Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You've Got to Want it

The alarm went off at 4:30am and I thought, "I can't.  Not today."

And then, I heard the wind and thought, "Sweet Fancy Moses...who in their right mind would get out of their bed and drive into that?....F that noise."

But I had to pee.  God damn it.  It's always the pee that gets you.

So, I looked at myself in the mirror, giving every justification for going back up the stairs and thought, "How bad do you want it?"

And, well, the truth is, I want it really bad.  It's shallow and superficial and silly, but I'm one size away from my old jeans and a couple of inches away from my favorite boots.  And, well I'm on a pretty rigid training plan for my half marathon and so, yes, I want it.

I put my clothes on, grabbed a sad looking banana, a big cup of steaming coffee and went out to the car.  It was cold.  I was pissy. 

And then, I stepped onto the treadmill and owned that bitch of a 3.5 mile run thanks to a little Christina Aguilera and Pink.  And before I knew it, I was back in business.

So now, like every cheesy 80's self help book encourages, I have a post-it-note on my bathroom mirror asking "How bad do you want it?"

Oh yeah...and the boot sits in the corner of the latrine beckoning me to put on my running that one day I can fit into a sexier version.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Taking the High Road

"YOU are the MEANEST boy EVER!!!!!!!!"

This is a phrase that has been coming out of my four-year old daughter Kate's mouth repetitively as she and Sam, her seven-year old brother learn to work it out. 

"Sweet Mary Mother of God...kill me," is the phrase that I've been shouting internally as I listen to them create their own brand of conflict resolution.

Most of the time, the disagreements have to do with tromping on the others' territory, hitting, poking fun, or irritating the other while they're focused on their own thing.  Not entirely different from the vast majority of conflicts we see in the adult world.

But something happened the other day, Sam started waving his hands in Kate's face while she was reading her book...and low and behold, Kate ignored him.  She did nothing.  In fact, like it was her job, she just kept silently reading away.  And like clock work, Sam moved on to the next thing.

Kate's example of not giving in and belting the crap out of her brother, remaining silent, and choosing to not engage his behavior, made me often do I take the high road, when really, I just want to decimate the person that's pissed me off?  And really is the high road the way to go?

My experience with this is that 99% of the time, not engaging conflict laden behaviors will instantly end whatever potential for craziness may have existed.  Choosing to walk away and rest on your laurels is often a good thing.  But sometimes, the issue is too important, the behavior is too egregious and you just have to put the smack down on the other party.  They need to be put in their place.

So, the other day when Kate bopped Sam in the head and said, "Take that," I pretended to look away and thought..."good, she can hold her own, when needed."

It's picking the battles that is the most challenging.

Monday, February 27, 2012

40 Letters in 40 Days

After much thought, I made a decision to "do" something for Lent instead of to "give something up."

I'm writing a letter every day for 40 days to people that have been on my heart that I've wanted to say, "thank you" to for being a part of my life.

I'm five days into the lenten season and it's been a really beautiful process.  As I sit down to write, I've enjoyed thinking about the person, their influence on my life and my hopes/prayers for them as they embark upon this new year.  And, more than anything, I love folding the paper, placing it in the envelope, licking the stamp, and pushing up the red flag on my mail box.  I love the feel of paper correspondence.

And as I've been writing, I've been so mindful that this life we live is not in isolation.  We can't do what we do alone.  And all too often, at least in my own life, busyness consumes me and I forget to personally thank those friends, family members, and acquaintances who support me.

My hope is that I will continue to write, continue to carve out the time to say thank you.  I love you.  I want the best for you and I'm so grateful that you're in my life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Here's the crazy thing about health....once you make it a priority, you start to realize how much unnecessary garbage that you've been harboring...and then the real you, comes out, front and center.

And I'm not just talking about a physical health transformation...I'm talking about shedding light on any area of your life that has been dark for a while.

Whether that's a miserable job, a failed relationship, financial challenges, a spiritual dearth.  You name it, there are many ways that we can reclaim health in our lives.  And the beautiful part of the process is that once you reconnect with even one component, you begin to feel passion and excitement about the others.

On my long run this morning, the sun was shining, the temperature was envious for a February day and I couldn't help but take in everything.  The snow on the ground.  The birds chirping.  The apparent lovers running while holding hands (okay, this one seemed a little creepy and a bit of a safety hazard), and the old man with his walker traversing the golf course with a big smile on his face.

