Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Surrounded By Clutter And Crumbs

If I could throw away all my kids toys I would. Seriously, I am telling you the truth. Okay, so maybe I would let them have five toys each. But no more than that. If it were up to me the spare room which contains my husbands shit work equipment and (miscellaneous things he has collected) would be blown up. I love throwing things out. De-cluttering and cleaning is a form of therapy for me, second to running of coarse. I like things clean, tidy, organized and if it isn't being used then it should go to a new home, otherwise referred to as the garbage.

The problem is I live in a house of hoarders. So maybe that is exaggerating just a bit, yet if you know me you know I like my space clean! My husband likes to acquire things that he sees for free. He is also a pro at making up the excuse that a purchase was a "good deal". We all know that if it was at a garage sale or had a red clearance sign on it then it has to be a steal right! (Insert sarcasm) 

Let's talk about my four year old who is always bringing home pocket fulls of rocks, sticks or acorns. I can find these all over my house and in my dryer. Both my toddlers are awesome at making it look like a tornado has gone through the house. On top of the natural disasters in the house is the constant crumbs from both my children and husband. Really? Is it so hard to get your food in your mouth?! Just this weekend I vacuumed under the couch cushions and I found enough crumbs and granola  that I could have thrown it back in a bag and offered it as a snack at a later time. I can be mean...but not that mean.

I do hold onto some things myself. I am a sentimental person. I have my children's outfits they came home in. I have tucked away an item or two that I thought maybe they would want later on when they have children of their own. I keep certain cards from friends and family so I can read years later. I keep each bib from the races I do with my times logged on the back. I may have even kept my pregnancy tests from both kids...maybe...

My "treasures" I choose to hold onto fit within my cedar chest that my grandmother gave to me. This is special to me and filling it with sentimental belongings seems appropriate. Everything is tucked away in it's own space. Some things even in boxes. There is order, neatness, and it makes sense to me!

Stock Photo

What does not make sense to me is the man down the street who is an obvious hoarder. His yard is cluttered with miscellaneous belongings. Cars, trailers, extra garbage cans and rusty rakes. I have seen him mid day sleeping in his truck. It makes me wonder if his house it too cluttered to sleep comfortably in and his truck is his own "clean" space. It even makes me want to get a Hazmat suit and go in there and start cleaning for him.

Then there are our previous neighbors who moved down the street. If you walk by their house you cannot see anything in their front porch since they have junk piled to the ceiling. No joke! They can't even enjoy a porch because they have so many things piled everywhere. It's not hidden, they are not ashamed. Maybe they don't give a shit and maybe I shouldn't either. 

I need to have my place clean. Cleaning gives me a sense of control as well as accomplishment. I feel satisfaction to be able to sit down without a pretend fork going up my ass or stepping on a matchbox car  for the tenth time in one day. My children are allowed to play, explore and have fun. I just prefer it if they do it in their own space and not in mine. If my husband has his room, and the children have theirs, is it so much to ask to give me the rest of the house?! Seeing the place in utter dismay makes me feel crazy. By the way, I am “that” mother at birthday parties scurrying around picking up after the children. NO, I don’t need you to help me nor do I want you to. See, I know where everything goes and am just as happy to do it myself so when my kid is crying for his ninja turtle I can retrieve it from the correct place. Yes, each toy should have it’s own special home as well.

Looking at crumbs on the floor, toys scattered throughout the house, or my husband's  hairs from shaving that have been left all over the sink (can you say gross and lazy), those things make me feel batty. I cannot just let it go. I try, believe me, I would love to be one of those mothers who just let’s it go. I would like to be you, the one who says it is more important to sit down and play with their children. The one who can come home and say it can wait another day. I am not like you and I high five you for not being as neurotic as I am. I admire that you can be relaxed enough to look past the dishes in the sink and piles of laundry. To me they are taunting my name as I walk past them and I have to just get rid of them immediately. They are whispering for me to take care of them because no one else in this house will!

