Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Everyone has different ideas of what Mother's Day is to them. For some, it's visiting a grave to remember your Mom. For others, it means getting pampered. For some, it's reminiscing on memories with your kids (or Mom). And yet others spend time taking their 4-legged fur babies for an extra special walk. For some, it's mourning the loss of not being able to be a mom to their own child. For every woman it means something different.
For me, I've learned that there's Mother's Day in theory and then there's the realistic Mother's Day. Every year Rob tells me that this day is about whatever I want to do. My mind immediately takes me to a day spa where I'm pampered all day without a care in the world. But the reality of Mother's Day is that I'm still a very busy mom with a lot of responsibilities. There is no magic cleaning fairy to come in and make my house spotless or do the laundry from beginning to end (Although Rob did help with that a little today). There is no one to take care of my photography business, helping clients as needed. And there is absolutely no way I'm going to be able to lay in bed all day, reading my latest novel and forgetting about all that needs to be done. That's not realistic. That's not what being a mom is all about.
Being a mom, in my opinion, is about selflessly giving (Sometimes to the point of not having anything left to give), about enjoying the little things with your kids, about making memories and about appreciating the tokens of love shown throughout the day, even on the most imperfect day. So, to me, today was imperfectly perfect. E was so excited to give me a bag of "coffee" (ie a tea bag) and a paper teapot that he had colored (Or at least I think he did because he gave me his classmate's teapot). Then he promptly informed me that he thought he'd like my "coffee" so I graciously made him a cup of it. P brought me a big bowl of Captain Crunch in bed and then asked if I'd make him waffles (Thankfully it was just Eggo waffles so there's little effort put into those). Then he gave me a book he had made that made me cry. Rob gave me a beautiful card and took me to lunch at my favorite hamburger joint. Then we came home and spent most of the afternoon in the pool, making memories as a family. This evening reality set in and I did laundry and dishes and cleaned.
At church a friend and I were talking about Mother's Day and how it just sounds better in theory because, in reality, there are so many little things that only a Mom can do. And I agree. Although my mom and I have been known to butt heads before, I would've given just about anything to spend the day with her today. I missed her terribly and wanted to just spend even an hour with her, catching up about Motherhood. But, although that wasn't possible, I was still thankful for my special day with my boys (That includes Rob). A friend of ours is near the end of her life (She's already lived a few days past what the doctors told her she'd live) and I can't imagine how Mother's Day will go for her mom next year. I can't imagine the grief her mom felt today, knowing this was their last Mother's Day together. So I hugged my boys a little closer and was thankful for the work I had to do today, knowing that my boys are alive and healthy, that Mother's Day a good day together.
So, no matter how you view Mother's Day or how you celebrate it, I hope it's a day full of love and memories. To all the mamas reading this, thanks for ALL you do! You rock!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What 13.1 Miles Taught Me