Health is good.  Because ultimately, whether you make a choice to shed weight, to build muscle, to tell your boss to fuck off, to demand more of your relationship, to stop yelling at your kids, or to find time to be with are investing in your soul.  And you know it when it's happening because it feels good and you want more of it.  More time to rediscover you.

And the truth is...time is love.  So, take care of yourself.  You're the only true advocate for your life.  Celebrate it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Inner Mamacita

This morning I grabbed my hot pants, water bottle and the address to a new Zumba studio.

My girlfriend has been encouraging me to go and I'm so glad that I did.

Surrounded by women of all ages, sizes, and shapes.. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into, but by the second song, I was hooked.

Where else are you given license to shake the shit out of your ass and feel like a goddess?  Well, I mean other than the bedroom.

My inspiration came from a Latina woman in the front row who had to be in her 60's.  She owned her body and was completely moved by the music, the rhythm, the sunshine, and her inner sexiness.  It was fabulous!

The hour experience had me thinking, why don't we own our sexiness more?  Why don't we have crazy dance parties and enjoy the fact that we have bodies?  Or, I guess I should say why don't I own my sexiness more?  My hunch is that if men and women were in that could have gotten a little nasty. 

But given that most of our days are spent in meetings, typing on a computer, making meals, doing dishes, schlepping something to and from another place...we need to let go and enjoy ourselves. 

As I was grabbing my water bottle and heading out, I heard one lady say to another, "Are you sweating vodka?"  To which she replied, "Nope, it's rum."  With a twinkle in their eyes, they headed home.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Recalling Beauty

In an effort to slow down more in my life and to take in that which I've been given, I'm noticing so much raw, tarnished, glorious beauty in my midst.

It used to be wrapped up in a traditional composition like a bouquet of flowers or a sunset...but lately, it's coming in the form of a look on my children's faces or in the aftermath of someone did wrong and their suffering.

As a philosophy major, one of the first texts I read was Plato and the art of beauty.  His premise is that beauty like knowledge is innate to the soul.  It's not something that we learn, rather it's something that we recall.  We are born with an eternal sense of love and truth and over the course of our lives and our experiences with each other, we recall that which we know to be intrinsically beautiful.

And this I believe.

In everyone of us is the capacity for goodness, kindness, beauty.

What is beautiful in your world?  What has been there all along that you're just appreciating or discovering today?  What makes your heart flutter and your eyes widen and transports you to the eternal...or rather back to that from which you came?

Today, for me, it is the gift of my daughter's tears.  She's been wounded yet again by her brother (which I'm certain will happen hundreds of times over in her life) and through her sobs, she offers to try again.  Beautiful.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I don't know what your life looks like but mine is

loud, busy, frenetic, and often, filled with much to do.

Solitude is at an all-time premium and sometimes, I become angry when I can't find a real moment of peace.

So this morning after a less then satisfying run, I laid down and stretched for a really long time by myself.

My right shin was screaming, my feet were on fire, my shoulders ached and I recognized that its time for some alone time.  And not the kind of alone time where you fold the last load of laundry or you go grocery shopping or you fill in the blank.

I'm talking about genuine, authentic, quiet.  Where you don't "do" anything...except maybe breathe...where the mental to-do lists fall off, the guilty feelings of "should" or "can't" go away and you are by yourself...entirely alone and quiet.

How do I do this?  Carve out a space that is entirely mine.  I'm all ears.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Need for Sacrifice

Let's be honest, most of the time, we are indulgent creatures.

We enjoy living off the fat, having what we want when we want it, and in general not thinking twice about it.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of a 40-day lenten season that for Christians honors the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for his people. 

What does it mean to sacrifice in our day and age of instant gratification?  And, why is it so necessary?

Let me begin by saying that any time you have to do without something (even the most nominal of amenities, take for example, my daily Starbucks addiction), you instantly realize one how insanely reliant you've become and two, how good it feels to surrender something that you've been bound to for too long.  And, sometimes, you permanently let the indulgence go.

When you give up something larger like holding a grudge or guilt or anger, the stakes are higher and often, the rewards are sweeter.

The decision to do away with that which we do not need in our lives whether it be a superficial indulgence or a deeper wounding behavior is what sacrifice is all about.

I'm convinced that the purpose of life is to love and to be loved.  Its impossible to give and to receive when you're blocked.  Take away that which is unnecessary in your space to make room for the good stuff.  You may be only one latte or conversation away. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The other day, my seven-year old son asked,

"Mama, it's good to break the rules sometimes, right?"

