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Monday, August 25, 2008

Seven years ago today ...

Happy Anniversary babe ... I love you more than ever.

By Brian Hedger
Hedgeradventures blogger guy

Seven years ago today, a young man woke up in his hotel room and smiled.

"Today I get to marry the girl who stole my heart the second I saw her," he thought. "How lucky am I?"

Seven years ago today, as his bride-to-be prepared for their big day, the young man looked at the grayish skies above and thought, "Good thing we're getting married inside."

Seven years ago today, the groom piled into a car with some of his best friends and headed for the church. And, as they talked about all the fun they'd had in the past, the groom thought about the future.

What was in store for he and his bride? What would life be like? Would it change? How? Would it be better? How?

Would it be the same? Gasp ... worse? Would she be happy with him? Would he be happy with her?

He thought of her face, and how he felt like it was a face he'd known his entire life. He thought of how safe it made him feel to look into her eyes ... to hold her hand ... to feel her embrace ... to kiss away any tears she might have.

"Yes," he decided. "It would be better ... I'll make sure of it!"

(As if he had that power all by himself)

Seven years ago, inside a sweltering church kitchen, the groom-to-be had a wardrobe malfunction.

His friends told him that it was fine, and not to sweat it. It was just a button on a jacket. Ah, but this groom being the person that he is, continued to freak. He sweated the small stuff (and still does).

What he wanted was his bride, who had a way of calming his nerves and making him feel like he could do anything.

"Who says I can't see her before the wedding?" he thought. "This is ridiculous. Lisa would know what to do."

Luckily, so did their friend, Nikki -- who found a sewing kit and saved the day (Thanks again, Nik).

Seven years ago today, the young man -- wearing his repaired tuxedo -- stood at the front of the church where the love of his life spent her formative years.

He looked around, and took note of how it reminded him a little of the church he attended as a boy. He looked around, saw the familiar faces in the pews and started to feel butterflies.

Then, the doors at the other end of the sanctuary flung open as the organist began to play. There she was ... beaming, glowing, more beautiful than even he'd imagined.

The groom's best man, his big brother, leaned forward and whispered, "She's beautiful, Brian."

Boy, was he right.

Seven years ago today, the groom and his bride stood facing each other, repeating their vows, placing rings on each other's fingers ... sealing it all with a kiss.

Their hands melted together. They strolled down the aisle, man and wife. They had no idea what was in store for them.

They didn't particularly care.

Seven years ago today, they celebrated with a reception to remember -- with their friends and family surrounding them with love and lots of dancing.

There were beautiful toasts. There was a first dance to Elton John's "The One."

There were smiles all around, a beautiful cake to match the bride -- and views of South Bend from the top floor of the Holiday Inn (woo-hoo! Ha!)

And, when it was over, the newlyweds went to sleep for the first time as The Hedgers. The groom snuggled up to his bride for the very first time as her husband, and he smiled once again.

"Today, I married the girl who stole my heart the very second I saw her," he thought. "How lucky am I?"

I'm so looking forward to what the rest of our future together brings, my love. It already brought us this ...

... imagine what else might be in store!



Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Golden Gait

Nice work, fellas

By Brian Hedger
Hedgeradventures blogger dude

Tonight, two of Liz's "bedtime books" were actually stories written by her father (moi) about an Olympic champion runner.

David Neville and his teammates in the 4 x 400 meter relay blew out the competition Saturday in Beijing to win the gold medal and set a new Olympic record time of 2:55.39.

Neville, as you might recall, is the reason I wound up in Hollywood last month for a couple of days. Originally from Merrillville, Ind., where my work is located, Neville now lives in Valencia, Calif. with his wife of one year.

Now, he's a two-time Olympic medalist.

And Lizzy's face lights up when we mention his name. Seems that since watching Neville lunge across the finish line for a bronze medal Thursday, Lizzy has another "crush," telling Lisa that "David Neville is cute like Brendan." (the lifeguard, remember him?)

Anyway, Liz has really gotten into the Olympics, and it's been very fun to watch her watching them. She really liked the swimming and gymnastics (of course).

