Friday, September 30, 2011

Good Mail Day

Great reading material just in time for spending hours in a van between running legs tomorrow.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Riled Up Over Nutrition

Nothing gets a burr under my saddle like blame.  Recently, we've been inundated with media placing the blame for the obesity epidemic on ...  ready  ...  it's really evil and out of control ...  SCHOOL LUNCHES!

Are you okay, or did you faint from the shock of it all?  I mean, who would have thought that Stop Sign Pizza, Rubberoni and Glue, Chic'n Nuggets, and Instant Taters would be bad for you!?!

Waaahhh, I thought that milk fortified with gallons of a lab created sweetener was GOOD FOR ME!  All these years I thought that french fries were a vegetable and that green beans were supposed to be grey!  I feel so lied to, so deceived!  I'm angry and want someone to blame!!

The Government!!  Yes, yes, it's all clear now.  I shall blame The Government.  USDA = evil.  Free public education = evil (I knew that one was to good to be true!)  Oh, I feel so much better now.  And less responsible.

I do agree that school lunches do and, always have, suck(ed).  When I was a single parent, my son was in early grade school.  I had to be at work at 7am, so I would drop him off the moment the doors opened at the school for breakfast.  We were eligible for reduced meals (.20 each) and I was so grateful.  I was rather confused that he kept having french toast sticks for breakfast, but hey, it was nearly free.

When our high school football team sucks, what do we do as Americans?  We all get together as parents, have a meeting and decide how we're going to get rid of that Coach!  Damn right!!  Football is important, and if our kids aren't doing well, then we have to do something.

The same should be true of this school lunch thing.  But the reason that there has been no meeting over this, is that the parents eat that way too.  Nutrition is seen as something that comes out like *blah blah blah* from people that do other weird stuff like go to the gym regularly.  Most people are to involved with important stuff like TV to be bothered about what Little Johnny had for lunch.  And anyway, they're kids - they'll just run it off.

While they sit in front of the TV/computer/XBOX.  But whatever, they're quiet, right?

I'm being a bit grouchy, now, so I will quit this diatribe.  But what is really bothering me is the blaming of the big bad Government.  We are the only country in the world that operates by the people, for the people.  On a small scale (local schools) it just takes a few meetings and a committee to get things changed.  We'd do it for football!

I must add to this, I am now a home school Mom.  I take issue with much more than just the nutritive value at our local public school and have seen fit to take my children out of the equation all-together.  My oldest son is exceptionally bright and will most likely need to take advantage of the free public school system in the next year or two to have adequate higher schooling.  I will be sending a lunch with him.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Scrambled Tofu (Really!)

Okay all of you scrambled egg lovers!  I think I may have a solution for going egg/dairy free.  I tried this recipe from VegWeb.com.  It's called:

The Best Breakfast Scramble Ever!  I made it exactly as the recipe calls for the first time around, but deviated a little bit from the original recipe the second time.  I didn't use nearly as much oil as it called for.

Onion and garlic in a pan sprayed with Pam.
Add the mushrooms after the onions are a little cooked.
I also used mushrooms instead of green pepper.  I like green pepper, but didn't have any on hand.  It worked out just fine.  Just make sure that you sautee the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes first.  Mushrooms are soft and will cook down to mush if you cook them for the same amount of time as the onion.
Mmmm...looks like feta.
Extra-Firm Tofu isn't something that I'm terribly familiar with working with.  It comes in a solid hunk.  I crumbled half to demonstrate what it looks like before and after.

The recipe has you push the veggies to the side and fry up the tofu in a little vegetable oil.  I used less than a tablespoon of oil over medium/high heat.  I let it fry up for a couple of minutes, and then just stirred it all together to finish frying it.
Cheez Sauce

The "Cheez Sauce" that the recipe includes, uses something called Nutritional Yeast.  Look it up - interesting stuff.  I picked up a rather large container in my local grocery store in the health food aisle.  Btw - I did try it sprinkled on popcorn as it suggests on the container...don't do it.  Anyway - I made up the recommended amount and was able to re-use it twice, it made so much.  It stored well in a tupperware container in the fridge. 