And immediately, with no hesitation, I declared, "Absolutely."

And then I back tracked, "Well, which rules are you talking about?"  (insinuating...if they're my rules, they're non-negotiable...insert smile emoticon.)

Our dialogue gave me pause.  It's funny how we all know that the leaders, teachers, people in our lives who have made the most difference are those who have deviated from the norm. 

They weren't willing to be constrained by the way that it's always been done or by the status quo.  They're okay not to play it safe.  They're not afraid to test the waters, push the envelope, and to embrace change.

But how do you teach that to a seven-year old who's trying to justify talking in class when what the teacher's saying is boring?  The truth is that most of the "normal" that we experience in life is boring, mundane, rote, habitual.  So why wouldn't someone want to shake things up a bit?

The trick for me is going to be to teach him how to pick and choose his deviant behavior.  Because it's not so much the method to madness as it is the purpose for which its being done.  And sometimes, the ends do justify the means.

So even though it's a slippery slope, I'll always encourage my kids to color outside of the lines, to question authority, to not play long as the purpose for doing so is to try to derive something better than what exists today.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I'm pretty good with names.

I can remember the name of almost everyone I've met at one time or another and usually some miscellaneous fact about our acquaintance or their family or their know, a conversation starter of sorts.

But for some reason that is disconcerting to me, I can only remember pieces of my long term memory and typically, those encounters are distorted to some degree.  For example, I could swear that I saw a movie with my husband, when I didn't.  I claim that I've never experienced a restaurant, a town, or a song and low and behold, someone starts recounting the experience and I was there.

I probably fell on my head or have the same affliction that the dude in "Memento" suffered from.

But it has me thinking, how do we carve out our memories?  How do we decide what's important and what to file away in such a spot that it can be easily and accurately recalled?

Why do we select certain experiences, people, or feelings to finely access immediately at our finger tips and others are so far away that its as though they never occurred.  

I once told a friend that he would have to be our institutional memory because he recalled finite details about us that for some reason, I no longer had access to.  Which means that some of us have extraordinary long term memories.  We vividly remember childhood, 'coming of age' rituals, our 'firsts' and even those silly details that probably no one in the world cares about.

As I've been constructing an outline for my writing...I've been recalling parts of me...and in an effort to give legitimacy to the experiences, I may be reaching out to some of you.  It seems that for me, my memory is a collective experience...a mosaic constructed by those I love and who love me...which is probably how it should be.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doughnuts instead of Communion

We had good intentions this morning.

Everyone got a decent night's sleep.  Filled our bellies with a warm breakfast.  Got into the shower and dawned our Sunday best.

And approximately 20 minutes before we were to get into the car and head out the door for mass...the aliens invaded.

The baby went ape shit.  No lie.  Inconsolable.  Teething like a crazy lady.  Crying like it was her job.  The big kids decided that this gave them license to begin running in circles like lab rats on a wheel screaming at the top of their lungs, "No church, no church, no church."

I started sweating profusely, dropped the diaper bag, turned to my husband and said, "Screw this."  He smiled and said, "Who wants to get doughnuts?"  And that's where they are now...while I'm typing and drinking a hot cup of coffee.

Best laid plans.  They're necessary and yet a joke at the same time.

Take for example the fact that I made my second trek to Urgent Care on Friday afternoon to get what I'm hoping will be my last needed antibiotic of the winter season.  I begged the nurse practitioner to give me anything that would annihilate this infection, even if it killed me.  I'm so freaking sick of sore throats, snot, and swollen lymph nodes I could spit.

That said, all of it is a good lesson.  It's nice to have an idea of how you want something to go down, but it's so futile to be pissed when it doesn't.  The magical stuff always happens in the know, those tiny moments and places that weren't scripted...when your daughter says, "Let's play family...I'll be the sister, you be the mommy...just say, 'ENOUGH ALREADY' when I try to take this toy'."  Great.  It's hysterical, beautiful, and real all in the same moment.

Life brought us doughnuts instead of communion this morning. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Actualizing My Potential

I have to confess.  I've had this weird fear my whole life. 

I'm not entirely sure how to describe it except that it goes something like this...whatever the, jobs, friendships, relationships, home ownership, fitness, etc....that I'm not actualizing my full potential. 

Immediately, you're thinking how self-absorbed...narcissistic....egotistical...ridiculous.  And, you're right. 

