Friday, December 20, 2013

The Sleep Problem

Although not technically a symptom of the disease, a lot of people with RA have trouble with sleep. Some people have trouble falling asleep. Some people have trouble staying asleep. Some people have trouble with both.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Articles On

You can find a complete list of all the articles I have published on by clicking here. Below is a list of the new articles I published in the month of December.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Traveling With Refrigerated Medications

Are you traveling with refrigerated meds in tow this holiday season?  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We Are Not Alone

Did you know that Lucille Ball & Pierre-Auguste Renoir had RA?


Team Z Raises More Than $25,000!

Team Z raised $1,305 for the 2013 Jingle Bell Walk this year. That means that since Team Z started fundraising three years ago, we have raised more than $25,000 for the Arthritis Foundation!! I'm very proud and I hope that our funds can make a difference!! Thank you so much to all of our friends and family members who have contributed over the years!!

2013 Denver Jingle Bell Walk

Despite the nearly sub-zero temperatures (I believe it was 13 degrees?) our family and friends participated in the 2013 Denver Jingle Bell Walk on Sunday. (Honestly, I think it was warmer than last year because last year it was windy.) It was our biggest team yet with 22 adults, one baby, and one dog.

As the honoree this year, I gave a short speech at the start of the race. I briefly told my story and said it was a privilege to represent all the young people out there who are trying to start their careers, start their families, and start their lives while living with arthritis. And even though I didn't grow up with arthritis I also hope that I can serve as a role model for kids with arthritis. 

Sadly, since my knees have been giving me a lot of trouble, I wasn't actually able to walk myself this year. (Unfortunately the knee injections did not seem to solve the problem, although it seems to have helped at least a little bit.) Not being able to participate really got me thinking again about whether "A Walk" is really the best fundraising idea for arthritis. Yes, as the honoree theoretically everyone was walking in my honor. But how many of them knew I couldn't do the walk myself? How many of them really understood the impact that RA has on my life? Aside from raising some money, is the Jingle Bell Walk really getting the message out and raising awareness about arthritis? Honestly I'm not sure it is.

As the honoree I attended several pre-walk events this year. At one of the events I met some committee members (yes, the volunteers who organize the Jingle Bell Walk) who didn't seem to know that there were different types of arthritis! I had to explain the difference between RA and OA to them. One of them even joked to me that at least I didn't have to walk like Quasimodo, and I had to explain to him that arthritis can, in fact, be crippling and disabling. Learning that the people who were organizing the event were so uninformed themselves (and thought cripple jokes were funny) did not leave me with much hope that the event was actually getting the message out. I did speak to the Arthritis Foundation staff about the incident and they assured me that they would re-double their education efforts, but it was still disheartening. 

While walking and gentle exercise can be very beneficial for people with arthritis, maybe having "A Walk" as our main fundraiser does not send out the right message to the general public. Because many people with arthritis can't walk, or struggle to walk, or find walking painful - at least some of the time. The more I think about it, the more I think Dan is probably right:
You would never see the Breast Cancer people hold a wet-t-shirt contest, and you would never see the Cystic Fibrosis people hold a competition to see who could hold their breath the longest. Also, you would never see the alcoholic crowd hosting a wine tasting, and you certainly would never see the arthritis crowd hosting a walk – oh wait! Do you see how crazy it sounds when in appropriate company?
The problem is, although I have been thinking about it a lot lately, I haven't come up with any better ideas for alternatives. So I am reluctant to say that we should stop walking for arthritis - because it does raise research dollars. But. But I wish there was something we could do to make sure the message about the impact of arthritis actually gets to the people who are participating.

I'm going to keep thinking about it. 


Want to contribute to arthritis research while you do your holiday shopping? AmazonSmile will give a percentage of your purchases to the Arthritis Foundation!! 

All you have to do is go through this link to do your shopping: It works just like regular Amazon only you should see a small "Supporting: Arthritis Foundation" in the top left corner of your screen.  