The sauce is what really makes this taste like eggs.  The Nutritional Yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor that tremendously helps the nearly tasteless tofu.  I like to put enough on to coat and then heat through.  These "scrambled eggs" are best rolled in a tortilla with a little salsa.  I've been a breakfast burrito lover for years, and this one was good enough to fool me.

Try it and tell me what you think!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mess Mess

Some folks are messy.

Some are neat nicks.

Most fall in between.

I've never fallen in between a line in my adult life.  I am all or nothing, one way or another, here or there.  I remember being normal...some time...maybe in my pre-teen years, but for the bulk of time that I can remember, I have been an extremist.

I like things clean.  I'm not a "clean with Clorox till my skin rots off" kind of girl, but I do get frustrated when my house is in a constant state of disarray.

Having 4 children and a daycare has helped me to change my mind a bit.  I am now resigned that spending 15 minutes in each room every day is enough to tidy up and take care of hygienic cleanliness.  I have learned a hard fast rule of fact that "Either the kitchen or the living room shall be clean on any given day, but neither shall be clean on the same day."  Sometimes you have to let go.

Our oldest daughter, I fear, is sort of a messy girl.  She is a very talented artist and is equally comfortable on a musical instrument as she is with paint, pencil or tape...lots and lots of scotch tape.  I know that artistic folks can be somewhat oblivious of the world around them - so I give her a break on things like cleaning her room and changing her clothes / brushing her hair.  What?  We're a home school family!  Don't be judge-ie!!

My Free Spirit and her little sister The Drill Sergeant
So today when I went to clean her room, I was not surprised that:

a) it took me 3 hours
b) I hauled 3 full bags and a BOX of trash out
c) she farted around and organized her dresser ONLY in that amount of time
d) I will likely be doing this again soon

The goal now is to help her maintain it.  I follow FlyLady to help me stay on a cleaning schedule.  I think it would be good for her to do the same with her room.  All it takes is 15 minutes per day to pick up the things we left lying around.  I hope to not exasperate her with the cleaning thing.  It's necessary for organization and peace of mind, but not life or death.

I just want my little Rock Star to grow and thrive in a somewhat clean environment.  I don't want to stifle her creativity, but I do want her to learn to join the world around her at some point!

Here's to another Saturday spent cleaning a big messy room.  Go Mom!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Favorite Autumn Event

Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband, David.

I am never even slightly deluded in to thinking that I deserve such a patient, loving man.

And while it's wonderful to be loved, it's also so good to be known.

This morning, he left for work at the usual time.  He came home an hour later with a gift that just proves how well he knows me.  He parked down the street and rang the bell - a DOZEN roses in hand.

There are 2 white roses to represent he and I.  Two pink for our sweet little girls, two peach for our rough and tumble boys.  There are 5 open roses to represent our 5 years of marriage, and one closed bud for the future that is to come.  What a romantic man...*sigh*

To round it out, he brought me the latest issue of Triathlete magazine, a beautiful card with a handwritten sentiment, and a few tasty treats from the bulk section of the health market.

So he was home all day with us - we all went to the mall and had some fun, then later we went for a run!  We are doing a Little Relay Race next week so this was our second run for the day.  Just between you, me, and the whole of the internet - I ran my best 5k to date this evening.  On tired legs!  This cooler weather, and the cross training of cycling and swimming is really doing me some good.

To bad it doesn't count since hubby was pacing me.

What a great day...each and every year since 2006!  Here's us, the spring before we were married.

And a token wedding picture!

Okay - a more serious one...



I think it's about time for this old married lady to go to bed.  Last week when we ran twice in one day, I woke up Saturday morning feeling like a freight train hit me.  I've done the necessary recovery routine tonight and don't have a single thing to do in the morning.

Here's to aging gracefully!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perspective of Difficulty

"I don't usually do this, but..."

When I waited tables, this was the LAST thing I wanted to hear.  It was my experience that someone who says that, usually DOES complain.  And they prelude it with this statement every time.  You can usually tell, because they are EXPERTS at it.  They know just how to slightly intimidate you and when that doesn't work, they ask for the manager and try to push him/her around.

