Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There's A Man With a Gun Over There

Lately I've been seeing this on facebook and twitter...

I don't comment because I don't talk politics or religion.  I  have my opinions, I know what I believe.  No one is going to change my mind.  I'm not going to change someone else's mind.  If someone asks me, I'll tell them.  I'm not ashamed, but I don't like to argue.  I don't like confrontation.  I don't like to be told I'm stupid for believing something.  So I avoid those topics. 

But this sign is bothering me.  And every time I see it, I want to scream.  Because once again we're going to go down this road.  Ban all guns or hand them out at preschool graduation.  No one sees a middle ground.  No one is willing to compromise.  So the conservatives and the liberals will fight and yell on every news channel that will give them air time and in the end nothing will change.

You see the thing is...and this is a big epiphany on my part, so shhhhh, don't tell ANYONE because I don't want it to get out, because obviously I am way smarter than anyone else in this country...the guy that shot up a Kindergarten classroom, and the guy that killed a bunch of VA Tech students, and the boys that killed their classmates in Columbine?  They don't care which sign you hang up in front of your school.  I know, shocking that a person who has so little regard for human life would not pay attention to a sign!  It's amazing really!

Each and every person has the right to believe and speak and post whatever they want.  I may not agree with you, but I will defend that right for you.  But think about it.  A man, who is mentally unstable.  Who is already planning on taking his own life.  Who is willing to kill 26 people on a Friday morning.  Why would he care if guns are banned or if the teachers are armed?  It's not like we can go back in time and remove all guns from this country, or the world.  Guns exist and if a person wants a gun, he can get a gun.  If he can't get it legally here, he can get it illegally.  He can order illegal bullets off the Internet.

The gun fight...it's not the issue people.  Ban guns.  I don't care.  Sell more guns.  I don't care.  Because the people who are following the laws and being responsible are not the people who are causing these tragedies.  After Columbine, they blamed bullying.  After VA Tech, they blamed the school.  Now, I guess they're blaming video games in one corner, school security in another, and the lack of gun enforcement over there.

The bottom line is, these people that do this are not mentally okay.  They are not functioning people of society.  Do they know right from wrong?  I absolutely believe they do.  This man, and I don't know his name because I refuse to give him that fame, killed himself when he heard sirens.  A person who would do that, at that time, knows what he's doing.

But does he have the logical thinking to make it through the day?  Obviously not.  This is where our anger and our fight needs to land.  Recognize this earlier, help these people earlier, have a better alternative to prison for these people.  And in the meantime make our schools safer.  I don't care how much it costs.  Bullet proof glass...awesome.  Safe rooms...wonderful. 

Go ahead and take all the guns away.  Collect them.  Raid houses for them.  And next month, some lunatic will go into a school with a knife or explosives.  Or hand out guns to teachers.  Make them take down intruders and then you'll hear about stray bullets hitting kids.

The fight is not about guns and the longer we argue over it the more we allow the real issue to grow and fester until this happens again and then maybe we can find something else to blame.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Watch Me Mommy

Last night I felt drained: physically, emotionally, mentally.  It was the end to another busy weekend and I would have liked nothing more than to crawl into bed at 6:00. 

Monday morning and the idea of leaving my kids was weighing heavy on my mind.  For hours, I had pictured walking out Freddie's preschool door or waving to Ainsley's bus and the result was always the same...tears.

I would  have liked to pull them both on the couch, wrap us in a blanket, and stay there for days...or maybe just forever.

But, as so often happens, kids have their own agenda.  It was not snuggle time, it was show time.

Today I am thankful that my kids have energy that goes for days, even if mine can't keep up.  I'm blessed that I can wrap my arms around them, even when they wriggle away.  I'm lucky that I am the last one to wish them goodnight and the first to see them in the morning, even if it means way too little sleep.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Number Three

I sat there on the toilet puzzled.  Counting and recounting days.  Day 14.  No doubt, day 14.  So why was I seeing blood.  Twelve days early.

I stepped in the shower.  It's cancer.  I have cervical cancer or ovarian cancer or one of those cancers that never shows any signs and HOLY HELL I must make a doctor's appointment tomorrow.  I knew I shouldn't have waited on my annual, it was due a month ago.

And then...

What if it's not.  What if that pregnancy test I took two weeks ago was wrong.  What if my period wasn't a period.  What if the exhaustion isn't from the half marathon training.  Well, then I'm miscarrying.  In three pregnancies I've only bled once and it ended.  Just ended. 

I dry off and slip into yoga pants and a t-shirt.  I hand Clif $10 and send him to the store.  I stand in the kitchen waiting, googling "mid cycle bleeding," "cancer and bleeding," "bleeding while pregnant," "random female bleeding."  I come up with a million different scenarios.

I text my sister.  She's a nurse.  She doesn't know. 

Clif comes home and I take the test into the bathroom.

The positive sign appears before I can finish peeing.  I'm pregnant...but I'm not, I must be miscarrying.

Two weeks I've been pregnant.  Two weeks of caffeine and beer and sushi and over easy eggs.  Two weeks of running 5 and 7 and 11 miles.  Two weeks of crunches.  Two weeks...I'm pregnant, but I'm not.  I've done something wrong.

I have ultrasounds.

"Everything appears to be fine."
"This resembles a healthy 6 week fetus."
"I can see a slight flicker of a heartbeat, but I can't get a reading.  It's probably just too early."
"Right now, I see no blood around the fetus."

But the blood.  I was bleeding.  Bleeding in pregnancy is bad.  Very bad.  Tell me I won't miscarry, then I'll be excited.  Then I'll embrace this.

"Well, we can't say that exactly.  But we have no reason at this moment to believe you will lose this pregnancy."

So I wait.  I worry.  I know this is ending.  I won't be happy.  I won't get excited.  I won't tell anyone.

But I have to tell some people.  My sister, my mom, a friend I am spending a weekend at a winery with.  I have to tell them, because they'll know anyway.

They all say it will be fine.

But I'm sure it won't. 

So I don't get excited, I try to forget that I ever even saw that positive sign.  If I'm going to miscarry, it won't be like last time.  I won't be a wreck, because in my mind, I'm not even pregnant.  It's all a mind game anyway.  Miscarriage.  It's too early to feel it or know it.  You just fall in love with this idea and then poof, it's just gone.

I don't get excited when I can't keep my eyes open at 6 pm.  I don't get excited when I throw up my prenatal vitamins 3 nights in a row.  I don't get excited when I have to move the notch on my belt buckle.  I don't get excited when I see the first ultrasound, even though I can finally see the heartbeat.

I wait.  At 12 weeks I'll get excited.  We'll hear the heartbeat, then everything will be fine.

I am 12 weeks and 6 days when I'm sitting in the doctor's office waiting for my 12 week appointment.

There won't be a heartbeat.  I know there won't.  And then I'll miscarry and this will be over.

And then, just as that thought leaves my mind, a tiny little bubble deep in my pelvis.

Was that?


Then another.

Yes, it was. 

You are there and you're telling me to stop worrying.

Be excited.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dave Love

You all know Clif and I love Dave Matthews, right?  I mean, I hope you know that after reading my blog.  Especially if you know us in person, you should definitely know that.

It's the only concert we go to every year.  It's the music that will be playing in the background if you come over for a cook out.  We put the videos on during our kids' birthday parties.  Our first dance was to "Where Are You Going."  Our bridal recession was to "Two Step."

There was a time in our lives that we attended 4 or 5 Dave Matthews concerts a year.

Well, since we love Dave, our kids know some of his songs.  Both of them can sing "You and Me" off of the Big Whiskey album.  Ainsley has, for a long time, been able to recognize his voice on the radio.

We are creating a whole new generation of fans for Dave Matthews.  You're welcome, Dave. 