A person's hoarding can evolve from a traumatic event that has happened in a person's life. Some people are trying to replace something, fill a void. Others have difficulty letting go of things. Then we have those hoarders who actually think they are doing something good, such as animal hoarders. They believe they are "saving" an animal and it gets way over their head. Soon they have fifty cats living in their house and they can't even feed themselves. 

My husband and children are not one of these people. There has not been any traumatic event that would cause them to collect these things and drive me crazy. There may be a traumatic event that comes from all this junk being brought in my house if Mama has to pick up after any more of it! I love my husband. He is a wonderful man. He is an incredible father and provider for our family. Blah, blah, Blah...(I know that is what you are thinking) Yet he is not what I would call a tidy person. They say opposites attract right?! Apparently so because even though I grumble over the crumbs and paper towels he leaves crumpled in balls all over the damn house I will not be demanding that the three of them leave any time soon. For now they and their sloppy little selves can stay here. Talk to me in eleven years when I have two teenage boys and a messy husband all living under the same roof with me then I might just have to move out! 

I hope that one of my son’s, fingers crossed for both, grasp some of my habits. Being a little neurotic can be a good thing. I am sure my future daughter in laws would appreciate a man who can keep things clean and pick up after themselves. One can hope right?!

As Chase says: "Chase makes a mess, Wesley makes a mess, and daddy makes a mess and Mommy cleans it every time!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Saying Goodbye To Nursing; Learning To Let Go

I love babies. I love the way they smell, those tiny little toes, the felt like feel of their skin as they are pressed against you, and the fire that ignites within me when I hold a new baby.  It was just two years ago that I brought my "baby" home from the hospital. If I close my eyes and can still feel the emotions I felt when I held him against me for the first time. His tiny, little body with his thumb already in his mouth. I felt as though I had waited for him forever and yet as I looked at him I also felt that I had known this child for years. I had been waiting for him. This child was my missing piece.

It is surreal to me that two years have gone by. Wesley is such a fun child. He is so sweet and shy yet fierce and fearless. It is a combination that will surely give me heart palpation's in years to come. He is my shadow, a mama's boy and several pieces of me. I love those tiny little arms that wrap around my neck as he leans in and says:"Hi Mama". Please, can I just stop time?!

I was always passionate about nursing. I was fortunate to nurse my first son, Chase, for eighteen months. Wesley, like his brother, was a champion breast feeder. Matter of fact, unlike his brother who would take a bottle and a pacifier, Wesley decided the only thing he wanted in his mouth was my boob. I had pumped and pumped my liquid gold in hopes to have daddy help me out with a bottle here or there or maybe even leave the kids with Nana and Papa...but Wesley decided this was not a good idea. I can count on one hand how many time he took a bottle. He tried a few times then decided that he wasn't into silicone and that he liked the real thing. (Let's see if this changes when he is an adult!)

I can't say that I really minded that he only wanted me. He was my baby and though I know it is important for a father to bottle feed for bonding, I have to admit every time I saw Jay give Chase a bottle when I was right there I was a little jealous because I felt it should be me nursing him. Wesley made sure that mama never felt this. I did encourage the bottle and even tried to push a pacifier to give my "nannies" (aka my tits) a break once in awhile. Wesley wanted none of it! I continued to pump in the hopes that maybe he would take a bottle eventually. This was more out of wanting to be able to leave him for a few hours without feeling I was going to starve my baby if I left him. After seven months of pumping I said screw it and broke up with my pump. Don't worry, all that breast milk was donated!!

I had decided early on that I would nurse Wesley until he was two unless he weened himself earlier. As two approached I was beginning to think that I would be sending him off to college and still be nursing this kid. By twenty months we had gotten down to nursing three times a day. Mainly revolving around sleeping or early mornings in bed. It was requested, demanded and screamed about.