Let me clarify by saying that I don't by any means think that I'm destined for greatness.  But I do have a tendency to get comfortable, to fall into old habits, to get lazy, and to (from time to time) cut corners.  And there are moments, when I know that I can do and be more.

It's that feeling in my heart that says, "Push yourself...there's more to experience, more to treasure, greater memories to be had...but you have to want it."

I think I fall back on that which I know because I'm afraid of failure and of course, the unknown.  But my hope is that I will try harder particularly in my relationships to connect deeper with those I love.  I hope that I will challenge myself to learn more about my surroundings and to continue to push my body to its limits. 

The only time that we're not actualizing our full potential is when we become complacent, apathetic, numb.  Until then, there's always room to expand, to grow, and to garner more than we initially thought possible.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"The Ten Year Nap"

If you've not read Meg Wollitzer and you're a woman, you should.

I recently finished reading her novel entitled "The Ten Year Nap," a fictional account of four friends in their thirties who have left careers to raise their kiddos. 

The gist is that in their 20's, they spent their time getting graduate degrees, traveling, going on dates, finding their partners, building their careers and enjoying disposable income.

Now in their 30's, they've had children and a chance to stay at home while their husbands earn the dough and their new responsibility is to peddle their kids to story hour, play groups, preschool, and along the way, lose their minds, rediscover new identities and transform their marriages and friendships.

It's all very apropos for where I am in my life.  And the title alludes to the notion that women "give up" their 30's to hunker down with their children doing the most important job of all.  In essence, the 10-year nap.

I'm 36 which means that this summer, I will have been at home full-time for five years.  My youngest just turned a year old, which also means that I will probably be at home for at least the next four years until she starts school all day long.

Like most, I've figured out routines, rituals, and a schedule.  Our house flows fairly seamlessly, except when I get sick or the baby is teething or the big kids fight or it's below zero and we can't go outside. 

But what does all of this mean?  When I'm in my 40's maybe mediating again (for money) or teaching a class will I look back and think, "My God, my 30's were an absolute blur."  Or will I reflect back fondly remembering the park, the pool, the children's books, and the time spent.  I'm certain that it will be a mixture of both.

Right now, I've got to be honest, I'm tired.  Being on the home front can be relentless and unforgiving.  The needs rarely wane and the personal time has to be fought for.  I pray that over the next four years I can remember that I'm doing important work and that I won't lose my edge or my least not permanently.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Public Parenting

I learned a long time ago that judging parenting in public rarely makes sense.

Most of the time, parents are stressed.  Kids are tired of being drug from one place to the next.  And everyone just wants it to be over.

But the other day at Target, I found myself inches away from an altercation.

Our neighborhood store is growing from a regular Target into a super store.  You know, one that offers fresh fruits and vegetables and other grocery items.  So, there's construction everywhere.  The lay of the land has changed and no longer is it an easy gig to get in and get out.  Everyone's adjusting.

So, as I was wandering up and down the linen aisles looking for baby goods, I heard a little boy, probably 5 or 6 whining.  Nothing new.  My kids do it all the time.  In fact, when they're not, that's when I know I'm in trouble...because most likely, they're in cahoots organizing a big brewhaha.

It wasn't the little boy wailing that got me.  It was his piss poor of an excuse for a mother that I wanted to strangle.  Getting in too late on the conversation, I didn't hear what he wanted...but his mother's response was something like, "Keep dreaming...who do you think you are...I make the money around here...forget about it."

Now all of these things may be true.  He may be dreaming big Lego dreams.  She may be the bread winner.  And, he may never see the toy in his home....but for the love of God...why do you have to be such a bitch about it?

I have long believed that kiddos deserve respect.  They understand everything we say in their presence and they model our behaviors.  And when we fail them or the situation, they deserve an we may give to our partner or to a coworker. 

And believe me, the whole store would hear an earful, if I asked any one of my kids who they thought they were?   All I'm asking is that when it's time to discipline, do it as benevolently as possible.  Children are people too who deserve kindness even when they're on our last nerve.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moments of Random Inspiration

My alarm went off at 4:30am, and I thought, "you've got to be kidding."

I made my way to the kitchen, started the coffee, turned to the bathroom to put on my gear and in my birthday suit, decided to step on the scale.  Let me preface my comments by saying, I hate the scale.  I think it's a silly, arbitrary and over glamorized measuring stick for progress.  I much prefer how I feel in my favorite pair of jeans or my "fuck me boots"...which are still a work in progress.

