Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Today, Monday, June 16th

Today was a good day.
It was the first day of summer break. Okay, my kids and I discussed that and I don't know if we came to a consensus or not. Does summer break start on the weekend after school gets out for summer or the Monday after school gets out? Today was the Monday after school ended for summer break.

Ironically, I started the day by visiting two elementary schools. I needed to pick up records and books at both schools.

After that, I took my three youngest kids to a movie. We saw "How to Train Your Dragon 2." I accidentally picked the time for the 3D movie. The kids didn't mind. It was super cute. I didn't like the part where a favorite character died but besides that, it was really good.

Side note, when I told my 6 year old daughter that I didn't like the death part she said something to this effect: It's okay. When someone dies you are really sad at first but then you get used to it. Like with Logan.
It was startling that she put that all together.

After the movie, we started home. On a whim, I asked if the kids would like to go to the local hand's-on museum: The Discovery Museum. We have a year membership. Naturally, they said yes. So, we played there for about 2 1/2 hours. It was spontaneous and I loved it. I don't give myself the freedom to change plans near enough.

The evening consisted of a quick dinner, play time, and a little (just a small bit of pruning and sweeping) yard work.

I finished my day late. I couldn't resist watching 24. I should have been reading a book but I opted for a recording of the show- the only show I watch, aside from college football which hasn't started and doesn't count as a 'show'. The only problem with it is that I need to relax after it... which is probably why I am recounting my day right now.

It was a good day.

My oldest and my husband are backpacking in the Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is my oldest son's big 13th birthday celebration. I am anxious to know about the trip. They don't have cell phone coverage. As hard as that is for me, I imagine it is just perfect for a backpacking trip.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Embracing Milesstones

My youngest had a Kindergarten celebration this week. She was - well, is- the cutest thing ever.
I felt more emotional during the musical performance and slide show than I was when she started Kindergarten. Start Kindergarten? How exciting!  Finish Kindergarten? Oh my. And they sang "Happy Trails to You" which hit my heart strings. I am going to miss her school. I really am.

Tonight I realized that I've reached another milestone. I don't really appreciate it. I don't like it at all to be honest. And, I recognize it is only the beginning. There was a time when I thought that if I made it to the end of the day and the kids were in bed, I had made it. I could relax. The preschool days were so exhausting, ya know? Ha! I am not dealing with the middle school days happily. Now when I "make it" to the end of the day, the end of the day isn't over. This week, my middle schooler is working on final projects and studying for final exams. Wait until he is finally in bed for my relax before bed time? It's insane. I am already not getting enough sleep. This is a serious adjustment that I am not making. I have not adjusted. In all fairness, I used to do the same exact thing- waiting until the last night for projects. I realize it and it drives me crazy... oh shoot, I guess I better get used to it. 

I should have snuck in the other room and took picture of him typing away at the computer for his final report for Social Studies. Oh-so-cute!

Okay, really. Kindergarten is adorable. Middle school is tough. But I still adore him. It's just different. I marvel at how he is growing. I am amazed at how he eats. His body is changing. He has a little extra hair above his upper lip. He does. Oh my gosh, he does.

I find the juxtaposition of my Kindergartener and middle schooler fascinating and bit frightening. Oh so cliché, where does the time go?

I can't help but smile.

I smile at the memory of my 6 year old daughter covering up in bed, telling me "You are the best mom ever. You are the best mom in the whole entire universe." She was so incredibly sweet. She beamed with her precious smile and love in her eyes.

I smile at the memory of my 13 year old son cracking himself up by purposely putting in this erroneous fact for me to catch when I proof-read his paper: "All in all the Revolutionary War was a great conquest, led by the first President George W. Bush." He was so remarkably funny. He laughed so hard, proud of his joke.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Movin' On

Today my husband was a little over 2, 800 miles away looking at houses. It was both surreal and extremely real. We are moving in less than 4 weeks. I am not sure that I am ready. Well, no, I am not ready. I am sure of that.

Today my third son asked me how long we would live in Florida. I readily and honestly answered, I'm not sure. He doesn't care. He likes to move, he says. My oldest often wants to know the same thing but it is because he hopes not to live in Florida for long.

My third son prayed tonight that we would get the house that we want but if we didn't get it, we'd get a house that we like even better.

