Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garbage In...Garbage Out

Not long ago, I heard a woman utter a phrase that I hadn't heard in years.

Garbage In...Garbage Out.

Implying that if you feed your body, your brain and your soul with negative fuel or thoughts than you can expect your output/outcome to be poor.

This concept has rang more than true in my own life.

When I'm craving a big juicy burger and opt to go through a drive through instead of grilling it at home, I'm loving it in the moment, but regretting it later when I'm sluggish and lethargic.

When I choose to watch a movie instead of to turn the light off and grab extra sleep, I'm unmotivated to wake up in the morning and irritable the remainder of the day.

When I tell myself that I can't or second guess my abilities, I'm less apt to try something new and wind up frustrated with the status quo.

We deserve the best.  Good food, energizing sleep, healthy relationships, and positive self talk.  We would want it for the people closest to us, so why not advocate it for ourselves.

There's no question that we're better for the world when we take care of ourselves first.  Invest in you.  You're worth more than you give yourself credit for.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dreams for Our Children

Watching the parents of Olympic athletes has me ruminating on my own parents and children.

Imagining the countless sacrifices, hours of intense practice, and monumental hopes Olympic parents  have for their children is overwhelming.

And it's not.

My mother and father went to college.

And then they both dropped out to get married and eventually, to have me.

So, when it came time for academic achievement, they were incredibly encouraging.  My mom taught me to read when I was four years old.  They sent me to academic camps and supported advanced placement courses and sat in the front row when I delivered the commencement address in high school.

They wanted the best for me and maybe lived a bit vicariously through the achievement.

It's no different than what I do with my own three children.  I want everything for them...love, happiness, success, passion and opportunity.  And, most days, I'm willing to sacrifice what it takes to help them to discover and to harness that passion. 

But after watching the USA Women's Gymnastics team compete last night and witnessing Jordyn Wieber's elimination from the all-around finals by a fraction of a second, I was heart broken...and immediately thought about her parents.

I know what it feels like to want the world for your child, to know how hard that they've worked for something, and to realize that their dream will not be actualized.


And yet, we, as parents continue to be the greatest advocates and sometimes containers for our children's dreams...continuing to encourage when they are tired, frustrated, hurt, worn out.  Because we know that dreams are what fuel us.  They are the reason that we live.

And tomorrow will bring a new opportunity.  New hope.  No matter the sacrifice of the past or the outcome, the true test is to keep dreaming...even if the dream evolves.  No one can take away the ability to dream. The role of parents is to keep our children hungry for finding their passion, their love, their Olympic dream.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thoughts from the Road

I should have known better.

Today was the first morning that I wasn't particularly anxious about my long run.  I was scheduled to run eight miles and thought, ain't nothin but a thang. 

Feeling self assured, I let myself sleep in and didn't head out until 8:00am, probably an hour and a half later than I should have.

Armed with a new playlist, my camelbak, some espresso energy GU, and a cocky attitude, I hit the road.

Three miles into the trek, I knew I was in for it.  I started getting really hot.  Sweat was pelting my eyes and my pace was rapidly slowing down.

Oh no.  This is not good.

At mile four, I took the gel and a huge drink of water and decided to surrender. 

The pain and the journey toward miles 5, 6, 7 and eventually 8 got me thinking...the moment that we begin to auto pilot anything in life and assume that we know more than it...is probably the point at which we are doomed. 

Because clearly we have lost respect for the task at hand.  We assume that we've mastered it and that we own it...when in life, nothing could be farther from the truth.  We are really never in control of our circumstances.  We assume a healthy surrendering and trust believing that goodness will outweigh evil and that fear and worry are simply barriers to the truth.

It's good to be a little anxious about the journey.  It certainly makes the fruits of our labor sweeter and more hard fought.  And in the end, we learn not to take them for granted and to recognize that accomplishing a goal like running 8 miles on a Saturday morning is a blessing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Why are You Reading This?

I've got a morning routine.

I get up at 4:30am...go to the gym...run between 4-5 miles...do some core work...stretch and drive home.

Pour a steaming cup of coffee...fire up my computer and I write.

A blog post.

Usually the posts are not lengthy...often, they're top of mind...and typically, they're uncensored, unfiltered, irreverent windows into me.

