Saturday, March 31, 2012

Come Back Kid

If you've even been remotely connected to me for the last four months, you know that I've been trying to make running a permanent part of my life.

I signed up to run a half marathon race in five weeks on the morning of my 37th birthday.  I've been devoted to my training program.  And I ran two mini races prior to the big one.

And then, around a month ago, I came face to face with shin splints and knee pain, my nemesis.

To be completely honest, I used to think that people that had back problems or joint issues or fill in the blank were just sort of sissies, pansies, attention seekers.

And now I get it, I'm a moron.  When you live with chronic pain and it affects your quality of life such that you can't do that which brings you get pissed off, and rightfully so.  And, I have been pissy, negative, down in the dumps, bitchy, pessimistic and on a god damn mission to figure out what in the hell is going on with my body.

After hearing multiple people say, I think it's your shoes and I'd already had brand new shoes...I thought, what the hell, I'm going to the running store to have them analyze my gait and help me figure out if I'm a loser runner.

When I arrived, they watched me walk, run, and observed my arch, pronation, stance, and form...and you know what the verdict look perfect, except, I think your shoes are a smidge too small which means that your shock absorption is going up your shin into your knee and leg.  WTF?? 

Did you know that your running shoe is typically one full size larger than your regular shoe?  Yep, me neither.  So, they swapped my old ones for a free pair and I went for a run.  Just a mile and a half.  But it felt good.  I hadn't forgotten.  I hadn't lost my ability to keep the breath or the cadence.

Now, I just have to slowly, very slowly ease back into it.  And, I'm hopeful that in 5 weeks...I'll be dawning my number ready for my first half marathon race.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"The Paris Wife"

In need of a new book to drown away my running sorrows, my girlfriend lent me, "The Paris Wife."

Set in the 1920's, the tale is based on the love affair and marriage of Hadley Richardson to Ernest Hemingway.

Quickly after they marry (he, 21 and she, 29), they set sail for Paris and become well known on the scene of the fabled "Lost Generation" which includes the likes of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

While pouring his heart into his writing, he regards Hadley or his "Hash" as his muse, his blood, his sustenance, his reason for living.  And she the same.  Until something scandalous'll just have to read the novel.

Reading about Hemingway makes me long for another era and also makes me wonder whether I lived during another time.  I'm enamored by their Bohemian lifestyle, their intellectual, drunken parties, and their love of all things desperate, smart, and of the heart.

Who knows why we end up aligning with certain characters in a book or plot lines in a novel?  I think parts of our souls identify with times past and when we're engrossed in a character or an experience and our pulse quickens, we envision pieces of who we are on the page.  Long live the novel.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adversity Builds Strength

So, it's been 8 days since I last ran.

I've been icing my shins and knees daily.  Stretching. Popping ibuprofen. Consulting with trainers.

And, even with low intensity cross-cardio activities like spinning and the elliptical, I'm not getting better.  I still have pain.

With less than 6 weeks to go before the half marathon race, I decided to reach out to a professional.

My husband sees an amazing chiropractor who he loves...and so I thought, what the's worth a shot.  They took x-rays of my spine and did various scans.

This morning, we reviewed the results and to say I was shocked is an understatement.

A healthy spine should have a 60% curvature at the top much like a banana.  Mine is completely curved forward as if I'm an old lady with crazy Osteoporosis.  My pelvis is not centered and when I stand, I'm off balance by four pounds to be exact.

Because our bodies are one long kinetic chain, everything is connected and my lower back is over compensating for my spine and pelvis.  Consequently, the impact of my running is being absorbed by my knees and shins.  And, it hurts.

I go back in a few days to determine the game plan...but the doctor has high expectations and fully believes that I'll not only run the race but also be able to safely run for the rest of my life.  If, I can get my alignment on track.

I've learned a lot.  My confidence has increased, but so has my fear.  I just want to run, but more importantly, I want to be healthy.  I pray that one day I'll look back and say that adversity made me stronger.  It's just that right now, I feel vulnerable and tired.  The weather is inviting me to run...but my head is saying don't sabotage the healing process.  I visualize myself on the course feeling good with a body that is coming across the finish line happy and healthy.  Let's hope that I get there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Love You

Shortly before I left on a Girls weekend get-a-away, I turned to my four-year old daughter Kate and said, "I love you and I'm going to miss you.  Are you going to miss me?"

To which she said, "Naw...I'll be having too much fun with papa." 

My heart was sad and happy in the same moment.