Please share this info with your friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Knee Needles

I'm writing this blog post from the lodge at Loveland ski area. I wish I could say I was able to hit the slopes with my dad and APL, even just a little bit, but sadly I am still having a lot of trouble with my knees. 

After almost two weeks of taking oral prednisone, my knees are still killing me. It was getting difficult to stand in the kitchen long enough to make a meal or unload the dishwasher. It was getting difficult to drive. Even sitting on the couch seemed to hurt - not that I get to do much couch sitting while chasing aflyer my one year old! Though my rheumatologist asked me to check back after trying the oral steroids for three weeks, I didn't think I could make it that long. It felt like my knees were only getting worse. 

So I emailed my rheumatologist and last Friday I went in to have cortisone injected directly into each of my knees. It wasn't exactly a pleasant prodecure. Those needles are pretty long and went pretty far into each of my knee joints. The pain was sort of like a zing that traveled through my whole body. But I figured it would be worth it if my knees would stop hurting so much. 

Friday evening my knees felt way more swollen and stiff than before - which I guess makes sense considering they were literally filled with a foreign liquid! But I wasn't exactly expecting to spend Friday afternoon and evening more or less crippled on the couch in the family room. Thank goodness APL was there to help me wrangle OZL! After about 24 hours or so, my left knee started feeling a little bit better. But my right knee (the one that has gone pop so many times) is still pretty painful four days later.  

I'm pretty sad and frustrated about it because I guess I sort of thought that cortisone injections were as close to a magic fix as possible. I thought I might be able to enjoy my dad's visit in less pain and maybe even ski a few runs with him. I emailed with my rheumatologist yesterday and he says to wait a few more days - maybe the cortisone will still kick in. But if it doesn't it could mean that I have an internal injury in my right knee - though I don't remember anything weird happening. I suppose if my knee still hurts in a week or so I will probably need some X-rays. 

In the meantime I guess there is nothing to do but wait and see. And try to enjoy the scenery. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Parenting Amidst The Pain

I know someday I will need to explain my RA to OZL. I often wonder how it will come up. Will I be able to explain it so he understands? How will he react? I have always planned to be honest with him about it, because I truly think that honesty is the best policy. But that doesn't mean I am looking forward to it.

In any event, a fellow blogger at, Asha LeRay, recently wrote about how she told her four year old daughter about her RA. Because I strongly believe there need to be more resources out there for parents with RA (or other chronic pain) I wanted to share her post with you! 

Best Health Blogs of 2013

From This Point. Forward. has been nominated for the second time for Healthline's Best Health Blogs of 2013 contest! There are lots of amazing health blogs on the list over a range of topics and health issues - so please check out the contest and vote for your favorite!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November Articles on

You can find a complete list of all the articles I have published on by clicking here. Below is a list of the new articles I published in the month of November.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jumping Through Insurance Hoops

The hoops we have to jump through to follow healthcare and insurance procedures can be very frustrating, especially when we are already feeling our worst. I wanted to offer a few tips that might help.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Means To An End

Last weekend the weather was quite nice, so my mom and I went out into the backyard to to start attacking the one hundred billion leaves that were blanketing my lawn. Unfortunately my knees have been in so much pain lately that I found myself wearing double knee braces. And I only was able to do a little bit of raking before I had to give up and sit down.

I tried to remember the last time my RA pain had been this bad. Luckily, this blog is like a health timeline for me, so I scrolled back through my posts until I found the last time I was wearing double knee braces: right before my wedding and then again on my honeymoon.

There was a reason I was in so much pain at that particular time. Although I didn't make it public at the time, when my wedding rolled around I had already been off methotrexate for more than six months. I needed to get it out of my system so that it would be safe to conceive OZL. And although I stayed on Enbrel until I found out I was pregnant, Enbrel alone just wasn't enough to keep my RA completely under control. During the six months leading up to my wedding and the four months it took to get pregnant, I dealt with massive knee pain, excruciating hip pain, and extreme fatigue.