Freddie is just now getting to an age where he has an opinion.  So when he and Ainsley get to pick songs to listen to Ainsley will pick "Call Me Maybe" or "Home" or a P!NK song.  But Freddie, he says "Dave Maffews."

This weekend, he slung the toy guitar over his shoulders and started strutting around the house saying "Yook mommy, I Dave Maffews."

Then last night at dinner he started singing..."Tinkle tinkle lille star..."

Ainsley joined him.

"No Ainley!  I singing Dave Maffews song," he yelled.
"Who sings that song, Freddie?" Clif asked.
"Dave Maffews.  I sing Dave Maffews song by myself...tinkle tinkle lille star..."

Hmm, I'm pretty sure Dave's never recorded that...but here's one just as good buddy...

Friday, November 9, 2012


It's dark and cold as the siren signals the start.  The first 4 miles will be spent on the bridge that the race is named for.

It is quiet and still.  Thoughts of my blog run through my head.  My favorite posts, things I haven't written yet, how I will capture these next 2.5 hours.  Then my second family, the one I married into.  How lucky I am to have found them.  I remember the first time I met them.  Clif and I were on our way to a friend's house and he said "We're just going to run by my parents' house real quick." This would be the first time I was meeting them and I had no time to prepare.  We joke about it now.  Finally, memories of distant cousins, meetings at funerals or reunions, finding connections over lifetimes and state lines...Mile 1.

The sun is beginning to reach through the darkness.  Birds speak over the vast river, greeting the light.  My mind jumps back, way back.  Stories of my aunt rocking me in front of a mirror while I cried.  A round pink jewelry box from Belgium...I think.  Spending hours at my grandparent's, waiting for an overseas call.  Walking around an airport all night, waiting for her arrival home.  Her long red hair and gentle voice.  Then I jump again, to college.  Meeting sisters, who at first didn't look like sisters.  But over time recognizing that same smile.  Nights out, nights in, phone calls, emails.  People who are still in my lives and still read my words and we still connect now and then...Mile 2.

The sun begins to warm the water so I stop for a moment to take off my jacket.  I think of a wedding, just a few years ago.  I was pregnant with Freddie and sick as a dog, but too early to tell.  A wedding that was supposed to be outside but got rained out and everyone said it was lucky.  Then back to college.  Rooming with some of my best friends.  Seven and Sevens while watching Tommy Boy every Saturday afternoon, beer bongs in the shower, the trunk's humble beginnings, RA rounds, doing the chicken dance but "don't clip my wings, bitch!", and too many memories to list.  Years where every event, every moment, every giggle, and every tear was spent wrapped up in one another.  Then summers working with a best friend.  Waiting tables from opening to closing, then staying up all night talking or partying or whatever you do when you're 20 years old and have an endless supply of energy.  The years after college, living with awesome girls, becoming a family that we never thought would end...Mile 3.

We turn to cross back over the second bridge and head into town.  High school.  A time I don't think about often.  A time I don't remember that well.  Four friends.  Getting stuck in some huge field in Chantilly that I think is a mall or something now.  Sleep overs.  Making our own pizzas and playing pool.  Going to the movies almost every weekend.  Driving by a cute boy's house every hour.  And then softball and making some great friends.  Calling off of work to go to King's Dominion.  Learning to drive a stick shift.  Trips to South Carolina during Spring Break...Mile 4.

I am running through downtown New Bern, past old colonial houses but my mind wanders back to my childhood front lawn.  A radio in my parent's bedroom window and me and my cousins making up dances to Madonna and New Kids on the Block songs.  My cousins are all over.  Some live in West Virginia, there's one in California, a few in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  One even lives in Korea.  I don't see them as much as I'd like.  My youngest cousin is more than 20 years younger than me.  But my family is close, so we try to stay in each other's lives...as hard as that can be sometimes.  Then I'm thinking about how we were pregnant at the same time, both with little girls, due just 8 days apart.  We had met when we were 19 and 20 years old, sharing a room, going to parties, talking about boys.  Now married and pregnant.  I remember the last time we saw each other before the babies were born.  We were at a wedding in June.  It was hot and we were miserable.  We hugged and said goodbye and I cried when we got to the car.  Clif asked why.  Because the next time I'd see her we'd be mom's and things would be different.  They are...but they're not...Mile 5.

I run past Tryon Palace and Clif and the kids are waving at me.  Freddie and Ainsley run down the sidewalk giggling and jumping.  I would like to stop and hug them, but I'm afraid I won't be able to start again.  I think about my childhood house again.  The one we bought from distant relatives.  It was green, with a yellow driveway.  I thought it was haunted.  I never wanted to be there alone.  But it was next door to my Grandmother's and I loved being so close to her.  Then I laugh as I think about a story of me as a child.  About an aunt only 11 years old than me and how I called her Nuk, even though that was no where close to her actual name.  I would be coached on how to say her name.  Repeating each part as instructed, but when it came to putting it all together...Nuk.  No one's sure where it came from.  I think about how for as long as I can remember she's been there, always supportive and always offering a helping hand...Mile 6.

Halfway.  My sister.  The one who got me into this.  I'm not hating her for it yet.  I remember her coming home from the hospital.  That's the earliest memory I have that I can put a time frame around.  We weren't always close, almost 5 years between us.  Never in the same spot at the same time.  Me so shy, her so outgoing.  Then somewhere between college and weddings and divorces and babies...that changed.  She's my best friend and I wish every day she lived down the street.

The chill in the air is gone now.  The sun is bright and hot on my face.  I think of strength.  Not massive muscles or immense knowledge.  But strength of one's soul.  How there are people I know that are so strong in their convictions and their beliefs.  So willing to do anything to continue the fight.  That's the strength I want.  The strength to know, without a doubt how I feel and what I believe.  Then I am remembering my first week of college.  Meeting the person who would still be in my life today.  We were so different at the time.  She seemed so mature and grown up.  I was still so naive and young.  Seventeen years later, we get together for lunch or coffee instead of concerts and frat parties.  We talk about our kids and our jobs and our parents, not so much about boys or this weekend or a trip to Vegas.  Everyone changes and she has changed A LOT...but so have I.  The trick with some friends is changing together, so you never get so lost you can't find your way back.  And then Redskins games.  Working in the classy seats.  Riding together from Falls Church to Landover, and then back again in the middle of the night.  Definitely my most lucrative waitressing job.  Staying after for drinks and leftover food.  Sharing stories about our drunkest patrons...Mile 7.

The burn is beginning to creep up my legs.  I think of connection.  How connected we all are to each other.  How things we say and do can affect people we don't even know.  When I asked for people to pick a mile, I had one response from someone I've never met.  How awesome is that?  That she was brave enough to reach out.  I hope I meet her in person one day.  Then I think of friends.  Friends that I've made since college.  Friends that I've made through other friends.  And I think of all the weddings and all the baby showers and all the weekends and I am so incredibly blessed...Mile 8.

I know I'm getting close, but not close enough.  I go back to college and think of "One Hot Turtle."  It makes me smile.  He took a lot of crap for it, but never complained.  Then a newer friend.  Someone I met years ago through my husband and how shocked I was when she walked into my prenatal yoga class just a few months behind me in our first pregnancies.  She has two kids, just like me.  But now she's pregnant with twins...not hers.  She's a surrogate, and I'm so in awe of her selflessness.  Then I go way back.  I remember making horror movies in my grandparents' yard.  I was no more than 9 and I was one of the oldest.  "The Bloody Easter Bunny" and the victim's head being cut off and falling into a makeshift toilet.  I am laughing so hard I almost have to stop running...Mile 9.