I love nursing. Nursing was something I was passionate about from the moment I knew I was pregnant with Chase. I always knew I wanted to nurse my children. It was one of those things I envied about moms even before I became one. I loved holding my children next to me and seeing them look up at me as I nursed them. It has always been one of the most amazing feelings I have ever been blessed to feel. The thought of not being able to nurse any more babies made my heart heavy. That was until my breast became the victims of nipple abuse. Wesley was far from gentle and is he fell asleep lock jaw occurred. It was like prying a fish off a hook each time.

Nursing my almost two year old started to become more and more uncomfortable. It was not the same as this small baby I nursed for hours on end for months. As two was approaching last week I decided that it was time to stop nursing him.

I feared this would be an ugly end. I also felt heartbroken. There will be no more babies. My baby is now a toddler. We shared something so amazing I wasn't sure I was ready to let it go. I also knew it was time, for him, and for me. I began telling him it was all gone when he would ask to nurse. He initially cried at first yet that only lasted seconds before he stopped. It was clear to me he understood and that he may be ready for this after all. Deep breaths!

I needed to find another way to soothe him and help him to sleep so I am now rocking him. I still get to hold him next to me. I get to breathe him in, stroke his hair and hum lullabies in his ear. No, it is not the same yet still sacred time between us. It allows us both to adjust, grow and let go. 

I am not good with this letting go stuff. I am not sure I ever will be. I know my boys will grow and change. I realize raising little people has it's stages, it's ups and downs as well as mountains to climb. I just wish I could slow it down, rewind some moments then fast forward when I gain the strength. Learning to let go is challenging me. Saying goodbye to nursing will be an adjustment for both of us. We are a great team though and we will have many more incredible mother and son moments. There will be more firsts, more laughter, and we will continue to teach and grow with one another.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Raise Your Glass: Cocktails Curing Cancer" Guest Post By Renee Dall

I am very excited to have a guest post this week. With Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October I wanted Renee to share her story on how Cocktails Curing Cancer was born. As a woman, a mother and someone who is a supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness I have admired Renee and the hard work, passion, dedication, and commitment she has put into being the voice she is for Breast Cancer Awareness. Thank you Renee for this post and all you do! 

There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.
~Bette Davis
In 2007 I became a mother to a little girl.  In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember sitting on my parents deck having a drink, realizing that my mom was mortal, and that someday, my sweet little 10 month old could be sitting there with the same realization about me.   Feeling called to action to “fix” this situation, I was unsure of how to proceed.  It seemed unlikely that I could become a highly trained surgeon in the next 48 hours, nor could I find a cure for cancer given my non-existent science background.  I’m also not really great with finding the right words to say in delicate situations.  The best I could come up with, as I was pouring us all another glass of wine was “if alcohol can kill germs, why not cancer”?  Deep thoughts by Renee right there.
Fast forward a couple of days – I’m still trying to figure out how to control this situation, my mom is preparing for surgery, and fate intervenes.  While driving to work, I hear an ad for the first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Vermont.  The skies opened up, and the angels sang “Control Freak – here is something you can do!” in melodic tones.  I pretty much stalked Amy, the American Cancer Society employee, who was planning the walk.  And then I cried during their committee meeting.  Once you cry in front of strangers – you are pretty much fully committed.  I promised that I would raise $2000 for this walk.  I had NO idea how to raise that much money.  NONE.  I emailed everyone I knew, talked the local pizza joint into hosting a fundraising night, and was still about $1000 away.  So I decided to have a party.  In all honesty – I suspected it was going to be my friends and I sitting at a bar, tossing change into a bucket and calling it a fundraiser.  I reached out to my favorite bar at the time, Drink, and asked if we could hang out there.  And this is where bliss began.  Melissa’s mother was a cancer patient as well – and she donated the use of their event room.  Then I found a caterer – who MADE me call a woman she knew…who knew a million other women. Before you knew it – Cocktails Curing Cancer was a REAL EVENT!  We had food, prizes and sold all 60 tickets!  We raised the $1000 dollars, had fun, and decided to do it again. And again…and again…you see where this is going, right?