Luckily, I did experience at least some remission during my second trimester. But, by the time I hit the third, I was dealing with a huge pregnant belly and hip pain, hand pain, and major morning stiffness (not to mention a couple pregnancy complications). In the end I was put on bed rest until I hit 37 weeks, and OZL was brought into the world a bit early, which ended up being better for both of us.

I nursed OZL for three months until I reluctantly stopped so that I could start taking Enbrel again. Getting back on the Enbrel made a major difference in my quality of life and ability to be the mom I wanted to be. But since that time I have dealt with flare after flare because I never went back on the methotrexate.

Why? Because we want OZL to have a sibling. I have two siblings and APL has one. Neither of us can imagine our lives without our siblings and we really, really want OZL to have the opportunity to grow up with at least one brother or sister.

I never went back on the methotrexate because it was too much of a time commitment. It would take several months before it even started helping, plus however long I stayed on it to get the benefit, plus six more months to get it out of my system again before it would be safe to try to conceive another baby. We decided we didn't want our children to be so far apart in age. And, while we probably would have preferred to wait until OZL was a little bit older to start trying for a second baby, in our world the longer we wait the longer I end up dealing with RA that isn't completely treated. Which means I am living with more pain and more fatigue. So, after weighing all of our options, we decided to start trying for baby #2 when OZL turned one in May.

It has been seven months and unfortunately we are not pregnant yet, though I will admit that for at least two months my ovulation lined up so closely with my RA flares that we weren't even able to try. We are trying to remain optimistic, but in the meantime my RA has gotten worse and worse - to the point where I am wearing double knee braces just to stand in my own backyard.

The Enbrel just isn't enough on its own, and over the counter NSAIDs aren't helping. So I finally went to see my rheumatologist yesterday. With my options for medications severely limited by my desire to get pregnant, I agreed to try some prednisone (i.e. Satan's tic tacs). Prednisone and I have a long love-hate relationship. It is wonderful because it usually works great to give me less pain and more energy, but with prolonged use I get almost all of the nasty side effects. A few years ago, after being on prednisone for more than a year, I decided that the side effects were way worse than the benefit and swore never to use it again. But, of course, there are only so many options - especially when trying to conceive.

I know that I need more than just Enbrel to keep my RA under control so that we will have a chance to have a second baby. I am really hoping this will be a temporary commitment to prednisone, perhaps a month or two until I am pregnant at which point hopefully I will get some remission and not need it anymore. I don't look forward to moon face or weight gain or insomnia or blood pressure issues. But I do really look forward to growing our family - and that will make it all worth it in the end.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is It Time To Retire Walking For Arthritis?

This is a very interesting point of view: is it time to retire walking for arthritis? 

Even though I agreed to be the honoree for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk this year, I sort of tend to agree with the point he is making.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stuck In The Middle

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I belong to a demographic of arthritis sufferers who receive less support, recognition, and resources than they ought to.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October Articles on

You can find a complete list of all the articles I have published on by clicking here. Below is a list of the new articles I published in the month of October.


