Tuesday, April 30, 2013


So, Sunday was the big day.  My first half-marathon.  I, impulsively, signed-up for the Drake Relays Half Marathon ten weeks ago.  The closer it got, the more my stomach was in knots.  I was so stinking nervous!!  Guess what?!  I DID IT!!!!  I'm officially a half-marathoner!!!
Frank and Linda were nice enough to come down and stay with us Saturday night so Aaron could come down to the run with me.  He took this picture with my phone.  There was a lot of people and not enough room in the chutes for everybody. 

I did really well the first nine miles.  My knee started to hurt a little, but nothing terrible.  Then, about 9.5 miles I heard some ladies talking behind me about the hills in mile 11.  I turned around and asked them about it.  They said they were going to suck. 

They weren't kidding.  We turned the corner and it was two blocks of pure hill.  I said to myself, "Jamie, you haven't walked for 11 miles and you aren't going to start now.  Just keep going.  No matter how slow, don't stop running."  The 11th mile of hell almost did me in.  It was hill.  Then flat.  Then another hill.  And some more flat.  And one more hill.  I didn't stop running though! 
The last 2.1 miles were the longest of my life.  I'm not even kidding.  I kept looking at my GPS watch even though I told myself not to.  The coolest part of the race was that we got to finish in Drake Stadium on the blue oval.  When we came in and everybody was cheering on the runners I thought, I'm really doing this!  I'm going to make it!  Aaron was ready with his camera and I gave him a big old smile because I was so close to that finish line!!  Official time: 2:23.32  Not fast, but who cares!  Not this girl!
This non-trackster loves medals.  I was so excited when I crossed and they gave me that medal.  I wore it for a good solid four hours before I took it off. Haha!  When I got done, Aaron said he was so proud of me, which meant so much to me. :)  I couldn't have done this without him helping with the kids so I could train.  
When you run 13.1 miles, you have time to think.  I got to thinking about how three years ago I remember being so excited that I ran an entire mile without stopping and then there I was Sunday, running every single step of those 13.1 miles.  Look how far I've come.  It's amazing to me.

Jenna made me this sign that she had waiting for me when I got home.  Love, love, love it!!
Running is still hard for me.  I don't love it.  I like it when I'm done.  I still have to drag my butt out the door every single time.  Yes, every. single. time.  But, I like how it makes me feel.  I like that I'm a healthier me.  A stronger me.  Finishing that half-marathon made me feel like I can do absolutely anything.

The other cool thing about running is that it doesn't discriminate.  You can be old or young or tall or short or everything and anything in between.  Running doesn't care.  You will never meet a more encouraging bunch of people!  

If you want to try running - do it!  If I can, I swear to you anybody can!  You won't regret it.  

Aaron asked me if I would run another half marathon.   Hmmm....I'm not sure.  Time will tell I guess.  For now, I'm still basking in my runner's high. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Others.

I know I dedicate a lot of time on this blog to Blake because of his medical condition.  It's just an easy way to pass along information to people without having to repeat myself 100 times. :)  There's something that is always on the forefront of my mind though - the others.  Jenna.  Brody.  Bowen.  I think about, almost on a daily basis, how Blake's situation affects them.
Take this example from this morning:  I was in taking a quick shower and heard Brody running from the kitchen to the living room yelling, "Blake's going to puke!" Don't be alarmed.  Kidney kids puke a lot.  I quickly finished and walked into the living room to find Brody holding a towel under Blake's chin (like he has seen Aaron and me do a million times) and saying, "It's going to be ok, Blakers.  It's going to be ok."

I could instantly feel the lump in my throat.  I felt two things mainly, as I tend to in situations like this.  1.  I felt proud of how the others (especially Jenna and Brody) handle Blake.  They are growing up so fast and are just so caring and helpful.  2.  I felt sad that this is normal to them and they probably don't even think anything of it.

I feel like Jenna and Brody understand for the most part what's going on.  We don't hide things from them and have always been honest.  But I wonder about Bowen.  What does he think when he sees his twin brother get a shot?  Or his blood pressure taken?  Or hooked-up to a dialysis machine?  Here's what I do know.  Bowen understands things like we do Blake's BP and temperature every night.  It is Bowen's job to turn on the blood pressure machine and then push the button when I tell him to.  It's also his job to hand me the thermometer.   That's his "job"  and he does it.

Aaron said to me that he thinks because we handles things in a positive manner, that our kids will follow our lead.  Does Blake's situation suck?  Yes.  Can we do anything right now to change it?  No.  We cannot stress about things that are out of our control.  Blake being born with kidney disease is one of those things.  It is what it is.  How we choose to handle it is our CHOICE.  We choose to make the best of it for us.  For Blake.  For Jenna. For Brody. For Bowen.

