Posted by Tegan on Jul 31, 2012 in brave things
, Tegan's posts
photo courtesy of moms.today.msnbc.msn.com
I haven’t watched any real Olympics coverage yet this year, but I’ve been loving the clip of US gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents as they watched Aly perform her uneven bar routine.
Mom, Lynn, keeps up a running commentary throughout. Her stream of encouragement (“C’mon, Aly, c’mon, let’s go, let’s go…”) is mantra-like as she focuses on Aly, sometimes bouncing in her seat or squirming. At her side, dad, Ricky, stays quite still through much of the routine, but my favorite parts are when the two lean dramatically, anticipating and following their daughter’s movements.
You can tell that these parents know the routine backward and forward. They’re willing their daughter to succeed with every fiber of their being. That concentration is certainly Olympic level spectating!
Congratulations to Aly, Lynn, and Rick for their obvious dedication to the sport and to each other. I also cheer the family’s sense of humor about the attention they’re getting; 18-year-old Aly has been tweeting about it (@Aly_Raisman), starting with the comment, “I love my parents.”
Hooray for brave fans who are all in!
Go, Aly, and GO USA!
Linda, you’re amazing! You inspire me every day. You and your soul glitter.
Now, go enjoy San Francisco!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!
Heather in Rose Garden. Taken by: Toni Noll
Heather in the Rose Garden at Woodland Park Zoo, on her birthday last week. I love this photo. It captures her sweetness, and her ability to reach for something if you give her time.
I have been focusing in on my daughter lately…really seeing her. I wonder what it would be like to be her, having very limited sight and hearing, but able to see and hear. Her response time to any stimuli has about a 5-7 second delay, on a good day. She was born with hydrocephalus, actually a severe case. Many people recover lots of function with a shunt installed at birth. Heather is one of the rare ones who did not.
Our life has been Heather-focused for 22 years. The great part about Heather is that our life became very simple and loving, connecting with many compassionate people along the way. We have a unique story in that both parents love her equally, and I would say Colin’s heart and my heart became welded together when she was born. We have taken each surgery and each recovery as a challenge in keeping all of us healthy. It’s been a long road.
As Heather has matured a unique thing has happened. She has gotten stronger…not what anyone would have predicted. And another surprise: we have recovered some of the joys in life, like riding motorcycles…
So, Heather will be in San Francisco cheering her mother on while she swims the Sharkfest 2012 and raises awareness and money for Team Hydro. But then we will get to part ways – for the first time – and Heather will have an adventure of her own. She will fly back from San Francisco sans parents (only Toni her caregiver will be there).
I am looking forward to this year’s Sharkfest for 3 reasons. 1). To do it again, to prove it wasn’t a fluke the first time. 2) To share it with Heather and 3) To celebrate 35 years of marriage as Colin and I ride back home on a rented Harley.
Right now…Life is good.
To contribute to Team Hydro and Heather and my cause, click HERE. If you get a java screen just x it out and keep moving. THANK YOU!! We are half way to our goal.
Last weekend my husband and I did a neighborhood 5k race on Saturday, then he did the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon on Sunday. As a participant and a supporter, I had time to ponder my philosophy of cheering. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Cheer for everyone, or step away from the sidelines. When you’re cheering, give it your all! If I’ve staked prime race viewing real estate, I really feel like it’s my duty to the runners to acknowledge their effort, even if I don’t know them. Maybe I’m weird, but it makes me feel sad to see runners running past hordes of people silently craning their necks for a glimpse of the person they think they’re there to cheer. I think of a race as a parade and whoop it up for everyone who comes down the path.
- When you can, yell specifics. When I see a particularly good stride at the end, I might yell, “Whooo hooo, strong finish!” If someone looks like they are struggling, I try to be encouraging. At races with names on the bibs, I yell, “Good job, Carol! Nice stride, Ronald! You’ve got this, Esmeralda!” At Sunday’s marathon, one fellow supporter yelled coaching tips like, “Sprint now! You can make 3 hours! Use your arms, go to your arms!” My husband said those tips were a good way to focus on performance rather than pain.
- More cowbell.* The first time I watched the Boston Marathon, I realized the power of the cowbell. Clapping and yelling for thousands of runners hurts! But even a gentle shake of the cowbell gives LOTS of noise! *Because the cowbell is so effective (i.e. so darn loud), be considerate of others and don’t ring your cowbell right in others’ ears.
- Know the course to cheer multiple times. This isn’t always possible (especially on routes like the Tunnel Marathon or congested Boston), but if you can cut around the race route to cheer at multiple spots, you qualify as a Super Fan. I saw a dad and his young son at least three times on the Queen Anne Fun Run 5k course on Saturday.
- Wear something distinctive. I knew I’d seen that dad and son three times because not only were they cheering consistently and loudly, but the son had a sock monkey hat on. In July. If you’re cheering a runner, it’s good for the runner to wear something so you can spot them in the race, but if as a spectator you wear a bright color (I like my yellow rain slicker) or an eye-catching hat, your runner won’t miss you, either.
Competitors, what do you like from your cheering section?
Why do you want to do Alcatraz again? I have asked myself that, and others have asked me. This year has even more meaning than last year if you can believe it. Plus I wanted to conquer this goal to be sure the first time wasn’t a fluke.
