to put a ton of time and energy in that.  However, what do you do if you don't like someone you work with?  It's a hard one.  If you figure it out, let me know. 

In addition to school, our busy life continues to go forward.  

He knows 10 shapes.  He can identify upper and lower case letters-all 26.  He knows his numbers to 12-and a few randoms like 18 and 84.  He knows the colors of the rainbow.

He does a great job of recognizing numbers and letters in every day life.  He has some work to do in recognizing shapes within every day items.  

He does not want to be potty trained.  I keep trying.  He keeps refusing.  I'm stumped!

He uses complete sentences and drinks out of a big boy cup.  

Starts the 3rd semester of nursing school this week

Is enjoying the fruits of a gym membership

Looking forward to a visit from his parents in November

Serving as the Gospel Doctrine Teacher

as stated above

Running a Half in October

Listening to audiobooks while running

Serving as the YW President

Friday, July 3, 2015

the family vacation

We enjoyed our first family vacation-road trip style-this summer. 
We embarked on our 14 day journey in mid-June.  
Jason drove from Arizona to Alabama all on his own!  He was excited to say that he had done it himself. 

The road trip itself went great.  Callum didn't even cry one time.  He was all about observing the sights outside of his window.  How many times did he declare that he could see a D (diesel)?  I can't even begin to count.  He also enjoyed the railway tracks alongside I-40, ambulances, bridges, and odd looking cars with cranes, tools, etc...

We spent time 10 days in Alabama with my brother and his family.  
Below are some of the highlights...
--Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga
--Chattanooga Choo Choo in Chattanooga
--Soldier Show in Huntsville
--Nasa on the Square in Huntsville
--Celebrate America Concert in Huntsville

Thursday, May 21, 2015

the yoga teacher

Have you ever been to a live yoga class?  

I attend a yoga class through the Indian Health Care Center in my community.  This weekly class has been a special gem in my week for the last four years.  I would like to say that I attend on a weekly basis, but I'd be completely lying.  Since Motorcycle entered my world I don't often justify ditching him on a week night after being with a babysitter all day.  When I do carve time to attend, I leave being better than when I arrived. 

I breathe teaching.  It's what I constantly aim to improve during the 9-5 of my life, and it constitutes a great deal of passion for what makes me happy in my life.  Now that I am in more of an administrative school role, I am teaching adults more often than I am teaching students.  With some of our instructional shifts next year, I am going to find myself supporting, facilitating, and teaching how to differentiate learning on an individual basis for each student.  

While in a new balance pose at said yoga class, the instructor gave positive reinforcement and some constructive feedback in a fluid and calm way.  The lady next to me was struggling to get triangle pose with her fingers on the floor.  I was able to do so, and the teacher took the opportunity to extend my learning through having me reach further and twist my core.  That was the first time I noticed differentiated learning in a real world setting.  
A little later in the class our teacher modeled a multi-step pose that is considered difficult.  She modeled the entire pose, and then gave us details on each step while we were able to watch and ask questions.  On the outset of the pose she offered us blocks to use if we desired.  At first I thought I would not need the blocks, but I did indeed use them to gain my balance while holding correct form.  

Aren't yoga blocks like accommodations and differentiation?  I needed the blocks to accomplish the task in a high quality manner.  Because I was given the blocks, I gained mastery.  I wasn't cheating.  I was working really hard.  You could tell by the sweat beading on my face and my shaky legs.  Rather than telling me to do something easier or better yet, ignoring the fact that I was struggling, the teacher offered me blocks in hope that I would utilize it to be successful.   

Some times when I explain differentiation I see blank stares.  Individualizing the instruction to help the learner access the knowledge is key.  If you need a yoga block, your teacher gives you a yoga block.  If you need a side by side model, your teacher models the process, so you can do it!  


Sunday, April 26, 2015

the second birthday festivities

We were lucky enough to have all the Arizona Bratts in town for Callum's little birthday celebration.  

No surprises here.  We went to El Rancho and attempted to have Callum wear the sombrero for the traditional fried ice cream photo.  

On Sunday afternoon we had a family lunch and birthday cake.  We had planned to ride bikes at the train park, but the weather was rainy and cold.  So weird and random.  