So, why do I share it with you and why would you want to take your time reading about me?

I've been wrestling with this concept.  The idea that anyone should really care about my life seems self absorbed and ego centered.  And why is it that I post links to it on facebook where hundreds of additional "friends" garner access to it?

Have we become a culture consumed with celebrating over sharing and the use of the words vagina and douche canoe?  Is it pathetic that I share my inner most thoughts on marital sex, child rearing, and life in the eyes of a thirty something mama?

Or is it acceptable because some of you can relate?  Some of you've been there.  You know exactly what I'm talking about.

September will mark one year that I've been crafting this blog medium.  And the truth is...I love it.  I love connecting with you.  I love nurturing relationships with people that I haven't seen in over a decade and yet, we find ourselves in similar life stations.

I believe that we dedicate time out of our days to read columns, essays, short stories because we fall in love with the writer and we know their back story.  We grow to care about them and their life.  And, we want to escape from the daily ins and outs of our own routines.

Thanks for reading my stories and sharing your own.  It makes the world feel more real and the hard stuff not so unbearable.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joining the iPhone Club

So last night, I joined the cool kids club and bought my first iPhone.

You should have seen the dudes in the Apple store.  It was like Christmas, Hanukkah and the Fourth of July all mixed into one over-the-top shindig.  They were all super happy to find the one and only iPhone virgin in the universe.  They had fun indoctrinating me into the world of milk and honey.

Seriously.  I've had the same android smart phone for three years.  It's been fine.  It's done the trick when it comes to email, text messages, facebook, etc....but, the battery sucked...literally.

And so, in preparation for my trip to run the Chicago Half Marathon, I've been researching iPhones and whether or not to wait until the iPhone 5 comes out in September/October.

After much deliberation and the fact that the race is on September 9th (and ultimately, I don't want to get caught on the subway with a dead phone), I decided to go for it.

I'm sure I'll be envious of my husband when he gets the fifth generation phone this fall.

That said, now, I GET it.  I used to ask people all the time why they liked their iPhone.  They could never really tell me.  Except that much like anything really good in life, once you've had a taste, you'll never go back.

And so, yes, it is incredibly intuitive...super user friendly...beautifully designed and incredibly fun to ask Siri questions.  But mostly, its cool, that's all.

Kinda like running.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Soul Mates?

One of my favorite movies is "Serendipity."

You know, the 2001 flick that stars John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.  Okay, if you don't, below is a clip.

The movie centers around the concept that all of life is fated...that destiny is real and that certain people, against all odds, were meant to be together.

So, the other day, I was talking to a girlfriend about soul mates...whether we believed in them...whether people randomly connected and chose to make lives with one another....whether you could essentially be happy with a myriad of partners over the course of your life...or whether there was just one person that you were truly intended to (throughout all of eternity) share your soul with.

Heady, silly, probably pointless banter, I know...but an interesting philosophical conundrum.  Especially when you factor in all of the crazy circumstances like becoming a widow, getting a divorce, or stumbling upon another.

The jury is still out for me.  I guess I just love the desperation and sweetness of John Cusack and of course, the beauty and namesake of Kate Beckinsale.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mind Over Matter

I find myself in a precarious position...

needing to take a dose of my own medicine.  And, I don't like it.

Upon completion of my first half marathon race in May, I immediately signed up to run the Chicago Half Marathon in the fall.  I thought it would be a really fun experience to run down Lake Shore Drive with 20,000 other people in a city that never sleeps.

I also hoped to reconnect with college friends that I hadn't seen in over a decade remembering my time in Lake Forest, a northern suburb.

What I didn't count on was the logistics...or, I should say my fear of them.

Let me back track.  I have absolutely no pathfinder gene...no navigational talent.  Maps look like gibberish to me and even when I had an internship in the windy city, I had friends help me navigate the path to get there.

To bring the point even closer to home, once when I was a little girl, I actually got lost in the locker room at the swimming pool unable to find the exit to get out to the pool.  My older brother had to send some sweet mom in to try and find me.

I know...you may want to disown me now that you know the truth.  Seems like I can write a master's thesis...but I can't navigate my way to Starbucks.

And so, I've been having nightmares about getting lost on the subway, stranded at the race, unable to find my way back to the airport.