One more example:  The kids saw a lady walking around town who has a very pronounced limp.  They asked why she was limping and I just told them that she maybe has a bad hip or leg.  And I followed it up with, 'you know, just like Blake has a bad kidney." They responded with, "Oh, ok."  They said it like they immediately understood.

I have to believe in my heart of hearts that all four of my kiddos will be better people because of this.  I hope that they are filled with kindness.  And compassion.  And an openness for people that aren't the same as everybody else.  But mainly, a loving and caring heart. 

If you're still reading this, thank you for letting me ramble.  I needed to put these thoughts down today.  Sometimes my heart just needs to vent... :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blake's Benefit 5K

As I said at the beginning of the week, we had the Blake Burdorf Benefit 5K Fun Run/Walk last Saturday.  Last fall, our friend Danielle Toyne mentioned doing a 5K for Blake in the spring and I kind of forgot about it until she emailed me asking for dates that worked.
Long story short, it was April 13th.  Danielle and her husband, Jesse, her parents (Brad and Sara) and her sister, Emily, were awesome!  They organized and ran the whole thing and things went really well.
Even though the weather wasn't the warmest, at least it was DRY!  Dry days seem to be a rarity these days.  I think Danielle said there was about 185ish people that had registered. Start of the race...
Because it was so chilly, we decided to not push the boys in the stroller.  Aunt Mandy, Uncle Justin and Uncle Adam did a pretty darn good job keeping the kids entertained throughout the race. 
My sister did the Couch to 5K training program and completed her very first 5K for Blakers!  We decided to run it together and I'm so glad I did.
  Jess said to me afterwards,"I know you wanted to run faster."  That wasn't the point.  The point was that I got to run 3.1 miles with my sister. How often will I get to say that?!  I was SO proud of her!
 And how about Aunt Jill?  Miss I just had a baby seven weeks ago!  She ran.  The entire thing.  What a rock star!!
 The three runners...
 This picture cracks me up.  ALL of our kiddos heading back from the park.  Think we need a few more?!  Haha!
 Aaron post race.  Technically, he didn't walk the whole thing, but he did make it his job to talk to a lot of people along the route. :)
Our Iowa State Dance Marathon family came over to support us!  Love those ISU kids!
Three boys and a gator.  Heaven.  Pure heaven.
Jenna and Brody helped Danielle hand out the medals.
Aaron gave a very nice speech afterwards.  He's good like that.  I get all nervous, so I put speech giving in Aaron's department.
Our friend, Jay, got first in his age group and gave his medal to Blakers.  So cute. :)
Our family that's not our blood family, but we love them like they are.  The Morgans.  They are the BEST.  The absolute BEST!!
 We cannot say enough about the community in which we live.  They are so supportive of us.  Their constant encouragement and prayers keeps us going.  A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated or volunteered and made Blake's Benefit a success!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2 things + 2 things = 4 things

1. I'm only a week behind here, but the twins turned two last Monday (April 8th!).  I can't believe those little munchkins are two!  I can't imagine our family without them.  Monday was emotional for me, for obvious reasons.  It was weird, at 12:19 PM I was sitting at my desk and looked at my watch.  Blake was born at 12:20 PM and Bowen 12:30 PM.  I smiled and got teary on their official birthdays.  They are our miracles!  I wouldn't trade them for anything. :)
 2.  It's another pretty busy week for us.  We have track photos.  And prom photos.  And Aaron has three golf meets this week.  The boys have their two year check-ups. Jenna starts softball practice.  No dull moments, ever!

3.  Aaron has officially received the call that they are closing his file to be Blake's kidney donor.  Sad, but we knew they had to do that in order to move on down the list.  They (Iowa City) have been in contact with the next two people on the list so they can begin their testing.  We will wait and see what happens!

4.  And finally, there was a Blake Burdorf Benefit 5K Fun Run/Walk last Saturday in State Center Saturday!  A friend of ours organized the entire thing and there were many other volunteers who made it a success.  I will do a separate post about this, but we have amazing support and can't say enough about our community!  Also, a bunch of our family came as well - here's the group that made the trip:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Iowa City (times two)

I'm typing this as we're driving home from Iowa City after a LONG day.  I'm trying to figure out how to organize my thoughts and it's hard.  Because I'm mentally drained.  And overwhelmed.  On Wednesday Aaron went down by himself for his full day of  donor testing.  Thursday, Aaron, Blake and I headed down for Blake stuff.

Aaron Wednesday:  All of Aaron's tests went really well and his labs looked great.  Except for his blood pressure.  It was just over what the donor criteria is.  On Wednesday, in talking with the physician at his general physical, the doctor decided to give Aaron a couple of months to make some changes to his diet and exercise to see if he could lose 10 lbs.  She was optimistic that this would bring his BP down enough and make him a good candidate to be Blake's donor.  The only uncontrollable factor is that because Aaron is adopted, he has no idea about his family history and that could indeed run in his genetics.

