Finding My Inspiration

For me there was one thing… one thing I really wanted to accomplish just to prove to myself that I was still alive. Sure I was married, I had kids, and I had a company, but I wanted to work toward something for me. Just for me.

It was 2003 and the conversation with my husband went like this, “Hey, Aaron. If you buy me an iPod, I’ll run a marathon.” (Silence)
“Are you serious?” he asked.
“Yeah. Why not?” I answered.

Within a matter of days I came home and found a brand new iPod on our bed. He took the bait… and I had something to shoot for, plus I had a promise to fulfill.

I need motivation. I do. I need deadlines, and registration fees, and pressure. I need accountability. I ran a 10K once, but other than that, when I started training for that marathon I had never participated in any other sporting or racing event, by choice, in my entire life. I don’t even have one of those soccer trophies that seem to come with a good American childhood.

As a kid, I hated physical education. I thought it was torturous. Really? Can’t we just skip my turn at bat, or do I have to go through striking out and total humiliation in front of my peers?

In Physical Education at school they had this miserable idea of “treating” us to a different sport each month. (Oh, joy!) So, shortly after discovering I was especially terrible at softball, I was able to discover that I was equally as bad at volleyball. After volleyball, there was basketball, and I was miserable at that too.

Now, may I pause here and ask why anyone thinks it is a good idea to play dodge ball in junior high school? Really! Do we need to huck rubber balls at one another? In case you were wondering the person who always gets picked last for the team, is also the one that gets creamed first in dodge ball. It’s a reciprocation thing. Trust me.

I noticed one girl in my PE class who seemed to sit out every single day. I asked her how she got so lucky. She told me that she had a doctors note… she had ringworm. I wondered how I could get ringworm, too.

Never in my life was I called “sporty” or “athletic.” That was not me.

I got married when I was 21 years old. By the time I was 26, I had Leah and Lucy, and all of the surprises that came with them.

And then… in 2004, with my new iPod strapped to my arm, I ran the Inaugural Salt Lake City, Utah Marathon. My finish time was 5:27:22. Within the first 5 miles, my iPod gave up the ghost, but…

I COMPLETED A MARATHON!

I crossed the finish line and hurried home to shower and get dressed, because I had a presentation to give later that afternoon. I was booked to deliver a presentation to parents who have children with special needs. As I was running the race, I kept thinking, “You’d better hurry up if you want to shower, put on make-up and do your hair before speaking this afternoon!”

After that goal was crossed off my list, I didn’t think much more about racing. I did “the big one.” I knew I could do shorter distances if I felt like it…and I never felt like it. Life went on.

Not too long ago I came across Athleta, a company who makes some pretty fabulous women’s athletic clothing. While shopping on their web site, I read that they sponsored female athletes. I thought, “That is AWESOME! That would be amazing!” I continued to read about their sponsorship and then I heard this little voice saying, “Rachel, that is not you. You have never won a race. You’ve taken a yoga class, but you are no Yogini. You ran a half marathon in April, but you didn’t win it. You weren’t even trying to win. You have a couple of finisher’s medals. You are not an athlete.” So, I did not apply.

I bought their clothes and wore their clothes and since I really do love the stuff, there are photos on my blog of me wearing Athleta. My friends started buying clothes from Athleta too and we would chat and shop and tweet about it. We even race together all “matchy-matchy.”

Then, one day I got an email from someone at Athleta’s corporate office. The email said that they had seen my blog and were inspired by my story. They asked if I would apply to be one of their sponsored athletes!

I applied. But, when I spoke with them on the phone I was sure to reiterate how I had never won a race and how I was a mom, doing my best to be strong enough for Lucy… strong enough to be able to tell Lucy, “Yes” when so many other people, roads, and terrain would tell her “No.”

So…last month I signed an endorsement agreement with Athleta. I am one of their 2010 Sponsored Athletes! Most of the time, when I tell people about it I blush. I really do, because that “not sporty” “not athletic” 15 year-old version of myself is just bracing to get smacked with a rubber ball again. I’m waiting for someone to call my “bluff”, even though I ran two half-marathons last year. Even though I’ve hiked through Yellowstone with Lucy on my back, even though I took Lucy to Disneyland and transferred her countless times from her wheelchair to the rides and back to her wheelchair over three days… even though I had been training four times a week with a trainer to become strong enough for my daily life, training for my daughter Lucy and her wheelchair… even though I am 30 lbs lighter than when I ran 26.2 miles in 2004… even with all of that, there is still that little voice that says, “Rachel, you are not an athlete. You are just a mom.”