I've been stressing my husband out with my tears and my silliness thinking that an iPhone will be a silver bullet.  But the truth is it won't.  I just have to be brave and face my fears.

Sometimes, we choose the journeys that will bring us the greatest life changing lessons and other times they are thrust upon us.  Either way, no matter how silly or futile they may seem at the time, they need to be endured.

So, that at the Chicago Half finish line and on the plane ride home, I can say, I did it.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Driving home from the gym this morning and a sweaty five mile run, I heard this song...

If you can get past the fact that Hunter Hayes, the singer/songwriter is like 12...the lyrics are meaningful.

Most recently, I've had a couple of girlfriends going through life changing sets of circumstances and many girlfriends who have echoed their sentiments.

They feel trapped in marriages...stuck...wanting to feel "wanted" by their partners.

If you're a man and you're looking for a little insight into what I mean...watch the video above and/or listen to me.

It's not enough to tell your partner that she's pretty.  It's not enough to buy flowers.  It's not enough to pay the mortgage payment and to make sure that there's cable.

Women want to feel wanted in a particular way.  They want to know that you specifically want them.

So, talk to her.  Become interested in her world.  Ask her what matters.  Help her overcome her fears so that she can rise to become that which you (and eventually she) know that she can be.  Love on her.  Let her know that above all, you are grateful for her...specifically for her. 

The craziest part is that it's not that hard.  Endearing the love of a woman means the ultimate loyalty, trust, passion, and commitment that we all want in our partnerships.

You've just got to make her feel wanted...every day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"The Deep Blue Sea"

Last night my husband and I watched the 2011 flick, "The Deep Blue Sea" starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston.

If you've not seen it, below is a brief clip:

The film is set in post WWII London with a stunning 30's something Weisz who is in a passionless marriage with a late 50's something partner who is wholeheartedly, beyond a shadow of a doubt devoted to her.

Along the way, she meets and falls desperately in love with Hiddleston, a man her age who excites every part of her being...but cannot promise the same undying, unconditional affection that her husband freely doles out.

Unable to control her feelings, Weisz is cataclysmically torn between the two until fate decides and ultimately, she is tortured.

Such is the beauty of life.  Would you rather be in a safe, passionless union or a volatile, alive partnership?  The question is sort of timeless and probably plays out across the world daily. 

It's the trade offs we make in life.  But knowing that you only have one, what would you do?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Long Training Run

This morning I woke up dreading my anticipated seven mile run.

I knew it had to get done and that it needed to happen early because the weather was forecast for 100 plus degrees with god awful humidity.

So, I laced up my shoes, grabbed my iPod, a few sports beans and tried on my new Camelbak for hydration.

Over the course of the run, here's what ran through my mind:

Hitting START on my Garmin, running from the front door:

"Wow, I can not believe I made it out without any kicking, screaming or crying and half the house is still asleep.  Hot damn!"

Half mile in with Katy Perry blaring in my ears:

"Hmmm...this isn't so bad, it's overcast with a slight breeze.  Maybe, I lucked out or maybe, this is the calm before the storm."

Heading up the hill toward the park:

"Jesus...I can't believe that the Chicago Half is only 50 days away.  Craziness.  Can I do this?  Shit.  What if I get lost on the subway?  What if I can't find my way from the airport to the condo to the shuttle bus to the race?  Do I need an iPhone?  Yes, I need Siri or is it Suri?  No, that's Tom Cruises' kid...speaking of which, she's going to go to a Catholic school...so cool...

Oh fuck, I need to get Sam and Kate's uniforms.  Damn it....why am I always waiting until the 11th hour to do this shit?

I want to be one of those moms with lists and budgets and organization.  Yes, I resolve to be organized.  Who am I kidding?  The office is a nightmare and it looks like a homeless person lives in my car."

Rounding the 3rd Mile and "Footloose" comes on the Playlist:

"I love this song...whatever happened to Sarah Jessica Parker?  She was so cute in that movie and then she became bitchy.

I need to lose 10 more pounds and then I will wear a bikini....oh my God, that man is creepy...stop smiling at me..."ON YOUR LEFT!"  Thank God.