It's almost 9 and the sun is hot.  I'm running directly into it and I know that my body's almost done.  I'm not sure if I can make it through the last few miles.  I think of the summer I met Clif and all of his friends.  The nights and days spent at 1725.  Days that were carefree, and I didn't even know it.  Clif's friends, that I consider my friends now, and have for a long time.  Dave shows and beach trips and nights out and dinners in watching American Idol or The West Wing or whatever was on that night.  Then I think of my mom.  I'm lucky in that department.  I have this awesome mom, who's always supportive and never over bearing.  She let's me do my own thing and never says I told you so.  I remember her sitting on my bed before I went to sleep as a child.  I remember baking cookies.  I remember car rides.  I remember her slapping me when I deserved it and hugging me when I needed it...Mile 10.

I keep repeating "I can do this, I can do this" but my legs are disagreeing.  I think of my sorority and how many awesome friends I have made because of it.  One who lives so far, far away in Italy now.  I see her maybe once a year, but I'm so thankful for things like Facebook so I can keep up with her and her gorgeous boys almost daily.  Then I remember meeting my future sister-in-law.  She was like 16.  Baggy jeans, tie-dye t-shirt, long hair, dark tan.  I forget how young she was.  I think about the woman she is now.  She's one of the kindest, most selfless people I know and I'm so glad she's in my life.  I don't think I would have made it through the summer after Freddie was born without her.  I'm pretty sure I'd still be changing Ainsley's diapers if it wasn't for her...Mile 11.

I'm not going to lie, I want to stop.  I want to stop right here in this dumb park and lay down and never move again.  But I know there are 3 people waiting for me at the finish line, so I push, just a little more.  I remember the day I met Clif, the day we moved in together, the night he proposed, the day we got married.  All these major moments flash before my eyes.  But I also see the smaller moments.  The way he laughs so hard, tears squeeze from his eyes.  The way he lights up when the kids greet him at the door.  How he calls me almost every day after the kids are off so we can discuss whatever, since we never have time for that at home. And 11 years of other small and big moments until I'm thinking about the kids and how I never knew I could ever love anyone the way I love them.  I didn't know anyone could love that way.  How I would do anything to stop their tears or make them smile.  I love to hear Ainsley pretending to be a teacher or a mom or a princess.  How she sounds so grown up and uses words I've never taught her.  How her imagination just goes and goes and goes.  Sometimes I look at her and think how stunningly beautiful she is.  I love to see Freddie throw a football or kick a soccer ball.  How he gets so excited when he makes a basket or hits a baseball.  How he knows the name of every truck we pass on the road.  How he smiles and chews his finger when he's embarrassed.  How he can be rambling on and telling stories when all of the sudden he stops because a stranger entered the room and he's really just so shy.  I could go on, but...Mile 12.

One mile.  One mile left.  I'm leaving the park and I can see the water that sits near the finish line.  I know I'm close, but it's tough to imagine running another 11 or 12 minutes.  I'm pretty proud of myself, even if I fall down and die right now.  A year ago I was just trying to train for a 5K.  Trying to get myself back in order.  I went without exercising for about 5 years and I'm hoping to never do that again.  It's hard to believe I'm actually doing this.  Actually running 13.1 miles.  If it weren't for the fire burning in my legs I wouldn't believe it.  I think about my whole life and all my decisions that have led me right to this point.  35 years old, married, two kids, working in a random career.  Some things about my life are perfect.  Others need working on.  I need to focus on those things.  Make my life the best it can be.  Live in a place I love, do the job I like, make more time for my family.  That's my goal...13 Miles.

Clif and the kids are just a hundred yards from the finish line.  They make that last stretch bearable.  Then I see my mom and Charles and Carolyn and Mike, waiting right there as I cross...13.1.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Serve It Up - Book Review

Being a mom is hard work.  My days are long and crazy.  Even if I wanted to go to bed the minute I walked in the door, I can't.  Homework needs to be done, children need fresh air, dogs need to be walked, dinner needs to be cooked, kids need to be bathed.  So somewhere around 10:30 I usually drag myself to bed.

My biggest issue is usually dinner.  What should I make?  Do I have the ingredients?  Will the kids eat it?  Will Clif like it?

On the nights when I don't have a good answer for any of these questions, I do something easy.  I open a box of mac and cheese or throw waffles in the toaster.  Anything that can get dinner in our bellies and move us on to the next task at hand.

But when I do that, I don't feel great about myself.  I know it's not a balanced meal.  But I have to admit, that Clif and the kids often prefer these nights over veggie pizza night.

Kids don't like to eat healthy.  From day one I've been stuffing apples and broccoli in these kids mouths and they would still rather have corn dogs or chicken nuggets.  Kids only care about gratification, not about their health.  I can't explain Clif's gravitation towards junk food...he does know better.

I've often wondered how I can make these easy meals, that my kids like, but still feel good about what they're putting in their mouths.

Then about a month ago I was asked to review Serve It Up: A Parent's Guide to Kid-Friendly Portions by Laura DeSimone.  It's a quick read and really, there's not even a whole lot of reading.  It's more of a reference guide. 

Laura DeSimone surveyed parents about their kids' favorite foods.  She then created a guide showing how much of those favorite foods kids should eat based on age, gender, and activity level.  Honestly I never even think about portion sizes with my kids.  I give them both the same amount and figure they'll eat until they're full. 

She also paired those food with more healthy options to give the child a balanced diet.  So instead of just popping one frozen waffle in the toaster for each kid, Ainsley should get two and Freddie just one.  I should add some fruit and milk to make sure they're getting the vitamins and protein they need.

I think this book is a great guide.  I mean, I really can't think of a kid food that's not in it.  The table of contents lists all the foods, so you can flip to whatever you're looking for easily.  Plus at the bottom of most pages is a little hint about getting extra vitamin C or protein or whatever with very few added calories.  For instance: "Add 1 plum to your lunch and gain 26% of your vitamin C and 2 grams dietary fiber for only 75 calories!!!"

I highly recommend this book to any busy mom looking for an easy meal once in awhile that she can still feel good about.  I've already used it a few times to plan meals and plan to keep it on hand.

Now if only she could give me a plan for my 36 year old husband...is that in the works, Laura?


Buy the book on Amazon here
Check out the Serve It Up website
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I was asked to review Serve It Up but all opinions and thoughts are my own.  I was given an advanced copy of the book to read and review but was not compensated in any other way.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

First off, I know I haven't written about the half marathon yet.  Actually I have been writing about it for a week, but it's going to be a long post and I just can't seem to finish it.  All and all, the half marathon was alright.  I had a cold, still do...awesome.  But it went well.  I am fairly certain I will never do that again.  The last 2-3 miles were a killer.  But I am glad I set the goal and accomplished it.

Now that, that's out of the way...Halloween.  I don't have the greatest pictures.  We left our real camera at my mom's house and my phone was not cooperating last night. 
Mommy, don't I look like the girl on the package?

My police man and my put bad guys in da trash!

Ainsley and Freddie had a blast.  It was the longest we've ever gone.  We almost made it through the whole neighborhood. 

What is it about kids and losing all sight of their manners when a bowl of candy is presented?  I have to say that my kids have very good manners...normally.  However, I can't count the number of times I had to say "What do you say?" as they turned to leave each house.  And then mostly we just got a half hearted "Thanks" over the shoulder as they ran off to the next place.

The kids made out.  Mostly all chocolate. 

I want this and this and MOSTABLY...This!
Lots and lots of candy, lots and lots of candy, lots and lots of candy...

I'm going to have to get this stuff out of my house before I start eating it all...and I haven't ran in a week and a half.  Hoping to change that this weekend.

Happy Halloween all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Kindergartner

Look what we got last night...

This girl makes me smile every time I see her.  This picture has me giddy.

She looks so grown up and so beautiful.  I can't believe I'm mom to a Kindergartner.

She's loving it by the way.  Every night she comes home and sits at her table and writes letters, draws pictures, colors.  She tells us about her friends and lunch time and recess.  She's decided she wants to be a doctor or a teacher.  I told her she should do both.

Because this girl is going to go far and do big things...I just know it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Big Boy

Freddie and I play a game.