They said they felt my story was important to share because most women are like me; they are simply trying to find a way to balance their lives. You know what else I found out? Most women do not have a wall of medals either. They have children. They have jobs. They have circumstances that get in the way, too!

I feel really lucky, you know. Every day, my inspiration to be healthy and strong is looking right at me. She’s been living under the same roof for almost ten years. It just took me a while recognize how strong I could be. It feels so good to be able to see it in myself and know that I did it. I became what Lucy needed me to be.

Every time I lift that slippery 9 year-old out of the tub and wrap her in a towel, I feel like I am winning. I’m winning because there’s no concern in her eyes. She’s not worried that I might drop her or hurt my back, and I’m not worried about those things either. She knows that I am strong enough. I know that I’m strong enough. In those moments I smile.

And now I know – it’s one thing to reach for a goal just for me and no one else, and it’s quite another thing to strive for something on behalf of someone you love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then…

It was 2009 and the conversation with my husband went like this:

“Hey Aaron, if you buy me a road bike, I’ll do a triathlon…”

This entry was posted in Strong Enough and tagged , , , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. www.deafchildren.org Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

63 thoughts on “Finding My Inspiration

  1. Rachel- You are such an inspiration to me. As I train, I often think of you and am GRATEFUL for how you’ve inspired me to let go of the “someday” and GO AFTER what I want in life.

    Looking forward to hearing about that triathalon!

  2. Love the new layout here! Athleta was wise to want to sponsor YOU!! You set an awesome example to those of us that wonder if we can make it through each battle! You inspire me to get back up and try again when I feel knocked down. Thank you! 🙂

  3. You know it’s funny. I was just thinking of my life and the crazy turn that it’s taken. In a matter of months it has literally fallen apart and everything I have ever known is gone. So I am sitting in bed searching the web after not being on for who knows how long, and I think….man I wonder what Rachel has been up to.

    And I come across this post. And I remember why I love you so much. Not only did you do an amazing thing for my child, but you inspire me beyond words. Ya we all get knocked down….and I have been knocked down again, and again…..and AGAIN. But it’s all about the attitude we have and the love that we have for life.

    I needed a swift kick in the butt. Thanks Girl! 😀

  4. I still giggle everytime I think of you running for an iPod. You have been such an ispiration to me over the years. You have given me that push to do more. (You have also gotten me quite addicted to Athleta, as seen above.) Your family is lucky to have you, and I know I am very lucky to have you as a friend. I love to watch you do things first, and then I can follow when I find out it’s not so bad. You will KILL that triathlon!

  5. Rachel,being “just a mom” is an inspiration to many of us. You do a far better job than most of us could.
    Congratulations! I’m off to check out their site.

  6. Rachel how do you do it? Loose 30 pounds. That is great. I have been struggling with a weight issue for a long time. Thanks in more ways then one for being a wonderful person to your fans.

  7. Go Rachel!
    You are so strong, not only physically but emotionally! You are an inspiration to all!
    I too want to run a marathon someday. I think I’ll go get an ipod and put some music on it and run!
    Thank you for all that you do!
    Don’t ever stop!

  8. Oh great!

    You get all mushy and make me cry AGAIN, and NOW I have to go buy new clothes so I can support you some more (read: stalk). 😉

    Love you girl. You are one amazingly HAWT Momma, who is, at some point, going to be the person in my head making me get my butt off the couch and run.

    But not until it’s warmer out, because I just don’t do cold.

    Ahem.

  9. You. Are. Fabulous. You are. I’ve loved Athleta too, but never even had the courage to buy myself anything, waiting till I lost some weight, till I ‘deserved’ to buy cute workout clothes. So I have circled items in their catalog, and thought about how cute my (much thinner) younger sister would look in them…but not bought any for myself, or lost weight either (had 5 kids in 7 years, and held on to the weight gain)…My husband bought us a membership to a health club
    (which has free kid care!), but I could not seem to find time to go. Then, this Sat, he ‘made time’ and packed us all up to go, and I was filled with tears and rage. I could not understand what was so upsetting, and then I realized I was embarrassed because I have nothing to wear to work out in, only old, ugly, fat person wierdness. Anyhow, your actions are thoughtful ones, you live mindfully, and are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing(!). I am going to buy myself a cute Athleta outfit (size xl) and think of you and that first marathon picture and go do something for me, too.
    Thank you again, and many hugs! (and tell Athleta they made a sale today because of you! You rock!)