Unfortunately, someone who wants a free supper because their steak wasn't cooked to order probably walks around feeling that they are entitled to preferential treatment in many aspects of their lives.  They drive around the parking lot looking for the best spot, vie for "poll position" at stop lights, and get really irate when they have to wait in line behind more than 1 person at the store.

This is an over-arching theme in many of our lives.  Complaining.  Whether a mild feeling of annoyance at common things, or despair over a variety of life's issues, the bottom line is complaining will do no good.



Feeling overwhelmed is a sure start to my whining diatribe. When the buffer of my physical and mental computer is full, there's no way but out through the mouth-hole.  This is usually most evident on Wednesday nights about 9pm.  After a full day of daycare, home school, meals, diapers, and clean-up...then a full evening at church working with children...we get home with sugar amped little cretins that need to go to bed.

I kick toys, and try to clean the whole house while complaining about how everyone leaves their crap around the house and nobody ever helps me.  I think bout how I much I hate volunteering my time, home schooling my kids, hell - I even think about selling a couple of the bad ones.

But, by morning, everything is cool again.  I feel re-booted and the buffer is, again, empty and awaiting download.  But how much better could life be if I skipped that part?

How much better would I feel about my Wednesday night, if I looked at it through the eyes of my Thursday morning?  Or, how much better would I feel about my whole crazy, exhausting week if I looked at it through the eyes of my Saturday morning?  Life is pretty sweet when the kids are chomping cereal and watching cartoons and I'm propped up in bed with the latest Runner's World.  Even Monday morning doesn't look to bad from there.

Everyone has problems.  We all have to wait in line, pay a fee that seems unnecessary, and deal with fatigue.  It's how we react to it that makes the difference in our lives.  I'm not suggesting that we walk around giggling,with a dazed grin on our faces.  On second thought - it might help.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend in a Nutshell

My alarm clock in "Dora Snooze Mode"
I was very thankful on Saturday morning.  My 25lb alarm clock "snoozed" until 7:15!  I'm not sure when the last time was that we slept that late...but I'm just sorry that my sweet husband was slaving away making up time at work.

I spent the better part of the morning in my room on the heating pad, wondering if my body was going to loosen up enough to move.  It seems that my adventure of running twice on Friday was met with a little opposition.

 A little ibuprofen, a walk around Shopko on an ill-fated search for a new torchiere lamp, and I was better.  Still, not sure that my future will hold many of these relay races.  The training is killer!
Our exercise room - and the "Alarm Clock", again.


I tried to take a nap - though I didn't really need one.  But after surfing the Internet while on the heating pad and enjoying a snack, I was sleepy.  I shut down the computer and just as I was falling asleep, I heard the annoying soundtrack to one of our 9 year old's tweeny-bopper shows.  

I decided to go downstairs and clean up what used to be my workout room.  During the summer months, hubby and I bike and run outdoors.  But with October looming, it's time to consider video fitness as the primary option.

I didn't take a picture of what the place looked like before - but in the last 6 months this room has been the home for all of our homeschool materials (disorganized and strewn) and a delirious amount of Barbies that my SIL gifted us.  Do you *love* the paneling?  Yah - I knew you would.

The treadmill was a gift from my BIL.  It doesn't have a readout - just a dial that you turn to the right to go faster - but it's totally functional and great to squeeze in a workout.  Hubby built a shelf above so that a laptop or portable DVD player can be placed to entertain. I have a nice collection of DVD's that are awesome when other things are wearing thin.  It's a great way to eliminate excuses of time constraints, weather, and convenience issues surrounding having children.  

Today I did about 45 minutes of brisk walking on the old treadmill.  My back has been very upset with me lately, so I thought that the walking would be the best choice versus running or cycling.  Afterward, I did a nice bit of yoga with my little helpers.  It can be a little frustrating to have so much "help," but the workouts have to be done.

Overall - a great weekend.  Last night, we had a coffee house style worship service at church.  Everyone brought desserts, and there was coffee and tea.  Our Praise Team donated their time and talents to bring us music. 

