Saturday, November 17, 2012

5K (or "Just keep swimming...")

Today was my first ever 5K race.
I started training at the beginning of August for this run, and even though I've run the same distance (or more) several times, today felt big.

My goal was to run the whole race, without stopping to walk even once.

As I lined up at the start line, I looked around at this gigantic crowd wearing white t-shirts, tu-tus, and feather boas. Some had sinewy such runner's legs, and some looked... more like me. I felt just like I do before I go down a big waterslide... only this one was 3.3 miles long. And then the doubts, oh, the doubts! I hadn't trained enough for hills. I didn't run enough this week. It was bitterly cold, so my knees hurt, even with braces on. I felt a bit like an imposter: a walker, pretending to be a runner.

We counted down, and we went.
Down, down, down a hill. Then up, oh, up and up and up. It felt brutal.
But the kilometers came and went. I earned each color, all the way to the balloons at the Finish Line.

And I didn't walk once.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012



For my 33rd birthday, I celebrated by...

  1. Putting a candy bar and a note in my mailbox for the mail lady.
  2. Paying for the next car in line in the McDonalds drive thru.
  3. Taking treats to the child-care center at the YMCA. (They are so good to my little ones.)
  4. Giving a treat to my personal trainer. (Irony.)
  5. Canvassing to get out the vote.
  6. Putting away stray carts at Walmart.
  7. Bought a gift card at Walmart and turned around and handed it to the lady behind me.
  8. Volunteering for lunch duty with my daughter's class.
  9. Giving a treat and a note to each of my kid's teachers.
  10. Muffins to the poll workers at my local Early Voting station.
  11. I voted.
  12. Chips and salsa to our local volunteer fire department.
  13. Treats to my OB/GYN and his office.
  14. Treats to the nurses in labor and delivery. (They do such a great job.)
  15. A balloon and a smoothie to a random brand new mom on the L&D floor.
  16. Tape quarters to vending machines.
  17. Treats to the ER nurses. (We've been there...2? 3? times this year?)
  18. Drop off cookies and juices at Bright Blessings, a great organization here that hosts birthday parties for homeless children.
  19. Drop treats off to my favorite librarians.
  20. Have lunch at a small, local cafe that is struggling to stay in business.
  21. Take treats to a good friend who is going through a rough patch.
  22. Drop donut holes off at the sheriff station.
  23. Play checkers with my son. (Yes. That counts as a service. I don't do games. *grin*)
  24. Sing extra songs to all my kids.
  25. Make 75 baggies of caramel corn for our ward's trunk or treat.
  26. Scatter lucky pennies.
  27. Pick up garbage.
  28. Take bags of toys and clothes to Goodwill.
  29. Watch neighbor's kids to help them out.
  30. Take someone dinner.
  31. Make cookies for neighbors.
  32. Rub my sweetheart's feet.
  33. Give to humanitarian aid.
I am exhausted. Next year, I would definitely spread it over several days, but it was a FANTASTIC birthday...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


From Pinterest.
Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday.
To celebrate, I'm planning The Grand Day of 33 Nice Things--a whole day of service projects. (I was inspired by this.) Today I am getting ready--making my list, calling ahead, baking and prepping. It is going to be great.

Won't you join me in celebrating? Do something out of the ordinary tomorrow for someone else. I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

3.3 Miles (or 5K)

Image credit here.

3.3 Miles, people.
That is 5K.

I did it.
And yes, I cried.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3 Miles (or "The Blessing of a Headwind.")

From Pinterest.

Tomorrow I will run 3.3 miles. It will be the furthest I have ever run. And, to be totally honest, it may be the furthest that I ever will.

Last week, I completed 3 miles, so this should feel do-able. Yep. No problem. The first mile should feel easy by now, right? And the second mile? Pshaw, done that. Lots of times. And it's only a mile further to 3 miles, and one more lap to a 5K. No biggie...right?

Oh, my fellow sufferers, so wrong.

3 miles still feels like a whole different person away. It feels as achievable as a size medium, which is to say: not achievable. 

This. is. hard.

