Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gallbladder Be Gone!

I finally had that pesky organ removed! It was such a strange feeling being in the hospital bed with no pain. I sat back, read my book, and enjoyed peace and quiet. I was joking with the nurses that I came to the hospital to have surgery just so that I could have a day off! They would see on my chart that I had two small children and say, "Oh, you're busy!"
My first gallbladder attack was when Ada was only 2 months old. Evidently it's very common to have problems with your gallbladder after having babies. Since then, I have had 4 more attacks. Every time I went into the ER, the ultrasound would show that there were stones in my gallbladder, but that my organs were not in distress and my blood work was fine as well. Every time I would ask them to take it out, and they'd say no. You're young, healthy, and it will pass. Well after this last attack, I was up all night throwing up and Matt had to take the next day off work. I was fed up and knew that I couldn't go on living this way! It didn't matter what I ate, one attack was after a salad while everyone else ate pizza. I just needed it to be out. There was no way I could go on wondering what was going to trigger an attack. I was afraid to eat and scared to fall asleep. And there is no way you can be a good mother after you've spent the night hugging the toilet!
So, I scheduled my surgery and opted for robotic laparoscopic gallbladder removal. Because A: Technology is awesome and B: The robot let my surgeon have 3D vision and more mobility. It was really neat, he told the robot what to do from his little area then came bedside to finish up when he was done. (That's not my surgeon below.)
No make-up, headband, hospital gown. I sent this to Matt with the caption, "Bringing sexy back!" Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm working the angles in this pic. Hospital gowns are giant tents of unforgiving cloth.

Everything went according to plan and they even got me in ahead of schedule. Everyone was extremely nice, my first nurses Barbara and Kathy, and the Kevin dude who rolled me into the waiting area. My anesthesiologist was Dr. Plum, with the needle, in the operating room. He was great and talked to me about his Jawbone UP bracelet that I noticed and really want!
I really wanted to see the robot, and Dr. Lee said I would when they wheeled me into the operating room. Not the case! The last thing I remember is, "Okay, Kara. Now you're going to go to sleep." And I did :)
When I woke up, I was in a recovery room with a nurse who looked like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.
I asked him if anyone had ever told him that before, and he said yes. But that he doesn't see himself like that. He had the same white curly hair and I loved him. He called me sweetie and rubbed my arm. I was in a ton of pain coming out of the anesthesia, and he made sure to give me more morphine. Evidently I have a high tolerance for that stuff, because they kept pumping more into me and I was still in pain. Then they gave me fentanol and it finally took the edge off. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, but every time I would drift off, my breathing would become shallow and my other nurse, a little Philippino lady named Grace, would yell, "BIG! DEEP! BREATHS, KARAAAAAA!" I didn't care for being yelled at, so I learned to start taking deep, exaggerated breaths the second my machine would beep, letting me know I wasn't breathing deep enough.
I stayed in recovery for longer than expected because of the pain. I didn't want to go to another room where they'd only be able to give me oral pain meds. Once I finally got some water (I hadn't had anything to drink for 36 hours) and food in me, I was feeling better and ready to go home. Matt picked me up and the girls were so happy to see me!

Ada picked these daisies for me to make me feel better :)
I went home and slept for a few hours, then came upstairs with Matt when the girls went to bed. He worked from home on Thursday and Friday and was super dad and husband! We had Marina & Stacy watch the girls too, thank you SO much! It was such a big help to us.
Friday I laid low and just tried to relax. I walked around the house to try and get the air out of my body, it really makes your back and shoulders sore! My mom got here on Friday evening and it's been so nice having her here. The hardest part for me is not being able to pick up my girls, so it's nice that they are getting some extra snuggles from someone else.
I went shopping with my mom yesterday, and was surprised at how good I felt. Shopping is a completely different game without kids and a stroller!
Today I went to church and did okay. Thank goodness for painkillers :) I was about to fall asleep a few times, but I was glad I went. Sorry to anyone I talked to if I didn't make sense!
Easter has been wonderful. Friday night we decorated these little guys:
We didn't use the dye at all and they were mess-free. Thanks Target! Notice how Humpty Dumpty has a battle wound...he's dangerous.
We had an unconventional Easter dinner of Baked Ziti, but it was perfectly delicious & easy. My sweet girls in their new church outfits from Nonnie :)
Ada's been worried about me...sleeping by my side and checking on me every morning. I woke up yesterday to her rubbing my arm :) 
Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes. I am hoping that this recovery will continue to go well and that I will be able to continue training for my half marathon as soon as possible! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013