 It was nice to chat and hang out.  We only stayed about an hour, our 2 and 4 year olds were having a ball running around like crazy fools...but that was enough chasing for one day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Veggie Love

Miss A loves her some butternut squash!
I was pretty impressed with the sales on produce today!  Our local grocery has fabulous 1 and 2 day deals sometimes, and this was the time.  They had 4 different fruits for near $1/lb and several varieties of squash for .69/lb.  I love squash, and just recently learned how to cook it up so that kids love it...what a great way to stretch a dollar.

I hear all the time, how expensive it is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. But really, if you stick to the basics, buy what's on special, and stay out of the fresh meat case, you can get away with spending the same money for healthier choices as you would on crap.

One neat phenomenon about eating high nutrient foods - is that you aren't as hungry as often.  Yep, you read it here first.  Eat 5-7 fruits/veggies and you won't be as hungry even on less calories.  Now, everyone knows that dietary fiber fills up your tummy and helps that physical sensation to click saying "I'm full."  But what most people miss is that your body is pretty smart...it craves nutrients - NOT FOOD.

Variety of color = variety of nutrients
I've been experimenting with a plant based diet this week.  Not really that hard, as I thought that I didn't eat "that much" meat.  But having to find something to eat besides my beloved eggs and toast with butter in the morning has been a little bit of a challenge.  Cutting out the meat or cottage cheese as a protein source on my lunchtime salad has been even more difficult!  One day, I even put the spinach, carrots, and some watermelon in the blender and DRANK my salad.  It was delicious okay...but sorta weird.

Last night I made Turkey Burgers for the fam and had one of those *shrug.*  On Wednesday, I had some chips with a little sour cream.  *Eh*  Like I said before, I'm not doing this to make a statement or be a trend setter.  I just want to keep crossing finish lines when I'm 70.
Me before Lincoln Marathon 2045


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Running Money and Beans

Okay - I'm just a little irate today.  I have a decent blog in mind and just can't even seem to write it until I finish simmering over here.

No details, but suffice it to say that it has to do with child care for our upcoming 86 mile relay race.  I'm sure it will all workout, though right now I'm on the edge of a nervous break down.

SEVENTEEN DAYS.

I'm ready to run.  Hubby's ready to run.  Our team is ready to run.  In fact, a nice run would help me blow of some steam RIGHT NOW.

Also, have you ever made a mistake on your checking account?  No?  Yeah, me neither.  But I heard from my friend that if you make a gargantuan teensy little error and it snow balls like the Yeti from Hell in overdraft fees, the pencil pushers down at your evil Ebeneezer money lender local home town bank could care less.

AND MY TODDLERS NAPPED FOR CRAP TODAY!

I think I'll take my rolling pin and go beat the crap out of some throw pillows and hit the sack.  Things could always be worse.

Franks and Beans!

Breakfast Sans Eggs

Leftover cornbread is delicious with a little sliced banana, honey and soy milk.  The cornbread was made with an egg and a cup of moo-milk, but I think this meal qualifies to my 95% Veg goal.  I'm stuffed!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Feeding Time for This Animal

I decided to try something different today.  I've been doing some research lately on a Plant Based Diet and the evidence is compelling.  I tend to eat less meat than most, but way to much dairy.  I don't have any objections to eating animals - I thank them for their sacrifice.

What I'm seeing in recent research, is that the Western Diet is ruining our health.  Not just obesity - but disease!  I'm on a mission.  I want to be running, swimming, biking, posing, and lifting weights well into my 70's.  I've toyed around with the idea and been unwilling to commit - but I think that mission is worth giving up animal based foods.

Sauteed onion, garlic, carrots and zucchini w/parm.  Spinach salad with broccoli w/vinaigrette.

So today I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs.  Just to try it for one day.  I've probably eaten eggs and toast five days a week for the last year. Smelled good when hubby was cooking his up this morning!  I put milk in my coffee (oops) and had a little Parmesan cheese on my veggies for lunch.  I think the Balance Bar I had for afternoon snack was made with soy and whey protein, but oh well.  Ultimately, I would like to follow a 90 - 95% meatless plan.  Hubby bought some soymilk this evening, so I could even have some cereal in the morning!