And she started to get into track the past few days -- mostly because Neville has been the subject of my work for the better part of the last couple months.

Also, he's cute. I guess. This crush thing needs to stop, by the way. Before I purchase a shotgun.

Here are some more pics of the 4 x 400 team of LaShawn Merritt (gold medal in 400 meters), Angelo Taylor (gold medalist, 400 hurdles), David (bronze in 400) and Jeremy Wariner (silver in 400 and eternally wearing sunglasses, even when it's dark).

By the way ... David ran the most 400 meter laps of anybody on the U.S. team this week -- a whopping FIVE of them, from the 400 meters first-round, semifinals and final to the relay's semifinal and final.

His legs have got to be hurting.

"Theeeeeeyyyy are the champions, my friends ..."

This is David about to receive the baton for the third leg of the race from Angelo Taylor. David's the guy in the far inside lane. Notice the Russian dude's hand placement. What's up with THAT bro? Is "pantsing" your opponent allowed? Sheesh! Hands off dude.

David hands the baton to Jeremy ... and away he goes. In a flat hurry. Sizzling.

Hey guys, now that you've got your golds ... I hear they're paying good exchange rates for gold. Just saying.

These are David's sisters, Rebecca (left) and Stephanie (right). I watched Saturday's gold medal run live on the Internet with them at their house. Very fun. Rebecca says her goal is to make it to the London Olympics in 2012 with her brother. She competed at a national junior elite track meet this summer and finished as one of the top heptathaletes in the country for her age. Maybe she will be there ...

This one's from after David's bronze dive, but I just liked the pic. And the next one, ladies, is for you ...


You're welcome.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Congratulations, David


Hedgeradventures would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to U.S. Olympian David Neville and his entire family for David's amazing finish Thursday to win the bronze medal in the 400 meters at the Beijing Olympics.

His bronze completed an American sweep of the event, and sets up the U.S. as the heavy favorite to win gold in the 4 x 400 meter relay this weekend -- an event Neville is also scheduled to run.

I did get ahold of him this morning, luckily, and for those comments check out or my blog link at the right.

Anyway, altogether now. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

David's going for it

Remember this guy?

By Brian Hedger
Hedgeradventures blogger dude

OK, those who've been reading the blog recently probably remember the one about my trip to California to write about a native NW Indiana Hoosier who's in the Olympics.

David Neville qualified Tuesday for Thursday's finals of his event, the men's 400 meters. He has the slowest qualifying time of the eight runners in the final, but he has also run the fourth-fastest time in the world this season in July, during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials.

So, he has the ability to stun the world.

To read my blog for the Post-Tribune, where I work as a sportswriter, just click the link to that blog we just added along the righthand side of the page.

He's got what most consider to be a poor lane assignment for the finals, lane 9, but David also had the farthest outside lane at the trials and led a good portion of that race before being caught by the two favorites, LaShawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner.

Some runners are actually better out in lane 9 because there is no strategy to worry about. Just get out of the blocks and go all out the entire way.

David races for the gold (or silver or bronze or just for the health benefits) Thursday night in Beijing (which is 8:20 a.m CDT and 9:20 a.m. EDT). The race will not be televised live on NBC, but supposedly you can watch it live on the Web on

NBC will televise it on tape delay later on in prime time.

Also, no matter what happens Thursday, Neville will then team up with Wariner, Merritt and another U.S. runner to go for the gold this weekend in the men's 4 x 400 meter relay.

I shouldn't mention this, because Lisa thinks it's a jinx, but the U.S. has won the gold in the 4 x 400 in every Olympics since 1984.

Also ... you don't have to be from NW Indiana to pull for David this week. I meet very few people in my line of work whom I truly believe are telling me the 100 percent truth when it comes to their faith, beliefs etc., but David Neville is one I do believe.

He's a minister, and directs the youth ministry at his church out in California. He and his wife live a Christian life, from the little of it I was privvy to see. And, most importantly from a sports aspect, if there's any track and field athlete who is NOT USING STEROIDS, it's David Neville.