I grew up in a household where saying the words "I love you" were common place, expected, appreciated and savored.  I can't think of the last time I got off of the phone with my parents, siblings or extended family without saying, "I love you."

To that end, we are also big fans of PDA (public displays of affection)...we kiss, we hug and in general, we let the other person know that we are thankful they are in our lives.

So, I always assumed that affection and vast amounts of it were the norm...especially, when you have children.  Who doesn't want to cuddle and pinch the cheeks of a little one...well, I mean, a little one that you know.

But not everyone subscribes to the same philosophy.  For some, a hand shake or an "I'll see you soon." or "Take care." is the extent of the good bye.  Which I have to admit is really odd to me.

So, I'm just throwing it out there...if you bump into me at the grocery store, the library, the park, preschool, a restaurant, you name it...chances are, I'll hug you first, but if I don't, feel free to give me a bear hug and to say, "I love you."  I just happen to think the world would be a better place if we all did so more often.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Essence of a Sugar Scrub

This weekend, I indulged in a sugar scrub.

If you've never had one, indulge me in describing the experience.

You strip down to your birthday suit.

You lay on a heated bed and put one cloth over your nether region and one cloth over your tatas. 

It's dark.  The music is relaxing.  The masseuse starts by exfoliating your body...then rubs a warm mixture of sugar over your front and back.  Then, you take a rain shower and finish with a lotion massage. At the conclusion, you're given a big glass of water and a warm cup of hot green tea and encouraged to relax in the sauna.

At this point, roughly 60-75 minutes later, you've reached a state of nirvana.  You have no worries.  Your troubles have found another home.  Your body feels silky smooth.  Your heart is at peace and you're ready to close your eyes and sleep for at least 24 hours and beyond a shadow of a doubt, you feel beautiful and sexy.  You have finally inhabited your body.  Out of your head and into your matter.

When it was all said and done, I turned to my girlfriend who had a scrub as well and said, "This is so amazing...I want to ride this calm...this feeling forever.  I feel beautiful."  She agreed and said, "Let's work this into the budget."

So, I'm thinking that we should give up all the ancillary stupid shit that we spend money on and invest in a scrub/sauna at least once a month.  It's so worth it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Girls Gone Wild Weekend

As I type this, my two besties are out running.

And they look hot.  We made a crucial stop to Lululemon to get some amazing running/yoga, I told them to stop by the front desk before they hit the trail....sadly, but truly, pretty girls seem to get things...and I want some good coffee.

We're on the last day of our Girls Gone Wild weekend and it has been a blast!

Complete with phenomenal food, adult beverages, shopping, lots of random side conversations with random crazy people (which is what happens when Happy Hour is free), a run in with the Alpaca Convention (no shit and that's really another post) and the Ambulance Managers Association (these are folks of another breed)....and now, we're getting ready to head to the spa....and then, home.

We've been laughing like school girls trying not to pee ourselves, giving each other tips on our running and training plans, diving into the sordid details of our sex lives (well, maybe not so sordid) and in general, reaffirming that the power of friendship is amazing...especially, friendship between women.

I'm just trying to figure out how to get a girls weekend into the monthly budget.  It's so good for the soul.  Big love, big gratitude to my always make me whole.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Challenge of a Set Back

I put in a lot of mileage this week.  It was frequent and intense.  And now, I'm paying for it.

Both of my shins are on fire.  Inflamed to the nines.

I'm popping ibuprofen like a fiend.  Frozen vegetable bags are my best friend.  I stare at my new shoes wishing that I was in them.  And, to be honest, I just want to cry because my only hope for getting better is to take time off from running.  I've got to heal the muscles and cut my body some slack.

Meanwhile, my mind is racing...what about my training plan?  What about my diligence?  What about "no pain, no gain?"  Unfortunately, with shin splints, you can't push through.  You're only asking for greater injury if you try to be a super athlete and risking the race itself. 

So the scoop is, I have six weeks until the half marathon.  Six weeks to get better, to gradually build back up my mileage and be strong to run 13 miles.  In the interim, thank God for non impact cardio activities like Spinning...we're going to be seeing a lot of each other in the next few days.

Until then, I just have to believe and trust that I'll be okay.  I've come too far.  I will cross a finish line with both legs intact.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Joneses to Keep Up With

Not long ago on a run, I found myself peering into neighborhood house windows.

Not completely stalkerish...just sort of as I was running by.  I have a favorite street that I run down and play this game where I think about what the people are doing in the ultra big, beautiful brick homes.