    • Autumn – You are a beautiful woman, mother and friend no matter what size you are! Live that beauty by making yourself count in daily life. Think about all the love and energy that you spend on your family…apply a fraction of that to yourself because you deserve it! Take care of you beautiful!

  10. Rachel,

    I love many things about you and your amazing family. One thing I LOVE, and have taken in as a way of being in my own life is that you look for what you can ADD and do MORE of in a way that is balanced and healthy.

    You’re definitely UNSTOPPABLE!!

  11. You already know that you inspire me to be a better person. You also inspire me to be a better mom, friend and athlete. Thanks to you I have lost 30+ lbs and I am now training for my first 1/2 marathon. My reward is that I get to fly out and run that race with you. Thanks for being so naturally inspirational and for being a great friend. ps my husband is not so thankful for the new Athleta addiction… but I am 😉

  12. Rachel, your signing time DVD’s have helped teach my 3 year old girl how to talk and sign (she has Trisomy 21). And I was also that non-atlhetic girl in PE class! I found my inner athlete through running, and ran my first half marathon since I had kids (I have three) last fall using the Galloway method. And I have 30 pounds to lose, thanks for helping me see that with continued hard work it will happen!!!!

  13. Just a mom?! Ha! And so much more. Anyone who is ‘just a mom’ knows that title comes with so much more responsibility than any other job in the world! Way to go Rachel!

  14. So, I know there is the new “Reply” feature, but I sort of like the whole Comment Roll. You guys can comment to each other too if you like.

    Jaclyn: What on earth makes you think I am doing a triathlon? 😉

    Leanna: None of us like rejection, so sometimes we “play small” -if we never try, we never fail. How lame:)

    Pammy: I can’t imagine the stuff you are dealing with and I am not going to say it’s destiny or it’s because you are strong enough to handle it, sometimes, we aren’t strong enough at all… AND somehow we still handle it.

    Cathy: Hey, iPod’s were pretty spendy back in 2003!
    Thanks for running with me and running circles around me.
    Can you believe I am actually training for this half-marathon? I know. Amazing!

    Melissa: Last night I said to Aaron, “I’m going to get killed for saying ‘just a mom’ it’s not PC at all!” The bigger point was ‘athlete’ feels awkward and it feels like a different commitment than what I do on a daily basis.

    Stretch Mark Mama: Do you think the white on gray is hard on the eyes? Be honest?
    PS: LOVE your user ID. I laughed out loud the first time I read it…

    Doreen: It wasn’t over night, it wasn’t over a few weeks. I didn’t do it perfectly, but I didn’t quit either. It was really a continued commitment to being healthy and fit.

    Catherine Finn: Around here “someday” is a naughty word:) Nothing happens ‘someday’ – things only happen when you take actions toward them today. Some Day is a pipe dream.

    Heather: Be sure to read the reviews on Athleta, they are really helpful. My reviews are under SignBabe (heh heh) which I set up long before I imagined myself a Sponsored Athlete.

    Autumn: When I first went into a gym I was MISERABLE. I felt silly and out of place. In my head I kept thinking “I hate this!” But I turned it around and said, “Yep, you hate feeling like this and that is why you are HERE!”
    Pick up the book Body For Life. Read it. Take BEFORE and AFTER pictures. Enter the contest. You can lose 20-30 pounds in 3 months just by following that plan. Trust me. I can’t wait to hear about your results.

    Chris Dunlap: I miss you guys. How’s Soph? I’d love to see you in chat sometime. I am THIS close to registering for Landmark Education’s Introduction Leaders Program. Gah! I just don’t want to clean and organize my house;) That’s all that’s stopping me.

    Amanda: Thanks!

    Ronai: I don’t know if racing with me is much of a reward! But… the pedicures at POSH, and cupcakes at So Cupcake, and the fro-yo at Spoon Me will all be worth it!
    Congrats on YOUR 30 lbs too!!

    Lori: LOVE The Galloway Method. I ran the SLC half using that last year. Our friend Suzanne ran a race in Florida a few months ago and ran WITH Galloway. JEALOUS!