But. I am learning the blessing of moving my body uphill and into a headwind.
When you are forcing your legs to move even just a little bit uphill, you appreciate the oh-so-delicious little downhills. The little bursts of an inside curve. And if you stop to notice, when you are running into a headwind, moving at a glacial pace and feeling positively geologic in age, you'll find that the headwind is forcing fresh, cold oxygen into your lungs and your muscles don't hurt quite so much. Plus, where there is a good headwind--there will be a good tailwind.

So tonight I'm charging my i-pod and telling my brain, over and over, that I can run 3.3 miles. That a 5K is within reach, and--just beyond that--a 10K. That I could do that, too... if I wanted to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2 Miles (or "Hard Things"...)

Graphic from here.

It is after midnight.
I am sitting in my quiet house, at my laptop, because this is when I have time to do that.
Baby is sitting in her bouncer, laughing to herself in her sleep. (Please let it be in her sleep...)

I'm running 2 miles now. Can you believe it?! Two whole miles. And you know what? It is hard. Super-duper hard. Agonizing physical work. But I'm really grateful for it, especially lately.

My oldest daughter is in third grade, and she's pretty much failing. Can't focus. Can't complete assignments. Fails tests. Takes hours and hours to do homework. I'm e-mailing furiously back and forth with her teacher. I'm playing phone tag with the school guidance counselor, and savagely researching every possible option and solution. Do we pull her back a grade? Do I bring her back home to homeschool? Do I coach her through this day, this week, this month, this year--only to have her struggle through next year, too?

So my heart wrestles and aches as I sit by her side at the table and watch her self worth take hit after hit after hit, and I think "This is hard." Then I love on her and I give her hugs and I pack her lunch and prepare to send her off for another day tomorrow.

It feels brutal.

Last week, I took one evening to take her to the Disney Store, just the two of us. We dreamed and laughed and she chose her Halloween costume: Merida from "Brave." We had such a good time, drowning our sorrows in pixie dust. She is so much braver than I, really. She is doing hard things--really hard things--every single day.

So I run. I run like I'm trying to escape her demons for her. I run to drive my feet into the pavement and try to carry some of the hurt. I run because I can be stronger, for her.

Because I can be brave, too.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You can let go now...

Yesterday was my son's first day of Kindergarten.
He was unbelievably excited.
And worried that we would forget to wake him up, so he wants his own alarm clock. (Valid. There will come a day when we forget to wake him up, and it will probably be next week.)

He wanted to take the school bus, but I insisted on driving him--this first day.
We got out of the car and I reached for his hand as we crossed the parking lot, and snapped this shot to the side. I didn't want him to notice the camera.

The truth is, as I reached for his hand, I realized that he doesn't really need to hold my hand anymore. So I really cherish every little second left when he's *willing* to hold *mine*.

We crossed the parking lot and reached the front doors when he let go, with a shake. Seeming to say "You can let go, Mom. Really."

So much easier to say than to do.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Well. That was awkward...

Oh, for the love.

School open house. These are hectic affairs where I, as the parent, feel more nervous about making a good first impression than my kids do. I mean, come on. These teachers are probably a good decade younger than me, but I'm still intimidated at the prospect of meeting a teacher.

First up: Thing 2's kindergarten teacher, Miss Miller. We were only there 3 minutes before I got all flustered. That will happen when you realize that your kids have not only rearranged all the carefully placed post-it notes with "Wish List" items on them, but then proceeded to scribble all over the shiny white boards. With permanent marker. In less time than it took me to fill out a single "Room Parent" form. (So sorry, custodial staff.)

In this state of slight-frazzle we apologetically head out the door and walk one hall over to meet Mrs. Gordon, 3rd grade teacher of Thing 1. I am so nervous about making a good impression on her. My daughter is so incredibly good, and I so desperately want this teacher to appreciate that. We walk through the door, shake hands, and, before I could stop myself, I took in the stance and the look and asked her when she was due.

I know.


I just wanted to die.
I still just want to die.
Because I KNOW that you do NOT ask that question. EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER.
But I did.
And she's not.
And in case you were wondering, there is no way to recover from that question. All you can do is look at the person, apologize profusely, and hand them a 100 dollar bill as penance.

