Monday, November 24, 2014

The Holiday Haze

I broke down today and started putting up Christmas decorations. Stockings went up, some lights around the entrance way to the dining room, and a few Christmas ornaments. I am anxious for the tree to go up as our my plan is to have it up Saturday. Soon "Percy" and "Sheldon" (Our elves of coarse. Percy is named from Thomas the Train and Sheldon is named from Big Bang Theory) will be coming back from the North Pole! I am ready to bake, eat, drink, give and most importantly, to watch little faces light up over the festivities we will be sharing the next month.

In preparation for new toys coming mama did purge some old toys. I love cleaning (really I do!) and have enjoyed watching toys be sold or passed on to other children who could enjoy them. I am tempted to do one more "go through". If it were up to me I would throw them all in large garbage bags, haul them to the dumpster, and start all over. Unfortunately I would have to deal with the repercussions of little boys crying and the thought of any more crying makes me want to pull my hair out!

New toys are on the way. More for me to step on. More for the dog to chew up. More for me to take away when Chase isn't behaving. It is Christmas though!  Christmas is not about toys and material things.We all know it is about family, love, giving, and Christ. Yet let's be real here, when you are 4 none of that matters. It's about Santa, elves, toys, and more toys. As their mama I have to admit I do love shopping for them! (Side note here; I generally do not like shopping!) I picture the excitement and since I know what my children like, I know Santa will do a kick ass job when the presents are finally delivered.

Let's fast forward to December 26th: Invasion of the toddler toys. I can see it now... I will wake up and try to make my way to the coffee and stumble on a toy. I will look around and see glitter all over the floor. There will be boxes that need to be put in the recycling. Wrapping paper that has found its way under my furniture. Parents across the world will be exhausted from family gatherings. We will be hung over from the amount of alcohol we needed to consume in order to get us through these festivities. Some of us may decide to just continue to drink throughout the week (yeah, you all know who you are) because New Years Resolutions don't start for another seven days.

The holiday haze, it is worth it! We, as parents, get to live vicariously through our children's joy and excitement. As we are surrounded by friends and family, let's remember how lucky we are that we are sharing these moments with them. Hug a little tighter. Stay a little longer. Laugh a little louder.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Discipline And Determination: Running Through Winter

As many of you know by now, I am a runner. I love running. I love how it makes me feel, how it keeps me in shape, how it strengthens my body and my mind. Who needs therapy when you have a good pair of running shoes?! If you know me well then you also know that I hate winter and the cold. Okay, so maybe hate is a strong word. Maybe it's not so much winter as it is the cold itself. This will be the 4th winter in a row I run in the cold temps and snow.

I don't own a treadmill and I don't have a gym membership. I love having my feet hit the pavement and I am not about to stop because of the cold. I have grown accustomed to cold weather running. Two years ago I said I would not run if it got below 20 degrees. Last year I ran when it was -5 degrees. When it came down to it the cold did not stop me. I would conquer it! I have learned how to dress appropriately for the weather. Once you master that, you don't get cold. I do hate layers and I prefer running in less. I have figured it out and can get away with thin but warm gear and am comfortable during my runs.

With the time change it also gets dark much earlier. Two out of four of my runs are in the late afternoon. This week not only did I run in the first snowflakes falling, I also ran in the darkness. Safety is important when it is dark. I wear a reflective vest, head lamp and use Knuckle Lights. (If you don't know what Knuckle Lights are you should check these out! Visibility is great when I use these. I had a man tell me this week that the lights looked pretty when I was running with them.)

It is harder for me to get into my runs when it is dark out. I still enjoy it yet I feel like I put so much energy focusing on staying safe that I don't get to loose myself in my runs as I usually do. I have talked about it before; running for me is spiritual as well as physical. When I am running at night I have to pay close attention to my surroundings. It is a constant focus on completing my run safely.

So here we are. Winter is almost here and now it is cold and dark. I have to discipline myself to get out there. I love running, but the elements of my run I don't always enjoy. I have to push myself. Determination fills me so I can get my ass out there on my running days no matter what the weather is. I have run in sun, rain and snow. I would rather run than regret not running. I don't ever come home wishing I had not gone for that run.

This year was an important running year for me. I hit some personal records, or as I like to think of it, "milestones". I completed two Half Marathons and to date have run 1,032.75 miles this year! I am out of training mode and have scaled back a little. After the new year I will most likely kick it into gear again as my goal is to do three to four Half Marathons next year, beginning with the first in April. It is important to me to set new goals. Even more important for me to reach them.

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” ~ Dean Karnazes

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can I skip dinner please?