I will be tracking my nutrition on MyNetDiary to make sure I am getting enough to eat.  Today I came out like this:

1693 calories - 1700 goal
45g fat - 50 goal
285g carbs - 220 goal
55g protein - 70 goal
32g fiber - 25 goal

I don't have any serious interest in being identified as Vegan or Vegetarian or have any socio-political reasons for following this diet...I don't get in to labels that much.  On second thought, I guess a few designations appeal to me, such as: healthy, vibrant, looks younger than her age.  If that's what a plant based diet gets me, that will be a label I would gladly wear!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recurring Theme

Some people are one, some days are.  Most things that involve morning or waking from sleep are.  I know I can certainly be...some would say I am The Queen of them...

Pain in my butt....looks like I have an itch.
For me, running = pain.  This past spring I got tired of that equation and decided to jump on the minimalist running train.  I worked my way up to running in Vibrams, and walah, no more knee pain.  While I was training myself to run fore-footed, I had to really pay attention to my calfs.  Oh how they screamed and screamed.  I purchased calf sleeves which helped immensely.

I really thought I had things under control - I was running 15-20 miles per week and doing all but my long run in my Vibrams.  Then, one day in June I pulled my hamstring.  I knew that it was bad, because I couldn't bear to even walk for a couple of days.  I can't tell you what I did different on that run, or that I ran any hills or speedwork...nope, just the old, tired equation of running = pain.

Several weeks went by, lots of research on google, runners world, and webmd.  I did what I was told, rested, rode my bike and swam, yoga-ed, iced, compressed.

I even took an entire week off of ANY and ALL activity.  Did you know that it's absolutely glorious to sleep until your alarm (or 2 year old) goes off every day.  Glorious!!

Butt (he, he), as you can see from this picture (that I had an older and chubbier lady pose for) I still have a pain in my glute after a run. After 10/1 I plan to cut the running down to once a week and tackle an Insanity/P90X hybrid.

And next racing season, I will be the only pain in the butt around here!

Helped Out Helper

I'm not a big fan of boxed/highly processed foods...but sometimes things are on sale for dirt cheap catch my attention and I bring them home to "healthify" them.  So it is with Hamburger Helper.

I like to grate zucchini that get way to big in the garden and add it to recipes.  My kids are either used to it, or need their eyes checked.  Whatever, they don't mind.


 It looks kind of icky at first - I use ground turkey or ground chicken and it is a bit "play-dough-y."  I am not fancy, either...all the stuff in the pan and put on the lid...walk away to break up a fight or help with a math problem.  Oh, don't forget a little garlic power and salt&pepper.


 Once it's cooked and drained it looks nearly like ground beef...with green stuff in it...okay, get your kids to eat with sunglasses on!  Yah, have a beach themed meal time!  Sure!!


 I always add EXTRA PASTA - learned that one from my hubby.  But I make sure it's the same shape, it messes with my head when the shapes are different.  I add about as much is in the box in the first place, and an extra cup of water.
Yes, I do normally cool the plates in the window.
It comes out looking pretty much the same as regular Hamburger Helper.  The veggies are tucked in there between everything else, and I can still sleep at night knowing that I fed our children processed food with a high sodium content all in the name of pinching pennies convenience.

I normally never eat this stuff - to calorie rich for a running super star like me.  *ahem* But today it looked mighty good.  Must have been the zucchini...I love to eat green foods!  All foods, really.

So, how do you "healthify" traditional recipes?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sun for Our Son

Can you tell what kind of shirt, necklace and sunglasses that I was wearing at the Midget Football game today?

How to Make an Egg Roll

How do you make an egg roll?

Well, you can use won-ton wrappers and fill them with a combination of shredded cabbage and carrots and even little strips of pork.  Roll up a small amount and then deep fry to a golden brown.

Or, you could just give it a push.

Girly girl time.