Last week, when I called Aetna Specialty Pharmacy for my Enbrel refill, I was instead informed that I would be unable to get my refill until I obtained a new prior authorization form. Though I was frustrated not to be given warning that I would need this paperwork, I got the appropriate form from my doctor as soon as possible. This morning I called back to order my refill. After confirming my Aetna ID number, name, and birthday, I had the following conversation:
Me: Hi. I would like to order a refill of my Enbrel.
ASP Person #1: Let me put you on hold.
(lengthy pause)
ASP Person #1: You will need prior authorization.
Me: Yes I know. I had my rheumatologist send the paperwork last week by fax. 
ASP Person #1: Yes but it hasn't been approved yet. 
Me: Oh. How long does that take?
ASP Person #1: 7 to 14 days.
Me: Really? I'll miss two doses if it takes that long. Isn't there anything we can do to speed up the process?
ASP Person #1: That's not my department. Here's a number you can call.
At that point I'm pretty sure I muttered something about this being a stupid system, then promptly apologized since I know it was not Person #1's personal fault. So I call the second number and get an automated machine, which makes me enter my Aetna ID number and my birthday and then confirms my name before turning me over to a human. But I'm not sure what the point of that was anyhow, because the first thing Person #2 did was ask me for the exact same information. Then this happened:
Me: Hi. I'm trying to find out how long it will take before I can get a refill of my Enbrel.
ASP Person #2: Ok. Let me transfer you over to the pharmacy.
Me: No! I just talked to them. They told me that I need to call you. 
ASP Person #2: If you want a refill you need to talk to the pharmacy.
Me: They told me I need a prior authorization, which my doctor sent. I am trying to find out how long it will take to have that approved.
ASP Person #2: Can you hold please?
(lengthy pause)
ASP Person #2: It has been approved.
Me: Really? The pharmacy said it would take 7 to 14 days.
(thinking: good thing I bothered to call this second number instead of just waiting to hear back from the pharmacy)
ASP Person #2: No, it's approved now. Let me give you the approval number.
Me: Great. So I just call the pharmacy back with this number and I will be able to order my refill?
ASP Person #2: Yes. I can transfer you there right now.
Me: Thanks!
But (of course) it was too good to be true. She transfers me back to the pharmacy, and, after a lengthy hold (of course) I get a human. She (of course) wants my Aetna ID number, birthday, and name for the fifth time. Then this happens: 
Me: I'd like to order a refill of my Enbrel. 
ASP Person #3: Let me put you on hold
(lengthy pause)
ASP Person #3: Oh. This was just approved today. Unfortunately you can't order a refill at this time.
Me: Why not? They just transfered me over here and said I could.
ASP Person #3: Well the system isn't letting me. It takes some time for the different systems to connect. 
(thinking: does it? Pretty sure the interwebs are instantaneous...)
Me: So...what does that mean?
ASP Person #3: You can try calling back in a few hours. Or maybe tomorrow.
Sigh. Forty-five minutes later, it turns out I might maybe be able to order my Enbrel in a few hours. Or tomorrow. Or in 7 to 14 days. It's unclear.

The only thing that is certain is that I will be missing today's dose of Enbrel. Sigh.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jingle Bell Run Kickoff Party

As I let slip in an earlier post, I have agreed to be the honoree for the 2013 Denver Jingle Bell Run. Yesterday I took OZL to the zoo for a few hours and after work we met up with APL to attend the Jingle Bell Run Kickoff party. Some friends of ours - who have been members of Team Z since day one - also joined us there (and even won some Jingle Bell Run swag in a raffle!) It was really nice to get to meet the Arthritis Foundation staff and members of the Jingle Bell Run Committee who work so hard to put together such an important fundraiser. 

Personally, I feel a little bit awkward having the spotlight turned on me - especially in person. I talk all about my innermost feelings and struggles on this blog, but I do that behind a shield of words. Generally, I am not faced with anyone's reactions to what I write, and when people do send me their reactions I have my own time and space to process what they say and figure out how to respond. But talking about my story and my experiences in person is a different matter and one that, as of yet, I am still a little bit uncomfortable with. So I am planning to try use this experience as a chance to grow and improve my speaking and interpersonal skills! (Translation: be less awkward, Mariah!!!)

Aside from potentially improving my awkwardness in talking about my arthritis in person, I don't  think that I personally need the honor of being the honoree. However, I am glad that the Arthritis Foundation chose me because I am proud to serve as the face of a demographic of arthritis sufferers who I feel receive less support, recognition, and resources than they ought to.