So today when I spied my four-year old daughter, Kate markering up her splurge, over-priced, had-to-have adorable cowgirl hat, I said, "Honey, what are you doing?"  to which she replied, "I'm coloring it, so that they will know me."

I'm not sure who "they" are, but her comment struck me as beautiful and poignant.  No ordinary cowgirl hat will do.  It has to have pink, purple, and orange stripes on it, so that the world will know that she loves big messy color and that Kate is in the house.

When we worry about what others think of us or how we should present ourselves so that we project or portray certain images, everyone loses.  Because respectfully speaking the "Joneses" miss out on knowing the real you...the one who colors her cowgirl hat and is adored because of it.

So, in spirit of Kate, I've decided to keep it real for everyone who randomly stops by.  As a snap shot, I have a million colored pencils, markers, and crayons decorating the floor along with smooshed rice krispies, avocado, sippy cups, and mismatched socks.  I think something died in my bathroom, although I can't find it.  I think I put deoderant on but I'm not sure that it's doing the trick.  And, my baby is wailing protesting a nap.  But, if you want to hang out, I'll always have a cup of coffee available and a smile.

Marry Me

The band Train has a song I love called "Marry Me."

The lyric that I am most mesmerized by goes..."Marry me, today and every day."

For those of you that have been married for sometime, you know how easy it is to get into the rhythm of work, kids, house, daily obligations, etc. and how quickly we take the love of our lives for granted.

So the lyric reminds me that reconnecting and re-falling in love every day is so important.  We don't just wear a white dress and walk down an aisle once, we live our vows every day.

But how?

How do we consciously fall in love over and over and over and over again?  Especially, when we're tired, we're frustrated, we're stretched too thinly, we just want our space.

I think for me, it's remembering that he and I are on the same side.  We're in this journey together.  I once heard an anecdote that I adore...marriage is like base camp....each person climbs and climbs all day, experiencing the world, traversing the universe, encountering others, taking it all in...and once the day is done, they pick each other literally and metaphorically to serve as base share their tales, to encourage their spirits, to rejuvenate their souls and to send them on their way the next morning.

Marry me...not just in the church, but today and every day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You are Enough

I lucked out.

When I was 19 years old getting ready to complete my freshman year of college in Chicago, I stumbled upon a girl.  She and I had one class together for one semester.  We weren't really friends, but she seemed nice/normal. We decided to be roommates our sophomore year and from that moment forward have been remarkable friends ever since. 

We've never lived in the same city or state.  Yet, even with the distance, we've seen each other through shitty first jobs, even shittier first romances, weddings, births, deaths, wounds so deep that only a dear friend can console, and lately, the ups and downs of bringing up a family.

And the theme of her pep talks to me are always...Kelly, you are enough.  The house you live in, the car you drive, the things you say or don't say to the ones you love, the number on the scale, the amount in the bank account, the goals, the dreams, the failed attempts....Kelly, you are enough.

And, I say to her, "Are you sure?"  And she assures me that every day, all day long, right here and right now, I am enough.   And after we get off the phone, for a while, I believe her. 

The greatest tragedy in life is to assume that we're less than.  It is debilitating and serves no purpose.  God doesn't make junk.  There will never be another you or another me.  We have been given this life to live and to love.  It's really that simple and from the moment that we were born, we were always enough.  Believe it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cargo Pants & Polka Dotted Undies

Since the start of the new year, approximately 11 weeks ago, I've been focused. 

My alarm goes off four mornings a week at 4:30 am to which I grab some clothes to run or spin in, a water bottle, sometimes a quick sip of coffee, and a prayer...a prayer of thanks and hope...gratitude for the gift of health and hope that I will use my energy and determination to push me farther than the day before.

And so far, so good.  The weekends bring outdoor runs culminating with the most mileage run on Sunday mornings.

So yesterday, during the spat of rainy, over cast weather, I decided to be daring.  I reached into my closet and pulled out my favorite pair of comfy, 'on-the-go', wear with anything cargo pants and into my bureau for my favorite pair of polka dotted undies.  Both fit like a glove.

The sweating...the shin splints...the exhaustion has a purpose.  And believe me, its far from over.  I have seven weeks to go until I run a half marathon and then, I'm going to run a few more races this summer.

But its the little wins along the way that have me smiling and saying...keep going...keep trying...there's other underwear dying for your tooshie to adorn them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nothing is Permanent

It's funny...when you're little, it feels like forever until you'll be big.

Big enough to decide that you can stay up as late as you want to, eat as much ice cream as you please, hang out with your friends for days, and that you get to be the 'boss' of your own life.