Each of our 8 years we’ve grown.  From that 60 person party consisting of my family and friends, to this year’s upcoming event with over 300 guests and a goal of $20,000 – I’m always blown away.  Mostly, I’m blown away by the people who help.  That first year, women who didn’t know me – who had never met me – stepped up and said “Yes, I’ll help”.  And then got others involved. The third year of Cocktails I came down with a severe case of viral meningitis, was hospitalized, and unable to function.  Women from across my life – work, community, kids activities, many of whom didn’t know me well and certainly didn’t know each other – stepped up and ran the event.  They’ve since all become dear friends and board members – but they started as life-savers. Sponsors bring other sponsors, guests become sponsors and prize donors, companies now ASK to be involved!
Women can be tough on each other.  But we can, and do, raise each other up when the sh*t hits the fan.  While I’ll never say that I’m glad breast cancer has entered my world, I will say it has brought blessings I never expected.  
And with that – I encourage you to find your calling, and raise up other women (and a glass of bubbly) to help them find theirs.  (And of course – feel free to join us October 1, 2015 – there are a couple VIP tickets left! www.cocktailscuringcancer.com)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Little Luck And A Little Training

The number Seven has always been my lucky number. It was the number I wore when I played  softball as a young girl. I wore that number on the back of my shirt and as the years rolled on I felt connected to that number. The number seven would become my lucky number for years to follow.

I am not into numerology by any means. In some ways I am superstitious I suppose; I never pick up a penny if it is on tails, I believe bad things happen in threes, and when I am passing a graveyard if I may just do the sign of the cross. This year it is not the number seven but the number five that has been the "lucky" number.

2015 has had wonderful things happen. It was 5 years on Valentines Day that Jay and I celebrated "us" at the same restaurant we have made a tradition going to each year. It was on this day this past V Day that Jay proposed to me. It has been 5 years that we have lived in our home together. We may not own this place but we have created so much love within this house. 5 years of growing, babies, and laughter; that is what makes a home. This weekend was also my 5Th Half Marathon. This was meaningful as well as spiritual for me.

Photo from RaceVermont

The Charlotte Covered Bridge Half Marathon was a first for me. I had run part of this route on a 10K that I did last year but the Half Marathon coarse was new gravel for me. It was beautiful, peaceful and inviting. This year the Half Marathon added a 5K and 10K division to the race. With that it was still a small race with around 300 people. The weather was perfect; overcast to partly sunny skies and around 60 by start time.

I felt good Saturday morning. I made sure to get everything together the night before. I only had one beer (hey, I needed one drink since it was Friday) as I got my running gear gathered up. I got to bed by 9:30PM to try and get some sleep in. With two toddlers in the house (and one in my bed) this is almost impossible. I was awakened by the 4 1/2 year old at one and four am. Lucky for him me I had gotten some descent sleep in between. 5AM was my time I wanted to be up. I always shower and eat breakfast before my races and planned to leave the house to pick up my sister in law who was running her first 10K.

This was my first Half Marathon that I didn't feel nervous. This summers runs and two previous Half Marathons this year had brought me some confidence and solace that this run would be awesome. The morning sunrise was another sign that it was going to be a great morning. I had to pull over to take a picture and savor the beautiful sunrise that God had granted me this day. It wasn't just the beauty of nature yet a sure sign that the day would be one filled with good things.

The race began a few minutes after 8AM. The start goes up a slight incline to bring you away from Shelburne Beach to Orchard Road where the coarse begins. I could feel the tears gathering in my eyes and lump forming in my throat as I heard the voices of children cheering on their mother. This was my first Half Marathon where my own children would not be waiting for me at the finish line. It is always a motivator for me as well as a sweet reward to see their faces after my races. I continued on trying to push past my emotion and fall into a pace that felt good for the first half of this race.