The Arthritis Foundation is a truly a fantastic organization, doing amazing things for everyone who lives with arthritis and helping to fund the research that will hopefully lead to a cure. But, like any organization, they also have limited means. Unfortunately, within those limited means, I feel that my demographic sometimes gets lost in the middle when it comes to promoting awareness and providing support.

On one end of the spectrum, the Arthritis Foundation spends a lot of time and energy focusing on older adults with osteoarthritis (OA). This makes a lot of sense because it is the largest population of people living with arthritis. Providing support and resources for people with OA is especially important because it can bring the largest number of people to the cause, which can only help promote awareness and improve fundraising efforts. Not to mention that the focus given to lifestyle changes, therapies, and assistive devices for older people with OA certainly overlaps to provide some useful support for older people with RA and other forms of arthritis. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the Arthritis Foundation spends a lot of time and energy focusing on children growing up with juvenile arthritis (JA). I can only imagine that having arthritis makes for a very difficult childhood, so I honestly do think these children and their families deserve all the love and support they can get. And, realistically, the sad story of a child growing up with arthritis also speaks to the heart and can certainly help a great deal with fundraising.

But what about those of us who were diagnosed in our 20s or 30s? Those of us who haven't yet started a career or started a family or who are in the middle of doing so? Or even the kids who grew up with JA who are no longer young enough to benefit from the JA materials? I personally do not think there is enough support for this demographic - my demographic of young adults. The support for kids seems to end at adolescence. And the language used to speak to older adults about adjusting to their arthritis - the need to slow down and make compromises - is not really something that someone just starting out with their life wants to hear. (In fact, I was quite upset about the use of this type of language when I was first diagnosed.)

Being a young adult is a difficult enough transition when you are perfectly health. I really think that young adults with arthritis deserve more resources and support, though do I realize this is difficult to accomplish without taking away from the other demographics. But we need hope too. We need more stories of people finishing college and grad school and starting successful and satisfying careers, despite their arthritis. We need more advice about how to talk to our employers about our physical needs, and more information about our workplace rights. We need more hopeful and uplifting information about how to survive off our meds so that we can start a family or breastfeed our babies. We need more resources so we can connect to and support each other as we travel through the prime of our lives while battling arthritis.

This is one of the main reasons I write this blog and it is certainly the main reason I agreed to be the Jingle Bell honoree. And, seeing as the Arthritis Foundation chose me as the honoree, hopefully we are all taking a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Feeling Special (Yet Again)

After researching, investigating, and endlessly discussing, APL and I finally determined that we had the best health insurance that was available to us for the time being. Despite the open enrollment period, we decided to stick with the health insurance plan that we already had. So we didn't change anything at all. The enrollment period just ended and the new plan year started on October 1st. 

Unfortunately, I have just been informed by Aetna Specialty Pharmacy (after 10 minutes on hold obviously) that simply being in a new plan year counts as having "new" health insurance, even though we did not change anything at all. This, of course, means that I need to get a new prior authorization from my doctor to get my Enbrel refill. Why is it that every time I talk to the "Specialty" Pharmacy there seems to be some sort of problem?

I am particularly frustrated about this one because I have been sick, so I put off taking my last dose of Enbrel an extra day to make sure it didn't make my cold worse. But now I am concerned that I won't be able to jump through the hoops in time to get my Enbrel refill in time for next week. This is partially my fault - I didn't realize there was only one dose left in the fridge - but I am frustrated that it never seems to be easy. And that I usually end up dealing with issues like this when I am not feeling that well.

Too bad my insurance forces me to get my Enbrel through this particular pharmacy, otherwise I'd have ditched this place after strike two. By my count we are on about strike six, but I have no choice but to stick with them.

In any event, here is an unrelated and adorable picture of OZL to make everyone feel better! Time to go get him from school!

