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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Unexpected Lesson From the Pope

This past Sunday my husband and I were able to experience a truly rare occurrence. No, we did not get to meet the Pope or see him in person, but we did get to do something that doesn't happen very often: we attended church alone, together.

Alone together might seem like an incorrect oxymoron, but let me tell you, it's not- it is a very real thing. When you have kids, it gets harder and harder to find time to spend alone together, but this Sunday we got an hour of just that. 

My oldest son missed Mass to enjoy some quality time with his grandparents and my younger two kiddos are now both old enough to attend children's church during Mass, so there we were. Alone Together, in a wonderful place, and it was really, really nice.

We held hands (not tissues full of boogers or a fists full of crayons). We listened to our Priest (not giggles from our kids or shooshes from each other to our kids). We looked at one another lovingly (not with glances of desperation and mutual embarrassment). 

We spent meaningful time alone together and since we were child-free, we could actually listen to the service.

Our Priest spent a significant amount of time discussing the messages of Pope Francis from his recent visit to the U.S. As I listened, I focused hard on what Father was saying. I listened to his interpretation of the messages Pope Francis has shared, and I agreed wholeheartedly. For me, I was touched the most by the suggestion that we be more loving, accepting, and kind human beings. This made complete sense to me and as I listened, I felt compelled to try to live my life with much more devotion to these ideals.

As I listened, I was inspired to make a change in my life.

And you know what? I was tested during church, that very day. I am saddened to say that at first, I didn't fare as well as I had hoped I would. 

About ten minutes after church started, a woman walked in late with her two rowdy boys, both of whom had to be under the age of 5. She did not have a spouse with her and I immediately felt empathy for her. 

But that didn't stop me from judging her.

I have three kids and I've never walked into church that late before.

Why are she and her boys so under-dressed? Are those PJs? Casual jeans and tennis shoes?

That boy has got to be at least 2 years old and he still has a pacifier.

Can't she try to get those boys to settle down a little more? Why doesn't she take them to children's church like we do, or even the cry room?

Once I got going, my judgment was like a slippery slope of unkindness, one that kept distracting me further and further from the important messages I was no longer listening to from the altar in the front.

Then the two boys crawled away from her, sprawled out and played in the aisle, loudly crashed cars into one another and banged their toys noisily on the tile floor. This continued for several minutes, almost like they were in their toy room at home and not in Mass in public. 

That's when I noticed their mom again. Her darting eyes apologetically glanced at all of us around her. As strands of hair escaped from her sloppy ponytail, she tried to get the attention of her boys but they looked back at her blankly. With blushed cheeks, she quietly pleaded with them to get back into the pew, but they absolutely ignored her. She seemed so defeated. Almost too tired to try and nearly to the point of uncaring.

She was having a really difficult moment, and all I could think to do was judge her.

A wave of embarrassment hit me.

I felt tremendous guilt, and then remembered the words of Pope Francis. Loving. Accepting. Kind. Like magic my judgments immediately left my mind and I started to notice other things about his poor, tired mother. The way she gently twisted her fingers into her boys' blond mops of hair when they finally came back and stood by her. The way she smiled with forced excitement and novelty at the younger boy when he showed her his toy car (for likely the millionth time I'm sure). The way she carried one boy on her hip and held the hand of the other as she stood, singing the words of songs during the service.

At that moment I understood. I remembered.

It is really, really hard being a parent. Really hard. It is very important we stop judging one other. Even more important that we start supporting one other. And nearly vital that we start loving, accepting and being more kind to one other.

I learned more in Mass on Sunday than what the Priest had planned for me. More than I have learned in a long time.

I don't think I would have learned as much that day if my own children had been with me. Spending time alone together with my husband was just what I needed for so many reasons.

I am really, truly going to try harder not to be so judgmental and to be more supportive of others.

...Even though that desperate mom did leave ten minutes early from service, too...   ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Have a Secret...

In my house when one child tells another child a secret, inevitably leaving out the third child, we say "Secrets don't make friends," hoping to deter the keeping of secrets among them. Telling secrets about or to others is generally something I teach to my children as being a bad thing.

But the other day, I had a secret.

In fact, I had an entirely secret day.

And it was amazing.

If you follow me on social media, you know I am pretty active online. And by active, I mean an open book.

On my private Facebook account, I try to limit my posts to three or less a day (yes I must actually limit myself) because I love sharing, with those who are interested, my life. I share the funny things my kids say and do, update my status every time I write a new story for my blog, or I post even just to share a video or news story that I feel passionate about. Now I realize that this can be controversial and I have many Facebook and real world friends that both agree and disagree with my amount of sharing of my personal life on social media. I've considered this and I am completely okay with the amount of information I share online. No two perspectives on this issue were created equal and I respect others decisions as I hope they can respect mine.