The first six miles I picked a couple of different runners to pace with. By the half way point of the coarse I was worried that I had maybe been going too fast. It was here that I worried about burning out. I had been running an average of a 7:30 minute mile. I was feeling really good and still felt good at the half way point but knew that I was not near done yet.

I ended up chatting with this guy Chris who I had been pacing with and started to pass as we were going up a hill. His words of "You go girl" made him my new runner friend. I held back so we could chat for a minute. I let him know I was sticking behind him and that he had actually helped me during my run. This was his 4Th Half Marathon and he didn't have a goal as he was using it for his training run for the Marine Corps Marathon which would be his first Marathon. I instantly liked this guy and even though we stopped talking I found a comfort in his presence as we continued on. Around mile ten I pushed past him and was running alone again.

By mile 11 I could feel my legs starting to get soar. I still felt good but it was getting harder. There was only a couple miles left and I was not about to slow down. I had another runner come up on me who encouraged me as I encouraged her. We both agreed the faster we went the sooner we would be done. She went on ahead but keeping my eye her helped me push myself. Then there were the two runners that were some of the first to get to the half way point and leave us all in their dust. At mile 12 I was able to smile, say good job, and push past them.

I was ready to be done. Running at that pace for an entire Half was exhausting. About a 100 yards before the finish line I heard loud footsteps pounding the pavement to reach the end. It was a woman who I had not yet seen accompanied by Chris, the guy who I met back at the half way point. They both flew by me and finished before me. She, the unknown female runner, pushed me out of the top 5 overall for women but I was too happy for Chris who had a great run and came in just seconds before me.

I finished my 5Th Half Marathon with a new PR: 1:36:43. I placed 14th out of 178 runners, 6th overall out of women, and 2nd in my age group. My average minute mile was 7:23. My children and husband may not have met me at the finish line but when I came home from work that night (yes, I went to work after!) I came home to an awesome Lobster dinner that my husband cooked on the grill. My son Chase said: "Mama, this is the best present!" He was right about that!

Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was all my training. I like to think it was a little of both and that is why my 5Th Half Marathon turned out to be the best one thus far! The only thing I would do different is apply more Run Guard! Chafing in certain spots is not what I call a reward!

Happy Running!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boy Or Girl: Finding Out The Sex Of Your Baby

I am a planner. I am organized. I like to be prepared for anything life throws at me. This includes small children entering the world. When I was pregnant with Chase I counted down to that very important ultra sound where they tell you if you are having a boy or a girl. I wanted to know. Wait, I needed to know! I can't say I had a certain feeling whether or not he was going to be a "he" or "she". I was thrilled though to find out we were having a boy.

We had started talking about names early on yet to my surprise we were not agreeing on anything. We had decided to put it on hold until we knew for sure. Now that we knew our little miracle was a boy I just had to name him! NOW!! So back to the name game. I wanted to be able to talk to him, sing to him, and read to him, all while using his name. After what seemed like forever I came up with Chase. Chase means: Hunter. Since daddy loves to hunt I came up with this. Honestly, at that point daddy didn't have much of a choice!

Baby Chase

He had a name! I could tell everyone this person growing in my belly was Chase. I tried to imagine what he would look like. I ecstatically prepared his nursery with bright blue walls, pictures and quotes. It didn't matter how sick he made me, I tried to never complain because I was having a baby. A baby boy.

Fast forward to Chase's second birthday. Naturally we wanted to give him the best gift ever! So we decided to give him a sibling! We planned this specific birthday gift and worked hard to make it happen. I found out on a Sunday morning that indeed Chase would be a big brother!