What is it about losing weight and me?  Why is it always top of mind?  Fuck it.  After this run I'm buying a bikini and underwear, thongs, maybe I'll get crazy....that's right.  I'm owning it."

Headed into the 5th mile with a Cramp:

"KILL ME...Sweet Mary, Mother of God...please make it go away....I promise I won't drink, I won't curse, I won't fantasize about the hot gym guy...please take the pain away."

Finishing the 6th mile with a Smile and Christina Aguilera:

"That's right, I'm a fighter, baby.  Holy Hell...I want a hamburger.  A big, fat, juicy, greasy, yummy, cheesy burger...RIGHT NOW!

And this is why, I'll not be wearing the string bikini anytime soon."

Stretching on my porch, Hitting STOP on my Garmin:

"That was good.  Can't wait for next Saturday."

These are the thoughts I can publish...you can imagine the others.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Swimsuit Factor

We belong to a pool that caters to families.

Everywhere you go, you see kids taking swim lessons, cruising down water slides, splashing under water filled buckets, and usually, older members taking outdoor aquatics classes.

The clientele aren't college kids or young somethings.  They're usually guys and girls in their 30's and 40's raising kids.

Most have spare tires, cellulite, bags under their eyes and smiles on their faces watching their little ones love the water.

Nobody's trying to impress anyone, they're just thankful to have gotten everyone out of the house in one piece for a family excursion beating the heat.

So, why is it that when you're sitting by the pool (dipping your toes in while the baby fills up her water containers countless times) that there's a slight awkward factor that happens when you sit down next to another "dad."  Because, it doesn't happen when you sit down next to another "mom."

All of the sudden, there's an extreme focus on your kid trying to avert the attention away from the fact that you're both in swimsuits and that most people feel self conscious showing their skin.

And let's just be honest, a swim suit is like wearing your bra and underwear out in public.  And, when you move (unless you have no ass fat), your ass continually peaks out of the back of your suit causing you to readjust or let the world check out your back side.

No one ever says anything...everyone's married...but there's a slight tension in the air that has to be signaled by the fact that we're all half naked.

Thinking I was a crazy lady, I pedaled this concept past my husband (who spent 12 years being a life guard) who confirmed that yes, the swimsuit vibe is all over pools...no matter your gender, height, weight, marital status...everyone checks out everyone at the pool.

But what happens when you get caught?

Something happens when you become a middle aged mom with three kids...suddenly, you're not supposed to notice the swim suit factor.  But how can you not?  Sweet Fancy Moses.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Observations at the Pool

Because it's been 550 degrees here for the last, I don't know, million days, I've been at the pool with the kiddos almost every day.

And so, much like if you're stuck in an office environment or at the mall, you can't help but people watch and start to take internal notes.

First up, here's a shout out to all the dick parents.  You know who you are.  The ones who can't be bothered.  Knee deep in their "People" magazines with their fatty cellulite legs soaking up all of our sun who can't splash around with their kiddos and are irritated if they're interrupted.

Then, there's the talkers.  The ones who are chatting about the latest home improvement projects, childcare options for the fall, which child got which teacher, what they're going to name their next baby and why Henry just won't stay down for his nap.

Then, there's the fun parents.  The ones who let their kids dump water on their heads, who catch them going down the water slides, who watch the ice cream sandwich drip down their gooey fingers and just smile.

Then, there's the creepy dude in the whirl pool with the flesh colored speedo showing all of his parts to the world scarring children and their mothers.

Then, there's the hot 19-year old lifeguards baked to a crisp twirling their whistles waiting desperately for rest break.

And, then my favorite latest character...an about ready to pop, drop dead gorgeous, pregnant mommy in a black bikini drinking something with an umbrella while her kids tackle each other in the pool.

As we were leaving yesterday, I told her that she was the most beautiful pregnant woman I'd seen and that I wished I'd been brave enough to wear a bikini when I was pregnant.  She retorted with, "Wear one now...have you seen it around here?  You'd be doing the place a favor."

Ah, the pool.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Didn't Want to Go...But I Did...

As I write this, I'm cradling a BIG cup of coffee that I never intend to put down.

Last night sucked, like of the royal suck variety.

We transitioned Claire (18 months old) into a toddler bed two days ago and for the most part, she's been handling it like a champ...until last night.