But damn it, if it didn't shock me.  Internally hooting and hollering, I went off to spin class with a new lease on the morning.

And then I arrived.  And then I sweat my ass off.  Literally.  I wiped the bike down and my ass off of it when the instructor called time.

Waiting for my friend to do planks with me, I started to stretch and noticed the most amazing site ever.  A woman whom I'm guessing was in her 70's...was working out with a personal trainer.  Upon doing her final push up, she screamed, "FUCK!"  Her trainer stood paralyzed and I looked right at her.  She looked at the wall and said, "Sometimes, it just calls for it." 

Hell yes, it does.  Inspiration.  Staring at me from the eyes of a woman who was strong as shit. 

Bit by bit.  I'm getting there.  It's exciting shedding the old me.  I'm curious what this new girl will be up to.  I think she might be a little feisty.  Watch out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

Maybe today has brought you flowers, chocolates, plans for an evening out, a sexy black dress.

Or, if your life looks like mine, its brought you noses that need to be wiped, diapers that need to be changed, boo boos that need to be loved, dishes that need to be washed and yes, the promise of pizza/movie at the end of the day.

The times they have changed...but absolutely in a good way.

Every day and twice on Tuesday, I would take an abundance of love in all of the ordinary moments over those few "whisk me off my feet" romantic memories that I have of Valentines days past.  And plus, flowers die, lots of chocolate makes you big, sexy black dresses well...I do love them, so okay, I'd like an occasion to wear mine more often.

That said, how do we love our loves in the ordinary?  I'll tell you how mine love me.  While in the bath last night, I was brought a cup of tea and a big hug from a little girl that said, "Let me tell you something mama...I love you."  Later, my husband, after a day of being on the road and reading bedtime stories to the kids said, "Thanks again for picking me....I love you."  And my son, who is not a huge delver out of affection said, "Thanks for the pickles in my lunch rock."  And Claire, well, she stopped wining long enough for me to enjoy a cup of tea and check my email.

We are all loved.  We just have to pay attention to it.  The divine is in the sweet, often unnoticed, richly blessed moments.  Happy Valentines Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby Steps

The devil is always in the details.

And I hate spending time on the details.  Often, I want to cut to the chase...actualize the in the big picture.

I've always fancied myself a macro-thinker.  For whatever reason, I can often see clearly what I want down to the color, temperature, size/scope and feeling.  As to how I get there, well, I've always loved partnering with people who are really good at helping to create the tactical plan.  When I was in the corporate world, I adored a girl on my team who was outstanding at breaking down strategy into concrete steps and then breaking those steps down into even tinier pieces that would be executed daily.  She was brilliant.

So, when it came to running a half marathon, I was really glad that there were hundreds of training plans out there for the taking.  And, it's been going well.

But now, I really want to write a book.  I know.  It's lofty,  Probably supremely silly.  But I just keep coming back to it.  And so, the rational part of me says that I start with a word that moves into a phrase and forms into a sentence and develops into a paragraph and meanders into a page and harvests into a chapter and after many cups of coffee evolves into a short story or, if its cappuccino and I'm lucky, a novella.

Baby steps, right?  Baby steps and discipline.  And the belief that it doesn't matter if no one reads it, pays it an ounce of consideration, or thinks it's absolute garbage.  It's worth a shot.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Heart Longs to Travel

Lately, I've been consumed with an overwhelming desire to travel.

2011 was the first year in a long time that I did not board a plane. 

So, when my Sunday New York Times arrived this morning and the front page of the magazine was a special issue entitled, "Voyages" with a homage to pilgrimages around the world...I was in love.

The first narrative juxtaposed to the gorgeous photo on the front cover is "My Debt to Ireland," a magical piece that takes you back to James Joyce and makes you long for sheep wool and a Guinness.

Another one on the ensuing art world in Istanbul made me nostalgic for my travels to Turkey in undergrad.

The essay on a tree in the urban concrete jungles of New York City encouraged me to reach out to a friend out east to see if I could cop a squat on their couch...I still can't believe that I've never been to Central Park.

But most powerfully, and probably because of my love of all things literary, was the piece written about an animated tour done in England reenacting the time period of Charles Dickens right down to the smell of rotten cabbage.

I'm convinced that travel is good for the soul.  It jolts you out of your comfort zone and engages you with a fresh set of eyes, ears and of course builds lasting memories.