"Mommy, I'm gonna eat your face. Then, I'm gonna drink your eyes!"

Ada was bouncing her feet on my chair at dinner. I kept moving them in front of her, and she kept putting them back on my chair. I said, "Ada, please stop kicking my chair! You're driving me nuts!" She goes, "Nuts on your faaaaaace! Hahahahhaaaa!"

She was singing a song she made up. It sounded like, "Douche-y, douche-y, douche, douche, douche-y!" Now I hesitated to share this, because I despise that word! I hate that it has become a socially acceptable nickname for jerks. Disgusting. We never ever say that word, so I know it was just a fluke made-up song with a word she thought she created. Let's just hope she doesn't ever sing it in public. Or at church.
We were walking in Target and passed a lady who was severely obese. Ada said, loud enough for her to hear, "Her's got a BIG tummy!" It was the first time I was embarrassed in public by one of my children. I whispered in her ear to not make comments about how people look in public and she innocently asked, "Why not?" We had a talk about being polite and not pointing, etc. on the drive home.

Eating oatmeal at the table for breakfast & Ada is wiggling her bowl around. I sang, "Danc-ing oat-meal!" and she sang back, "Oat-meal dance par-ty, with - the - spoon!"

Ada would not go to sleep last night. Matt and I said goodnight multiple times, took her potty, etc. She finally came up the stairs and said, "We didn't say prayers." She was right...we came home from the store late and rushed to get the girls in bed quickly. We then knelt down and Ada said a prayer of thanks for the day & that she and Lola would sleep well. She stayed in bed after that :)

In Sunbeams, they were learning about water and all of the things we need it for. Ada's teacher asked her, "Do you use water to help your mommy cook things?" Ada just stared at her for a second and then responded flatly, "I'm just a kid." 

Angry with Lola because she wanted something she had, "Lola, SHARE! SHARING IS CARING!" 

She had a cut on her knuckle and said, "Mommy! Look at my nickel!" 
Ones I already shared on facebook but will post for the sake of documentation:

Sitting here with a stack of Joe-Joes and a glass of milk. Ada comes over, eyeing the cookies and says, "OH! Family cookies!" I said, "Noooo. These are MOMMY cookies." She goes, "I don't know...those really really look like family cookies!" 

Listening to Justin Timberlake's new song Suit & Tie...he says, "Let me show you a few things" Ada asks, "Why he wanna show me the toothpaste?!"

Listening to the baby monitor, Ada is telling Lola to "cry a lot!" so that I'll come down and get them. :) "Cry, Lola, cry!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hyundai Santa Fe’s Epic Playdate Weekend

Hyundai is putting on an EPIC PLAYDATE on the beach in Santa Barbara, CA next month! I love Santa Barbara with all of my heart and know it will be a fun time. Some popular bloggers (Heather from Dooce, Jordan from Oh Happy Day, among others) will be there teaching things like photography for kids, hula hooping, and there will be an ice cream sundae station, too. Sold!

It's invite-only, so enter the sweepstakes here: and I'll cross my fingers & toes for you! I hope I get picked to go, any excuse to go visit the family and take a trip down to Santa Barbara is a good one! 

With my family, an ideal playdate is usually spontaneous. On Saturdays, we've usually spent the morning inside...eating breakfast, lounging around, cleaning, and taking care of chores. Then we get antsy and need to get out of the house and do something, so we go. We love going to the beach and can't wait for the girls to be old enough to boogie board and surf! For now, we just jump over the waves :)

I've been dying to try out the Whale City Bakery in Davenport, the tiniest little beach town just north of us here in Santa Cruz. We've driven by it a couple of times and I looked it up online...they have a great reputation for their fish n' chips and baked goods. Since our favorite fish n' chips place closed (Andy's on the wharf) :( I need a replacement!  

