Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful


I am extremely thankful that this area didn’t sustain damage in the major storms that swept through the south yesterday.  In the midst of warnings, watches, and blaring sirens, my mind was with my family. My son was at track practice, my daughter was with her Mamaw, and my husband thought it was the ideal time to take a leisurely trip to the store. I hate us all being apart but during times like that, but it makes me realize just how little control I have.  Instead of panicking, I did the only productive thing I knew to do. I prayed. I prayed for the safety of my son at school during what he was told was a tornado drill, I prayed for the safety of my daughter who was playing dolls at my Mother-in-law’s house and I prayed that God would give my husband the good sense to stay put the next time we are issued a tornado warning. I’m happy to report that at least two of those prayers were answered. The verdict is still out on that last one.

My heart was heavy this morning as I watched the news report on the devastation that swept over other areas last night as my family slept safely in our beds. I immediately worried about family members and friends living in Alabama and waited impatiently to hear of their safety this morning. I’m happy to report that everyone I know is accounted for but there are many others out there who did not receive the same reports. Today, I pray for those friends and family who woke up to bad news.  News that will forever change their lives and made them feel like part of their heart was suddenly missing. Today, I pray for comfort and strength to those in need.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Clowning Around

My daughter will be turning 5 years old next week. *GASP!* It's hard to believe that is even possible! Five years doesn't really seem that long when you think of it, but she has truly grown too fast. From the very get go this little jewel has had us all on our toes. She has a knack for doing things on her own time, which generally means way earlier than the "guidelines" say she should. She obviously didn't read the manual. The shortest member of our family is a brilliant girl with a zest for life that wears me out even from my tiny observation deck. I savor the quiet moments, the ones where she cuddles up ever so gently beside me in need of a little affection, because they are few and far between. She possesses a confidence that cannot be taught or learned; one that doesn't need constant approval in order to thrive. Don't get me wrong, she definitely has challenging moments, but those same characteristics that bring me to the brink of insanity and back almost daily are the very same ones that are going to take her so very far in her life. I just know it. And I can't wait to watch every single minute of it.

Today was clown day at preschool and she had me cracking up all morning long! She is a very animated talker anyway, but some of the excitement usually gets lost in translation because of her fair features. Not this morning, though. We painted on black eyebrows as part of her clown makeup and I found myself totally engrossed in watching their every movement as we carried out our morning routine. Every emotion on the child's face was even more blatantly obvious than usual. This one.... she's going to either keep us young or make us very, very old.

Exhibit A: 

Exhibit B (and my personal favorite):


Happy early birthday to my little Spunky Monkey! You literally light up my life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Triathlon"

I put the title in quotes because when you hear the word triathlon, it sounds quite impressive. What my husband and I competed in was actually fun; not grueling or exhausting and we weren't sore for days on end. Well, more specifically, he wasn't sore for days on end. I woke up the next morning (and the morning after that, and the one after that...) feeling like I had been run over by a truck. A very big one.

The alarm clock went off at 4:30 a.m. last Saturday morning and I responded with an "Ugh", a deep breath and a sigh. I am soooo not a morning person. You would think someone knowing they were getting up early with plans to physically exert themselves would at the very least go to bed early - but not me. What can I say? I'm a rebel. A really dumb rebel. My husband and I drug ourselves out of bed and ate a nice, hearty breakfast before driving three hours to the race. "Are you excited," the more physically fit part of this martial union asked during our ridiculously long drive. Excited? Meh. Nervous? Oh yeah!

Something you should know about my husband, Ben, is that he is competitive. I don't mean a little bit competitive; I mean "use every ounce of energy you have and there better be blood, sweat, and tears in the end so I know you gave it your all" competitive. And me? I'm more of a "finish well, but let's get real - you have children to raise and work on Monday, so don't kill yourself out there" kind of competitive. We make a great team, right?!

I'll pause the play by play for a public service announcement at no extra charge. Port-a-potties suck! If I never use another one again it will be too soon. Gag! What were those people eating before they got there? And for goodness sakes people, don't look down when you're in there! Never, ever look down the forsaken hole! Double gag! Oh how I wished I was equipped with male genitalia during those 30 seconds of pure agony.