After more iterations of "Good Night Moon," then should be allowed, more singing of the "A,B,C's" than I care to claim, and more "Where's your nose?  your eyes?  your belly button?" and "Mama loves you," our sweet little angel turned into poltergeist.

Unable to stay asleep in her bed for more than two hours, even after two stints at the pool yesterday, I finally made my way to the couch for the night.

Wailing like a wounded dog with her nose permanently stuck under the door, I finally put her in our room at 5:00am, just in time for me to grab my shoes, a banana and a whole lot of self will to get out the door and run.

Why do kids always jack things up?  I mean that in the most loving way possible.

You have good intentions of getting a good nights sleep, waking up to a strong workout so that you can do everything during the day for your loved ones...and then, they suck the blood right out of you.

I remind them regularly that it's a good thing their grandparents keep tabs on them or I'd sell them...we need the money.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Need of a Hug

Do you ever have days that don't go your way?

You know...the ones where you sort of had a game plan, started out the morning confident, and then out of the blue, it all turned to shit.

Yep, that was me, yesterday.

I got in a great 5 mile run, pushed myself to do more push ups than I'd done in a single setting before, got the big kids off to Vacation Bible School, managed to get the toddler and the groceries out of the store in one piece, treated the kids to a fun afternoon brainiac board game, and then out of no where, the devil unleashed his fury...

The kids started going ape shit taunting each other with interchangeable tattling, arguing, and fighting.

Quickly grabbing the mail for a bit of a reprieve, I opened up an envelope and discovered that our home owner's insurance increased again and we've never had a claim on our house.

Then another medical bill.  Then, the reminder that I need to purchase the kids' school uniforms and then anxiety that there really is no money tree in the back yard.

On the phone getting a quote from a competing insurance carrier, I accidentally hung up on the rep because Kate ran into the kitchen screaming that Sam made her laugh too hard, so she peed all over his bed.

Then, Claire, our 18-month old toddler climbed up the bunk bed ladder and just before she was preparing to launch herself, Sam screams "Mama, Claire's going to jump."  About to have a heart attack, I screamed, "ENOUGH!!"

And to that end, I called my husband and a girlfriend and essentially said, "I just need a hug."

Sometimes, it's the best medication.  Now, back to the crazies.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Props to You

I'll never forget one of the worst break up lines I was ever delivered...

"The woman that I'm going to marry is the one that I can't live without...

and I can live without you."

I was taken aback and humiliated.  And I was young.  Really young.  Too young to know that that man was doing me a big favor.  Huge. 

He was teaching me in that moment and in moments to come that the greatest source of strength, pride, props, happiness must come from you and not another.

So, if someone thinks that you're not the one for the job, for the project, for the position, for the future, for the marriage, for the having of children, for the friendship, for the ________....fuck them.

Most likely, they're doing you a favor and the better option lies on the other side just waiting for you to discover it...or it to discover you.

After another challenging break up, my step mom once told me that if someone doesn't like you...screw them....you don't like them more.

Immature.  Yes.  Satisfying, even temporarily, hell yes.

Whatever it takes....but remember, you are worth it.  You have what you need innately, no need to wait for another to validate it within you.

Now go off and enjoy the day with your bad self.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Worry is Futile

If you're inherently a worrier like I am, there are two quotes that you should take to heart.

The first by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it."

The second by Henry Ward Beecher

"It is not work that kills men, it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is rust upon the blade. It is not movement that destroys the machinery, but friction." 

If you feel like you're paralyzed by the need for change, but you don't know where to start or how to get the ball moving...your first step is to recognize that worry will get you nowhere.

Once you surrender all of your "what ifs?" to the worry Gods, your next job is to "DO" something.  Action is the antithesis of indecision.  Motion is the enemy of perceived failure or defeat.  And most importantly, don't fall for the myth that it has to be all or nothing and that you have to be equipped with all of the answers to make positive change.

The hardest step is the first, but once its been taken, the rest starts to emerge and sooner rather than later, you're headed down a road that feels too good to abandon.

And then one day, you'll look back and say to yourself, how did I get here?  And you'll realize that it was consistency not superhuman power.  It was persistence not angst.  It was wanting to be healthy and not wanting to mire in fear.