I am still resolute that my money and energies will be spent trying to get to Italy first...but in the interim, and especially on a cold winter's day in Omaha, Nebraska, I'll be dreaming of packing my suitcase.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lenten Sacrifice

I have had a love affair with coffee since I was a little girl.

My grandparents introduced it to me when they taught me to play cards and since that time (despite the fact that it would stunt my growth), I've been hooked.

I love the aroma, the taste, and the connection I make when the hot drink meets my lips.  I can't imagine not having it every day.

Lent comes in two weeks.  It serves as a 40-day reminder of the sacrifices that Christ made for us, and as such, I try to either give something up or do something that will serve as a meaningful symbolic connection. 

Let me begin by saying that I certainly don't liken caffeine deprivation to the crucifixion...but well, in my meager world, it's pretty high up there.  I tell my pregnant girlfriends who are worried about drinking a cup of coffee in their first trimester, that I guzzled it during all three of my pregnancies...and as such, my Kate will still eat whole coffee beans, like it's nothing but a thing.

That said, what do I sacrifice?  Booze, you say?  It's really not hard for me to do.  I rarely drink.  Cursing?  Naw, I don't even allow the word fart to be said in my home.  Social media outlets?  I'm considering it.  Chocolate?  It's a close second to coffee and is giving me a damn good run for my money.

It needs to be something that I can commit to and that I really feel a significant impact post the experience.  Any thoughts?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The reason that facebook is wildly successful is because at heart, we're all voyeurs.

No, I don't mean peeping Toms.  I don't mean watching others for sexual gratification, although, I'm sure that transpires too.

No, what I mean is that we're all curious to know, most of the time, about what's going on with others...especially those that we used to know in some capacity.

Oh sure, when someone asks why you have a facebook account, you'll claim that it's to keep up with family and friends.  You'd only be genuine, if you were your parents.  Because really, its only my in-laws that look at my page for regular updates on their grand kids.

The truth is that we're hard wired to want to know what happened to the ex or the mean girl from high school or the old boss or the psycho former coworker.  We can't help it.  And, if the years have not been kind to these subjects, well then, we've got a great story for our friends at coffee.

Oh no, I'm not judging.  I'm just as guilty as the next.  I just find it fascinating that we're all so fascinated with each other.  I know for me as a stay-at-home mother, it's my pseudo window into feeling virtually connected.  But, I also know that if I had an outside office, I'd still be active with my account...I'm just naturally curious.

I do however, admire those few folks that go on social media diets after a few bender seasons...I'm giving consideration to doing so for Lent.  We'll see.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ode to Sam

They said that you would come on Valentine's Day.

You, my first child, my only son.

They said that it would be a hard delivery because you were posterior which meant that the back of your skull was in the back of my pelvis.  And they were right. 

They said that you would be average sized, but the only thing average about you was your weight.

You came one week early...kicking and screaming...ready to grace the world with your extraordinary presence.

From the moment that they laid you on my chest, seven years ago, and I became a mother for the first time, I knew that my life had changed forever.  I never knew that I could love someone more or that I would be willing to sacrifice and advocate as fiercely as I have and as I will for you.

I love that by the age of 2.5, you were correcting others on the multi-syllabic pronunciations of your favorite dinosaurs, even the docent at Fontenelle Forest.

I love that you know exactly what you want down to the letter, color, shape, sound, and timing...and that you're cool with being that precise.

I love that you're unaffected by others' pressure for you to do and be something other than you are.  You're good to hang by yourself.  You're fine to engage in your own deal.  And, you don't fear being alone.

I love that you adore your father/"papa."  You and he have a bond that is ferocious.  You understand each other like none other and you speak each others language.

I am so grateful that God chose me to be your mama.  I am amazed that we've been on this journey for seven years together.  I pray that we will continue to grow closer.  That you will grow and emerge as the amazing little boy that I know you to be. 

And that this day and every day, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved.

Happy Birthday,, mama

Monday, February 6, 2012

Self Sabotage

Self sabotaging behaviors...

You know what I'm talking about, right?

Those things we do...that we're painfully aware of, that habitually rear their ugly heads just when we seem to be making progress in our lives and then, wham decide to throw a wrench in the deal?

For example, if you're a spender, it's that time when you know you should simply pass by the store, but your rationalizing subconscious says, "what will it hurt to just walk in and take a look?"