I grab him and cuddle him up and say "You're my baby!"

He responds with "No, my Big Boy!"

"No you're my Baby!"
"No my Big Boy!"

It goes on until he wiggles away.

He'll always be my baby.  But this weekend, as I watched him kiss and hold and snuggle a real life little baby...I couldn't help but see that big boy shining through.

I just stared at him, because in those moments he aged right before my eyes.  It hurts a little...to watch that baby grow up, but I am just so proud of that boy.  He has such a heart and such emotion. 

I grabbed him yesterday and said "You're my Big Boy!"

And he said "No my li-lul (little) Boy!"

Okay, we can compromise on that.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Soak It up

Life speeds by.

It's not always easy to see what's really important.  There are lots of distractions.

Then something makes you remember.  Lots of things make you remember.  Even if they're a million miles away.  Happening to people you don't know anymore.  But for some reason that story, that picture, that song...it makes you remember that this life is fragile.  This life is fleeting.  This life is temporary.

In an instant everything can change.  And at some point, it happens to everyone.

When my instant comes, I don't want regrets.  I won't care if my house was clean or if I felt too fat that day to be in the picture.  I won't care if I made it to dance class on time or if I was too tired to read that 4th book at bedtime.  I won't care if I was being pushed out of bed by four little feet or if I didn't get that spreadsheet done on time.

I don't want to remember the times I lost my temper or the times I didn't listen.  In that instant when everything changes, I want the scenes floating before my eyes to be happy ones.  Ones where Ainsley is dancing and Freddie is giggling.  Ones where Clif and I are talking about our days before we fall asleep.

So if you come to my house and toys litter the floor or dinner hasn't been cleaned up, I was busy playing dress up or reading books.

If my kids are running crazy through the mall, I was letting them be kids and not expecting them to act mature.

If I'm late for an appointment, I was teaching a 5 year old to tie her shoes and getting one last kiss from a toddler.

If I don't get that promotion or that raise, I was celebrating my anniversary or leaving early to go for a long run.

I'm not sorry...I was remembering the important things.

Life is fragile.  Life is fleeting.  Life is temporary.  Soak it up.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pick A Mile

This morning I did it.  I signed up for the half marathon.  I'm not going to lie...I'm freaking out a bit.

I ran 8 miles last weekend and it was rough.  This Saturday I will attempt to run 9.5.  Next weekend it will be 11, followed by 12...and then the big day.  13.1 miles.

It seems insane to me.  Why in the world would I put myself through this?  This is why.

So here's the deal, I need a favor from all you folks out there that love me so much.  Running is not so bad when your mind is off wandering.  Running is tough when all you're thinking about is putting one foot in front of the other.

I need you to pick a mile.  Pick a mile and leave it in my comment section.  Pick a mile and email me about it.  Pick a mile and post it on my facebook page.  I don't care how you let me know, just pick a mile.  Multiple people can pick the same mile.

My thought is that I make a list and during each mile I focus on someone special in my life (that would be you).  I'll think about fun times we had together, upcoming plans, a special moment...whatever.  That's my job to come up with the content.  I just need you to pick a mile.

You can pick any mile except 12 or 13.  Mile 12 will be for Clif, Ainsley, and Freddie.  Without them being so awesome I would never have been able to get through this training.  Mile 13 will be for me.  Let's face it, this race is benefiting, or hurting, me the most.  So I'm going to give myself a mile.

So there you go...that's my request.  I need at least 11 people...I hope I  have 11 people reading this.  I'll write down your name next to whatever mile you choose and I will spend that mile focused on you and why you are so special to me.

It's the only way I'm going to get through 13 miles, 2.5 hours, of running.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Freddie Speaks...On Preschool

His little head pops over the crowd of 2-year-olds and the smile spreads across his chubby cheeks.

"Feddy, you mommy here" a little voice is heard above the rest.  But he's already running and skipping towards me.

"Mommy!" he squeals as he leaps into my arms.

"Hi buddy.  You ready to go get Ainsley?" I ask.  We're always in a hurry leaving preschool.  Ainsley's bus comes anywhere between 4:13 and 4:27.  It's almost 4:00 and who knows how long it will take me to drive the 3 miles to the bus stop at this hour.  Gotta love that NOVA traffic.  Keeps you on your toes.

He runs out the door yelling "Bye-bye Miss Efny" and heads down the hall.  His teacher's name is Miss Tiffany, by the way.

He giggles all the way to the car and climbs up in his seat.  I buckle him in as he smiles and says "Ove ewe, Mommy."

"I love you too, Freddie" I respond.

We pull out of the parking lot and on to the main road as he asks me about which direction we're going and tells me which way Daddy goes in the morning.  The kid is always interested in how we're getting somewhere.

"Mommy, I cy for ewe day a peeskool." (Mommy, I cried for you today at preschool)
"You cried?" I ask.
"No, my no cy for ewe." (No, I didn't cry for you)
"You didn't cry?" He smiles and nods in my rear view mirror.  "That's awesome buddy, I'm so proud of you.  You're such a big boy."
"Yesh, me big boy.  My happy peeskool.  Me ove it." (Yes, I'm a big boy.  I'm happy at preschool.  I love it)
"I'm so glad, Freddie.  That makes Mommy so happy!"
"My no cy for ewe a peeskool.  My wait for ewe and ewe come see me a peeskool.  We go get Aidey." (I didn't cry for you at preschool. I just waited for you and you came to get me at preschool.  Now we're going to get Ainsley.)
"That's right buddy, Mommy will always come get you at preschool."
"Yesh." He turns to look out the window.

"Yook Mommy, fietuck!" (Look Mommy, firetruck)

And with that my worries are relieved.  I would still rather be home with him.  I'd still rather not rush through traffic every night hoping that I make the bus on time.  I'd still rather be room mom and set up play dates and do laundry during nap time.  But for now, this is life and it's a good one.  And if my two year old is telling me he's happy, then that's all I need.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mom (or Dad) Guilt

Freddie was very excited about going to preschool.  We talked it up and told him about new friends and playgrounds and teachers and arts and crafts.  Up until he started, he could only remember the in home daycare that he attended every day with his sister.

He talked about it.  He jumped up and down about it.  But then that day came and he was not thrilled.  I don't think he realized we'd be leaving him there.  I don't think he realized that Ainsley wouldn't be staying with him.

I guess that's my fault for not preparing him.  I gave him all the good parts, but I neglected to tell him the parts he wouldn't like.  Honestly, I didn't even think about it.  I didn't think that keeping him apart from Ainsley all day, every day would be that big of a deal.

But it is a big deal.  It's a big deal that we leave him in a new place.  He likes his routine.  He's not a fan of change.  It's a big deal that we leave him with people he doesn't know very well.  He's not as outgoing as Ainsley.  He's shy at first.  It's a big deal that he's not with Ainsley all day.  She's been his constant for the last 2.5 years.  She's his best friend.

He's having a hard time adjusting and it's making my mommy guilt rear it's ugly head.

I thought it would get easier as we went along.  There's really nothing I can immediately do to change our situation.  We have bills.  We have debt.  We have responsibilities.  And none of those things can be met on one salary.  Clif may be the breadwinner, but my job and my salary are just as critical to our survival as his.

So accepting that, at this moment it's out of my control, I thought would make it easier.  My kids are getting older, they've never spent week days with me.  So it should be easier right?


Freddie is struggling through his days and it's tearing me up.  I can't stop thinking about it.  He's not doing better once we leave.  He's sad and he doesn't seem to be improving.  He needs stability...he needs security.  And right now, I don't think he has that.  Maybe time will make it better, but how much?  Is it fair that he has to feel this way?  I feel like he's missing out because of my financial problems.

So Clif and I are sad about it.  We want to make a change, but we don't know how.  Every penny we make is accounted for.  Even if we take the enormous cost of daycare away, it does not balance out.  We still end up in the negative.