And then one cruel, beautiful day, you are the boss and time feels like its flying.

In seven weeks, I will turn 37.

That number feels old and yet, my mom tells me that she would trade places with me any day and one friend says that life really doesn't begin until you're 40.

But sometimes when I'm feeling particularly insecure and needy, I start to ponder things like...

I never thought I would be the age I am living in this city.  I never thought I'd live in my house for 8 years.  I never thought I'd be the mother to three little ones.  I never thought...I never thought.

And yet, if life has taught me's that nothing is permanent.  To everything is a season and to every season and every moment is an opportunity to garner something new, if we're willing to be open to it and to pay attention.

So if we subscribe to the philosophy that we are always where we are supposed to be at any given time...well then, the lesson is what am I learning?  How am I growing?  And how can I take this to the next season/life station to cultivate positive change...because odds are, on my 38th birthday, I'll be singing a different tune.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Mysteries of Love

Just ask my husband and he'll tell you that I'm a walking contradiction.  Happy and sad all in one moment.  Hopeful and frustrated in the next.

But aren't most of us?

And when we are, don't we tend to hurt the people that we love the most?  Aren't we notoriously taking for granted the people who we share the most time, space, and intimacy with?

I really don't know what's been up with me lately...but I've been in a mood.  I can't put my finger on it, but something's amiss. 

Sure I've been disgruntled with homilies at church.  Yes, I'm tired of all of the political hub bub and divisive dialogue that seems to abound.  I'm absolutely aware of my short comings and the times that I say to hell with it when I should be washing clothes, dishes, windows, or the baby.  And yes, I've fallen behind in some areas of my life.

But none of it gives me the right to be a bitch to those I love.  So how do I cope with that which feels disconnected but has no fix it solution.

My husband had a great suggestion and one that for me is almost impossible to implement.  Let it be.  Sit with it.  Feel the rage, the anger, the frustration.  Don't rush the diagnosis.  Be still. 

And so for today, I stand in awe of the mysteries of love.  The ways that we love another so unconditionally that we choose to let them be instead of making them pay for their behavior.  Beautiful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blarney Stone Race

Tonight, I'll run my second race.

It's only 3 miles with 1000 of my closest friends.

It's also on St. Patrick's Day and the only thing I have to wear that is green are my underwear and socks. 

And, I'm nervous.  Why?  Well, I've never run with that many people before and three miles is a long way to go to get beer and pizza which awaits me at the finish line.

I'm praying that I'm not last and I'm also praying that its fun and continues to inspire me to run...even if its at a slow pace.

Here's to the Blarney Stone...Here's to sunshine and fresh air...Here's to my play list and me out there conquering another fear.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Visit from the Parentals

I don't know about you but when my parents come into town and they intend to stay with us, my heart starts to race.

My folks live in Dallas and are excited to come see us all over the Easter break.

Seems easy right?  Have a little brunch, do a little egg hunt, kick back, hang out at the park, enjoy each other's company and call it a good visit.

Nope, my younger brother and I always go into panic mode.  Why?  We begin to diagnose every nook and cranny in our home that needs tender loving care and try to determine how we can physically and financially make the biggest dent in 16 days.  It's pathetic, I know...but it's always the nature of how it goes down.

My dad is awesome.  He's a handy man by nature and can fix just about anything, build you a garden in the back yard, grill up a steak and call it good.  He's not pretentious and really doesn't give a shit if my retaining wall is well, not really retaining much anymore.  So, it's definitely a point of pride and ego when I say, "FUCK! I've got some work to do."

The day lillies need to be pulled from the back yard, the garden beds need to be dug, the front porch needs to be painted, the bathroom caulked, the office imploded, the babies room should be organized, and something is funky with the dryer.  Ay yay yay....mama mia!

But for today, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the coffee is brewing.  Life is good.  Let's put it off until tomorrow...=)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hot Gym Guy

For as long as I've been going to the gym, there's always been a "hot gym guy."

Let me clarify who I am not talking's not the dude who is lifting ridiculous amounts of weight and can barely get in 5 reps before the weight crashes down, shakes the whole place, and he lets out some disgusting primal grunt.  Nor am I referring to the creepy guy who is spending more time watching the ladies then he is his own workout.

No, I'm referring to the hot guy...the one who runs like a mother, who does pull ups like it's his job and who does push ups in the corner until he passes out.

My husband and I once laughed about who was "hot" at the gym, because yes, even married guys notice too.  We had totally different impressions...which was fascinating to me.