    Amy: Heh heh, like I said to Melissa – it’s not very PC is it? Read it as “I’m not an Olympic Hopeful- I’m a mom”

    Naomi: And THAT is the secret- ANYTHING is possible. This is one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson-
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3])

  15. Rachel-
    Have I told you how incredibly grateful I am to have had your family come into my life? You amaze me. Just when I think I can’t possibly handle another thing…I get an email with a reminder of just how much we can all handle – together. Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving Jed. Thank you for letting my family in and for sharing your amazing wisdom with us. God Bless!
    Em

  16. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Maybe your best post yet… and I think that with every one. Every time I think about quitting,or giving up and giving in, I think about you, and your amazing family, and all of the amazing people I have “met” because of you. And, I get through my moments (LONG) of weakness and get back to what is really important to me. I have a long way to go to be even close to as fit as you are. But, I was once in very good shape, and I know I still have it in me. Thanks for helping me see the positives.
    I won’t be able to keep up with all you fasties, but I can’t wait for SLC!

  17. Wow. I really appreciate this post. It is quite inspiring. I signed up for the Lake Placid half marathon in June, but so far I haven’t heard back. I guess I should go hunt them down.

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. Emily Arveseth-Hoerner: You are so sweet. Thank you for being a part of our lives.

    Val: Ooh, ooh what is the goal? If you don’t create it and share it, the desire will disappear. Seriously, the half-life of inspiration is about 1 minute.

    Suzanne: I can’t wait to meet you in April as well. I bet you thought you’d meet me at a Signing Time event, before meeting me at a race. I’l be running slow in SLC. Leah and Alex are training for it too!

    Kristina: Yes, you should hunt them down!
    Aaron and I entered the lottery to be able to register for The Spudman Triathlon. Last week we found out that we got it. I might have said a bad word;) Of course I wanted to get in, but if I didn’t get it I would have at least “tried”… right?
    So July 31, the day after our 14th wedding anniversary we are swimming, biking and running in our first triathon!

  19. Go Rachel! Go Aaron! The Unstoppable Duo rides (and swims and runs) again!!!
    Oh, and Rachel, I have a cute little crocheted cap in my hands that I made in black, gray, white variegated yarn that looks like it should be worn with the outfit in your picture. I may just decide to send it to you so don’t be afraid if you get a package in the mail from Oklahoma. You know I’m harmless!

  20. Vickie: You? Harmless? You are actually one powerful woman! The last few months have been full of surprise winter wear… the fabulous Hopkins hat in VA, the fingerless gloves that were handmade to match my colored fingers- I would be proud to wear a hat from you! Besides, I have people open my mail for me, just to be safe;)

  21. Wowzers! The page is yummy, post is ramped up, and as usual, the raving is miles long;)
    Love the “run-a-mile-in-my-shoes/clothes-feel” to it all. Pics are inspirational- LOVE, J

  22. All righty then–I will mail you the hat as soon as I can get to the post office, Crocheting is, in fact, only one of my many super powers!

  23. Oh, Rachel. This is amazing for so many reasons.

    Forgive me if I come across too familiar, but, dude, I see you at least once a day in my house so we’re friends in my head. 😉

    Just the other day, a friend and co-worker was telling me about Athleta and I was considering making some purchases. Now that you’re a Sponsored Athlete, well, they made the right choice because I’m ABSOLUTELY buying from them now.

    I ran my first 1/2 in November (Ran all the way! I have a medal!). I’m a total non-athlete, but reading your posts about using Lucy as your inspiration led me to do the same. So many days, I would be out on the rec trail, thinking of stopping…and then I wouldn’t. I thank Lucy for that. I thank you for reminding me that we have the power to bring YES into our kids’ lives.

    I’m proud of you.

    I’m proud of us.

  24. Hey there,
    found your post on the athleta chi page and I’m right there with ya! I’m not a sponsored athlete, but I am one of their try on models who gets to go in weekly and try on their clothes, and I *blush* anytime I tell ps about it;-)

    and hope to hear about your possible tri adventure;-)

  25. Jess: “Run-a-mile-in-my-clothes” is brilliant BTW. Cracking me up. Wait ’til you hear about my scented pants. They might inSHpire you. PS: you are the only raver here

    Vickie: Oh, I love the “Super Powers” conversation. One of my Super Powers is making batches of baby quilts. Who knew!