Let's hope that my daughter has better social skills than I do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1 Mile.

When I was a junior high student, we were required to take a P.E. class. Our teacher was Mrs. Binks--a sleek, muscular woman who, as I recall, had a perm in her fe-mullet and wore lots of blue eyeshadow with white eyeliner. I dreaded her class. Because 1. I hate sports (a frustrating and painful combination of being highly competitive and completely uncoordinated) and 2. I had huge boobs, even then. (Ah, junior high. A bundle of awkwardness.) Anyway. Every day, I would shlump into class and moan about whatever it was we were required to do that day. Badminton? Yuck. Volleyball? Ick. Basketball? Kill me now. But the worst? The much dreaded and yearly required one mile run.

A windy day. Everyone standing around in their baggy shorts and baggy t-shirts. I have tried to get out of this in every possible way, including getting truly sick, but it's no use. I have to make it around the track 4 times. Mrs. Binks blows the whistle and off we go. Digging in stubbornly, I set off at a walk.  A slow walk. An "I'll show YOU one mile" walk. Some of the girls fly around the track, finish their 4 laps, and flop on to the grass for the rest of the hour. Some of the girls jog persistently with their friends, chatting.

I get slower and slower, the gravel of the track crunching under my feet.
I finish dead last.
I hate P.E. and, I vow, no one will ever force me to run one mile.

Fast forward almost 18 years. I am still completely uncoordinated. My boobs are bigger than ever. The track is not gravel, but a red clay silt, muddy from recent rain. I pull on Saucony's and a knee brace, and I begin to run.

One lap.
And the impossible: four.

I ran a mile, and no one even made me.
And you know what? I came home, looked up Mrs. Binks, and sent her a message on facebook. Just to let her know: I finally ran a mile.

Let's hear it for teachers everywhere, teaching hard lessons that it may take their students almost two decades to learn.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chubby girl jogging... (Or "Are we there yet?!")

I joined the Y this past week and started working out with a personal trainer--my friend Nellie, who is doing me the greatest favor of my life.

On the first day, she told me that we were going to run around the track.
Which makes half a mile.

And my first thought was "There is no. way."

But I did. I actually wobbled jogged half a mile. And I did it again, every day this week. So, now that I'm an experienced runner and all, here are a few of my observations.
1. People love to see a chubby girl jogging. I feel like Santa, bringing joy to all the skinny people who give me two thumbs up and encouraging pats as they jog past me on the track. It's fantastic. I honestly feel like I'm providing some sort of hope to the masses by getting this size 20 rear on to a track every day.
2. I am so proud of myself for running, at all. But I gotta tell ya'--I have no idea how I will EVER run more than this half mile. Seriously people, 26 miles??? You are out of your blessed minds.
3. Running is sexy. Jogging is not sexy. But then again, neither is my sports bra. 12 hooks in the front, people. TWELVE.
4. Running alone is the worst kind of mind game there is. On the days when I don't meet up with Nellie, my mental conversation goes something along the lines of "This sucks. I hate it. Ouch. Ouchouchouch. Oh well. Keep going. I can do this. No problem. Just keep going. I want to sleep for a week. This sucks."

Five days down. One million to go.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime?

I am 800 months pregnant with our 4th baby.
It feels that way, anyway.
The Spouse told me this morning that I could just keep being pregnant for, you know, forever and claim to be the ULTIMATE attachment parent-er.

For some reason, I do not find this funny.

So I'm trying to pass the time by doing fun things with the other children, who are blissfully oblivious of the trainwreck that is about to become their summer. They keep talking about going to the pool and going camping and, you know, leaving the house. Ever.

We are roasting hot dogs on little grills at the park (a painfully slow process), skipping around our backyard catching fireflies, and planning family campouts. Well, to be more accurate, my kids are. I am mostly lying next to the box fan eating a whole stack of generic otter pops.

We all have our standards.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

time passing...

12X12 art prints, for kid's rooms.

Because the time is going so fast, and I'm feeling the need to make
every. second. count.