At the end of the day it is nice to finally sit down and have dinner as a family. Or is it? I would have no idea. For almost four years I am not sure I have made it through a dinner without having to get up, feed someone, beg someone to eat, get  more food, get something for someone to drink, take food away, pick it up off the floor, share MY food, or make threats about taking away the TV or toys “if you don’t eat your dinner”. It’s exhausting. It really is...Almost... Every...Night! Okay, so maybe once in awhile I will put something on the table that my toddler, Chase, thinks is out of this world and within one bite it is gone. These times are rare.

I enjoy cooking for my family. I like being in the kitchen making food. I also enjoy cooking with my son. We like to bake together. Some nights he will insist on helping me make dinner. I love these moments. I am still practicing not being a control freak and allowing him to help in the best way he can. I hate messes and I am learning to let there be a mess and enjoy his help. I remind myself what matters is making the food together. You would think that would help my situation out when it came down to the actual dinner. No, he can still help me with a meal and decide he doesn't like it or it isn't what he wants.

I have come to dislike dinner. I put all this time into making a meal when most nights I don’t get to sit down and actually finish my meal while it is warm. It’s always “something” : "It’s too hot", "It’s cold", "I need ketchup", “What is this?”, "I don't like the orange ones" (he used this referring to pasta color! You know, because it tastes so different from the white ones. Urgg). Then there's my favorite: "I don’t like it". That last comment sometimes comes before the first bite.

By the time we sit down to dinner mama has lost most of her steam. It’s amazing these poor creatures have made it to the dinner table at all. Isn’t it enough that I got them changed, fed them, entertained them and was able to keep them alive all day?! 

Growing up dinner time with my family was always important. We sat down and ate as a family every night. That was always the way it was. As I got older no matter where we were, we needed to be home for dinner. I like that I was brought up this way. I too want to share dinner time with my family. I wasn’t prepared for the reality that it would be several years before I would actually enjoy it.

And now there is my youngest, sweet Wesley. Yes, the darling baby of mine who now finds it hysterical to throw food on the floor. The kid throws food like he is in a high school food fight in the cafeteria. Oh and my favorite; he has taken it upon himself to include the dogs in every meal he has, throwing food towards them. Don't even bother telling him "No". He will just erupt in giggles and continue. Not only am I pleading with a 1 year old to stop throwing food, I am yelling at the dogs to go lay down. If I take his food away then he screams like a Capuchin monkey. More of his food is worn than actually eaten. Worn on him, my walls, and the floor.

It’s been 7 minutes. I have hardly ate any of my dinner yet. I just want to eat my dinner! 

I do not look forward to dinner time. It's 20 minutes of chaos. By the time it is all over I am exhausted. I look at the clock wishing for bedtime with the reality that we still have a couple more hours until then.

Some days at lunch I actually leave the dining room area when they eat. I don't go far, just sneak away to do dishes or some other chore. I stick close enough so I can hear choking of coarse, I am not that bad of a mom. Dinner time I would like to do the same thing. I have visions of running out the door and returning hours later long after dinner is done. I don't know where I would go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Rite Aid. Maybe the Dollar Store. Who cares right? I'm easy to please (unlike my children). How about sitting in a nice quiet coffee shop with a book. Hell, I would take a crowed bar and a stiff drink too.

I realize "this too shall pass". I dream of a day that we all can sit together and have a conversation at the table instead of talking over one another and wiping pasta out of the baby's hair. There will be a day when I am going to look back and miss them being so little. I will miss the messes, sticky fingers, and the laughter coming from Wes mouth as he throws food at the dogs. Until then, can I skip dinner please?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

26 Things I am Grateful For

I believe in living a life that is filled with gratitude. I feel that we become who we are with the help of everything that surrounds us. People. Things. The universe. It is easy to want more and forget about the little things that have become a part of your life. Those tiny little things that make up your world. I decided to create a list of the 26 things that I am grateful for in my own life. No particular order or rank. Some have a deeper meaning than others. Some are simple things which make me happy. For each one I am grateful.

1- My children. I cannot imagine waking up without them each day. Every breathe of theirs becomes mine. I am grateful that they chose me.

2- My partner. Our lives are intertwined by love, commitment, and friendship. We are a team.

3- My parents. The two people who gave me a loving and supportive home. Who taught me important values and lessons that I hope to pass on to my own children.

4- My brother. For all the memories we have shared and for the ones we will create in the future as a family.

5- My sister in law. She is not only my brothers wife, she is also my friend. An added bonus is she gave birth to my niece and nephew whom I adore.

6- Our home. I am fortunate that even though we do not own our place that is filled with love and feels like home. We have a roof over our head and walls that keep us warm.

7- The animals. I couldn't imagine a house that I lived in that did not have furry creatures in it. I am grateful for the happiness they bring me and especially bring to my children.

8- A kick ass job. I am happy that I have a part time job that helps me keep the balance between family and work. My bosses are wonderful and I feel appreciated. 

9- My health. I am grateful that I am healthy, strong, and active. I consider it a blessing to be able to run or be active with my children.