We would grab food to go and then continue to drive up the coast, looking for the perfect beach to claim as ours for the day. We'd spend our time exploring and pretending, unplugged, and enjoying each other's company. 3 and 1-year-olds love looking for rocks and shells, building sandcastles, writing in the sand, and running around. Who am I kidding? So do 27 and 28-year-olds! I imagine our day winding down at sunset, with sandy, tired little children being carried back to the car. Chubby feet brushed off with beach towels, and girls buckled in their carseats for the drive home...where they both fall asleep clutching their favorite treasure from our epic playdate. 

Also, if kayaking down a sand dune is available...we're doing that too! 

That little guy looks SO happy. 

Hyundai’s Epic Playdate Weekend ( is on April 27 from 9 AM-5 PM in Santa Barbara, CA. You have to have a Pinterest account to enter (go here: for complete details)
Important: When you are asked “How did you hear about us?” Make sure and choose Clever Girls Collective! GOOD LUCK! :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

My First Ragnar Relay!

Last April, I ran the SoCal Ragnar Relay! While nursing! It's one of the most incredible things I have ever done. It is a 200-mile relay race from Huntington Beach to Coronado Island. You are on a team of 12, in two giant vans, and one member of your team is running at all times! You have 3 different legs, and my legs added up to a total of 14.5 miles.
I drove down to Santa Maria on Thursday to drop my girls off at my mom's house. Thank you Mommy!! I was so stressed out by many things...I had a stress (ha) fracture on the top of my right foot that wasn't completely healed, I had to pack all of my girls' things to leave at my mom's, then pack all of my things separately for the race to take down to Huntington Beach. Matt had just graduated and was in the middle of interviews and work so stayed up here in Santa Cruz. I ended up with a stiff neck and am grateful for Rach and Tiana for rubbing it so I could run! I made granola bars and we had lots of good snacks for the road. We spent the night at one of Elise's friend's house...thank you friends!! Tiana, Rach, & I ended up sleeping in a closet converted into a bedroom with Bob Marley flags and a bong it it. It was comical :) I had to pump in the bathroom during the night and people kept asking, "What's that noise?" haha 

