Monday, September 25, 2006

Cough Safe

It's the time of year again. Cold and Flu season are just around the corner. Now's probably a good time to brush up on your coughing and sneezing technique. If you have 5 minutes run over to and watch their video tutorial on the proper technique for coughing. Informative and absolutely hilarious. This one really made my day. Thanks Deb!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Team Hoyt

The other day, one of my sisters sent me the following email. It was really good, so I thought I'd post it on my blog. When you're done reading it, check out the video on YouTube. Also, you can check out their website at

Strongest Dad in the World From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars—all in the same day. Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right? And what has Rick done for his father? Not much—except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. “He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life,” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.” But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There's nothing going on in his brain.”

"Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!”

And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.” Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.” That day changed Rick's life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!'' And that sentence changed Dick's life.

He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon. “No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then; they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?” How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.” And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn't been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would've died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland,Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day. That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. “The thing I'd most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once.''

Here's the video....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Potty Training

It's official. Tori has been potty trained. Best $20 I've ever spent. Here's what we did: (Ok, OK... Anna did it.)

Tori is really into Dora the Explorer these days. So, Anna took her to WalMart and bought a bag of candy and four Dora play figurines. She told Tori that every time she would pee in her potty chair, she'd get a piece of candy, and every time she pooped in the toilet she'd get one of the toys. She then placed all the goods on the back of the toilet where Tori could see them all the time:

And it worked marvelously. Tori went #1 on the potty 6 or 8 times the first day. On the second day, she worked up the courage to poop in the potty and earned Dora. She ran around the house yelling, "I did it! Yeah!" (That's what Dora says on her show.) Then she proceeded to run to the bathroom, pull down her pants and began to grunt and push on her tummy. "I have to get Diego!" she exclaimed.

So, she's been potty trained for almost a month and hasn't had any relapses. However, we are still working on perfecting some of the finer points of her potty technique, namely wiping.

A few days ago, I got Hope up for school and started working on getting her breakfast while she went off to the bathroom. A few seconds later she came running back into the kitchen yelling, "Dad, there's something in the toilet!"

Here's what I saw:

Tori got up in the middle of the night to go potty (Yes, she really does get up and go all by herself) and dutifully went to wipe herself. At the time, she hadn't quite mastered the art of tearing toilet paper off the roll. So, apparently in an effort to not make a mess, she proceeded to unwind the entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet. Thank God she forgot to flush!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Horseback Riding

Google has a great new version of their Picasa photo software out. It includes a new feature called Web Albums that's remarkably similar to the photocasting feature of iPhoto. Here's my first Web Album of the Kid's going on pony rides while we were at Big Cedar in Branson a few weeks ago: (Click on the picture below to see the entire album.)

Horseback Riding
Sep 9, 2006 - 16 Photos

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brownwood Locomotion 5K Run

For the past 6-8 weeks I've been training for the Brownwood Reunion Locomotion 5K run. I haven't run as much as I'd like, but have put a fair bit of effort into it. I figured it was a good way to help me get into a little better shape and gave me a goal to work towards. When I started running, I couldn't make it through a mile and I was sore for about 4 days afterwards. Lately, I've been running at least 2 miles a few times a week and I try to take one day per week and run 3.2 miles (5 k). I no longer get sore and I'm really enjoying it.

Before the race today, my personal best time was just under 33 minutes. My goal was to complete the race in 30 minutes. I figured that would be a pretty respectable finish.

So, this morning I went on down to the newly constructed Historical Transportation Complex (in thriving downtown Brownwood) and met up with my other team mates from work. We agreed that our main objective would be to cross the finish line and have fun along the way. One of the guys mentioned that his goal was to beat his 29 minute best. I decided that I'd try to stick close to him.

I was really pleased with my performance. I was able to stick with my buddy about 2/3 of the way through the race until he started to pull away from me. I ended up finishing 10 minutes behind the leader with a chip time of 28:11. That beat my personal best and was enough to put me in 97th place overall and 8th place in my age group. You can see the race results online here.

It looks like I'll have to train harder for next year. One of the guys on my team from work completed the race in 23 minutes, and he's 48 years old.