Well, I did it. It wasn't pretty but it was rewarding. I completed another half marathon, my 3rd one in the books. I wish I could say it wasn't pretty all because I didn't train properly. But that's not it. It was a brutal run. People with WAY more marathon experience than me even said that. Let me start at the beginning and fill you in on what happened for 13.1 miles.
The night before any big race you want to fill up on carbs, pasta being the best. So my friend who was running the half with me (She came from non-humid California for the race!) and I went out for dinner at a pasta place. While we were waiting to be seated, a veteran Nashville Rock n Rock marathon runner was talking to a newbie, telling her what to expect. She said, "I got an email saying that they took the last hill out of the race because so many people complained about it." I thought "I wish they wouldn't have done that because a big hill at the end gives me just the boost I need to finish strong. I listened as the veteran runner told the newbie more information and they talked about the heat advisory that was predicted for the run. Since I have now lived in the South for a few years the humidity and heat didn't worry me. I knew it wouldn't be fun but I wasn't going to lose sleep over it, especially because I thought they were over-hyping it.
Fast forward to race day. We woke up at 4:20am, ready to catch the shuttle to the race. We got there with plenty of time to spare and took in the sights. There was a heavy cloud cover and I told Amber that the clouds were moving fast, meaning it was going to warm up fast. Unfortunately, the race organizers were anything but organized. The start of the race was done in waves so by the time it got to my "corral" number I was starting 30 minutes past the official start time, meaning I was already starting in the heat. You wouldn't think it'd be hot at 7:15am but you'd be wrong if you lived in the South. As soon as the race started we descended a large hill....only to run up another one. Pretty soon I figured out the pattern...down one hill, up another one, down one hill, up another one. I ran the first 4 hills, determined to run as long as I could physically manage. But by Hill 5 I was tired of running up the hills. I decided that, since I hadn't trained properly, I'd use the hills as my walk time and would make up my pace time on the descents or the flat part of the course. However, soon the heat took over. I was watching people collapse on the race course. I was having to move over to the side of the course while stretchers were brought in to aid runners who were dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion. I decided to play it safe and walk from Mile 8 on because I wanted to finish the half marathon on my own two feet, not being taken to the medical tent. At some point, the event staff ran out of water so they used hoses from residents' front yards to fill up water cups and spray runners down, in hopes of cooling us off. Some good Samaritans held out orange slices and ice cubes to runners to help. By the 12th mile I was ready to be done. The heat was starting to get to me and I wasn't enjoying the run. But, like I said in a previous blog, I wasn't going to give up. So I pushed through and RAN across the finish line. Going into the race, I had wanted to finish in 2 hours, 45 mins since I hadn't trained. By the time I got to the 10 mile mark I didn't care what my time was as long as I finished on my own two feet. I was shocked when I got the race results and found out my finishing time was 2 hours, 47 minutes! I was thrilled to finish in such a "good" time given the circumstances.
I sat at the finish line, waiting for my friend, watching DOZENS of people being attended to by medics. Some barely stumbled across the finish line before needing assistance. Some didn't even finish. Some passed out while walking to the post race food/water tents. I worried that my friend wasn't going to make it because she was complaining about the humidity before the race had even started. Thankfully she finished. Like me, it wasn't a PR race for her but we both finished on our own two feet! The race officials ended up calling the race because of the heat. Some people, who had trained, were disappointed that they weren't given the chance to complete their half (or full) marathon. I personally was thankful they called it after seeing so many people suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration.
The Nashville Rock n Roll Half Marathon was beautiful but not a race I'll do again. While I was running I thought back to what the veteran runner had told the newbie at the restaurant the night before. They had taken the hill out at the end of the race but they hadn't taken the 500 other hills out. I have no desire to run 13.1 miles on hills again. I also have no desire to drink from a hose water while running 13.1 miles. Don't get me wrong. I'm not above it and I used to love drinking hose water as a kid. But when you're running that far, in that kind of heat, hose water isn't refreshing. I wanted the water to be cool and to taste good. A small thing to ask for but maybe I'm being too picky.
Here are other things running 13.1 miles taught me that day:
* Porta potties at a race are important. Having a multitude of them on the race course is even more important.
* Post race snacks are important to refuel the body. I get why beer is important post race but some people don't like beer so give more option than just water and Gatorade. We had enough of that during the race. Also, plenty of fruit and less cookies is probably a good ideas as well (Who knew I'd ever promote fresh fruit over cookies??).
* Breathe, an essential oil, is essential for me. I remembered when I was already on my way to TN that I had left mine at home. I tried to buy a bottle of it at the Expo but they had sold out. Breathe helps me, well, breathe. I was so congested during the course because I didn't have it.
* If you're going to make a big deal about the temps being close to record high then make sure there are enough provisions to aid runners. They said there would be salt packets along the way but I only saw Mile 12.5. Water stations ran out of water and didn't even turn on the hose at those stations.
* Spectators are awesome...until they're not. People were holding up great signs, encouraging us from Mile 1. My favorite was "Run like Summer break is at the finish line!". If I hadn't been pacing myself at that point I would've stopped to take a picture. Some spectators set up buffet tables and were eating what looked to be good food as we ran by. Yes, they cheered for us but that meant nothing while I watched them stuff their face (I had eaten a banana and bagel at 4:15am so by 9am and 10 miles into the race I was a tad hungry).
*Walkers need to stay to the right side of the course. At the start of the race, when I cared about my finish time, I felt like I was playing human Pinball because I was having to weave around walkers less than a mile into the course. It wasn't fun.
* The running community rocks. People were yelling out words of encouragement along the way when most people stopped to walk, to catch their breath. They kept me going and I am thankful since this was the first race I ran without my boys cheering me on.