A Hopeful Guinea Pig

Giving up on Remicade, after struggling to find the right treatment for more than a year, felt sort of like going back to square one... Even though I still felt like some sort of guinea pig, at least my rheumatologist helped me feel like a hopeful one. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

World Arthritis Day

Did you know that October 12th is World Arthritis Day? And that 1 in 5 (22%) of adults in the United States suffer from arthritis? Or that there are more than 300,000 children growing up with arthritis?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wear Blue Saturday!

This morning when I dropped OZL off at school, I picked up a flyer explaining everything that his school is doing to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month. As a woman myself (with breasts I love!) I think it is fantastic that such an important cause gets so much attention in the month of October. 

However, I have to admit that I do find it a bit frustrating that, while everyone knows to wear pink this month, almost no one seems to know to wear blue on Saturday to support World Arthritis Day. Every October the one day set aside for arthritis awareness seems to get lost in a month of pink.

But, rather than just being frustrated, I decided that I need to do something to increase awareness about arthritis. So I sent the school the following email. I hope that they decide to get involved in this cause too!! (Spoiler alert: I am the honoree at this year's Denver Jingle Bell run. More about that in a future post!)
Dear School Director~

When I dropped OZL off at school this morning I picked up a flyer about everything the school is doing to raise awareness for breast cancer - wearing pink, providing information, raising money. As a woman with breasts myself I have to say that I think what you are doing is fantastic!!  I know that 1 in 8 (12%) of women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes. 
But did you know that this Saturday, October 12th is World Arthritis Day? Or that 1 in 5 (22%) of adults in the United States suffer from arthritis? Or that there are more than 300,000 children growing up with arthritis? Or that arthritis and its related complications can sometimes be life-threatening? 
While I obviously support breast cancer awareness, sometimes I find it a bit sad that the single day set aside for arthritis awareness seems to get lost in a month of pink. I do a lot of volunteer work with the Arthritis Foundation, so I have met a lot of kids growing up with arthritis. Did you know that there are more kids growing up with arthritis than with juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy COMBINED? I know a teenage girl who had both of her hips replaced by the time she was fourteen. I have met kids who were diagnosed with arthritis when they were learning how to walk. These kids will never know a life without arthritis, but most of the world doesn't even know that kids get arthritis too. 
Seeing as World Arthritis Day is the day after tomorrow, I realize that it is probably too late for the school to do anything to recognize it (this year!). However, if you are interested, I wanted to offer another way for the school to get involved in a cause that affects so many children. 
I am the honoree this year for the Denver Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis (I have rheumatoid arthritis myself and it played a huge role in my ability to have OZL). The walk is a really fun event for kids - with costumes and activities (last year Santa was there!) - and the money raised goes to arthritis research, so that maybe someday kids (and adults!) won't have to live each day with arthritis. 
Would the school be interested in passing out a flyer about the event? Or I would really love to have any member of the school - staff or parent or child! - join Team Z and walk with us! Or perhaps the school would want to start a team of its own? 
Please let me know if you might be interested. And thank you for everything that you do! We are very happy to be part of the school family!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Facing Fatigue

I was tired of my joints hurting & making it hard to do everyday things. I was tired of doctors…I was tired of blood tests. I was tired of experimenting with medications …And, perhaps most of all, I was so very tired of being tired. Learning to live with fatigue can be a long, complicated, & frustrating process.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013 California Coast Classic Day Eight - The Last Day!!

Today Team Z rode the final 56 miles from Ventura to Santa Monica. APL wasn't feeling much better but he did decide to ride today anyways. Unfortunately for all of the riders there was CRAZY wind today - blowing people off the road and making progress really difficult and rather scary. 

Everyone was so parched from the wind that we ran out of water where I was working at rest stop two. I felt so bad that we didn't have enough water for the riders who were working so hard out there for us today! When our backup water didn't arrive I finally drove to a nearby campsite to find more water myself. And when we shut our rest stop down I put one of the water containers in my car and stopped at the top of a couple of hills along the route to provide a little extra backup! It turned out to be a really hard day and I was so glad I could be there for the riders!