Back to the story already in progress. We signed up for heat 3 (the very last) of the race to be on safe side. This was, after all, our first time competing and we didn't want to be the newbies holding everyone up. We were bussed to the starting line of the first leg of the race - the dreaded canoe. We had never canoed together. We own kayaks, but never once had we been in a canoe together. This was the part of the race I was most nervous about. And I had good reason to be. We struggled our way through all three and a half miles of the river course where there was absolutely no current, might I add. About five minutes into the hour long paddling stint, I questioned Ben's decision to put me in the back of the canoe but what can you do at that point? I was totally drenched once we reached the finish line. My suspicion was that at least some of those splashes were intentional, but I have no actual proof. I was just happy no one fell (or was pushed) out of the boat.

For the second part of the race, Ben biked an 8-mile single track course through the woods. He naturally did great but had to get off his bike a few times on the steep uphills due to lesser experienced riders in front of him. I could see the excitement on his face and how he thoroughly enjoyed passing other bikers as he rode into the final transition area to tag me. And then, I was off! I felt pressure to finish this thing well. As soon as I made the first turn and headed into the woods I passed a dude. A dude! Yeah, baby! As I passed him, he told me good job and I was struck by what a kind gesture that was. I decided then to try to be just as encouraging to other racers. I had to be careful as I ran up and down hills, around trees and over roots. I definitely did not want to face plant in front of everyone. That would be embarrassing and it would probably hurt, too. (If that's not incentive - I don't know what is.) I hit one mile at 8:40 and I was stoked considering the nature of the course. I passed a few more runners and it felt great! I told each one of them in some form or fashion they were doing well. I set my sights on passing the final runner and announced to him as I closed in that I was coming up on his left since the course was narrow. To my surprise, he held his hands out and told me I wasn't getting by. I was speechless. My only option was to stay behind him or trip him and I am definitely not that type of competitive, remember? Thankfully, he then laughed and moved over to let me pass but vowed to catch up to me later. We bantered back and forth on the last half mile about how he was or wasn't going to finish ahead of me but in the end I won. I finished the course with an official time of 22:19 (my watch showed 21:52 but I digress). We placed 9th overall and I placed 6th among female runners. Oh yeah!!

An official race photo wasn't captured of me (which I am perfectly okay with) but here is one of Ben. I love the guy cheesing in front of him.:
David Richardson bike


I think we might have to do this again. You know, after some canoeing practice. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Savoring

Here lately, I have heard several stories that involve lives ending too soon.  A local high school girl complaining of chest pains was admitted into the ER and was being treated for pneumonia. The next day, she died of a blood clot in her lungs… A co-worker’s mom was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Today, she received a prognosis that she has 6 weeks to live… The list could unfortunately go on and on. It really makes you stop and think. While we know in the back of our minds we are not guaranteed tomorrow, we always think these scenarios will happen to someone else.

Tonight, I’m going to spend a little extra time tucking my children into bed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For the Love of Fall

On a recent camping trip, we were blessed to time our mini vacation along with the beginning of fall. The cooler night temps, waking up to cook breakfast in the brisk morning air, the grass at home finally slowing down its need to be mowed every four days - it was all quite pleasant! Fall makes me ready to embrace change. My thoughts run wild with ideas on how to change my home decor to include warm, fall colors and my dinner menu to incorporate hearty soups followed by warm desserts like apple crisp. I'm ready for a change of wardrobe and cozy boots. I want to snuggle under blankets in the evening with my hubby and carve pumpkins with my children (well, maybe just paint pumpkins - no one likes to pull out the pumpkin guts and I always get stuck with that job).

This year, fall also makes me feel old. Fall is when my first born child came into this world. It's when my life was forever changed by my beautiful baby boy that is growing into a handsome young man right before my eyes. This year brings the thirteenth anniversary of that blessed event. *GASP* Even as I type the words, I can hardly believe it myself. The same boy that once told me, "Don't cry, Mommy. If you cry; I'll cry" still holds my heart in the palm of his adult sized hand. (By the way, that comment was made after I got a speeding ticket. In case you didn't already know, I am sooooooo not a rebel.)