It wasn't all bad. The course was beautiful (At the top of the hills there was a lot to look at). It was fun running down Music Row, knowing famous musicians often strolled the streets while taking a break from recording their album. There was a Baptist church that opened its doors to runners before the race, offering clean bathrooms and a place to stretch (or relax) beforehand. And overall, the weekend rocked. I had so much fun with my friend! From starting out sightseeing in Memphis to The Band Perry concert to walking Broadway to watching Amber get excited about Cracker Barrel breakfasts to riding a river boat through Opryland to touring the Country Music Hall of Fame we had a blast. I can't wait to go back to Nashville....just not for another half marathon.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Break

Working makes a person appreciate the breaks. As a teacher, I look forward to all of them because it means spending special time with my boys, making memories. This Spring break was no exception. The week was filled with flip flops, yoga pants, sloppy ponytails, no make-up, pool time, lots of time with friends and family, the beach, the movies, snowballs, walks to the river, egg hunts, sleeping in (Ha, yeah right!), leisurely housework, sleepovers, errands, bike rides, sidewalk chalk, relaxing afternoons. All in all it was the perfect week off and I can't say I'm quite ready to go back to dresses/skirts and close-toed shoes. But, the end of the school year is in sight and then I'll have two months of everything we did this week plus so much more!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Weekend

Sometimes you look back on a holiday or a weekend or a moment and you think, "That was one for the memory books." This past weekend was one for the memory book for me. My weekend really started on Thursday when I had a minimum day, starting my break a few hours early. We grilled steaks and spent the evening as a family, swimming in our pool. But Friday night was what I'll remember most about the weekend. We went to the Good Friday service at our church and it was such a Spirit-filled time, celebrating Jesus's ultimate sacrifice for us.( If you want to experience a glimpse of it click and look for the service "The Night Before Jesus Died". You won't be disappointed!)
Saturday morning we took off for MS to spend the weekend with Rob's family. We enjoyed a nice BBQ/crawfish boil with his family and topped it off with a huge Easter egg hunt. Sunday morning we woke up to "THIS IS JUST WHAT I WANTED!!" as E discovered that the Easter bunny had put "bobbles and a long thing you bite on when you swim" in his basket (as well as a toy that "poops" candy and makes noise). P was excited the get the "Pete's Dragon" movie and a ton of candy. After breakfast, Rob, the boys and I went to his childhood church to celebrate Easter. It was like "Old Home Week" for Rob with everyone shaking his hand, giving him hugs and wanting an update on life. After a nice service we had a delicious lunch and another Easter egg hunt. The boys were in heaven! It was such a nice weekend. Definitely one for the book!

Thursday, March 16, 2017


I don't know about you but for me if something doesn't come easy or I'm not progressing toward a goal I give up. Not the best quality and I'm not proud to say that our oldest son is following in my footsteps but it is what it is. Dieting? If I don't lost a couple pounds within a week I'm done. Playing an instrument? Well, just ask my parents about that one. Don't get me wrong. I am a determined, hard working gal but I'm also a "yesterday" girl, meaning I want IMMEDIATE results. So my current goal? To run 13.1 miles at the Rock N Rock Half Marathon next month in Nashville. That means I should be running about 8-9 miles two to three times a week if I was properly training. I'm not. I run about 3-4 mile runs once, maybe twice (if I'm lucky) a week. Let me break it down for you non-runners. That's not good. I can't fathom running 13.1 miles at this point. But, one thing I can't stand more than not reaching a goal is wasting money. And I already paid a pretty penny to run 13.1 miles (Yes, I know that's a crazy concept). So I will persevere. I will do my best. I may not run half of the half marathon but I will finish it. Because this time I will finish something I started, complete a goal I've set. Do or die, I will finish my 3rd half marathon in 44 days....and counting.....