I'd quit my job in a heartbeat.  If there's something quicker than a heartbeat, I'd do it that fast.  This place...this work...it means nothing to me.  My one and only motivation for coming here day in and day out is $$$.  I spend a lot of my free time trying to come up with ways to make money at home, with my kids nearby.  It never really lands me anywhere productive.

There was a time that I was told to follow my passion and the money would come.  I actually believed that.  Problem is, my passion is my family - which I don't really see as a problem, but I'm sure my landlord would think differently if I stopped writing him a check.  There is no job that I have had or will ever have that will make me feel anywhere near as fulfilled as my kids do. 

So there's my rant.  Nothing new.  Same old feelings coming to the surface again.  But how do I fix it for Freddie?  How do I make sure he's living the happiest life he can?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little Brothers

Ainsley is an awesome big sister.  For the most part, she tolerates Freddie's antics well.  However, there are times she gets annoyed.  I don't blame her.  He's annoying...especially when you're a big 5 year old Kindergartner and he's still kind of a baby.

But I tell her that Freddie will be her best friend for life.  Even though she may fight with him now, he'll always love her, always look up to her, and always stand by her side.

I'm sure she doesn't really get all that yet...definitely not when he's trying to steal her dolls.  Ainsley's the oldest, so she's asked to give in more, she takes the blame more, she compromises more.  But she loves that little guy with all of her heart.  Freddie doesn't often return those hugs and kisses.  He usually gets mad and pushes or hits or yells.

Freddie doesn't remember a day that he's spent without Ainsley.  When Freddie and Ainsley were in separate classrooms in a daycare in Richmond, Freddie was only 9 months old.  She's always there, even when Mommy and Daddy aren't.  There are times that he gets in trouble and goes to her for cuddles and love.

On the first day of school, he didn't know what to think when we all left him in that classroom.  He just stood there, kind of frozen, not sure what to say. 

When Clif and I picked him up that afternoon he asked about Ainsley.

On our drive home, he told us about his first day.

Freddie: Me cy a peeshool. (I cried at preschool)
Me: Why'd you cry? 
Freddie: Me wan Aidsey.  (I wanted Ainsley)

At the bus stop he jumped up and down every time a bus came, and was let down every time it passed.

When she stepped off the 4th bus that drove down the street I heard him yelling from 20 yards behind me.

"Aidsey! Aidsey! Aidsey!"

He ran and threw his arms around her before I could even tell her hi.

"I ove ewes Aidsey." (I love you Ainsley)

As a parent, you worry about everything.  You worry your kids will be lonely, that they won't make friends, that they won't know what to do without you, that you'll do something to horribly derail their childhood.

This makes me worry a little less.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Remember Me

"Okay," she laughs.  "Are you ready?"

I nod.

"You are going to live in a mansion, drive a tractor, marry Micheal Jackson, and have seven kids."  We look up from the paper and erupt in giggles.  I roll back onto the cool concrete and catch my breath.

"Want me to do yours again?" I ask.

"No, let's go play with your Barbies." She responds and we run across the driveway and in my front door.

I have lots of memories of her.  Her grandparents were my neighbors.  Her cousins lived across the street.  We didn't go to the same school.  We lived in different states.  I can't remember ever meeting her parents.  But we used to fantasize about going to college together and being in each other's weddings and living next door to each other and our kids playing together, just like us.

That was probably 25 years ago.  We moved away, and I don't think I ever saw her again but she left a mark on my heart.  I remember our summers together - exploring the woods, picking berries from my grandmother's bushes, dancing in my front yard, kickball in the street.

Her cousin friended me on Facebook.  Immediately I thought of her.  Wondered where she might be.  Thought about what she might have done with her life.  Was she married?  Did she have kids?  Does she ever return to her grandparents' house and remember those long afternoons?

And then...a picture of a little girl on her Facebook page.  One that looks just like her with long dark hair and a big, bright smile.  It is the little girl I remember, the one that will always be in my mind because that's how I saw her last.  The grown woman in the other pictures seems distant - not necessarily the same girl.  But am I?

Would she recognize me?  Would she accept a friend request?  Even the anonymity of the online world doesn't provide the cover I need to be brave.

I click the message box and cautiously type, "Hi, do you remember me?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

News Bulletin!! Hell Freezes Over, Talking Goat is Elected President, and Pigs Sprout Wings

Remember this post?

Well, last night we moved the bed back to Ainsley's room.  I had been thinking I wanted to try it, but our nights and weekends have been so busy that I really didn't think it would happen until the end of this month.

But then, last night Ainsley...I mean, I'm almost afraid to type it...ASKED to move her bed back.

Clif and I both stared at her dumbfounded for a few minutes, then immediately moved the bed before she could change her mind.

So she got her new unicorn pillow pet, her new LED night light, and today she gets a sticker towards going to Chuck-E-Cheese.

And bedtime went perfectly.  No serious tears, there are always whines and fake tears.  No getting out of bed.  No 5 million bathroom trips.  No fights.  No screams.

I went upstairs an hour later and she was asleep...in her bed...by herself.  I asked Clif to slap me to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

I wonder if her bus driver is slipping her happy pills.  Maybe her teacher is hypnotizing her.  Because seriously, not in a million years could I have dreamed of this happening!  I was sure the move would be painful, and may not even work until she was 22 or so. 

These kids keep me on my toes, that's for sure.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kindergarten Eve


I'm going to try not and cry as I write this.  But I guess it would be better to do it now instead of at the bus stop tomorrow morning.

Tonight feels different than most weekends coming to an end.  Tomorrow you take a huge step in life.  You start Kindergarten and you are so thrilled.  I am so excited for you.


I'm petrified.  So afraid of something hurting you or scaring you...I just want to hop on that bus with you to make sure you have a seat.  Then I want to follow you to your classroom to make sure you don't get lost.  I want to sit in the room all day to be sure you're heard when you need to be.

It's really hard to let you go.  I know you're not going to college or moving across the country, but this is a big let go for me.  I've always been the one in control.  Sure, you've gone to daycare but it's different.  I don't get to drop you off in your room and chat with your teacher and call to check on you.  I have to just trust that it will all be taken care of.  I have to trust people I don't even know to make sure you're okay.

Are you ready?  Have I taught you what you need?  Have I prepared you?  Do you know enough about strangers?  Do you understand that other kids can be cruel?  Have I showed you how to be kind and brave?  Do you know that no matter what, we will always love you?  From the depths of our hearts.  You can always turn home for comfort and answers and support.

I feel like there's so much we haven't covered and now here we are on the eve of Kindergarten and I'm speechless.  All I can do is smile at you and kiss your forehead, afraid that the tears will spill if I utter a word.

My head knows this is what's best for you right now, but my heart is aching.  Tomorrow I'll wave goodbye to a little girl riding on a school bus,  but all I'll see is that perfect, sweet bundle they handed me five years ago.

I love you Ainsley.  You're going to rock the socks off of that Kindergarten class.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


This kid...

melts my heart.

Those big blue eyes, those soft yellow curls, those wide chubby cheeks.  The way he asks why, the way he laughs, the way he hugs.

He's one big ball of emotion.  He can go from pissed off to giggling on the floor in seconds.  He can hug as hard as he punches. 

This age can be trying.  He rarely knows what he wants or how to ask for it.  He throws fits and screams NO in my face.

But he also says "I lud du mommy" and "I go wish du mommy" and "I want du do it mommy."  He's my little shadow and I couldn't ask for a better sidekick.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Story About a Minnie Mouse Purse and a Hello Kitty Necklace

I don't really remember how old I was.  Young.  So I'm going to go with 5 or 6.  I'm pretty sure we still lived in the green house on the creek.  The one with snakes in the basement.  And we moved out of that place when I was 6.  So we'll go with 5.  Plus Ainsley's 5 so that makes the story better.