Last year was 16 months in the making, and an amazing experience. This year the decision was made at a December coffee date with the support crew that was there and the agreement of family at home. For 2012, we decided to make the trip to San Francisco a family vacation with Heather coming along. The trip is a big deal, because she hasn’t been on an airplane since she was 5 years old, due to too many surgeries and medications. It seemed like travel was just out of our grasp until Toni suggested we all go. Now Heather is in a very healthy zone, so both Heather and Toni are coming with us. This feels great because Heather was what my heart missed last year.
Team Hydro has a huge team at Alcatraz every year swimming to raise money for Hydrocephalus research. Hydrocephalus is the disease Heather was born with that left her so debilitated, so it makes sense to go and swim as a member of their team. I’m excited to wear bright pink team cap instead of individual’s yellow. As members of Team Hydro, we have fundraising goals. If you can donate to my fundraising goal, any small amount, please click here –and THANK YOU! If you want to shout out your support for me, you can choose to donate “In support of…” and type in my name, Linda Keeney.Your donation raises money for a cure.
Us in the water a Team Hydro person swimming right behind
This will be the first sporting event Heather and I have done “together.” Her little spirit will be cheering for me from the shore.
I have learned parallel lessons from my Alcatraz crossing last year and my life as Heather’s mother. Both are lonely experiences. While swimming Alcatraz in 2011, I looked around and there was no one. That was a surprise. (The chop and swells were so high that the next swimmer was 4 feet away but I couldn’t see them.) That sense of isolation is kind of like being Heather’s mom. People think there is lots of support for a family like ours… but it often feels like we’re swimming alone in choppy seas. There is help out there, but it can be hard to find, and it takes persistence to get to it. Almost everything that Heather has in place is because we have kept plugging away trying to make her life just a bit better. Our support system for Heather through the years has been the right kind of amazing, with the perfect people coming into our lives. The same goes for training buddies: I have just the right ones it seems. Whether in training or in life, after all we get through together, strong bonds form. I know that my support is out there, even when I can’t see clearly because of life’s big waves.
When Rick and I were talking as we left one of our last training sessions, I told him that we needed great weather for Alcatraz. I jokingly said, “Now who do we see about the weather?” We all know this race all depends on the weather. Two things can keep swimmers inside the wall so they don’t get to experience the Alcatraz crossing: one is fog, and the other is too much chop. I need your support as I swim. We are asking all who seek a higher power to pray for a calm, clear San Francisco Bay July 28th. Keeping in mind that I’m relying on just one past experience and that the currents can be tough on us, picture all of us having successful swims.
Only three more open water training sessions up here before we are ready for the big day. The countdown has begun. I am excited, nervous, and ready to share it with Heather…my heart waiting on shore.
Thank you for your interest in my journey…second year here we come!
To donate to Team Hydro, please click here.
Posted by Tegan on Jul 12, 2012 in behind the scenes
, Tegan's posts
I am an aunt again! My new niece was about five weeks earlier than everyone expected her, but I think she must have known that I had a ticket to fly out to her coast last week, so she sped things up for me.
My strong, healthy (although tiny) niece joins her strong, healthy, active 19-month old brother and two incredible parents to make me a very, very proud and fulfilled auntie. Now if only New England weren’t so far away…
Thank you to everyone for sharing our family’s joy!
How do you keep in touch with friends and family who live far away?
Posted by Linda on Jul 10, 2012 in community
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Our first visitors at our new home would be Heather’s friend Dasia and family. They came for fireworks.
We all nestled in on the Love Sack and enjoyed the view from there.
Our new home is on the Northend of Lake Washington and that night we had a spectacular view.
We were just days into our new home (unpacked boxes everywhere) or we would have invited all the folks who helped us move. Colin and I counted: it took 20 people and 170 people hours to move us. We want to continually thank them. Every time I see them I say THANK YOU!!!
“WOW,” you might be saying, “That sounds like a lot! What was the problem?”
Cats were the problem. See, I am allergic to cats, and the person before us had three. It is a short sale property with a wonderful view, so we decided to take the risk and take on the cats, but little did we know we were going to be in over our heads by day two of the move. All walls required 2 coats of Kilzs paint not just one, and let’s just say the painting went slow. We also had a Fire Alarm that went off for nearly 2 hours one evening that felt like torture.
But we are in and waiting. In Short Sale we wait for the original bank to clear the offer. They say it can take months, meanwhile we rent from the owner. Step one was to clear the cats…Done. We did it with a HEPA Filter and then an anti-allergy liquid for all counters and hard surfaces, and Kilzs paint for the walls.
This move has been one of the most stressful events of our past couple of years. And I have to admit waiting will have its stress too. But it was our choice to go risky…and we will see.
Thank you, Monica, Tanya, Jazzy, Jessica, Rachael, Toni, Tom, Anna, Micah, Brooke, Lahlae, M.L., Leslie, Nahun, Margo, Eugelico, Juan, and Dave! Without you we would have been lost.
Nothing left to do but enjoy the view and invite more visitors.
Posted by Tegan on Jul 5, 2012 in Tegan's posts
Sometimes life is a bowl of cherries.
Sometimes it’s not.
But a bowl of cherries is ALWAYS good.
I’m so grateful for local, fresh, organic produce like this! Hooray for Rainier cherries. Happy summer, everyone!