The house I currently live in was owned by a lady for 25+ years. She had a really hard time moving. She recently sold the house (and the new owner is renting to us until the summer) and she had the hardest time letting go. I can honestly say that I don't understand having an attachment to a house.

We should find out tomorrow if we get the house "we want."
I have only seen this house online and in pictures my husband has sent me. It occurred to me tonight that some people (wives in particular)  would never be willing to move this way.

This move will be an adventure. All moves are.

There are things that I am looking forward to and things that I am really, really going to miss.
And so it begins again. We're movin' on. There are regrets. There are triumphs. This place that we are leaving is going to be hard to leave.

I guess these are some random thoughts about our impending move.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

It's not easy being nice

It's 10:30 at night and my neighbor is outside with her kids and her dog. The dog keeps barking. That's pretty normal. What's unusual is me paying attention to the noise of her talking to her kids. It's 10:30 and she is outside with her kids. They aren't quiet. What's more, they aren't in bed.
Our kids have school tomorrow.
I'm struck with the realization, which I have had in the past, that her kids live much, much different lives than mine. Their environment is different.
One of her kids in particular is an extreme source of frustration to one of my kids. Eight times out of ten he is just mean to my son. Earlier tonight was one of those times. My son came inside in tears. The kid just couldn't be much more verbally abusive. And yet, those few times he is nice, they play and have the best time together. This son of mine is extremely social. So, he wants to be friends with the boy next door. The boy is either nice and fun or extremely mean. My son is nice to a fault. I think that and then I wonder- what the heck does that mean? Nice to a fault? Sadly, it isn't great to be the nice kid. It is great to be the tough kid or the cool kid but not the nice kid.

I was trying to comfort him tonight and I told him to imagine this boy getting picked on. I told him, I thought he would throw his hands up and walk away. I was telling my son that it is okay to walk away. But, he said, no- this kid wouldn't do that. He would be mean right back.
My son can't do that. So, the other kids call him a baby.

I hurt for him. I also realize that I went through this with my older son. So far, I am seeing a pattern. My kids are too nice.
I'm not even sure what to think about that. In this day, it's a not good thing to be a rule following, nice kid. It means you are an easy target.

 My kids have been in bed for a long time. They aren't getting chastised in the backyard by me at 10:45 at night.

I am not better than my neighbor. I am just different than my neighbor. I was trying to tell my son it is okay to be different (kinder) than other kids. It just won't always be easy.

Sometimes I feel unprepared. I don't have the answers to encourage his hurting heart. I wonder if honesty is enough. I just talk to him from my heart and hope that he senses I am being real with him. I encourage him, rub his back, hug him, and wipe away his tears.

I cannot stop the pain that he feels.
I cannot stop the inconsiderate person.
Intervening wouldn't' do anything. It would probably ruin a relationship.
I just wait and try to keep a pleasant attitude. It would be much, much easier to go off and say what I really think.
Sometimes people are so self-involved, they don't realize the impact they have.
It is true for these kids. It is true for adults.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

26 Running Lessons Learned

I started running in January of 2013. I was set to turn 40 in August and I was motivated to set new fitness goals. I decided to work toward running a 5k. I ran a 5k that March and then I kept going. Much to my surprise, I discovered a love for running. In April of 2014, I completed my first marathon. A week before my marathon, I was asked to share about my running experience with my running group. I've changed and learned so much since I started running. I am a better person because I run. I am in better shape. I am more confident. And, quite simply, I am happier.

In honor of National Running Day and my 1st marathon, here are my 26 Running Lessons Learned:

1. It gets easier.
The more you run, the easier it is to run. Running 3 miles now is nothing like it was when I was working toward my first 5k.

2. Forget the past.
Being a runner is a mindset. If you run, you are a runner. Yesterday's run, whether better or worse, doesn't matter today. Focus on today’s run.

3. Do not underestimate the power of a good pair of shoes.
When I started running, I had an old pair of tennis shoes. They were probably about 10 years old. I ran my first 5k in them. Shortly after that, my knees starting hurting. Then, I went to a running store, had a running evaluation done, which determined that I pronate, and I found running shoes that work for me. About halfway into my marathon training, I started having a pain in the bottom of my foot. I decided the support in my shoes might be wearing out. I bought new shoes and the pain stopped. Do not underestimate the power of  good pair of shoes. A lot of pain can be caused by ill-fitted or worn out shoes.