I do have a few limitations. For example on this blog, you won't read my kids names, but you will read stories about them in one way or another. I suppose this is my way of keeping some things private from the world outside of my world. But I know that if you dig a little, it isn't hard to find out what I try to keep off this website.

That being said, the other day I decided to have a secret day.

I won't tell you what I did with my kids, because that would defeat the purpose of keeping it secret, but we didn't do anything that we hadn't done before. We traveled around the city a little for a few activities and just had a wonderful time together. More wonderful of a time than we have ever had doing these familiar activities before.

And I think I know at least one reason why.

I kept my phone in backpack, and actually loved not using it. My kids noticed, probably because I didn't let them have their devices either, and they even asked me to take pictures of them doing various activities a couple of times.

I just smiled, declined, and said, "Nope, no pictures today."

On our secret day we took only mental pictures. 

Usually when we are doing, well, anything really, I am constantly trying to get my kids to pose for that perfect picture that I can post on Facebook. Or I am attempting to take the perfect candid that I can use on my blog or upload on Twitter. Or I am updating Instagram followers of my family or healthy living adventures.

It is actually very exhausting and from what I learned on my secret day, all this social media pressure causes some stress that I didn't even realize existed.

So, anyway, I had a secret day the other day. And my kids and I loved it.

I challenge you to try this out too, especially if you are like me and just can't stop posting about your life online. I was surprised by how much I loved keeping our day a secret.

I know that secrets don't make friends, but I hope that you can forgive me. I won't be telling you what we did.

I will be keeping this day a secret.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Daily Irritations You Don't Have to Be a Parent to Understand

Many of my posts relate to runners. Or parents. This one relates to people. All people. Here is a timeline of a few irritating events that happened during one of my days recently.

8:00 am. Yes, that was my parking spot. My blinker was on. I had been patiently waiting (for several minutes) for another car to back out so I could get to my spot. You driving around me, backing in from the other direction, and then taking the spot I have obviously been waiting for is really wrong. And infuriating. And unethical. And I hope you get a speeding ticket on your way home tonight.

10:00 am. Okay ladies, I am fine if you want to hover over the toilet seat rather than sit on it while you do your business. I don't blame you. But paaaa-lease take a second to wipe off your own gross ring of yellow splashes. You are now the new reason we all have to hover in the first place! I clean up enough pee at home- I do not need to do it at work too.

1:00 pm. I realize you marked your email as urgent. I guess my rationale for urgent and yours are different. Please give me more than a few hours to respond. Email is not synchronous. I will get back to you and you do not need to sent me three more "urgent" messages before that time. Ask for a "read receipt" next time which is still annoying, albeit slightly less, so you know when I got your message.

4:00 pm. We are all frustrated that the grocery store is really busy today. I guess we all should have known that 4:00 pm on a Friday wasn't the best time to shop. That being said, you rolling your eyes, loudly blowing air from your lungs, and near-ramming my heals with your cart will not get either of us moving through the congested cereal aisle any faster. However, I am sorry my kid just stuck his tongue out at you; it's not you. He does that to me too.

5:00 pm. I realize that you are not paid to be a happy cashier, you are simply paid to be a cashier. I don't want to have a long, drawn out heart-to-heart conversation with you either. But if you smiled, or at the very least attempted to make eye-contact with me, it sure would make this process more comfortable. And enjoyable. Thanks for your consideration.

stealing parking spot
                                                      photo credit: 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why the World Was Made for Families of Four

The other day I saw on Facebook that a friend, who has two kids already, updated her status stating that she feels like she wants to have a third child. I commented that if she feels that way still, after remembering the lack of sleep, gross greenish-yellow gooey diapers, sore boobs and bleeding nipples, outrageous weight gain, mind-numbingly painful contractions, etc, then she should go for it. This would grow her family to the size of five members, the same as I have. Honestly, I love having a five member family, maybe it's I because grew up in one. 

However, there are few things you must consider when upping the ante from 4 to 5. 

As my family has grown to the size of five people, I have noticed that the world wasn't created for an odd number of family members. To start, restaurant seating is an issue. In a booth, seating two people on each side is perfect, squeeze 3 in on one side and problems arise. Add a chair on the end instead and the waiter ends up spilling drinks on that unlucky person or he or she gets bumped in the back of the head every time another patron walks by. Other tables at restaurants are usually square and were clearly designed for one chair on each side, leaving no room for that 5th person to comfortably sit.