I wake up every morning waiting to see if the son I now literally see eye to eye with has surpassed me in height and to hear if his voice has grown any deeper. While I absolutely love watching him grow and mature, every once in a while, I long for the times he used to curl up in my lap and need me to comfort him. I long to kiss the top of his head and breathe in his sweet scent without him sighing "Mooooooom". I think I should spend the next month enjoying every second I can before he enters his teens and figures out it's not cool to been seen in public with your mom. Maybe I'll even put a brick on top of his head.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We're in this together

My hot hubby (see header if you don't believe me) went on a primitive camping trip this past weekend with four guy friends. They packed up a few belongings that included mountain bikes, kayaks and one very large tent and went on their merry way. I was invited, but no. Just no. You did catch the “primitive” part, right? I need a toilet. And preferably running water. Make that warm running water. Call me spoiled - I'm totally okay with it. I openly admit to the fact that I would have made a terrible wife in the "good 'ol days". When you add those facts with the joy of camping with five grown men and their glory (belches, farts, and general grossness)…. I’ll pass, thankyouverymuch. Here's a video recep of their trip:

video


I want to take this time to give a shout out to wife whom called her husband 1,000 times while they were gone so she could tattle on her kids. She made me look really good!

I am not afraid to stay at home by myself, but I chose to load up the kids and stay with my parents for one of our daddy-free nights out of sheer convenience. I had an early morning run scheduled for the following day and I needed someone to watch my sleeping babes. My oldest may be twelve, but I'm still not comfortable with him being in charge of anything, let along his living, breathing sister. And I love my Mom and Dad, but I love living in my own home more. I was reminded of that very quickly this weekend. Yay for being an adult! Being treated to lunch was great and they even bought us stuff when we went shopping, but I can only take them in small doses. That's why I cut out as soon as we returned home. In all fairness, I'm sure the feeling is mutual. A backseat full of whining kids probably isn't their idea of fun these days. In case you're wondering, yes, I am including myself as a whiny kid but in my defense, my dad would not just stop the car already and make a decision about where to eat lunch. It was a hostage situation! My stomach was the victim. I don't do well when I have to go long periods of time without eating. He should know this.

I spent the rest of the weekend single parenting it. *Insert thumbs down* I applaud those women and men whom do it on a daily basis because kids will wear-you-smack-dab-out! Physically, emotionally... you name it! I'm very thankful for my husband/refereeing partner. To him, I owe my sanity!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Current Tidbits about Me

  1. I'm tired. I've been getting up at the butt crack of dawn this week to exercise because my evenings are just too busy. My body seems to be rejecting this insane new schedule. It is accustomed to exercising, eating dinner and then sleeping so when I go for a run and eat breakfast, it signals my brain to shut down because the only logical thing to follow those two consecutive activities is sleep.*Yawn*

  2. Walgreen's sucks. I've said it before but this time I mean it... I'm never developing pictures there again. I am by no means a good photographer but I have a decent-ish camera. I was in a hurry the other night and needed to order some pics in a hurry and thought Walgreen's would be the quickest option. My daughter needed to take some family pics to preschool the next day and who in this digital day and time has pictures lying around that they don't mind grubby preschool hands touching? Not me, that's who. I hurriedly uploaded some pics to Walgreen's website and arranged to have them ready after a meeting I had to attend that night. One problem... they wouldn't give them to me. I was told they needed a copyright release for any photographs that appeared to be professional. I don't think they look professional at all, but this lady was under a different opinion. When I asked her how I was supposed to provide a copyright release when I don't own a photography business, she just shrugged and said she had to have one. I politely told her she could keep them (yes, politely... and it wasn't easy because my blood pressure had to be through the roof). Their print quality is terrible anyway. So there!

  3. Girls = Drama.  More specifically, preteen girls = drama. My son is on his third girlfriend of this school year. (By the way, school started exactly three weeks ago.) I'm trying to steer him in the right direction and help him spot the characteristics of a drama queen, but he hasn't developed a knack for it quite yet. I hope this isn't any indication of what my future daughter-in-law is going to be like. *Update - I just found out my son's girlfriend kissed him at school. Kissed! At school!! Oy! We sat him down and told him that he could get suspended for that kind of crap. What?! He could! Maybe... Possibly... Anyway, I think I just aged by 10 years. Can't I just lock him in a closet until he's 18?

  4. Girls = Drama(2). This one pertains to my daughter (in this case, we'll call her "her father's child"). Why, oh why does she have to be so opinionated? From what color the cup she drinks out of is to what shoes she wears with a specific outfit to how her hair is fixed in the mornings... Should a four year old really care this much? I'll give you an example. We were recently in the market for a new backpack. My daughter's favorite color is purple. Well, it WAS purple... from age one right up until the time that I found an adorable purple backpack I thought she was absolutely going to love. I have to give mad props to the online Land's End customer service rep that let me exchange it out for blue (her NEW favorite color). She quite possibly saved my life. Well, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement but at the very least she saved me a few Excedrin Migraine tablets.