Or, if you're a procrastinator and you know that something is due by Monday morning at 8 and you say to yourself that Saturday needs to be a day of rest.  You'll get to it first thing on Sunday.  Except Sunday seems to slip away, and you're exhausted by 10pm only to have a huge project staring you in the face.

Or, you're me.  A mama who's been sick for the last 10 days...hasn't exercised at staring down a training program for her first big race and feels deflated...because everything that was working has to be put on hold until she gets better.

And so, in traditional Kelly fashion...I say, "screw it." And want to let my healthy eating habits go by the way side, my mental mojo fall into the toilet and my self confidence peeter away.  Because really, who am I kidding?

It angers me that at the end of the day, we are our own worst enemies.  Most everyone in our lives wants what is best for us.  And usually if we ask, they will support our choice to not spend money, waste time, or get better so, that we can get back to our normal rituals and routines.  

The problem, at least for me, is not in my support system, it's in me.  I have to decide that this will not be a permanent set back and that the practices and behaviors I had in place before were not a fluke.  This race will happen with a fit girl.  I simply have to trust that. 

No more self sabotage.  It's an unnecessary distraction.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tough Week

Wow, it's been a doosy of a week.

I thought I was getting better and made the mistake of running three miles on Thursday, only to discover that I'm pretty certain that I have a sinus infection.

My husband has also been down for the count and immersed in contractual work which has been exhausting.

The baby got her one year vaccinations and another tooth.

And, Sam and Kate got sandwiched in the middle...somewhere between "just a minute, sweetheart," and "mama will be right there."

Monday starts my official training plan and I'm terrified.  I'm tired.  I'm a bit discouraged and wondering when the dust bunnies will vacate, the laundry will fold itself, and the feelings of being overwhelmed and underachieving will go away.

Just before I passed out last night, I read a passage that resonated.  In a nutshell, the author indicated that most of us are impoverished when it comes to the work of the soul.  We thrive on acquiring, amassing, consuming and we mask it in goal setting and accomplishment.  Our most important task in life is to learn to be...with all of it.  The frustration, the sickness, the embarrassment, the second thoughts, the hopes, the's the best model that we can be to our children...teaching them how to treasure the power of being in the moment.  And that is what I did as I spent two gut wrenching hours shoveling our drive.  I felt the pain, the desire to give up, the back ache and the silence of the bright snow.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Agree to Disagree

I've always been considered more "liberal" than most in my family.

I tend to differ with regard to my political beliefs, my thoughts on social issues and my sort of a la carte Catholicism.

So, it's not surprising to me when I find myself in a constructive dialogue about difference of opinion.

And given that I focused my graduate studies on a degree in Conflict Resolution, I'm no stranger to difference.  I really think it's the only honest, authentic way to engage in this world.

But the older I get and the more conversations I have particularly with regard to faith/religion...I'm finding that it may not be as productive or helpful to have an all-out debate with those you love.  Sometimes, agreeing to disagree with the goal of the preservation of the relationship in mind is the best route.

And believe me, that's hard for me to admit given that I came out of the womb debating.  But the truth is that we're not here to change one another.  We may enhance each other's perspectives or provide a richer picture as to why we adopt a particular world view, but if you're debating the validity of ones faith, it's a losing battle.

So, depending upon how important the relationship is to you, it may be more helpful to smile and agree and to disagree.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What is Love?

I've had some interesting dialogues lately about what women can expect in a marriage with regard to love.

Or maybe more specifically, what women shouldn't expect so as to make life less confrontational.

My girlfriend said that she had an epiphony in her marriage when she discovered that you can not expect your partner to be your everything, to fulfill your needs, to make you happy, essentially, there's no such thing as a white knight, a castle, a fairy tale, and a Disneyland.  That's why we have girlfriends, she fill in the gaps...sometimes, really big gaps.

Other girlfriends say that they've given up on the idea of traditional romance in their marriages and have learned to love the "every day" acts of service that their husbands mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, changing the oil in the car, shoveling the snow.

And still others, are frustrated wishing that the man they dated could reappear from time to time in the man that they married. 

The jury's still out for me.  I really think that men can and do step up to the plate.  They know how.  They've done it before.  They just have to choose to and sometimes, be prompted.  I don't think it has to look like rose petals and wine.  And, I don't think that taking out the trash isn't romantic.  I just think that women need to communicate what they love and what feels like love and men have to be willing to step outside of the every day box.

How does it play out at your house?