Monday, July 14, 2008

And she's off!

Did you know that...
1 in every 7 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
Every 3 minutes a woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis.
Every 13 minutes a life is lost by breast cancer.
As many of you know, my mom has been training for months in order to complete the Avon Walk....39 miles of walking in two days in a fight against breast cancer. This cause is close to our hearts as we lost Grace Hanley, my grandmother (mom's mom) to breast cancer. My mom walked in memory of her.
Originally she had signed up for the Houston walked, raised $1,800 to donate to the cause, trained, and was ready...until she came down with pneumonia a week before the walk. Luckily, the nice people at Avon allowed her to transfer her registration to the San Francisco walk which worked out well b/c the weather is more conducive to walking 39 miles.

She hit another "snag" during her training called "Dr. Fagalhi" mom's cardiologist. He told her about a month before the race that he did not approve of this long distance walking and was only going to allow her to walk 3 - 4 miles a day! It was something about heart disease, stroke, and her pacemaker...blah, blah, blah. Well, apparently, it has been determined where I get my stubbornness from b/c here's a picture of mom at mile 12 on the first day:

Take that Dr. Dr. Fagalhi!!! She has to answer to him next week.

Mike and I (and the dogs) had a blast following her around the bay area over the weekend. It was truly amazing seeing how many people came out in support of the race. People dressed up in all kinds of costumes, drove decorated cars, honked, yelled, played music, cheered, handed out food, and drinks. There was so much love and support for the 2 days as 3,200 walkers made their way from Golden Gate Park over the bridge to Sausalito and Mill Valley and back....then to Crissy Fields, Lombard Street, Financial District, SOMA, Potrero Hill, Duboce Park, and back to Golden Gate Park.

The walkers crossing the Golden Gate Bridge:

And here's mom crossing the bridge on the first day at about 6 miles (look for the blue hat):

And walking through Sausalito:

On the second day, Sandy and Jerry came out all decked out in pink to support their grandma.

Here's a picture of mom and a friend she met along the way taking a break once they reached us at a cheering station in Potrero Hill:

Among the many volunteers were a few men dressed in pink: the San Jose Police Officers! What a fine group of men! They do not get paid for their service yet there is a waiting list down at the San Jose station to be one of the honorary officers to work the Avon walk every year. They were so kind, supportive, and served as great motivators for all the walkers...and they even had pink shirts made for the event! Here are some San Jose officers "on duty":

And of course mom couldn't leave without hanging with the men in uniform...

All in all, my mom walked a total of 21.5 miles and we couldn't be prouder! Here she is at the finish line (we missed her actually crossing it...she was too had nothing to do with the San Francisco traffic):

Sandy was the first to congratulate her for finishing!

And guess who signed up for next year?? It's a mom/daughter team!

And the dogs learned how exhausting it can be to support grandma...

Friday, July 11, 2008

We've Picked Sides

Mike and I grew up playing sports. In sports you have teams....and therefore sides. This may be sides of a court, sides of the bench, even sides to an issue. Whatever it is, you are defined. Whether it be by the color of your jersey, the school you go to, the uniform you wear, or the name of your team. You are a part of something and you work together as a team to get there.

Whether we have realized this or not it has been a consistent part of our relationship from the beginning. I am from Texas. Mike is from Colorado. I remember a caps game that defined which side was better ("Texas gals vs. Colorado girls"). The Texas gals won but that's beside the point. Even my earliest memories of Mike and myself are mostly of us playing team sports together. And in the off chance UCLA was playing A&M in a sporting out!

When Mike and I got engaged our entire world was focused on wedding planning. I wasn't ready to give up my maiden name yet (again, that's what defined me for 30 years) so we became Team Spartin (Martin + Spruiell = Spartin). That's right. We had a team name that defined us as an engaged couple....our mission: to plan the best wedding we could.

By marrying Mike, I found myself a part of a new group...the Spruiells...and that was equally exciting! I've never had 4 siblings before and here I was drinking shots and chanting "Cool Spruiells!! Cool Spruiells!!!!!" at my rehearsal dinner with Mike's two sisters, brother, and brother-in-law, mom, and dad. Even my own sister and brother-in-law were taking part. It was an exciting time b/c all of a sudden I was a "Cool Spruiell"!

Fast forward to the present. As many of you know, we live on Animal Planet: Population 5....just enough to warrant two teams. Parents always tell you growing up that you love your kids equally and there is no such thing as favoritism. Well, I am here to tell you that is not entirely the case. We have our favorites. Mine is Sandy and Mike's is Jerry..and therefore our teams: the males vs. the females...with Toby somewhere in between. Actually, I think Toby is his own team. Who am I kidding, we all answer to him anyways. We'll call him the referee.

Mike and Jerry CLEARLY have similarities. They LOVE to cuddle and talk about their feelings. They choose to sit and stare at you until you give them attention...sometimes going so far as poking you (or in Jerry's case making obscure noises and nudging your hand with his nose). They are both very smart: I just learned recently that Mike graduated at the top of his high school class and well Jerry...Jerry graduated as the valedictorian of his training class at Petsmart. And they are both pretty laid back guys.

Then there's Sandy and myself. Other than the fact that we sorta look alike (as one of my best friends, Karen, puts it "you are both tall, blond, and like to shake your tail"), we do not really like to cuddle and we certainly do not like a lot of attention. However, we are really good listeners. Sandy listens to me whine all the time! We are both pretty independent and need time away from the hustle and bustle of Animal Planet in order to rejuvenate. We are both anxious and stressed out beings. I like to say we are "just very Type A" but others would call us mental. Oh and we LOVE treats!

So therein lies our sides.

We try to be equal parents but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I have been known to give Sandy the bigger treat under the excuse that she is a bigger dog. Confession: I think she deserves the bigger treat. And even though we have a strict 'no dogs on the couch' rule, I sometimes find Jerry lying on Mike's lap with Mike's arms wrapped tightly around Jerry. Mike's reaction to my disapproval: "Jerry's not ON the couch...he's on my lap!" We compare everything when it comes to our dogs: who is prettier, who is smarter, who knows more tricks, or who can spot the cat or racoon outside the fastest. We've even had them race down the street to determine who is the fastest runner! Now that we've picked our sides, I think we need a couple team names! And maybe some matching t-shirts and collars....