My hot guy happened to jump on a treadmill next to me the other morning.  And all of the sudden like a third grade school girl, I started to up my pace and run.  I was resolute that I would run longer than he and I did.

Some use protein drinks, some play crazy music, others watch TV screens of infomercials, I channel the "hot guy" presence...who doesn't even know that I exist, who I will never talk to, but who gets me running faster than I might have before.  Long live the "hot gym guy."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disappointing Our Children

We all come to parenthood with baggage.

Sometimes, its things we remember from childhood that we want to replicate.  And other times, its memories that we never want for our own flesh and blood.

I have suitcases.

My mother was a single mom for the vast majority of my childhood.  She worked second shift (3pm-12am) in a factory which meant that we had lots of babysitters.  Which is probably why I have such a hang up with the minimal number of times that I leave my own children with someone other than me.  Because of her inflexible work schedule, she was often unable to come to sporting events, school programs, and other sorts of things you would want your mom at.  Which is why I probably have a huge fear of not "being there" for my own children.

I find myself volunteering in their classrooms.  My husband was a co-den leader for Sam's cub scouts troop.  And, in general, I always want to be present...even when my children could use a break.

I just don't ever want them to feel disappointed wondering where I was or missing me.

Someone once told me that we will all fuck up our children in some way.  It may not be the way(s) that we were scarred....but invariably, they will be laying on someone's couch telling their woes to someone who will encourage them to read a book about dealing with a mother who was too overprotective and constantly present.

Knowing that its a foregone conclusion that I will disappoint them, I should just let it go.  Instead, I worry.  I want them to know that I tried.  I want them to know that I wanted the best.  And I want them to feel loved. 

The truth is, my mom would echo all of these sentiments for me and I feel them all for her. 

Children...we're bound to disappoint them just as much as we indelibly love them.

Girl's Trip

I am counting down the days...

until, I hop in a car and drive away with a couple of my girl friends for a much needed, much anticipated, long awaited girls weekend.

On the agenda, a fabulous time at the spa complete with a sugar scrub, mani and pedi...copious amounts of shopping, wine, coffee, a long dinner with music and maybe dancing afterwards....oh yes, and a long run, at least 6 miles.

This is my third year going and my husband is so amazing when it comes to saying, "Go, have fun.  We will be more than fine and may have more fun than you!"

And so, with that, you don't have to tell me twice to pack my bag and get out of Dodge.

One of the best parts of a girl's weekend (other than the fact that you don't have to take care of kiddos, make beds, do laundry, or cook) is that you get to bond with your besties.  And, I tell you what, I have some pretty amazing women in my life.

So, as we speak, I'm organizing my "go out" sexy mama clothes along with my running shoes and my car trip play list.  It's on...and it's going to be so fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Start of Something Good

I always know that spring is right around the corner when I have to remind the kids to dump their shoes out before coming in the house. 

Invariably, their shoes are filled with sand, their shirts are full of dirt/mud, their cheeks are rosy and their energy level is zapped.  The windows are wide open.  There's something getting ready to be grilled.  We're pulling back out the cushions for the patio set.  We're rethinking the garden.  And, it gets much harder to say, "lights out at 8pm."  Oh, and we don't give a shit about the state of the house because all we want to do is to be outside.

I have this theory that your body and soul are most alive in the season that you were born in. 

I was born in the spring time...May 6th to be exact.  And so, the tiny buds, the little bits of green making their way out of the ground, the fresh air, the sweet smells, the birds, and the dew all say to me, happy're alive.

Welcome Spring...we've been waiting for you and you never disappoint.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Club

Ever notice that when you take on something new in your life that you start to see people doing what you're doing all around you?

For example, when I started my first job, I noticed ladies in suits with attache cases and to-go cups of Starbucks.  When I was pregnant, I saw prego ladies everywhere I went...round little bellies and mamas that just wanted to put their feet up.  When I first became a mother, I saw strollers, babies in front carriers, mothers breast feeding, and complex smiles that screamed exhaustion and sweetness all in the same glance.

And now, everywhere I go...I mean everywhere I go...I see runners.  At first, I felt like a phony waving to them as we would pass each other on the side of the road or in the park.  Now, when I see them driving, I want to cheer them on.  When I see them climbing up a hill, I want to run with them and encourage them to soldier on. 

I'm definitely a novice in the club...but by now, I do feel like a member.  And it's a cool club.  You'll find people of all shapes and sizes, every age and ability.  And the best part is that everyone seems to be incredibly welcoming and supportive.