Here is beautiful Tiana, ready to run her first leg. Our team name was Run Like an Egyptian, hence the flashy costumes. It was already really hot at this point in the morning!
Here is my gorgeous cousin Rach, who ran right before me. It was SO HOT here! We were resting up in the shade. She had a really rough time, and I was worried when she wasn't at the exchange in the amount of time she told us she'd be there. There was a saint of a man who helped her along, and she finally made it through the 110 degree heat and to hand off the bracelet to me.
Game face on. Nobody recognized me without my smile :)
What happened during my run was the worst run of my entire life. It was 110 degrees out, in the middle of Corona, CA. There was a heat advisory, and I was running 5.65 miles straight up a canyon! I could feel the asphalt burning my skin. It felt like a giant griddle on high heat under my feet. See the CamelPak I'm wearing in the picture above? I ripped it off my back and gave it to my teammates around mile 2 because it was BOILING. I went for a sip and it was so hot I just spit it out.
The only thing that kept me going up that cursed canyon was knowing that I would see that big white van pulled over, with my team cheering me on. Bringing me water, pouring it down my face to have it dry seconds later, and offering words of encouragement. 
What really surprised me about Ragnar was how supportive other teams were. A random team gave me water during a long stretch. I caught up to a woman and stopped to commiserate about the heat, and she and I stayed together for most of the leg. We ran a minute, walked a minute. It kept us going. I really appreciated the camaraderie between teams!  
I have never experienced heat exhaustion like that. I trained in 60-70 degree beach weather in Santa Cruz, my body was in complete shock! It was strange, my legs and everything felt fine, it wasn't a soreness or pain. It was like the energy and life had just been sucked out of me. Getting to the top of Temescal Canyon and seeing Mary ready to run was one of the best feelings in the world!
I was dreaming of this Dr. Pepper the whole run...that server was my best friend because he kept 'em coming :) 
After our van finished up our legs, we were able to head over to this crazy little place in the middle of a valley, the Lawrence Welk Resort. Who knew such a place existed?! We busted out our sleeping bags, grateful for the cool evening air, and got some much needed rest. 
We also equipped the vans with lights and all things LED!
Elise sliding down the front of the van:
We got word from Van #1 that we were almost ready to run. So we all met up and cheered our team on! Then off to the next exchanges. Thank goodness for Carly & her Garmin! That thing got us everywhere we needed to be on time. Carly's mom was our driver and she was a hoot! So full of energy, she gave us little tokens along the way to lift our spirits, and she was just so fun. She filled in for us last minute and I am so glad it was her! 
Tiana finishing her night run!
Night runs are my FAVORITE! I have always been a night runner. I used to run with my dog, and just love being outside in the dark and cool air. If Matt will go with me, I will run every night. My run was through the city of San Marcos and I will NEVER forget it! I passed (killed) three people and felt like I was flying. I ran 3.75 miles in 38:42 which was a PR for me :)
We rented a hotel for the night and each took turns "sleeping" (it is so hard to relax when you're waiting for the text that runner #6 has begun and you've gotta get in the van and go!) and showering. I may or may have not timed people's showers on my phone so that we all got a turn :)
Rachel's glowstick legs!
Our vans were AH-MAZING!!! Kandie constructed these pyramids that were feats of engineering. Everyone watched our vans as we drove by and we were notorious by the end of the race!
Aren't they beautiful? 
Rach showing them off in all of their glory :)
Everyone gets crazy on little sleep, add in exhaustion and adrenaline from running and it's hilarious.  I get really giggly and crazy and Tiana gets sleepy and quiet. Nothing's changed since we were kids! I just found out on this trip that she asked her mom to take me home from her 7-year-old birthday slumber party because I wouldn't go to sleep! hahaha :) We had some fun times on this trip, all of us laughing and talking. 
My third run was the next day, and it wasn't good. I never expected to talk so openly about bodily functions with a group of people. But, pooping is very important to how well you run, so there you have it. I had to go so bad my whole run and then when I was done running, I couldn't go. It was so frustrating. I was the second to last runner, so I was really grouchy at the finish line. But sooooo happy to have completed the race and to receive my medal!  
Team Run Like An Egyptian!
Advice & lessons learned:
- pack all clothes & underwear for your legs in separate giant Ziploc bags, your van will thank you
- bring baby wipes and face wipes
- pumping in a hot van without tinted windows is not fun, I'll never run a Ragnar again while nursing
- next time, I want to wear my costume/have time to do make-up/get more into the party part of it all (see above)
Shot Bloks are awesome
- The Stick saved my calves! With no time to stretch after your run and before jumping in the van, this was a lifesaver, thanks Elise :)
- you will become addicted. I want to do another one so bad, and was on a backup list for next month's...but the team dissolved :( 
- you will make life-long friends
Best part of it all?
Coming home to these faces :)
Can't wait for the next one...who's in?!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


The girls had their check-ups this week, and they are both "thriving" in their doctor's opinion.

Ada's 3-year-old Stats

Height: 38 inches (3 ft. 2.74 in.) - 74th percentile
Weight: 35 lbs. 11 oz. - 82nd percentile

Lola's 18-month-old Stats

Height: 33 inches (2 ft. 9.07 in.) - 81st percentile
Weight: 28 lbs. 3 oz. - 95th percentile
Head Circumference: 19.4 inches - 99th percentile!

I forgot to put that Lola says, "Whoa!" whenever she tumbles or regains her balance after stumbling. It sounds just like Joey from Blossom...anyone remember that show? :)

This is how Lola kept herself (& us) entertained while waiting for the doctor:
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