I learned my lesson with THAT question!  It's sorta like when a 5 year old asks you where babies come from...they don't really want a sex ed lesson - they just wonder if everyone is from Nebraska like they are.

Miss A and I spent the afternoon at the football field today.  We had to have The Boy there an hour and fifteen minutes early for his game, so we had some time to chat.  I remembered the egg roll question when Miss A asked me "What do you think of yourself as, Mom?"

At first, I wanted to get all philosophical and go in to the ways that a woman is multi-faceted, has many responsibilities and  can be different things to different people.  I never want to limit our daughters by making them think that they have to be "this" or "that."  I certainly don't want them to think that they are staring down the barrel of Domestic Engineer/Childcare Provider/Home School Teacher like myself - that's definitely an acquired taste.

So I was SMART this time and asked "Well, what do you mean?  Like, do I think I'm funny, or strong, or nice?"  To which she replied:

"No, like are you sporty, or glam, or like what kind of style do you see yourself as?"

Easiest question I answered all week.  Classic Style Fashion all the way.  Jeans and T-Shirts, comfy shoes, small amount of the same makeup each day, and easy hair.  Glad I didn't wax all poetic for nothing.
My kid in green socking it to #76 red.
On the other hand - I learned nearly nothing about the game of football today.  This was the first game I had attended (hubs and I take turns staying at home with our 2 & 4 year olds).  I still don't have any idea how the ball moves down the field, and what the heck is up with everyone yelling for our children to "hit someone!!"  I always thought a touch down was worth 7 points, but nope.

I could be shot for publishing this picture.
Liam said that the offensive line was praised for playing very well.  I am glad to hear that - they certainly looked all mean and tough and stuff.  One of the boys brought the black goop to put under their eyes.  My son said "What do you think?" about how they all looked with that stuff.  In my "up since 5:30, 20 mile bike ride, church service followed by 3 hours in the sun" stupor, I forgot myself and replied with what I was really thinking:

"You guys looked cute!"

Had he not been exhausted from the game, I think he would have refused to get in the car.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cheater

I stayed from my exclusive relationship with my stylist and colored my own hair tonight.  I feel so dirty...but my hair looks great!

I'm Runner Seven!

We had our Market to Market Relay Draft meeting today.

I feel pretty good about the whole thing. I'm excited to know what stages I will be running, so that I can do some specific training. My stages are probably the easiest - but I am the only woman and coming off an injury, so go figure. Next year I can try to be Superwoman.

Super fast woman, I hope!


Stage 7 (View)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Length: 4.50 miles
Surface: Gravel, Crushed Limestone, and Pavement
Exchange Point: 114th and Fairview
Description: Your teammates almost got you to the top of the hill, after a short climb on Fairview you get to enjoy a downhill jaunt to Springfield, NE home of the Sarpy County Fairgrounds.

Stage 15 (View)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Length: 3.03 miles
Surface: Crushed Limestone
Exchange Point: 250th and O St.
Description: Runners continue down the Mopac Trail heading west towards the next exchange point in Eagle, Nebraska. This relatively flat section of the Mopac runs parallel to O Street and passes Wright Cemetery on the runner's left. As soon as runners reach Eagle, they will make the transition to the next runner.

Sounds pretty good to me. By looking at the elevation map, I don't think I need to worry to much about hills. I think I will work on my speed, and put some runs on the schedule that are 8 stages apart in time...what does that mean? Beats me...but if we run at an average 9:00 pace (to finish the 78 miles in 11:40:00 or less) and there are 30 miles between my legs (of the RACE - weirdo), then I should have 270 minutes between runs...or 4.5 hours. So, if I finish my 2-a-day training run at 6:30am, I need to be ready to run again at 11:00am...right?
Right!  Sheesh - was I born to crunch numbers or what!? 

Deep breath...have fun...do my best. 

Light, loose, love...running is FUN!

Escape

Our children have passed this stage:

And have moved on to this stage:
Unfortunately, our 2 year old son is dangerous enough that any door that he can reach the handle on (and that is ALL of them) is fair game for entry/exit.  the baby gates were great, until he realized that they were easy to scale and jump over.  Thankfully he doesn't care that much about the bathroom...he has flushed a couple of things and unrolled the TP a few of times and that doesn't thrill, I guess.