Callum got way too many toys from us.  I'm totally against that kind of thing, but Jason likes to live big for birthdays.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

the second birthday


It's funny because we've had only 730 days with this little guy.  However, I can't hardly remember what it was like to not have him around.  

I've learned many things about this little tyke that give me a glimpse into who he will become.  He is a very busy and occupied boy.  Given something to categorize, sort, or figure out, and  he is there.  Given free space or a quiet event, and Callum runs and runs and runs.  He is the kind of boy that goes all out every time.  He runs full speed to get to his room for bed.  

I have learned that he doesn't like to be messy.  He says thank you after every little thing that is done for him.  For example, if you were to change his diaper, he would say, "thank you diaper."  This pattern holds true for everything!  

Callum recently learned how to fold his arms for prayers.  He says bye bye at the end and is not quite ready to try it himself.  

His vocabulary has exploded in the past month.  He learns new words at a rate I can't keep up with.  Gorilla is one of his cuter words right now.  

And then trains.  He is obsessed.  I don't even know where to start.  One night last week Jason heard him playing with trains at 4am!  He has a radar for them around our town.  He knows the roads that border the train tracks and make sure to announce when he sees one. 

His is happily sleeping in his own bed.  I can tell he is well on his way to being potty trained because he constantly talks about where pee and poop go.  

He doesn't have any toys in his new room.  He has a bookshelf with tons and tons of his favorite books.  Often times we listen to him reading himself stories after waking up from a nap.  

He has figured out that numbers and letters are special.  When he sees letters he says, "a and o" over and over as if he is pointing and reading.  He can count to two and does it any chance he can with his toys or books.  

I am undeserving of such a good boy.  He's happy and easygoing like his daddy.  

Happy Birthday my precious Callum

Friday, March 27, 2015

the mom decision

Recently I made a big decision.  
The opportunity to climb the career ladder even higher was opened to me.  The same opportunity was opened to me last year.  

Last year I struggled with my decision.  I originally said no and then succumbed to pressure from others to say yes.  After a few days of saying yes, I couldn't live with my decision.  I knew it was the wrong decision by how my heart felt about it.  I was just uneasy in every which way.  I officially pulled my name.  

This year the opportunity came up again about two months ago.  I was professional and thanked them for even considering me.  I told them I would discuss this decision with my family.  I also said that my same reservations from last year were still the reason I didn't think it was right for me right now.  

Fast forward to the present, and I can say that I have no uneasiness about putting my family first.  The main thought I have is that I won't look back in 33 years and be grateful for putting my career first while my kid (and future kids) are little tiny things.  However, I would look back in 33 years and be grateful that I was available and around my kids as much as possible for a working mom.  

The funny thing is that the usual and normal me would not hesitate to take this career jump.  It is where I want to be.  Something changed after having Callum.  I have just a tiny bit more of a grasp on what is truly important in this world.  While my job gives me so much satisfaction, I cannot say that I have true joy from it.  The true joy in my life comes from my family.  

I know that making a sacrifice for family will be a fruitful one.  It means I get to take Callum to the train park after school a bit more.  It means that I get to enjoy June and July with my baby.  

The moral of the story is that cherishing these crucial baby years will be the best decision I could make.  I truly believe I'll be better in my career because of it. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the big boy bed

This little precious Motorcycle of mine just keeps passing milestones before I can even accept the last one.  

We have been wanting to make the transition to big boy bed for quite some time.  The bouncing and standing in the crib has had me worried for several months now.  Not only that, big independent boys don't belong in little prison cells for beds.  

We were excited to set up his new room and new bedding.  It was all fun and games until we went to put him to bed the first night.  He was nervous and uneasy about going into a new room.  He wasn't the problem though.  I couldn't handle it.  The moment I saw him get a little scared I backed out.  It was as if I was abandoning him to a lonely and scary crib just like I did when he was just a day old.  We let him sleep in the crib one more night so that his mom could adjust to this new milestone.  