So I was 5.  It was Christmas.  We were on our way to my grandparent's farm to exchange gifts and visit with our cousins.  I sat in the back seat with my brand new purse.  It was black, patent leather, with Minnie Mouse on the front.  I remember the strap being so long that I could wear it like a messenger bag.  Actually, Ainsley would call it a satchel.  I also remember the mouse ears and the big red bow. 

We stopped at a store just down the street from the farm.  I don't remember why.  But I do remember walking through the aisles.  I don't remember taking the purse off.  I don't remember putting it on a shelf.  But I do remember heading down the road and realizing it was gone.

I begged to go back.  My dad refused.  I cried.  He still refused.  We headed on our way, and my purse was gone.

That purse probably would have ended up in the bottom of a toy box.  I don't remember ever being crazy about Minnie Mouse and I don't remember loving to carry purses around.  However, I remember that moment when my stomach just crashed and this thing that I loved for the day was gone forever.  My dad spat lessons from the front seat, "You need to take care of your stuff," "I'm not keeping up with your stuff," "You're old enough to know better."

And all that was true.  I don't remember ever leaving something behind like that again.  So I did learn the lesson.  But it was a tough one to swallow at 5.

Yesterday, we left Target and as we pulled out of the parking lot Ainsley spoke up from the backseat.

"Oh no!  My necklace," she cried.
"What necklace?" I asked.
"My Hello Kitty necklace is gone.  I think I put it on the princess doll."

My initial reaction was, oh well...it's just a dumb little necklace.  But before I could say anything, Clif pulled into another spot.

"You put your necklace on a doll in the store?" he asked.
"Yes," she cried.

He was irritated, but he got out, opened the van door and took her back into the store.

They were gone for awhile.  They checked the toy aisles, the bathroom, the lost and found, the girls section.  No necklace.

Ainsley came back red eyed.

We drove on, the sadness in the car heavy.

"Ainsley, maybe we could get a movie and eat popcorn when we get home," Clif said as he glanced at her in the rear view mirror.

"Yes!" Ainsley exclaimed.  So we stopped and got the movie - The Smurfs...again.  Got back in the car and headed home.

It was a dumb necklace...just like it was dumb purse.  But I bet Ainsley won't be thinking about it 30 years later.  She probably won't have a story like this to tell because I'm sure the details will fly from her mind.  At some point in her life, she'll be angry with us.  She'll pull away and try her wings.  She'll throw fits and we'll have arguments.  She'll break the rules and we'll punish her. 

But somewhere deep inside, she'll know that Daddy was always on her side.  That he always had her back.  That he was always willing to do whatever it took to make her smile.  And that will be the story that she tells her kids.

Okay, so this post was meant to show you what an awesome father Clif is.  But this story actually has a very funny ending that I absolutely have to share.  After picking the movie and heading home, Ainsley found the necklace...on her neck!  Imagine that.  It had fallen below her shirt and she said "It must have just disappeared and then came back because it knew that I loved it." 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stepping Out

I've talked before about how I have anxiety stepping out of my comfort zone.  It amazes me how far it reaches.  I mean, why should I care what anyone thinks of me in a town that is 600 miles from where I live.

Why do I care what anyone thinks of me anyway?  Why do I even think people notice the things I do?  Pretty sure they don't.

So I flew to Chicago on Sunday, by myself, for work.  I don't fly much.  I fly by myself even less.  I'm not scared of flying, but it does make me nervous.  And every little bump we hit, I'm praying - begging - to make it out alive.

I got there in the afternoon with nothing really to do until dinner time.  I was starving because I had missed lunch.  I found an Irish Pub, but as I stood at the door...I felt the anxiety start.  What if this isn't what it seems?  What if there's no bar to sit at by myself?  What if it's full?  What if people stare at me for being alone?

In my head, right now...all those What if's seem so stupid!  But in that split second, where I almost turned around and went to the Chipotle around the corner and then back to my room to eat, they were extremely valid.

I made myself go in, sit by myself, at the bar, and order a beer and french fries.  They had Sam Adam's Cherry Wheat on tap!!!  I could have missed out on that - one of my favorite beers - ON TAP!  And the french fries were so amazing.  Especially with the homemade BBQ sauce they served for dipping.

I had decided before I left that I would go jogging Monday morning before my meetings.  I was so excited to be in a brand new city, see new things, and jog along Lake Michigan.  But then, as it got closer, I started doubting myself again.

What if the path was dangerous?  What if I got lost?  What if I end up in a bad part of town?

I almost backed out.  Almost didn't go.  Almost missed some amazing skyline views of a beautiful city.

Almost missed a chance to walk on the beach.

Almost missed a beautiful sky over a beautiful lake.

In that moment when my anxiety creeps in and almost takes over, all I want to do is stay in bed.  I'm finally getting better at putting it aside and pushing through.  Maybe one day I'll actually be one of those people that doesn't think twice about a comfort zone or stepping out of it. 

Okay, we all know that probably won't happen but a girl can dream can't she?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Danger! Danger!

Last week I stumbled upon this post. 

Okay, really I didn't stumble upon it.  Really I read Tracy's blog every day, because...well, she's awesome.  Her stories are funny and sweet and every once in awhile, make me shed a tear.  Also, poke around a bit over there at Sellabitmum...how beautiful are her girls?  I have bloggy love for her.

Anyway, back to the post.  Go read, if you haven't already, then come back.  I'll wait.

When I read things like this I get so angry.  I really hate how we've gone around the bend on safety issues.  I mean, car seats...I get it.  Helmets, I get it.  I was never in a car seat and I never wore a helmet, and somehow I'm still alive to talk about the horror of it all...but I do get it.  When it comes to things like that, I'm extremely diligent with my kids.  But some things are just ridiculous.  Guess what people...kids?  They're going to get hurt.  It's part of the job description.  It's part of growing up.

About a month or so ago I had a conversation with my Aunt about her state outlawing swings on public property.  Hold up?  Swings?!?!?  Swings are OUTLAWED!  What did swings ever do to anyone?  Are we seriously ready to raise an entire generation that can't pump their legs?  What's next?  Monkey bars?  Slides?  Seesaws?  Oh wait, I've also heard that seesaws aren't allowed on many playgrounds.  And come to think of it, I haven't seen too many monkey bars lately.

It makes me sad.  Yet...

When we first moved into our new house we found a tick on Ainsley.  It was not embedded.  It wasn't engorged.  But I FREAKED.  I lost it.  How could I have let this happen?  How had I not noticed?  I felt like a terrible mother.  This disease carrying insect was on my child...where had I gone wrong?

I made a decision to stay out of the woods with the kids.  Check them constantly for ticks.

So, how am I any better than the state outlawing swings or the stranger scolding a mother for allowing her kids to climb trees?

As parents we want to do whatever it takes to protect our kids...

My kid slipped off the Monkey Bars...remove them all!
My kid fell out of a tree...cut them all down!
My kid was bit by a dog...stay away from all dogs!
My kid had a tick on her...don't go near the woods!

We want to tear down the mountains and build the bridges to make their lives easy and worry-free.  But that's not really life is it?

Kids are going to get hurt.  They're going to fall down hills, crash their bikes, get stung by bees.  We can't protect them from it all.  I'm not a bad mom because my kid had a tick on her. 

And if we protect them from all these "dangers" are we really protecting them or are we just setting them up to fail?  To expect a life with no road blocks or obstacles? 

Shouldn't we instead teach them that some things are worth the risk?  That some actions come with consequences.  Yes, you could fall off the swing and break a leg...but isn't the wind in your face and the feeling of flying worth that small risk?  Yes, you could find a tick in your hair, but isn't the beauty of the forest worth that possibility?

I think it is.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

According to Ainsley...and Freddie - Snakes

We're in the car...