10- Friends. Old and new, my heart is full when I think of all the amazing people in my life. I have wonderful friends who have supported me, loved me, and watch me grow as a person. I am beyond lucky to have a fabulous support system known as my friends!

11- My grandmother. I have one living grandparent that not only do I get to see on a regular basis but that my children get to spend time with. I am happy that both boys will have memories of her to share in the future.

12- Food. I always tell Chase that he needs to be thankful for the food we have and not be wasteful. I explain that not everyone has food like we do. We may not always want what we have in front of us, but should never take it for granted.

13- Beer and Wine. Same category so I will count them as one. I think they deserve to make the list! Lord knows there are days they helped me through!

14- My camera. I love capturing special moments . Simple moments. Silly moments. Pictures to me are treasures.

15- The Ocean. The sound of the waves. The sand on my feet. The memories I have created and will continue to create with my family while going to the ocean.

16- Being a Woman. Really, I am truly thankful for this. I am thankful for this amazing body that created, carried, and birthed two creatures.

 My Family

17- My Boobs. Yes, they are a part of my body  and being a woman, but they deserve their own recognition. I am grateful for the milk that they made/make to nurse both my boys.

18- Laughter. My children's laughter and the ability to laugh. Good, deep down, belly laughs can make the worst day vanish.

19- Cupcakes. With lots of frosting!

20- Nexxus Hair Spray. I am serious, this stuff is the bomb. After trying several I keep going back to it. It tames your hair and doesn't make it feel like a rock. True Story!

21- Music. All different genres. The sound of it, the words, the ability to sing it, and the beat to dance to it.

22- For our soldiers. All the men and women who fight for this country and selflessly give themselves, sacrificing their lives and own family time during the holidays.

23-  Second Chances & Forgiveness. Enough said here.

24- A Creemee on a hot summer night. I miss you summer!

25- Words. The power of them. A good book. An inspirational quote. Words spoke by a loved one that touch your soul.

26- God. I am grateful for a God. The higher being, whatever that means for each of us, who gave me all these things.

(If you wonder why I chose 26 I will tell you. I actually thought that I had 25, but I miscounted and came up with 26. I was never that good at math, Ha!)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Camo Season is Here

It's that time of year again. And I am not talking about Christmas. It is hunting season. As a woman who lives in Vermont I am so lucky (insert sarcasm) to have a partner who is a hunter! Even better is that he goes away the first week of November each year leaving me, and now two children, home alone. (Sarcasm people!)

Here's the thing, I am pretty good on my own. I don't get all weepy that he is gone. I have always been independent. Don't get me wrong, I will miss him like crazy and will be excited to see him when he finally walks in the door a week later. There are pro's and con's to parenting alone for the week. Let's talk about some.


*It was heartbreaking watching Chase break down earlier when I reminded him daddy wasn't coming home tonight.

*The hardest part for me is I can't keep up with my routine of running. I realize that may sound selfish but hey, it's the truth. As I have mentioned before, mommy is a much happier person on the days I can run. So if mama doesn't get to run, mama may indeed lose her shit! Thankfully my folks only live 20 minutes away so I will be taking my boys there to at least get in a run or two. Not my normal 4 days a week but it will do.

*My mind tends to wander. I am left with thoughts of people breaking in. Jules, my big dog, is normally kenneled at night. When Jay is gone she is out. If she is lucky I let her sleep at the foot of the bed. At least I know if anyone comes in she will hopefully protect us.

*Schedules. These too change. This is almost a pro & a con. I have to do my best to let certain things go. I am repeatedly asking for patience. Picking and choosing what battles I want to conquer. Being the only parent in the house sometimes it is easier just to simply say "Fuck it". Like now, both boys are in bed with me. I just didn't have the energy to try and battle Chase to go to bed in his own room. I am exhausted. This is just easier.


*I only have to pick up after two boys, not three. Seriously that guy leaves just as many crumbs on the couch as our kids do. (Sorry honey, love you! But really, it drives me nuts!) If you know me I hate crumbs! Dirt! And all that darn animal hair. A little less mess is nice.

*I really don't mind sharing the bed with both the boys. I love looking over and seeing them both close to me. It's even better when they snuggle together or are playful with one another first thing in the morning. Those moments are priceless. The best part of my day is in the morning when they share hugs, kisses, and laughter in bed. (Once we get out of bed it all goes down hill).

*I have more time for Blogging, writing, reading, or Facebook. Typically I try to spend less time in front of my computer when we are all together, yet right now I am able to sit in bed with my laptop writing to you lovely people! Guilt free!

I really can't and won't bitch about him hunting. It doesn't bother me. I grew up in a family that hunts. I am happy he gets away for this week and he does this trip with his brother. It is not just about the hunting, it is about tradition. Someday the boys will be a part of this trip.

I will not complain about this week. I will be thankful for this time with the boys. I hear them breathing next to me and my heart is happy.