It was different this time. All the "firsts" that I experienced with Chase would not be that this time around. Thankfully I was not put through the awful morning sickness which I had with Chase through most of my pregnancy. And I wouldn't have to suffer another urinary blockage as I had with Chase. I wasn't doing a nursery since it was decided we would co sleep and some day (I am still not sure when that day will be almost two years later) the baby would be sharing a room with his brother. My mania for having to be prepared suddenly didn't mean much. I decided that I needed a "first" for this baby. I decided I wanted it to be a surprise.

Wesley- 3D Ultrasound

This I thought would not only be incredible yet a huge challenge for me. Maybe I would cave and find out anyway. I could always ask during a later ultra sound right?! It wasn't that hard though. I didn't want to know. The wonder of what I was carrying inside me filled me with such joy. I was not  infatuated with finding out the sex. It did not matter. The baby I was carrying was all that mattered. The very existence of this child burned a fire in me so strong that it did not matter if it was a boy or a girl.

And then he came...like thunder rolling through the sky. Fierce and erratic. It was another emergency C-Section. I laid there on that operating table anxious for this child who was rocking my world already. He was pulled from my body and I tried to see him but couldn't. I needed to meet this child I waited for. The child I longed for. It was another boy!

Wesley-Less than 48 hours old. The day we brought him home.

To be honest I always knew Wesley was a boy. I felt it with every part of me. Looking at his face for the first time it was as though I already knew him. He was mine, meant for me. 

I would not change any part of how I found out for my first and not for my second. As both boys are different so were my pregnancies and how I got to know each baby. I like that I experienced both knowing and keeping one a surprise. Both boys have their own special stories, just as unique as the children they are.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crushing Goals And New Races

I love the feeling of setting a goal and not only meeting that goal, but also CRUSHING that goal. Since I am in training mode for my next Half Marathon on September 12th I wanted to hit 130 miles this month. Last month's goal was 120 and I logged 122.

To reach 130 I knew I needed to be consistent with my runs and be sure to get significant mileage on my long runs. I ran most weeks 4 to 5 days a minimum. At the end of July into August I had an eleven day running streak with one day rest followed by a seven day straight running streak. I got up early mornings to avoid the humidity and scorching sun. Not only was I starting my day with some "me" time, I felt great all day and have been sleeping better.  I am ecstatic to report that in August I hit a new PR for miles logged for me as well as exceeding the miles I wanted to hit. Final miles logged: 165.3!

Another goal I had set for myself for 2015 running goals was to run a distance of 15 miles, making that the farthest distance for me. I completed this back in April. When I did this it was unplanned for that specific run. I find that is how I hit most of my PR's, whether it be in a race or on my own runs. It is when I don't plan on it and just fall into a rhythm. It becomes my personal dance with the pavement. My feet carry me on and I am lost in a place I find comfort and solace in. Last weekend I had one of those incredible runs and I hit 16 miles! Take that 15! 16 stomped you out of the PR!

I feel ready for my Half Marathon coming up as well as I am looking forward to it. This particular one will be a first time for me. Ahh yes, I am a virgin to this particular race. I love running new, unfamiliar roads. I enjoy the sense of discovery it brings, seeing new landscapes and losing myself on new terrain. This will be my fifth Half and for some reason this entire year has had good things happening around the number five.

Yesterday morning I decided that I needed to get it one more Half before the end of the year. Why not right?! I registered for the GMAA Half Marathon in October. I did this last year and loved this coarse. It was beautiful, quiet, and the coarse is simply serene. 

Soon the temps will be dropping and my favorite season is upon us. Fall running is my favorite. I love the smells in the air, the sound of crunching leaves under the soles of my shoes, and the crisp of the air on my skin. I welcome a run where I do not return home covered in sweat as I have to pry off my clothes which seem to be glued to my body. 

I am already brain storming for my running goals for 2016. I have a few things in mind but I will save that for another post. The actual goals may take a little more commitment. And no, I will not be running a marathon anytime soon. Someday, maybe

Similar Posts:
The Things That Motivate Me
Setting New Goals And Keeping A Commitment
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