Ainsley: Freddie!  You do not want to go in that tall grass.

She points out the window to a wooded area, preceded by a field with higher than average grass.

Freddie: My go der Aidey.
Ainsley: NO!  Freddie, do not go there.
Freddie: Why?
Ainsley: That is tall grass.  Know what lives in tall grass?

She pauses without a response.

Ainsley: Freddie?  Are you listening to me?  Freddie, look at me right now.

Freddie cranes his neck to peek around his car seat.

Ainsley: Know what lives in tall grass, Freddie?
Freddie: What?
Ainsley: SNAKES!!!
Freddie: Oh no!  My no yike nakes.
Ainsley: Freddie, snakes are so bad.  Don't ever go in tall grass.
Freddie: Okay Aidey, my no yike nakes.  My no go tall gwass.

Weeks later, we are walking into daycare.  Her lawn is very nice, with a landscaped area around the sidewalk.

Freddie: Mommy...uppy! uppy! uppy!

I hoist Freddie on my hip.

Me: What's wrong bud?

He points at the bushes near the walkway.

Freddie: Me scared.  Me no yike tall gwass.  NAKES!
Ainsley: That's right, Freddie!  Don't go near tall grass.  Mommy, we should not walk this way.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Red Pens

I joined a sorority in college.  During my pledging and initiation we had to watch a movie about sorority hazing.  This movie was beyond ridiculous.  It was horrible acting and the storyline, although intending to be serious, was comical.

However, the movie doesn't really matter.  The part that matters is this...in the movie there is a hazing ritual where all of the new pledges have to parade around in bikinis and the older sisters use red pens to circle trouble areas.  At the end of pledging those circles need to shrink or you don't get initiated.

So basically, all college Freshman are fat and need to loose weight...or so the movie would have you believe.

I am very critical of my looks.  Honestly, I don't do a whole lot to improve them...who has time for beauty routines?!?!?  I see a picture of myself and I pick it apart.

Ewe, my face looks blotchy.
Ugh, you can see my belly roll.
How can you have gray hair and acne?!?!?
Seriously I need to lose weight.
My nose is so big.
Hello eye bags and crows feet.
I look so old...

I always feel like I'm marking myself up with red pens.

But last night I took this picture.

I love this picture.  Not because my hair looks awesome or my skin looks flawless.  I could use a good 12 hours of sleep and maybe some whitening toothpaste.  I love it because we all look so happy and my kids were chanting "Love you mommy" while I snapped 2 or 3 just like this. 

It was a nice moment...then Freddie locked me out of the house.  That story for another day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Larry the Cucumber Can Suck It!

Since we've moved, I spend a lot of time in the car with the kids.  We have a half an hour to daycare in the morning and 40 minutes or more from daycare to home at night.  This will all end come September 4th when Ainsley goes to Kindergarten and Freddie starts at a new daycare near our house.

That hour and 10 minutes of every day are some of the funniest, most exhausting, most annoying, sweetest times.  And seriously, I can experience all those emotions in the same trip.  So I thought I'd give you a little glimpse.  Since traffic was horrid yesterday (thank you fender bender on 66) I was sitting for a long time and was able to take notes on my phone.

Note: for the purposes of this story "Pfhh" will represent the sound of Freddie making short, quick, raspberries in the air.

Radio: Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales...
Freddie: Mommy, cose ya'eyes.
Me: I can't close my eyes, Freddie.  I'm driving.
Freddie: Jut do it.
Me: Freddie I can't...
Ainsley: Look Freddie, my eyes are closed.
Me: Thank you Ainsley.

Freddie pushes the button on his cup which pops open the lid to reveal the straw and he screams "SUPIZE!!!!"
Ainsley puts on her best excited face for him.  Such a good big sister.

Radio: We hope you enjoy (blah, blah, blah, blah)...as we bring you the story of Pistachio (really it's the story of Pinocchio, told Veggie Tale style)...I'm Larry the Cucumber...
Freddie: NO Stasho!!! Ah her Fweddie song.
Me: It's Ainsley's turn Freddie, we'll listen to Pistachio and then switch to your songs.
Freddie: NOOOOOoooooo! (fake cry...oh yeah, he goes there)
Me: Ainsley, do you care if we listen to Freddie's songs for a bit.
Ainsley: Sure Mommy, I am going to practice my ballet.
Me: Okay

I switch the CDs.

Radio: Who goes around the place and makes a silly face, I bet you know, it's Freddie.

I look in the rear view mirror and see Freddie beebopping to the tunes.

Ainsley: (singing) I'm a butterfly that is...
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Ainsley: Stop it Freddie.  (singing) On Christmas Eve, I am a happy child.  Santa Clause is coming to town...
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Ainsley: Freddie!!  Stop it! (singing) Santa Clause is siiilly.  You can't wait to hear what he done...
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Ainsley: FREDDIE!! 
Me: Stop yelling.
Ainsley: But Mommy, I am trying to practice my ballet and he is spitting in my class.  There is no spitting in my class.
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Me: Ainsley, he's not spitting.
Ainsley: But I don't like him doing that in my class.
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Me: Well then he's not in your class.  Just ignore him or learn to deal with it
Radio: I sure do like fishin', but I don't like the worms.  They're wigggggly, jigggggly, all together squiggggly...
Freddie: Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh, Pfhh...
Ainsley: (singing) I know what he du-uh-uhn.  He said Liddy, hiddy, bitty, pitty hid. A kid that is small, then tiny.  That a grown up hold her like this (arms crossed like holding baby).  Santa Clause is so silly at times...
Freddie: Aidey!  Top sinin.  My song!
Me: Freddie, if you're going to make weird noises, Ainsley can sing.  Stop yelling!
Ainsley: (singing) But the ballerina is at the gala, at the gala.  You can't wait for Christmas.  Christmas.  Christmas.  Christmas.  Christmas.  You get presents on Christmas!
Freddie: (clapping) Yay Aidey!!!!
Ainsley: No Freddie, you can't clap for me because you are not in my class because you were spitting.

Freddie: Mommy yook!  Choo Choo twain!  ( it's the metro train)  Aidey, yook, yook!  Chugga chugga too too!
Ainsley: Yeah Freddie!  Choo Choo train!
Freddie: Mommy, my ride dat choo choo twain?
Me: Yes, Freddie, one day we'll ride it.
Freddie: (mumbling to self) Yeah, my ride choo choo twain, one day, baybe (maybe).
Me: Look Freddie, there's another one.
Freddie: Mommy, twain station.  People wakin to cars.  Mommy, I go over der?
Me: Where?
Freddie: Over der!
Me: Where? To the station.
Freddie: Yeah!
Me: Not today, Freddie.
Freddie: Why?
Ainsley: Mommy, I'm hungry.
Me: We'll be home soon, Ainsley.  You can have a snack.
Freddie: My have nack?
Me: Yes, Freddie, you can have a snack too.
Ainsley: (groans) This drive is possibly taking forever!
Me: Sorry bug, there's lots of traffic today.
Ainsley: Just go cars!
Freddie: Go Mommy!
Me: I can't go Freddie, there are cars in front of me.
Freddie: Why?

Notice that I just ignore the whys now.  Really, he just likes to hear himself say it.

Freddie: Bye, bye choo choo twain, see ya'yater.
Ainsley: Bye train.  See you tomorrow!
Freddie: Mommy, Aidey turn.  Her stasho!

I change the CD, back to Veggie Tales.

Radio: Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales.  It's time for Veggie ta - aya - aya - ayales...

And on to the story of Pistachio...again...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

According To Ainsley - Shaving Simplified

I am reading to Ainsley in my room before bedtime (cause you know, she sleeps there now).  Clif walks in and takes off his shirt.

"Daddy, what are you doing?" Ainsley asks.
"I'm going to shave," he answers.

She literally jumps off the mattress and bounces into the bathroom.