You can believe in this guy, which is nice. I could be wrong, who knows really? But honestly, I just don't think his conscience would allow him to do it.

He's exactly the kind of guy that track and field needs to come to the fore and become a known entity both here and internationally.

Good Luck, David.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to school

First off, I've got to thank that cute hedgeradventures correspondent for helping out while I've enjoyed a fair amount of free time at the pool with Liz. We're hoping Brian will continue to blog every few days or so (hint hint).

Now, on to a serious matter.

For months - actually more than a year, we've been on a waiting list at a number of pre-schools. We absolutely loved our school last year. It was an affiliate of Purdue University and the teachers were excellent and made perfect accommodations for Liz.

They even went so far as to have us bring in one her wooden three-step stools that was built by Liz's great-grandfather just so they could have the trade-school students make her one just like it for school. No extra cost, either.

How awesome was that?

They understood her condition and addressed it to the other children as necessary and talked with me about any issues as they arose. Overall, it was an outstanding school.

The problem: It's 30 miles from our house (and 45 minutes, at least, each way). Now that I'm working from home more it just makes no sense to drive that far to drop her off, just to drive an hour back home and then literally turn around a short time later to begin the drive again to pick her up.

So, the goal was to be patient and hope it would pay off with one of these closer pre-schools that we'd been on waiting lists for. Finally, we did find a school about 10 miles from home. Much Better. I jumped at the opportunity.

But this morning, I was thrilled when the so-called "ultimate" pre-school teacher (highly recommended by people in our community) called and told me she'd just gotten an opening. She goes by "Mrs. B," and runs the pre-school out of her house -- which just so happens to be less than a mile from our house, in our gigantic neighborhood.

We've heard nothing but glowing reports about this "Mrs. B." The kids love and adore her (allegedly). She is also well-respected by some teachers we've talked to about pre-schools.

So, I told her about Liz's condition. This is always my dilemma. I don't want Liz to show up and suddenly teachers are surprised or caught unprepared. Last year, I wrote a one-page paper for "Little Purdue" and they told me that they adored the information and found it so helpful.

So, I tried to tell "Mrs. B" a few of the same things during our brief phone conversation.

I explained that Liz might need help wiping when she went No.2 simply because her arms aren't long enough. Then, I also explained she falls a lot, but it's nothing to worry about because her bones are fine and she just gets back up.

The only reason I even mentioned the falling is because that's the first thing that other parents notice and ask me about. We had a great conversation and agreed that Brian would take Liz tomorrow for registration.

Later in the day, "Mrs. B" calls back to tell me that after considering Liz, she now can't accept her. Her reason is because she is just one person (no teacher's aides) and she fears that if Liz had to go to the bathroom and the other kids were cutting with scissors, then she'd be leaving all of the kids alone to go to the bathroom with Liz.

(Brian snide, sarcastic comment)
Yeah, and then I'm sure they'd all cut their fingers off at the nubs and there'd be HELL TO PAY and blood all over her new hardwood floors! She also brought up a bunch of other lame excuses, such as having a basement with a cement floor and she just wouldn't want Liz to fall and hurt herself. Well, A.) Who in the heck DOESN'T have a cement-floor basement? And B.) Why are they going into the basement in the first place? Seriously, woman.

Whatever ...

So, I hung up the phone feeling utterly rejected. Obviously, I could have fought a bit and said: "Why don't you at least meet her?"

But to me, it almost didn't seem worth it. Why have her meet Liz and then potentially still reject her? She's a private small pre-school and she's not required to accept everyone.

(Another Brian thought)
Also ... do I really want my kid being taught by some mamsy-pamsy wimp who's too afraid to take a kid with a couple of special needs dealing only with height issues? Why should we feel like we have to beg this old bag to take on the so-called "risk" or "bother" of teaching my daughter -- all without her even bothering to MEET HER?

Obviously, I think she over-reacted and began to worry and simply wasn't educated about little people and certainly knew nothing about achondroplasia.