It's escaping upstairs, downstairs or outside that is the real excitement.  The upper and lower levels are home to our older children's bedrooms, the XBox360, the bulk of the Barbie stuff, the treadmill, all of the free weights, and a host of other potentially deadly or dismembering items.  

I have a chain on the front door - and now will be using it.  The little squirt is *almost* strong enough to release the deadbolt, and with him being *almost* able to get out of the crib himself - we have the makings of a situation in which we would need local law enforcement!

Today I caught him trying to escape and he pulled out his magic wand.


Just a little curious where he pulled it out from - since wearing clothes are against his religion.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Making Things Difficult

First of all, WHERE oh where have these babies been all my life!?!

Chocolate Lovers Champ Cone
I was so depressed earlier in the week - all things chocolate cure all things...I feel so silly!!

Even without the ice cream - today was a better day.  My hill running this morning was fraught with delay after delay after irritation, but I got three repeats in and a mile on either side of warm and cool.  Not my hardest effort - but still a little afraid to push the left hammie...she was SUCH a nag for SO long.

It was definitely me that changed.  I still had to pick up the house for my babysitting clients, still had to cook meals, school kids, and shop for groceries, but something clicked with me between yesterday and today that helped this hysteria make sense.

My sister said to me yesterday:

You just have this penchant for driving yourself nuts on an almost constant basis, and I guess I don't understand it.

At first I was like - whatever... and what the heck is a penchant anyway?? 

a strong inclination, taste, or liking for something.

Then, as the brick that is my brain, was somehow penetrated with this thought, I figured something out.

She's right.

Before I got this SAHM gig, I had this friend that stayed home with her kids.  She had 2 older ones in school and one pre-K at home.  Her hubby worked an early shift and she spent her days cleaning around the commode with a toothbrush, watching soap operas, and playing taxi for the kids.  I remember thinking - "Wow, what a softie!" I was convinced that this chick was as weak as overcooked spaghetti - okay for her - but not my thing.

So when I entered the world of the domestic engineer, I think my "penchant for driving myself nuts" kicked in full force and I thought I had something to prove.  I had to squeeze every drop of blood and energy from myself each and every day in a mad frenzy to prove to everyone that I was tough, bold, strong, a hard worker. 

Heaven forbid than anyone ever get the idea that I enjoy being home with my kids.  Imagine what it would do to my reputation if people knew that I wasn't dressed to full makeup and holding a cup of coffee when my daycare kids arrived.  Oh the horror if it got out that I dozed on the couch with my book every day between 1:30 and 2:00!  Tough-as-nails does NOT go along with plays-and-sings.  

And there it is.  The inner turmoil - so silly because no one knew/cared but me.  From now on, I will try to enjoy my time at home.  I will try to be less staunch about my schedules, and allow for some leeway in my routines.

Today - I skipped my bathroom swish and swipe...rebel, I know.  I even let Miss A do her school work on the front porch while the 4 youngers played.  Outdoor time is not on the official 2010/2011 School Year Schedule until 11:00 - 11:45...but we went out at 10:15!  

It feels good to be a gansta. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grumpy

I'm doing all that I can to stay on top of being overwhelmed, but my head is barely above water.  I would be ever so grateful if we could just fast forward a little bit.  The next 4 weeks are going to be busy enough there will be no time to breathe.  I picked the wrong month to quit street drugs.

We started school August 29th.  My 4th grader is hell to school, dress, sleep, discipline, feed, anything.  There are days that she is compliant and helpful, but I would guess they total maybe 30 golden, glorious days per year.

I trained through injury for a Half Marathon on September 3rd.  I decided the Wednesday prior that I wasn't running.  Stunk.  My husband ran it alone, I biked around town and cheered him on along the way.  I'm doing better, but my chronic back thing is acting up.