Aaron Thursday: He got a call from the surgeon about something they found on his CT scan.  What they found was that a lymph node of his has grown from 3 cm to 6 cm.  Backstory on this: Six years ago Aaron got really sick when we were in MN and ended up being taken to Mayo.  Long story short, after a million tests, it was determined that he has something called Castleman's Syndrome.  Doctors don't know a lot about it.  Anyway, this lymph node of his has grown in size over six years.  None of his labs indicate that anything is wrong, but it is pushing on his right kidney and ureter.  So, he has to have that taken care of and just got crossed off the potential donor list.  Which is a big bummer. :(

Blake ECHO: He was a ROCK STAR!  They had plans to sedate him and I asked if we could try it without and with the help of distractions like bubbles and an iPad, he didn't have to be sedated.  This mama was so, so proud of what a big boy he was.  His results were great!

(Blake during his ECHO)
Blake Nephrology: His BP has been on a rollercoaster this past week, but thankfully Dr. Jetton wasn't overly worried.  We are adding a couple extra cycles to dialysis and hoping that takes care of the issue.  They were very pleased with how much his height shot up the past month - 2.5 cm!!  
(We had time to kill before our last appointment and made a stop at Scheel's)
Blake Urology: This is a cluster.  And that's putting it mildly. We are at a standstill on this until we find Blake a donor.  There is a small (very small) possibility that we will be able to combine his kidney transplant and bladder augmentation surgeries.  That would be so beyond wonderful I can't even tell you!  However, if that is not an option, once we find Blake a donor he will have to have his bladder surgery and then be on hemo dialysis (which requires four trips a week to Iowa City) for two months.  UGH....  Please pray that we can combine these surgeries.  And that we find a donor.  That is most important!!
(Spinning chairs are FUN - post ultrasound)
So to summarize:  Aaron - not a donor.  Bladder - who knows...

**If you guys have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask us!**

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


My Easter post.  Finally.  :)  Anyway, we headed up to Mankato to see Justin, Mandy and Maddox.  My dad and Linda also came up on Saturday.  

Friday night we were able to swim and go out for supper with our good friends who also live in Mankato, Scott and Lisa.

Saturday was a fundraiser 5K for LEEP, where Mandy is the Executive Director.  It is a really great place and I was more than happy to run to raise money for the cause.  Scott also ran too!  Here we are pre-race:
They always have the run on Easter weekend, so it really has an Easter theme: it's a bunny run and there is also an Easter Egg Scramble for the kids.  Scramble.  Get it?!
We don't like Santa.  We don't like the Easter Bunny either apparently...
Bowen REALLY doesn't like the Easter Bunny.  Aaron said that Blake might have liked him, but Bowen was in hysterics, which freaked Blake out.
$2,000 raised!  Woo-Hoo!  The run was really good!  I actually set a PR in the 5K, which was awesome and made me super happy.

Jenna getting her goodies. 
Saturday afternoon Mandy, Justin, Aaron and Linda headed to Mandy's office.  The twins were napping, so while my dad baby-sat I took the three kiddos to a nearby park.  
 Trees.  Water.  A paved trail.  Ball diamonds.  Playground equipment.  A hockey rink. I'm so incredibly jealous that Justin and Mandy are lucky enough to have this so close to them!
Boys will be boys.
More of the same.  Please excuse my terribly bright photos.  The kids ran from one thing to the next and I didn't realize how bright they were.  Whoops.
Jenna, Brody, Maddox...cousins.
This sign wasn't comforting...
The kids had so much fun.  Jenna declared it, "The best nature walk ever!" Here they were sending their wishes out to the sea.  Whatever that meant.  I admire their imaginations though!

I wish I could put one of these in our sandbox.  Brode was obsessed.

Justin was giving Aaron a hard time about taking Blake's BP Friday night, so Aaron made Uncle Justin do it on Saturday night.  His nursing skills were shining. :)
We got to go swimming!  The kids loved it!  Ok, Maddox, Jenna and Blake did.  Brody and Bowen are still leary.

This was Blake's first real swim.  He can't really take baths because his dialysis catheter can't be completely submerged, but pools are ok. The boy is a fish!  He was in seventh heaven and just couldn't get enough of the water. 

This is the Justin Hunecke special...the sea coffin!
He pert near emptied the pool on numerous occasions!
This is a random of Bowen.  Oh my word, he looked like a little man in his towel!
After an awesome church service on Sunday, we went to the Wow Zone for a buffet and they also had a ton of stuff for the kids to do like arcade games, bowling and miniature golf. 
It was a good weekend.  I love when the cousins get to hang out and I love seeing family.  It's the best! The cousin pic: Blake, Maddox, Jenna, Brody and Bowen.