I thought it over and realized that it is traumatic all over again just like it was when we left him in his crib the first time and then when we let him cry it out around six months.  The second night came around and the baby whisperer, Jason, dutifully put him to bed.  A few sad sounds and within minutes he was sleeping soundly in his big boy bed.  I was in the living room waiting for him to cry so that I could jump in to cuddle him a bit longer.  

I should have known all along that he would do well.  He's always been a great sleeper.  I have had it easy when it comes to getting this boy the Zs he needs.  We are now five days in, and Callum has effortlessly slept in his big boy bed.  He did fall out once during the night.  Other than that, he is proud of his bed and enjoys showing it off to us when he wakes up.  

And so it is, our 22 month old sleeps in a big boy bed. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

the capture of excitement

 Have you met Motorcycle?  He is filled with happiness and joy.  I am not kidding.  This boy bursts at the seams with excitement and pure amusement at every little good thing in life. 

For example, I captured the world's best excited face as we lit Tete's birthday candles. I can't even.

In another example he removes the pots and pans from our kitchen.  This happens on a daily basis.  He loves it, and I love that it brings him happiness.  

I adore Callum's eagerness to share laughter and communicate.  Below is one of his first experiences with popcorn.  He was able to say the two syllable word after hearing the word only a few times.  On this same day he asked a fellow toddler, "Are you okay?"  He has also started saying thank you after every little thing he does.  

He takes pride and has a willingness to eat his food by himself.  Below is his first experience with red velvet cake. 

I end by noting the volume and curl his hair is starting to take on.  Hello, Jason junior.  I'm totally okay with this. 

These are the special moments that I enjoy.  I continually-even daily-remember how lucky I am to be his mom.  It's just too good.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

the lost dutchman half marathon win

While I am in shape, I cannot say that I specifically trained for this race. I thought it sounded like a good idea when my sister suggested it.  I know that part of my good race had to do with the fact that the overcast low elevation perfect winter temperature had something to do with it.  The view was beautiful of the Superstition Mountains.  

Personal best in the half marathon distance!!

Mile 1-7:48 pace.  Felt good but wasn't about to be the idiot that overdid it in the first mile.  

Mile 2-5-on a straight fancy neighborhood street.  Easy but boring 5K pace was 7:48

Mile 6-Quite motivating to get to the halfway point.  The out and back concept makes it easy to really be aware of the distance remaining.  starting to find my true pace-7:34 pace

Mile 7-9-started passing quite a bit of people.  The people ahead of me dropped like flies here and there.  I also had an idea in my head of 15 females ahead of me.  I knew I would be able to reel in some of those ladies. I had about a 1/4 of a GU.  Started accepting water at each station-tiny sips.

Mile 10-Go time.  I had it in me to go.  My official races stats above confirm that I got faster and faster as the race went on. 7:31 pace-rocking it and feeling so freaking good

Mile 11-13-got mixed up with 10kers.  That was annoying but made me want to run faster to get away from them!

I would like to take a moment to celebrate my race pace!  7:26.  I'm proud of that commanding pace.  I knew I had it in me.  The first place age group finish confirms this!!  Just wait to see what I do next.  

One of my favorite parts about this race was that I had negative splits across the board. I ave strengths and weaknesses as an athlete and runner.  One of my strengths is honing in on negative split pace.  I don't use fancy watches to gauge my pace.  I feel it out, and I'm usually on the money.  
My least favorite part of the race was that it was on pavement the entire time. We never actually ran through Lost Dutchman State Park.  We were darn close, but it wasn't quite there.  I would say that the course description is deceiving in that regard.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

the grand canyon trip with motorcycle

We took some of our Kiwi relatives to visit one of the natural wonders of the world in our own backyard.  First, we stopped at the Little Colorado River Gorge.  In some ways I love this even more than the Grand Canyon.  We also stopped to by some turquoise jewelry.  There is not a better place to stop for jewelry than on the side of the road in Navajo country.  It was scary to have Callum on the edge.  My fear was definitely heightened for his safety!  

Taking Callum to the Grand Canyon was neat. I was surprised to see that he was interested and even delighted by the sheer beauty of the place.  I could tell he could tell that it was a very special place.  

We have visited the Canyon in winter time on previous occasions.  However, it was an unseasonably warm day this trip.  We loved the sun and temperature.