"Can I watch, please, please, please?"
"Sure," he says.
"Why did you take off your shirt to shave?"
"So I don't get hair and shaving cream on it," he answers

I take this opportunity to fold laundry, pack my lunch, read my book, pick up toys lay on the bed and do absolutely nothing.

Ainsley perches herself on the toilet seat and waits for what comes next.

Clif spreads shaving cream across his face.
"Mommy, look at Daddy's face!  He is so silly."
Clif looks at me with white foam on his cheeks and chin.

"Daddy, are you going to shave your cheeks?"
"Are you going to shave that big hair on your chin?"

She's quiet for a minute.

"Daddy, why is that buzzing?"
"It's just my razor, it helps with shaving," he answers.
"When I am a grown up I can't wait to use one that buzzes," she responds.
"Well girls don't usually shave their faces," Clif tells her.
"Oh." She seems a bit disappointed.

Again, quiet.

"Daddy!  Be careful!"
"I'm being careful, Ainsley," he chuckles.

Her excitement can barely be contained.  She is up and down on the toilet seat, crossing and uncrossing her feet, jabbering on and on as I start to fall asleep.

I hear a crash and open my eyes to see her pinned between the wall and toilet.

Before Clif or I can say anything she yells "I'm okay!"  She jumps back up.
"Ainsley, just sit on the toilet and be still," Clif says holding back laughter.
"Okay Daddy, can I still watch?"

She leaps up again and throws her arms around his leg.
"Thank you Daddy!  You are the best Daddy!  I love you too much!"

"Daddy, you have some white stuff there," she points.  Clif shaves.
"Daddy, you missed that spot too," she points.  Clif shaves.
"Daddy, you didn't get all that big hair off your chin."
"I'm working on it, Ainsley," Clif responds.
"Okay Daddy, don't forget."

Monday, July 30, 2012

God's Promise

We got some difficult news on Friday.

Nothing life threatening...no one's sick, no one's hurt...still bad news.

News that will set us back.  News that will derail some plans.  News that is going to force us to take a hard look at things and make decisions.  Tough decisions.  But really, I don't want to talk about it.  Don't want to go into details.  That's not what this is about. 

After dinner Clif and I opened a couple of beers and watched the kids play in the water table on the deck until it started to rain. We packed it up and went inside.  As I finished cleaning up from dinner, Ainsley called us back to the window.

It was the brightest rainbow I had ever seen.  My iPhone camera doesn't do it justice.  I think, it was also the first full rainbow I had ever seen.

"It's God's promise, Mommy," Ainsley said.

Grandma's influence, not mine.

I nodded.  It's been a long time since I knew with all certainty that God was on my side.  That he was there making plans and carrying them through.  But in that moment, I believed it because I needed to.

So I'm trying to do what I am so terrible at doing, I'm trying to let it go and just pray that it all works out.

Now if only I could find that pot of gold, all my problems really would be solved!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Apparently, I've Lost My Mind

About a year ago I started running again.  I actually wouldn't call what I was doing back then "running" so much as "slow jogging."  I did the Couch to 5K program.  I really can't say enough about this program.  I am one to jump in head first and burn out fast.  This program makes you take your time and trains your tired, out-of-shape, body into one that can actually complete a 5K run.

So I followed it, and here I am a year later, still "running."  I'm a tiny bit faster now, so I guess I'll keep calling it running.  Up until this week, I've been pretty consistent.  I run three times a week, 30 minutes each time.  Some days that gives me 3 miles, sometimes it's closer to 2.5.  I'm pretty slow.

But I changed that up a bit this week.  After my 3 miles tonight, I will have run 4 times since Monday.  I will then do a 4 mile run sometime this weekend.


Two reasons.

1 - I went to the doctor for a complete physical and blood workup.  I passed with flying colors, but she mentioned that maybe I should lose a little weight.  I've lost 16 pounds in the last year.  Not great, but not too bad.  I'd like to lose another 15 to be within my ideal weight range.  Her best advice, since I'm eating healthy and seem to be getting all the nutrients I need...exercise more.  Take my 3 times a week to 5 times a week.  It doesn't have to be running, but I can't afford a gym and I've learned that unless I get out of my house, I find too many reasons not to do it.  So running gets me out and is the hardest, fastest workout I can do in the shortest amount of time.

2 - My sister.  See, I have this little sister and she is all super healthy and fit these days.  Awesome for her.  She looks and feels amazing.  She decided that we should run a half marathon, and though I know that I am more of a 3 - 6 mile kind of girl, I decided I should try and challenge myself.  So on October 20th I will attempt to not die while I run 13.1 miles.  In order to be as prepared as possible, I need to run more.  Nine miles a week wasn't going to cut it.  I know, I'm insane.

So that's why. 

I'm following a 12 week training program and I already know that it's going to be tough.  Fitting in a run 3 times a week was difficult, now fitting one in 4-5 times a week?  It's going to be close to impossible.  But, I'm going to try.  I did get a double jogging stroller so I can take my kids with me on runs.  But let me tell you something about a double jogging stroller...

HOLY HELL!!!!  It may kill me.  I did my first real run with both kids in it last night and I barely made it through 2 miles.  Adding the weight of the jogging stroller, plus the combined 65 pounds of my two children, plus the fact that you can't really move your arms to help propel yourself...it's rough!

I was looking for information about how many additional calories I might burn using the stroller.  I couldn't find any formula or scientific answer but I did see multiple people saying things like "Well it can't be that many because there's no real resistance," or "I mean, it has wheels, so it can't be that difficult," or "No extra calories since it's moving with it's own momentum."

I say to those people...BULL SH*T!!!!!!!  I may go track down those answers/posts and leave some very descriptive language in their comment sections.  It was definitely one of the toughest runs I've completed in a long time.  But I guess that's what this is about...this whole half marathon craziness...pushing myself, getting myself that much closer to a healthy life, accomplishing something I never thought I could.

Ainsley looked back from her comfy seat in the stroller last night and said "Mommy?  Are you sweating?" 
"Yes," I gasped.
"But Mommy, I'm not sweating."

She said it with such amazement and shock that I had to laugh.  So if you see me huffing and puffing behind my children's chariot...I'll be okay, just have a glass of water and a massage waiting for me at the end.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Give Up

So this is what it's come to...

Ainsley's mattress on our bedroom floor. I'm tired. I'm over it. I'm done. I can't fight with her over bedtime anymore. And I'm done complaining about it on this blog.
So if she will go to sleep here and I can have one hour before my own bedtime, then I give in and she wins.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ew, Just Ew...

If you know me in real life, you know that I do not like to discuss bodily functions.  Bodily functions are super gross to me.  I'm not very intimate with many people, so this is not something I talk about with most.  I don't even talk about it with Clif much.  It just 'ewws' me out.

But, I have to write this down...so why not share it with all of you...luckily, it's not about me.

If you know my husband in real life, you know that he is a bit...gassy.  Some of you, that really know my husband, are laughing hysterically at this since gassy is a very nice way of saying it.

Clif could win awards for his gassiness. 

Anyway, last week Clif, Freddie, and I are sitting at the table.  We had just finished dinner and I cleaned up and then gave Freddie a lollipop for dessert.  We are watching Freddie with his treat and all is quiet until I hear the oh familiar sound of Clif's rear end on a wooden chair.

I give him my typical disgusted look and Freddie says "What dat noisy-noisy?"

Clif and I laughed, which made him laugh.

Next thing we know, all is quiet again and Freddie is straining until we hear a little "POP" and he laughs hysterically.

Then again, strain, "POP," laugh.

"Freddie," I ask "did you just toot?"

"Yeah, me toot!"

Clif lost it.  He laughed so hard he had tears running out of his eyes.

Great Clif...great.  Awesome example for our 2 year old.  Heaven help me when he's old enough to compete with his father.  I may have to get my own apartment.
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