Running is good for the soul.  And, when you do climb the hill or round the bend on your last mile and you see another look in their eyes and you both know that it was hard fought and so worth it.

Kind of excited to be in the cool kids club.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birth Control

Here's my disclaimer...don't read if you're easily offended.

After listening to insane amounts of dialogue about whether or not insurance companies should fund birth control for women, I am exhausted.

Almost every girlfriend of mine has a story about how and when they started the pill.  Some of them were prescribed it by their doctor to regulate their menstrual cycles or to manage symptoms connected to their periods.  Others started when they began having sex and some never ingested a pill until after they were married, had children, and were trying to get their wonky cycles back on track.

Either way, for as long as I've been kicking, protecting one's body against pregnancy has largely been the responsibility of a woman.  Sure, you'll say that every guy you know carried around a Trojan.  But the reality is that if you were going to have sex and wanted to be 99.9% sure that you did not have a baby, you took the birth control pill...because condoms can can claim they have one and then, oops they don't.  And, so taking one pill every day at the same time ensured that you would not conceive.

But for me what stands out in these dialogues is that if men and women are going to have sex with each other, then birth control is not exclusively a woman's issue.  Much like, if men and women have sex and conceive a child, parenting is not the primary responsibility of the mother, even though biologically, she carries the child in her womb.  Because last I checked, I never got pregnant from masterbating.

So why still is birth control, conception, pregnancy, and whether or not an insurance company should subsidize or fully fund any part of the aforementioned processes a woman's issue?  This is our issue...together...get it?  Men and women having sex together, does not make the woman a ridiculous, piece of shit poser talk show host. 

And if collectively, we decide that we want to fund, partially or fully, a woman's birth control pill or a man's viagra prescription, it won't be about whether either is a will be about whether this decision makes economic sense now and for the future.  So stop making this a morally reprehensible issue that pits us against each other.  It is time to unite and stop throwing stones.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Finding Love at the Museum

This morning, after pancakes and a quick run, we grabbed the kiddos and headed out the door to Josyln Art Museum. 

For our community, the Joslyn is an amazing asset.  The building is majestic, the exhibits are world renowned and their focus on children and family is a huge draw.  And, every Saturday morning, admission is free.

Currently, they're featuring a 100+ piece exhibit from the Brooklyn Museum entitled, "To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasurers" focusing on life, death, afterlife, mummification, tombs, rituals and burials.  It's pretty off the charts.

We spent time with the three kiddos just standing in awe of the paintings and talking about what we experienced when we saw them.  This is something that I've been eager and wanting to incorporate into our family outings for sometime.  Sam, our 7-year old kept grabbing our arms and saying, "Come here, I have something extremely special to show you."  And then, Kate, 4-years old, would gasp, "Cool...a map or a statue."  The baby just took it in and walked around like a drunken sailor.

I love watching my children fall in love with art.  And even if we can only spend a short time before our bellies need a snack and our bodies need to run, jump, and says to me that their imaginations are hungry and yearning for ways to connect with the world.

I'm certain that this is just the beginning of many outings.  My hope is that we'll be able to explore in lots of different communities and who knows maybe one day their pieces will hang on a wall for others to fall in love with too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kindergarten Round Up

Dear Kate,

Today is a day that you most likely will never remember.  I certainly can't remember the day that I had my "Kindergarten Round-Up," if we even had them back then.

But you woke up, ready and raring with your prized dress and your loud tights (which I love) and you said, "I'm ready to be round up."  And just like that, we ate a bowl of cereal, dawned your adorable pig tails, left the baby with a sitter and headed out the door.

I could feel the buzz from the minute we walked in the room.   Parents were swarming with excitement and hopes for their soon to be starting little ones. And just like that, they called your name and you were whisked down the hall to a big Kindergarten classroom to meet the teachers, do an activity, and learn what it means to officially be in school.

For some reason, I wasn't this emotional with Sam...which makes no sense to me at all.  You'd have thought that I'd have been a basket case with the first and completely fine with you...but it was the flip.  You're still 4.  You still seem little to me with your sweet voice, but you're not.  You can read, write, make your own bed, help with your little sister and in general, I'm convinced rule the world.

So, after today, I think that this summer will have special meaning.  I'll treasure the long days, the splashing in the pool, the memory making knowing that come fall, I'll have my first little/big girl saying the pledge of allegiance.

I love you so much,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our Sacred Cow...the Book

For those of you that I'm friends with on facebook, you know that my life is crazy.