Another race coming up on 10/1.  An 80 mile relay race with a team of 8.  Seven men.  Yeah.  I'm marginally concerned.  I will be running tons of hills this next 3 weeks and I need to sneak in at least three 2-a-days so I don't D.I.E somewhere alone on a gravel road between Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska.  I also haven't found anyone to take the second shift in watching our kids.  I have three available shifts and the one in the middle is still up for grabs.

Wanna watch my brats, er, kids from 12-5p on 10/1?  There's only 4 of them....and 2 of them are self wiping and self feeding.

The following weekend is the Ladies Retreat, which for some STUPID reason I decided to be on the planning committee for.  I have, truthfully, only been involved in a limited way, the other ladies have done a ton of work - but there is a short promo skit this weekend at church, and I got roped in to Em-cee-ing the event, so I feel pressure.  What to wear, can I loose 10lbs by then??

Then there is the looming October 31st "holiday."  Our son is taking the pro side of the argument this year, due to our new Youth Pastor taking the same view.  They are actually having a Trick or Treat for Something to Eat sponsored event. *sad face*  I won't go in to all the details - but Hubs and I believe that Halloween is evil.  I read my Bible every now and then and have been told, in that book, to "flee from evil."  Our family is in the minority among the other Christ followers we know.

It's hard to be a rebel.

I feel hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down.  But I always have hope. 2 Cor 4

I just like to whine.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being Prepared

I nearly can't deal with this picture:


This is our oldest son, Liam.  Well, and me, of course.  We had a wonderful visit from Uncle Jack and Aunt Pam from Indiana, who brought the beloved Uncle Deryle and Aunt Nadine.  Liam happened to be at football practice, so Aunt Pam requested a photo with the boy and how much he's grown.  

Here it is.

I just can't express how amazing it is to know that I held him in my two hands, once.  How I watched him learn to walk, helped him put together words, then phrases, then arguments to my own assertions.  Oh, I look around me and I see that years have passed - but it seems like just a blink. 

No matter how hard it is to foster, feed and fraternize with these - it is a great and mighty reward, for sure.

What I Am

I remember when I started blogging in 2007 - I was pregnant with our 3rd child and was eager to find some sort of group that I could fit in to.  Back then, I was working outside the home in the office of a construction company - an 8-5 M-F type of thing.  I was struggling to define myself so that I could find others with the same label and fit in.

Mother of Kids in School
Pregnant
Employed Outside the Home
Christ Follower
Runner

I wanted a group of women that would fit all of these criteria that I could talk to.  Relate to.  Most of the friends and family I had at that time wore this label:

Stay at Home Mom

So I wrestled big-time when our daughter was born and I had to go back to work.  I was mad at God and felt like he was robbing  me of a chance to fit in.  I didn't know anyone else my age with a new baby and 2 older kids that worked a full time job.  I spent the next year or so trying desperately to label myself.  I got right back to running and ran my first Half Marathon when Susan was 11 months old.  I crossed the finish line and went home to nurse our daughter and felt NO closer to figuring out who I was.

Directly after that, my definition of self got altered, seriously...I found out another baby was on the way and went on bed rest off and on, where I gained 60lbs.  With the babies so close together, affording daycare was going to be more than my salary, so I quit the job I had held for nearly 7 years.  We decided that I would stay home with the kids and maybe babysit to help us stay afloat.  Then we made the decision to Home School our older children.  So, about a year after our son was born I struggled with this list.

Mother of Kids in School
Pregnant
Employed Outside the Home
Christ Follower
Runner


I realized that no matter what, all I can really count on is change.  The one thing that stays constant is what defines me.  Through having a more flexible schedule, I've been able to be more active in our church.  I've had enrichment with individuals that would not have fit into my Friend Matrix before.  I grin when I write this, because I now realize how short-changing it is to have such a paradigm.

I am a woman and I don't need any other label.  Labels are how you keep track of things to use them later.  I am constantly in service.  I am flexible and can change my purpose hour to hour.  My usefulness is only limited by time.  I am an ever-learning machine and my ability to assimilate and use information makes the male of our species gaze in wonder.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made - and so are you.  That's a good enough place for me to fit in.