I've second-guessed myself and worried that I told her too much information and perhaps I should have been more "vague." But I don't want to be misleading. I want teachers to know that Liz is a little person and she does need a few accommodations, and I suppose if they're not willing to do that - then we don't want to go there.

Perhaps, my teacher friends who read the blog (you know who you are) can e-mail me personally and let me know how you think I should handle school issues in the future. For instance, when should I contact her elementary about her condition?

Also, if there are any parents of little people kids who are in school - pass on any suggestions, as well.

Overall, I feel great about the pre-school she's going to attend (the one that doesn't have an old bag problem and that will accept Liz's condition). We'll have open house on Wednesday night and Liz and I are both looking forward to it.

The bottom line is getting rejected from "Mrs. B's" class won't impact Liz's academic future. It's not like she's going to get rejected from an ivy league school despite an impressive resume.

"Wow, this girl is awesome," The haughty dean of admissions would say, puffing on a pipe and wearing a smoking jacket. "Great grades, great extra-curriculars. But one glaring problem ... she didn't attend 'Mrs.B's' pre-school. Unfortunately, we must reject her. DENIED!"

Still, it hurts to be told "thanks, but no thanks," simply because your child is shorter than other kids her age. It's also unacceptable ... but what are you going to do?

Some people will never, ever understand how it feels to fight this battle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lizzy Hedger has a cold

By Brian C. Hedger
Hedgeradventures blogger dude

Talk to most purveyors of fine writing long enough, and sooner or later you're bound to talk about what is supposedly the best magazine article ever written.

"Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," was published by Esquire in 1966 and written by legendary writer Gay Telese.

I have a photocopied version of it laying around our bedroom somewhere, and I keep telling myself that I'm going to read it start to finish some day. Anyway, from what I've gathered of the piece in the small bits I have read, Talese gets unbelievable access to the world's most famous and influential crooner ... who, as chance would have it, has a cold.

Well, sometimes in life you just have to settle for the next best thing. And since neither of us have read "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" from start to finish, we're doing the next best thing.

We're living the experience with our four-year-old daughter.

Lizzy Hedger has a cold.

Also, so does my wife -- who is at this very second mocking me in her "Brian voice" about how I'm probably going to write that because they are sick, I'll be sick next.

Well, even though she's 100 percent correct on that one ... I'd just like to say, for the record, that I AM now doomed to contract the most horrific, hideously grotesque strain known to man of what I'm now calling "The Lizzy Virus."

And if that happens?

Look out world. It ain't gonna be pretty.

Let's just say that we Hedgers-by-birth don't exactly deal well with colds (or any illnesses).

The runny noses. The sneezing. The pounding headaches. All the shiny, happy, people who aren't sick carrying on with their disgustingly happy, shiny lives whilst we lie around in sick bay.

It is not a lot of fun. Not for us. Not for those around us. Not for those in a 100 mile radius around us. You get the picture.

"Boy, that kid is not easy to deal with when she's sick," Lisa said tonight, upon snapping off a few photos of the main patient.

What can I say ... she got it from me.

About an hour ago, for example, Liz had a meltdown because she didn't want to take any liquid Tylenol (and only relented when told the alternative was letting her fever grow horribly out of control to the point where we'd eventually have to take her to the ER and get ... a SHOT!

Now, I know any RNs or doctors who might happen upon this post will cringe at reading that, but I have to tell you ... when it comes to getting this kid to take her medicine, no amount of coaxing works.

Fear of getting a SHOT (IN ALL CAPS)? Now that works.

Of course, we're totally hosed when the time comes that she actually does have to get a shot ... but that's a big picture, long-term worry, right?

We'll deal with that meltdown when absolutely necessary.

For now, Lizzy Hedger has a cold.

And, believe me, that's all that matters in the entire world. Just ask her. She'll tell you -- right after she demands, in between sniffles, to be picked up.

As always, here are some more Lizzy pics.

Even with a cold, the smile still finds its way to the fore ... aww.

I know. You're wondering: "Geeze, does the girl ever NOT smile?" Yes.

See, I told you. (Courtesy of Portsmouth, Va.)

Now, that's more like it. (Also Virginia)