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mad Soccer Skills!

You ever despise something only to look back on it nostalgically later in life? That's me with soccer. My brother played on several soccer teams during his youth. I got tired of going to all the practices and games. Now I look back on those years fondly. So I was thrilled when E said he wanted to play soccer once he turned 4. Earlier this week was his first game on the Tigers team. For the first thirty minutes of the game he stood around, watching everyone play around him. When I asked him why he wasn't kicking the ball he replied, "Everyone is fighting over it and I'm just waiting my turn." Oh my sweet boy! All it took, however, was his best friend getting in the game and showing him how to take charge. Those two quickly became the "Dynamic Duo". If they're in the game together they're practically unstoppable. The two of them score ALL of the goals and they love to show off their mad soccer skills. I'm bummed that the season only lasts a month but I hope this is the start of a long soccer career because he loves it so much....and I love watching him!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Time Flies!!

Hi, welcome back my friend! I guess it's been awhile. To be honest, other than my husband reminding me once in awhile that I haven't blogged, I had kind of forgotten about it. That's what happens when you move into a new house, get sick, work, have people over every week, have your boys get sick, work even more, get sick again, have more people over and repeat.
Let's rewind so I can give you the Reader's Digest version. We packed up our rental house and moved into OUR new house the middle of January. We are 98% unpacked (Still have a couple pictures to hang and the office/guest room to organize) but the last of it isn't a top priority...obviously. We love our house and love having people over to our house. Last weekend was the first weekend we hadn't had anyone over to see our house/have dinner. It's such a blessing having a house you love, a house you want to welcome people into!
When we haven't been entertaining people we've been fighting illness. P broke out in a horrible rash a couple days after we moved. He was misdiagnosed and one doctor had me believing that he might actually go blind in his left eye. Rob and I were beside ourselves with worry. We tag teamed taking time off work to stay home with him and give him medicine around the clock. After dealing with this for over a week and not seeing much improvement, I took him back to his regular pediatrician. She immediately diagnosed it as impetigo and he was on the road to recovery within 24 hours. After that scare, E got sick with strep/the flu. A few days after being on antibiotics he woke up, screaming that his ear hurt. One of my students was staying with us during that time and we were worried that E would wake up the house. So Rob stayed up with him most of the night while I would relieved him for an hour or two so he could sleep.. The next day it was confirmed what we already guessed....E had a severe ear infection. After Rob gave him a dose of his *new* medicines he slept almost around the clock. From there I was blessed to get bronchitis, a sinus infection and an ear infection. Oye! Not often do I get to the point where all I want to do is lay around but I was there for about a week. Knock on wood but we're all healthy at the moment...and I pray that it stays that way.
E started soccer a few weeks ago and he couldn't be more excited! He couldn't wait to turn 4 so he'd be old enough to play soccer. So far he's done well at practice and is thrilled to play his first game tomorrow! (Actually, he's excited to play because he thinks he'll be getting a trophy after his game. Little does he know....)
On top of teaching, I've been super busy with photography commitments. The weather is warming up (It never really cooled off this Winter) and people are itching to get their picture taken. I also got wrangled into being the official school photographer, which has been quite a time commitment. I had last week off from school and it was nice to get photography stuff done as well as house projects. P had a couple days off as well so I had fun with the boys! P had his best friend come over for a sleepover and E "hosted" a play date lunch at the house.
Rob just had his one year management review and was told what we already knew...this position is a great match for him. He got a great review and was told he'll be promoted (a year earlier than originally told he would have the chance for promotion).
The next few months will be super busy for the both of us with our work commitments, E's soccer schedule, house projects, fishing and the end of the school year. I'll blog when I can but don't hold your breath for another one any time soon. Until then....enjoy the weather whether it's warm (like here), raining a lot (like in Cali) or snowing over 55 feet (like in Nevada)!!