It was pretty awesome to watch all the riders finally come through the finish line in Santa Monica. I wish I could write more eloquently about how proud I am to have been a part of such an amazing endeavor, but I am so so so very tired right now that I can barely think straight. Suffice to say that the ride raised over ONE MILLION DOLLARS for the Arthritis Foundation and we raised awareness about arthritis all the way down the coast of California. What an amazing experience!! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

2013 California Coast Classic Day Seven

Today Team Z rode 90 (yes, 90!) miles from Bulleton to Ventura. Unfortunately, APL wasn't feeling well last night and ended up not being able to ride today. He sat with me for a while at rest stop one and then his mom took him onwards to the hotel to sleep some more. Hopefully he will feel well enough to do the end of the ride tomorrow. Send good healing thoughts his way please!!

I honestly don't feel very well today either. I am seriously starting to crash - achy and completely exhausted - but somehow I am pushing through. I think it has something to do with the amazing enthusiasm and endurance of the riders and volunteers - they are keeping me going! I didn't remember to take very many pictures today, but we did get a few of my awesome outfit for Blue Day!

Onward to the finish line tomorrow!!

2013 California Coast Classic Day Six

Today Team Z rode 65 miles from Oceana to Bulleton. I was supposed to work at rest stop one, but I was pretty late because my stamina has taken a hit and my RA is unfortunately starting to flare. But I did eventually make it there to help ring the cowbell! And all of these enthusiastic and committed people are helping me keep going. 

Today I met the couple riding the tandem bike. It turns out they are on their honeymoon and they asked their wedding guests for donations instead of presents. I can't think of many things much more awesome than that!! Also, Caitlin Ryan was today's honoree, and she is one of the most amazing young women I know. Caitlin was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of three. She is now in 10th grade and has already had both of her hips replaced. I'm so glad to have had the chance to meet her and her amazing family. You can read more about Caitlin's story here.

After a long day APL and I took OZL to an awesome park near Solvang to run around a bit. Then the whole team went to the Firestone Walker Brewery to share some beer. And now it's 7:15pm, which is pretty much bedtime based on our level of exhaustion!!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2013 California Coast Classic Day Five

Today Team Z rode 59 miles from San Simeon to Oceana. I worked at the first rest stop again - only today it was cold and very foggy! But that didn't stop us from ringing the cowbell! Luckily the fog cleared up when we went through San Luis Obispo. Checkpoint two was at Wally's Bicycle Works where the riders (and volunteers!) were provided with AMAZING free tamales (thanks Wally's!)

The theme today was favorite sports/college team, so our family rocked our Colorado Rapids gear while APL's brother and his girlfriend wore Lakers and Eagles jerseys. I also met some riders sporting University of Colorado and Princeton gear. 

After we got to camp we went back to San Luis Obispo to share a very delicious dinner with some family friends. All in all, a great day!

2013 California Coast Classic Day Four

This post is likely to be a bit delayed due to lack of cell service!! 

Today Team Z rode 69 miles from Big Sur to San Simeon. OZL, grandma, and I worked and rang the cowbell at rest stop one, then caught up with Team Z at rest stop two for a snack. On our way in to camp we stopped to see the elephant seals. It was a beautiful day!

2013 California Coast Classic Day Three

This post is likely to be a bit delayed due to lack of cell service!! 

Today Team Z rode 49 miles from Monterey to Big Sur. OZL, grandma, and I started our day ringing the cowbell at Lovers Point Park in Monterey as the riders got started. Then, thanks to the other amazing volunteers who picked up my slack, we took a break from volunteering to take OZL to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I remember loving that aquarium when I was a kid so it was really fun to visit again with my own little boy. And luckily OZL seems to be feeling a bit better today and he really enjoyed running around to see all the fish! After the aquarium we helped pack up rest stop one and enjoyed the route to Big Sur, which was pretty spectacular. California sure is beautiful!!