    Chrystal: If you said “dude” in your first comment to me, then we ARE friends! Get out! 🙂 The only celeb-friend-in-my-head that I have is John Mayer. Seriously, JM and I hit it off (in my head). Take a look at coming to the Salt Lake Half Marathon in April. There are about 10 of us doing it. Suzanne (comment #20 above) is coming out here for it and we’ve never met before. She made a similar comment about just knowing we would be friends. Come run with us! (Ronai comment #13 and Cathy comment #4 will be there too!)

    annemarie: Welcome and OH! I am jealous. You get to try it all on? I am fanatical about posting reviews on the clothes I get from them in hopes of helping other shortys like me find stuff they love. How tall are you? What size? Do you get to review there? I’m dying to know more. Who knew there were try-on models?
    My reviewer name is “SIGNBABE” heh, heh, yeah I set that up before I ever dreamt I’d be hooked up with Athleta. I’m pretty much my own “Try-On Model” for everything in a size 4 Petite.

  26. Athleta’s catalog is beautiful – I’ve been thinking about buying things out of there because I’ve been trying to commit to working out. But thinking I should wait until I’m happier with my body. Now that YOU are a sponsored athlete – I’m buying some for sure! They must be a great company!!!

  27. Wonderful post, as always! I like what Chris D. said about how you are already so amazing, yet always adding more to your life. How inspiring you are keeps coming up in the all the comments and it while it feels unimaginative to say it again, I just want you to know that you truly inspire me as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, singer and all the other roles we play!

    I do like the new layout – it looks elegant and sophisticated, but I do miss the easy readability of the white background and I (kind of) miss the primary colors.

    Congrats on the athleta sponsorship! I am inspired to buy some of their clothes since they are supportive of such great women like you!

  28. Hi Rachel, I was on the Athleta website today and read your story for the first time. Of all the sponsored athletes, I believe that you are the one who inspires me the most. Not because you have a list of first place finishes but because you are in it for the journey and all the joy, tears and lessons that journey will bring. I try to live my life enjoying each day but “the grind” often times brings me to a point of total and utter exhaustion. Your dedication to your daughters inspires me to want to be a better mother to my 2 small children and your example inspires me to want to try new things. It is people like you and companies like Athleta who will change the world. You have a new fan – Rock on!

  29. When you ran the marathon, did you have a trainer train you or did you use something to train up to 26.2 miles? I have a goal to run a marathon by 2014 (I’ll have been out of high school 10 years by then). I work out pretty much daily anywhere from 1/2 hour – over 2 hours. I just want my kids to know that exercise is part of a healthy, balanced life. I want to be healthy for my kids instead of following in my family’s footsteps of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
    Any advice on running a marathon?

  30. You are an inspiration. I read all that you do, every day, and am amazed. You are like wonder-woman. When some of us are barely hanging on, we can look to you and see that barely hanging on is still hanging on; you’re a reminder that it’s important to just do what we can, that maybe just doing what we can will be more than we though.

    Thanks,

    Kim

  31. Hi, Rachel!
    We met back at KCET Family Day a long while back…my little boy with Down Syndrome is now 6 1/2 years old and speaking better and better and learning to read and write from studying his Signing Time dvds…thank you for encouraging all of us moms with special needs kids to be strong enough. and thanks also for just being a *real* woman in front of us all..thanks for sharing…

  32. Rachel,
    If I was unaware of the struggles that you face daily in the adventure of raising your children, I would still identify with you because I recognize the girl you described as if I was looking at a teenage me. The fact that we both have special needs children just makes me feel as if I “know” you all the more. I have a non-verbal daughter who was diagnosed with autism at age 10. A friend recommended your dvds to help her(and the rest of us)to learn more sign language.My daughter was transfixed! By the end of the 1st dvd, she was signing away ! She looked at my husband and I as if to say “I have been trying to tell you all of this stuff forever!” What a blessing! We recommend them to others constantly! Thank you!
    (BTW I love Athleta too!)

  33. Rachel, once again you have simply amazed me. When i was introduced to your DVD collection after the birth of my son, and I read your story, i constantly thought “thank goodness those children got Rachel for a Mom, if it were me, i could not do it. I would surely fail them”. I’ve bought the DVD series for almost all of my friends who are having their first babies, and i share your story when they receive their gift.

    About 5 weeks ago i decided to overcome a major obstacle… i began training for my first Triathlon… it may not seem like a big deal… but did i mention thati can’t swim. Yup, i’m terrified of water. So for 5 weeks i’ve been dragging my water logged body from one end of the pool to the other, always the last to finish a length, and never have i managed to complete the entire “drill” with the class. I am truly the slowes,worst participant in my class. In facgt,a couple of weeks ago i had an especially bad swim, and i wanted to quit. But then i started to think of what kind of example i’d be setting for my son. He’s only 19 months old, so he has no idea what mom is doing 4 nights a week after he’s tucked into bed, but I don’t ever want him to hear that i quit because it was too hard, or because i was embarrassed about how poorly i swim.