So, what needs to happen today, in this hour, to start the wheels in motion?  What can you commit to knowing that you'll sleep better tonight and have something to look forward to in the morning?

It doesn't take much, just a willingness to believe that you're worth it and that now is the time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Time To Say Goodbye

It seems like life is simply a series of beginnings and endings.

Stops and starts.

Forks in the road that lead us one direction and then take us anew into a different time and space.

But man, goodbyes are hard...at least for me.

And even when I know that its the right thing to do because I've worn out my welcome or outgrown my current situation or ultimately, I need to pony up and put my big girl pants on....saying goodbye (even to a set of dysfunctional circumstances) can be debilitating.

Why?  Because we tend to remember only the good and assume that what lies on the other side of the proverbial white fence is worse.  And it's fair to say that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

But re-charting one's course is essential....mandatory...required, if you're being honest with your life and what you believe your purpose is on this earth, you must redirect where you need to go.

Preparing for the fall, I've been contemplative...thinking about what needs to go and what needs to stay.  What brings me joy and what depletes me.  When I'm alone and all pretenses are off, I know exactly what that thing is.  Now, I just need to be brave enough to say goodbye.

So that metaphorically and somewhat clicheishly, I can say hello to that which I know to be the real me.

What or who do you need to say goodbye to?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Communication with the Littles

There are many days that I feel like a broken record...

"Please make sure to wash your hands after you go potty."

"Please use kind words with your sister."

"Please bring your breakfast bowl up to the counter."

"Please make your bed."

"Please put your shoes back where they belong."

"Please get dressed."

"Please don't make me ask you to do _______ again."

And somewhere around 2pm, it deteriorates into...

"What did I say?"

"Why am I always repeating myself?"

"Get up and do it NOW!"
And somewhere around 4pm, it gets a little darker...

"Are you kidding me right now?  I just told you 2,542 times to put your shirt back on.  How hard is that to do?  Did the short bus just pull up?"

"You have lost the iPad for the rest of your life."

"I'm about to show you why you're sorry."

"Stay in your room until your father comes home and rescues you."

"You kids are all morons (iterated in my best Ray Liotta voice)."

Until finally, I hear from the playroom, "Wow...mama is grumpy today."

Naw, just another day in paradise.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Sometime ago, I prayed that God would make me available and open to supporting the needs of others in my life.

Since that time, I've become intimately aware of the hurt that exists in relationships around me.

Some friends are trying to decide whether they should stay in less than satisfying jobs, some are trying to repair wounds with family members and some are paralyzed by the future of their marriages.

One of the most frustrating responses to hear when you're waiting on an answer is, "I can't really tell you what to do...just trust your heart and know that you'll do what's right for you."  So, instead of offering up that in conversation, I'm trying simply to listen, to not judge, to be available to where my friend is in the moment and to love them.

Relationships are such tricky, finicky creatures.  We all find ourselves connected to each other for a myriad of reasons...sometimes by choice and many times involuntarily. So, how do we cope when it's not going so well or worse, it's going terribly wrong?

Do we stay because we've established a history and an investment in the relationship?  Do we leave because ultimately the price to pay is too toxic for ourselves and those around us?  Or do we make no decision and continue to live in the status quo hoping that it gets better?

It's sometimes impossible to know for the person making the decision.  We're all trying to project every hypothetical scenario and make the best choice with the information and experience we have.

At the end of the day, whatever the choice...my hope is that my friends know that they are not alone.  There is always enough love and that whichever path they stumble upon, there will be light at the end.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Love Hate Relationship with Food

For as long as I can remember, I've always struggled with my relationship with food.

Yearning to be the skinny girl and never quite making the cut, I've used food to make me feel better, to celebrate my successes, to make the boy pay who didn't love me, to pass the time when I'm bored, and in general, for entitlement purposes.

And I'm not talking about diet coke and apples, I'm talking about chocolate malts and potato chips...why?  because they taste good and mindless eating is easy and addictive.

Now that I've been aware of my health and invested in my body, I've become painfully conscientious  of how food and emotions go hand in hand.

So, how do I break the cycle?

Swap out crack and cigarettes for Dairy Queen?

Drink meal replacements when I'm feeling needy?