Most recently, I posted a picture of my 14-month old sitting in the bowl of the toilet.  She climbed in sometime while I was making dinner and I didn't realize it until I heard sloshing in the other room.  I know, disgusting.

Suffice it to say, I spend a lot of my time cleaning up messes, making meals, doing laundry, running kids from one place to another, and in general, trying to keep my cool with it all.

But there is one sacred cow in our home and that is the book. 

From the time that all three of our children were in the womb, we have read to them...voraciously.  And so, I'd always hoped that they would come into the world loving the written word as much as we do.  What I didn't expect was that they would intentionally and frequently carve out time to read alone, to each other and to the baby (who seems to always have a book in her crib courtesy of her brother and sister).

From our twice a week treks to the library to our school book orders and trips to our local bookstore, we all seem to love to escape into the book.

So, in the month of Dr. Seuss' birthday, the 50th anniversary of "A Wrinkle in Time," the recent death of beloved author/illustrator Jan Berenstein, I say thank goodness for literature.  For as Helen Keller so aptly states,

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. "

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Gift of a Playdate

This afternoon, squirmy baby in hand, I was bounding into the doors of preschool to pick up my four-year old daughter, Kate.

When, out of the clear blue, another mother asked if it would be okay if Kate came to their home to spend THREE whole hours with her daughters.  She would feed her lunch AND drive her.

I stood in shock.  "Yes, Yes, Yes! Thank you!"  This concept will seem ludicrous to most of you who swap play outings with your friends' kiddos.  But for us, having three children at different ages can make orchestrating a play date that will work for everyone challenging.  So, we tend to stick to our own routine and call it good.

After feeding the baby and laying her down for a nap, my mind began racing, do I laundry...clean out the closet...get a head start on dinner...or do I grab the afghan, the remnants of the Sunday New York Times and quietly fall asleep?  And, I'm certain you can imagine what I chose to do.

The gift of hosting someone's children so that they can have time to simply 'be' is invaluable.  I feel refreshed, grateful, and ready to greet the squeals and craziness of a full house.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strangers in a Magical Land

Lately, I've reconnected with friends from undergrad who are raising their families abroad.

Some are there for brief stints while others have not yet decided if they will permanently be state side again.

Either way, I'm enamored.  The prospect of carving out a family in another country seems magical.

The short time that I spent in college studying in Greece and Turkey taught me that we really do live in a bubble.  It's easy to think that the city we live in and even more pertinently the neighborhood we grow up in is all that there is on earth.  Until you start to see that we're such a young country with very little history and very little tradition comparatively.

So, all of their stories got me enchanted and then I read an article.  A family from out east decided to provide their children an education of a lifetime, by taking a one-year sabbatical and traveling the world.  They saved for almost five years in order to do so and made extraordinarily special arrangements both with the husband's work and the children's schools.  They rented out their house.  Eliminated all of their auto, school loan, and consumer debt.  And saved two years worth of income to use while they traveled throughout the world.

Because the financial sacrifice was immense, they kept a globe at the dining room table and on the desk in the children's bedrooms.  Each night over dinner, they selected a new country to learn about and decided whether they wanted to traverse it or not. 

When their friends were going on vacation or having elaborate birthday parties, the parents pulled out the laptop and started dreaming with their children about their adventures.  In the end, the pictures, video documentary and testimonials demonstrates that there's no question they gave their children the most invaluable experiences of a lifetime.

So, I put a "For Sale" sign in the yard, posted all of our possessions on Craig's List, and called my husband's boss knowing that he would understand.  I think we're gonna go for it.

Maybe not this year...but sounds amazing, doesn't it.

Monday, March 5, 2012


This morning in the gym locker room, I overheard two ladies talking about a co-worker who was clearly having a shot gun wedding and how the relationship didn't have a chance in hell of survival.

This shit drives me crazy and is one thing that I do not miss about the office.

We are such assumptive creatures.  It's in our DNA to compare ourselves to others and typically, in an effort to feel better about our own set of circumstances, we determine that the other guy's got it worse than we do. And, that he probably deserves it.

But you know the old adage, assumptions only make an ass out of you and me.

So, how well do we really know each other? 

Allow me to "out" myself on a few issues.  I didn't shower the entire weekend.  Yep, I stunk so much that my kids said, "Wow, you need a bath."

One of my children's friends dropped over and exclaimed after seeing our basement/playroom..."This is a mess."  I prefer to call it organized chaos.  But, you'd call it a mess.