    So once again, you have inspired me beyond words. If you can train for a triathlon with 2 kids, one with special needs and while managing a very successful business.. then what would be my excuse for failing?? I will think of you when i’m hanging off the side of the pool gasping for air… every time i want to quit i’ll think of your inspiring words, and i’ll put my head down and do one more length…because i can.

    thank you

  34. Hello. First of all you are a very inspiring woman! I wish I had your patience and energy! I have 3 girls and my eldest is affected by cerebral palsy. I was wondering what backpack carrier you have for Lucy. It looks comfortable for both her and you. Eleni can walk with her walker and DAFO’s on flat surfaces. I’d love to be able to hike with her though. We live in the mountains and walkers and wheelchairs just do not go on a lot the trails we enjoy.

  35. Hi, Rachel My Daughter Ana was born with abnormal Kidneys and extra utter to bladder in 2002!! she had 2 surgeries at 8 months and 1 and half and hositalized alot before 2yrs old in Rochester at st.marys and I didnt have a clue what came in the next year!!! she developed aurtism and lost her speak and challenged me further as a single parent!! I moved near Rochester away from family and put her though aurtism center in Rochester and saw signingtime dvd at Library and ana loved the music and signing and its so great to sign with ana now!! I own 16 of your dvds!! Thank you Rachel youve changed me and my daughters life you and Leah and alex are such a Inspiration!!!! Sincerely Lavern Schroeder

  36. Thank you for sharing that. I needed that bit of inspiration today. I’m another one of those non-athletic types, but I find myself wanting to improve my health even if it is for no reason other than to be able to really play with my own kids instead of feeling like I need to sit on the sidelines because I can’t keep up.

  37. You can do it Rachel!
    I have always been like you. Athlete is not a word that will ever define me, but, I do need to be strong enough to be Nina and Nichole’s mom. Carrying two children (although small) is not an easy task. And my back is feeling the toll because I know I am not carrying Nina right as we move her from place to place.
    A few weeks ago I read a friend’s blog about doing a “Couch to 5K” So I am going to do it! (Just have to wait for nice weather!)

  38. Reading your blog has me in tears, but not sad ones. Triumphant tears for you and your family. You give me hope and I sincerely love you for that. Also, Leah and Lucy are SO beautiful. The first time I saw Lucy in one of your videos I knew she was a really special person, although I did not know she was your daughter. She just shines from within and it’s so incredible that she has a family that has helped her let her shine out!

  39. Aloha Rachel,
    All I can say is “you are supermom”,never just a mom.
    Lauri and the gang love you so and say so many wonderful things about you and your family.
    Reading your story truly inspired me just when I needed it the most.
    Keep up the amazing work.
    Hope to meet ya’ll next time we’re in SLC.
    Aloha from Maui, Laura Buzianis
    PS go for a few more sponsers !!!!!!!

  40. I know that here, and in your Athleta article, you’ve said that “I don’t need to be skinny. I don’t care if I lose any more weight”…and I believe you. However, I thought you might appreciate the most non-biased opinion in the world.

    My four year old daughter had been doing so well yesterday that she’d been rewarded with watching the new Sing and Sign DVD. We sat down and put it on, and she immediately became flustered and asked me to pause it.

    “Is this Baby Signing Time?” she asked suspiciously, worried I’d tricked her into watching one of her brother’s DVDs.

    “No,” I told her, confused. “This is a new DVD, I promise.”

    “Well, she must have made it on a Baby Signing Time day, not a Big Kid Signing Time Day.” I’ve learned it is usually better not to ask my daughter what on earth she is talking about, but I couldn’t help it. I asked her how she could tell.

    “She has Baby Signing Time hair, Mama. It’s all flippy. Plus, her face and belly are smaller for Baby Signing Time.”

  41. Okay, so what are you eating??! Can I have some? I want to know where the energy is coming from! I thought, here I am complaining about carrying my 2 yr old around and my hips hurting! I said to myself, “That’s it! No more excuses. Rachel is right. So, I’m going to find back strengthening exercises, and be strong and fit and get exercise and- and- and-…zzzz.zzzzz…” Seriously, just the thought of it is making me tired! How do you fit everything in to your days, AND have time to keep fit, AND eat well?

    • I wish I knew. I hope Rachel tell us! My daughter is 18 months and even though she is not very heavy (not on the doctor’s chart) I also complain about my back.

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