Have sex when I want to binge on Ben & Jerry's?

Ahhhh...the limited and limitless options, most of which are unsustainable and unsatisfying.

Inspired by a dear friend's blog posting, I think the beginning of the journey lies in sitting still and listening to my fears, paying attention to my body and trusting that it's going to be okay...even without the container of chocolate covered espresso beans.

But it's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight, especially when it's been a life long habit.  I'm thankful that I'm not alone and that most women struggle with a similar nemesis.

I think there should be some sort of cafe/spa that we can retreat to when we're feeling stressed out or less than...that nurtures our soul and connects us to each other...instead of to the pint of ice cream.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Time to Enjoy

I've never been good at savoring the moment.

I'm that person who assumes that if the "now" is perfect then the other shoe is about to drop.

I've always got one eye looking toward tomorrow wondering what I should be doing today to make the here after better.

Unfortunately, as we all know, all we have is the now.  And, most every religious text will tell you and every motivational poem will entrust that life is for the living.  It is meant to be joy filled not saturated with worry and anxiety.

So why do I do this to myself?  Why not indulge in the laughter of my kiddos being silly?  Why not take in the chocolate cake without feeling guilty or weak?  Why not let today be what today is going to be trusting that tomorrow will take care of itself?

I just think that some people are better at being joyful than others...but innately, I think we all yearn to be and have the capacity to do so, if we just let go of the need to control the outcome and surrender to what is.

Today, I'm going to see what unfolds and laugh when I feel happy, scream when I feel frustrated, dream when I'm feeling inspired and believe that this moment, right now is to be treasured.

I'll never get it back again...so, why waste it.  Here's to joy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ode to Kate on Her Fifth Birthday

Our family had only known grandsons before you.

And so, with bated breath, everyone was hoping that you would be a girl.

But no one knew that you would come out of the womb, the most beautiful, sweet, feisty, funky ball of sass and love that the world had ever seen.

You, my middle child, my first daughter.  My little one who read complete sentences by the age of three and who corrects my grammar and the injustices of the world around her.

You who walks around in mix matched tights and dresses with braids, cowboy hats, princess tutus and a mind that is always cranking out the most amazing and bold thoughts like, "Mama, why do you have a spiky vagina?"

You who looks like me, but is far more self assured, far more indulgent to the present moment, far more willing to love the red in the rose and the brown in the chocolate, and the warmth in the hug.

You who I would die for and nearly did when you hit your head on the diving board yesterday and then hours later, landed on your neck and back falling off of a trampoline.

You who is fearless, focused, capable, beautiful and aware....may you know today and always (especially when I am not here to tell you daily), that you are loved, you are wanted, and that the world is a brighter, more loving place because of you.

Happy Birthday, Kate.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Poor & Pedaling

If you need me, I'll be living in my car.

We had planned for months to take our soon-to-be five year old daughter, Kate to the Trek store to buy a bike for her upcoming birthday.

We wanted it to be special.  A real "big girl" bike complete with a basket and streamers, like the one I had growing up.  Pink, purple, silver, glitter, ribbons, the more decked out, the better.

But most importantly, we wanted it to be made well because everything of Kate's gets passed down to Claire, our 18-month old daughter.

So, we expected to drop some change.

We brought the whole family including our seven year old son, Sam who was also in need of a bigger frame, but we thought we could hold off on his.  However, the cool thing about Trek bikes is that much like Honda's, they maintain their resale value and our local retailer offers a pretty sweet trade in price when you bring back your old one.

And of course, there was a perfect used one screaming his name.

Once we committed to the two 20 inch frames, we knew we needed a bike rack.  Our small SUV could no longer carry them in the back and of course, we have a rear spare tire which makes fitting a bike rack without a hitch really challenging and costly.

An hour later we walked out with two happy children and a promise to eat macaroni and cheese for weeks to come.  I suppose its the price you pay for the fun of childhood or its not.  We didn't have to buy the bikes or the rack...but I definitely see hours, days, weeks of fun in all of our futures.  Because on hot summer days, if you can't be by the pool, riding your bike is the next best way to zap your energy and land you in bed for lots of afternoon nap time. Right?

Until then, we'll sell the house to pay for the bikes and be happy living in the car having fun with our new cycles.