Here's another one, if you call me and I'm in the middle of something, I won't answer my phone.  It's just not worth it. I figure that you'll leave me a message if you want me to call you back.

And yet another, I jack up idioms all the time and then am dumbfounded when someone laughs their ass off while I'm taking myself seriously.  For example, you might find me somberly saying, "A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand."

And finally a doozy for you...I have faked an know what.  And, it's not been with my husband which means that I've also had know what.  Which means that I must be a promiscuous slut who's marriage is doomed and who's children will be tarnished for life.

So, do we know each other?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Investing in Motivation

I have a great friend who has been an inspiration to me on my fitness journey.

She will be running the same half marathon that I am and then, a few short weeks later, will tackle a Half Ironman. 

So, on most days when I'm running or spinning or lifting...she's doing some insane combination of running, cycling, swimming, and lifting.  And, almost 100% of the time, she has a smile on her face while she's doing it.  She's uplifting.  Positive. Informative. And HUGELY motivating.  She's got two children of her own and understands the demands of balancing family, work, and fitness. 

And her motto is that motivation does not come to us.  We must actively seek it out and invest in it regularly. Motivation is not a well that once discovered we have unlimited access to...we must invest in and continue to reclaim it over and over again.  What do I mean by this?

For example, on any day,  I can have an amazing run where I feel challenged, elevated, focused, and on top of my game.  The next day with just as much sleep, nutrition, and stamina, I can have an exhausting, barely breathing, can't wait to be done, about ready to die run.  And there's no reason for the difference  So, what propels me to get back up and try again?

Motivation.  How do I tap into it?  Everyone has different techniques.  I'm a visual girl.  I see myself crossing that finish line racing like a friggin machine on fire.  I see myself climbing hills like it's my job and running stairs like I can't be stopped.  I wear insanely bright colors and play sexy ass songs and I tell myself that I can and I will do this.  One step, one moment, one day at a time.

And, I never arrive.  I always have to keep pushing myself.  And I have to believe it more than anyone else does...otherwise, it's just wasted effort.

Motivation.  It must be reinvigorated, engaged, invested in daily.  Because it fades, it wanes, it falls by the wayside.  It needs someone, something to believe and then it takes you where you want to go.

Friday, March 2, 2012


So yesterday was the first day that I saw a pregnant woman at Target and thought, "Oh she's beautiful...I sort of miss that."

And then my girlfriend phoned.  She's expecting her third.  She already has a set of twins.  And I heard the chaos.

And then my four-year old locked us out of the house.  And then the baby had a blow out.  And then my son said something disrespectful and I thought, "Nope, I'm good."

We have a sign in our home that says, "Happiness is wanting what you have."

And I fully believe that if I embraced the mantra of this quote that I would be content until the cows came home.  Because really, other than minor personal areas of improvement, I am insanely blessed. If we get down to brass tax, we all are. 

Most of us in the western world, have a roof over our heads with multiple rooms.  We have access to education, healthcare (even if it's not perfect), technology, freedom of speech, friends, family, books, food, and ultimately, love.  We are brimming with God's favor.

So, why do we become self absorbed and think that a new dress, a new car, a new gadget, a new fill in the blank will bring us love.  Our experience tells us that the feeling is fleeting and then we're on to the next shiny deal.  The truth is the only place to invest your time, your energy, your resources is in gratitude for that which you have been given and with those around you whom you love.  That investment will produce countless dividends.

So, today I am content.  My cup is full.  I am grateful for this life that is mine.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Locked Out

The day started out well.

I went for an early morning run, got Sam off to school, and discovered that the bill for our auto repairs would be manageable.

Kate had her best friend over for a play date and after dropping her off, we pull up to our house to find out that the door won't open.

I unlocked the dead bolt which is the only lock we use and the door was still locked.  Low and behold, Kate had locked the second lock from the inside before leaving.  SHITTTTTTT!!!

It was lunch time and I had a screaming baby who was hungry and tired.

I call my husband, "HELP!"  He calls a lock smith who arrives and can not unlock the door.  Are you kidding me?  I'm dying on the vine here and from time to time, you can't get locks.  He told me that I should take comfort in the fact that I had a secure house.  Christ.

So, we call a second lock smith. The first guy because he's frustrated decides to wait for the second to see if he can get it.  Turns out that they know each other and the second dude unlocks it in under a minute.  The first dude says, "Yep, I got it loosened up for ya."

Mother of's been a $500 day and I am wiped out.  Thank God that the sun is shining and the baby is finally in bed.  Oh and under threat of death, Kate promises to never touch the door again.