4. All socks are not created equal.
Swiftwick socks rock. While I prefer Swiftwick, other runners prefer other brands. I bought some running socks at REI and they make my feet sweat. The bottom line is do not buy cotton socks; buy a good pair of wicking socks.

5. You can achieve what you want if you have a plan.
I was able to do a 5k, 10k and half marathon without a plan but I was clueless. I was fortunate. Having a plan to run a marathon made all of the difference in the world. I was prepared and I was confident.

6. Having a training schedule is good.
Following a training schedule gave me confidence. Even more important, my body was prepared for the distance.

7. Be flexible within your running schedule.
It is okay not to run, no matter what the schedule says. Life commitments get in the way. Give yourself freedom within your training.

8. Mix up your running surfaces.
My first trail run was a Lake Tahoe 4th of July 5k Run to the Beach. I thought I was going to fall and break my neck. My 12 year old thought it was the coolest thing ever. Since then I’ve learned that giving my legs a break from pavement is a very good thing. Now my favorite runs are trail runs.

9. Listen to your body.
All of the pains I had were related to something I was doing- like needing new shoes or needing to tie my shoes better. When you are in pain, rest and evaluate.

10. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
There are faster runners. It doesn’t matter. You are a runner.
“Running is not about being better than anyone else. It is about being better than you used to be.”

11. Without a goal, you won't go anywhere.
For me, goals create benchmarks for me to measure my success and allow a sense of

12. Nutrition matters.
If you eat junk, you will feel like junk, and you will run like junk. On one of my shorter long runs while getting ready for the marathon, I thought to myself, “I only have 12 miles so I’ll go to my book club, eat heavy food and have that 2nd glass of wine.” – I felt like I had a rock in my stomach during those 12 miles.

13. Judge the effort, not the run.
There are two parts to this-
a) You are never running “just” anything (“just a 5k”). RUN the run you are running.
b) It’s the effort that matters. I’ve felt amazing and had a slow pace. I’ve felt terrible and had a
great pace.

14. Warm up.
It helps me to take a warm up run (jog) before a race or long run. This does 2 things- I feel
the outside conditions and know what I need (long vs short sleeves, gloves, etc) and I can stretch

15. Ice baths are a necessary evil after long runs.
I hate them. They are great for muscle recovery. Adding bubbles seems nice but doesn’t help. A
martini helps a little.

16. Sleep matters.
The more I’ve run, the more sleep I’ve needed. It took me awhile to accept that.

17. Dress for 20 degrees warmer than the temperature.
I read this and learned the hard way that this is true for me. Running long distances with a jacket
around my waist isn’t my idea of fun.

18. Plan a Happy Ending.
End runs with something you enjoy. But realize that your desires might have changed during the
run. I liken my long run “happy endings” to pregnancy cravings. I plan for it- bring something tasty to enjoy afterwards but sometimes my cravings are unpredictable and intense. After one long run, I was literally scrounging around my car for change to get a specific candy at a gas station.

19. Rest days matter. A body needs rest. Rest days matter.

20. The only thing that holds me back is my mind.
I’ve learned that a tremendous amount of my running is mental. My mental state can make or break
a run.

21. Eat 2 hours before a morning long run and get upright (walk around).
Or else. I relearn this often. On my most recent vacation, I made it back to our place for a pit
stop but it wasn’t the most enjoyable run.

22. Sometimes it is more fun to run with someone.
Before joining a running group, I had not run with someone else (at least not since high school and that was 22 years ago). I didn’t think I would like it. It has been amazing to have the support. Long runs go by so much faster when you can enjoy a conversation.

23. My body is incredible.
This pretty much sums it up: “The more I run, the more I love my body. Not because it is perfect,
far from it, but because with every mile it is proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever
thought possible.”

24. Have fun. I set goals. I try to get a personal record (PR) at a race. But, I can't forget to have fun. If I am too focused to enjoy the scenery around me on a run, I am missing out. If I can't smile at some point, even if it is just when I have finished a run that I didn't feel like doing, I need to check my motivation. Running should be fun. If it isn't, I need to do something different- slow down, get more sleep- something.

25. Running is all about me.
It’s sounds selfish. It’s the healthiest thing I have ever done. It’s my run. It’s my health. It is okay, in fact, fantastic, to be selfish about being healthy.

26. I am stronger than I think. If there's one thing that running has taught me, it is this: I am stronger than I think.

I am linking this post to Works-for-Me Wednesday.