Family vacations are trickier to plan. This past year we ventured to Disney World. Truly amazing trip, but most of the amusement park rides seat 2 in a row. So for a family of 5, seated in two rows, that leaves someone out. Standard hotel rooms are made for four people so if you don't want to squeeze three people into a queen bed, you will have to pay more for a cot or shell out the cash for a suite or 2nd room. And what if you want to sit on a bench together after walking miles around the zoo? Four people fit nicely, but more than that and Kid 1 is screaming at Dad because Kid 2 is touching him and Kid 3 wants to sit by Mom but Kid 2 is taking up too much space... You see my point?

Can't forget the, "Win a free trip to wherever" drawings. It's great that you want to have a fundraiser or give a prize away for your cause or from your company, but I have yet to see a "Free tickets for 5" drawing anywhere. It's always, "Family 4-pack" deals, or win a "Family of Four" dream vacation. Well what happens if I win it? I have a family of five. Do we just have a survival of the fittest battle and whoever loses stays back? Or will I be able to have the option of purchasing seats, rooms, tickets (whatever) for a fifth if I win? And if so, it's not really "free" if I have to pay more simply because my family size doesn't fit into your description of the average sized family. Most the time I just walk by the drawing box and skip risking it.

Everything useful is sold in units that can be evenly divided by two or four. Eggs, juice boxes, fruit snacks, Lunchable 2-packs, cases of pop, Pop Tarts, granola bars, hot dogs... So many packages leave you with an odd item left over that after even distribution I have gotten really skilled at quickly slipping the extra out of sight and making it disappear before prying eyes can notice. I'm talking like magician-caliber skills. I will say now that I have a second grader who can read and do math, this trick is getting harder and harder to pull off.

Buy one get one free is similar. Need five? You either don't get the deal on the extra one or you do the deal and then end up with the additional "free" item that everyone fights over. Usually it's the oldest kid that tries to figure out the best solution. "Okay, since the Snack Pack comes with four pudding cups, us kids all get one, but since there are four cups, and I am the oldest, I get the other one." That makes pretty good sense to me I guess (but, like him, I was the oldest kid in my crew growing up too). The younger two never seem quite as convinced of his reasoning though.

I could go on, but you get my point.

Now I'm not saying that the world discriminating against families of three, five or any other odd number should be a deciding factor in determining how many kids you choose to have. That would be kind of crazy. I get that. And I truly wouldn't change a thing about my own perfectly-sized family.

But you can't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Just Another Typical Puke Covered Day

Most days when I get off from work I have about one hour to do the impossible: The Three Kid Pick Up. I must pick up my daughter and younger son from their preschool and then drive 28 city miles to my oldest son's elementary school to pick up him. To the inexperienced this might not seem like too trying of a task. I mean, I have an entire hour, right?

Believe me. It is difficult. Very, very difficult.

So much so that I have a near panic attack every time.

There are so many variables to consider. How fast will traffic be traveling and will there be any construction or car accidents? Do I need to fill up the car with gas? Did I remember snacks and drinks for the kids, and if not, will I drive through somewhere to quickly grab some? Will the kids fight while I try to strap them into their carseats? The possible deterrents really are endless.

Time management becomes essential, but is difficult. The problem is that my time isn't always mine to manage. Especially with children. Some days are better than others and cause less anxiety, but I despise the feeling of time management being out of my control. With kids though, I have come to expect that they do control a majority of my time. It's another one of those aspects of my life that I have had to work to let go of.

But that really is another blog topic altogether.

Getting back to my daily one hour afternoon nightmare... To demonstrate, here is a recent example of how one afternoon went this week:

2:55 I lock my office door and shut off the light. I walk quickly toward the kindly part-time receptionist down the hall that always talks (and talks and talks and never let's me go), even when I always tell her that I am in a hurry to pick up my kids from school. I look down at the ground as I approach her trying to avoid eye contact.
2:56 Ugh. She smiles and waves me into her office. Darn we made eye contact. I stop and talk to her out of the kindness of my heart. I think she is lonely and I am a softy. Her kids are grown. I empathize.
2:58 She is still talking. I tell her I have to go. I edge toward her door.
3:03 Come on woman, stop talking. I start sweating a little.
3:06 She is still talking. I continue to edge toward the door. I tell her again that I really need to get going. She apologizes and tells me "just one more quick story."
3:08 Finally got away from the talker by literally saying I have to leave Right Now. Conceding though that I will stop by in the morning so that we can continue to discuss this topic. Walk across the parking lot to my car, get in and drive across campus to the preschool.
3:10 Arrive at the campus preschool to pick up the younger two, devastated because by now the kids are eating snacks and it is like pulling teeth getting them away from snack time.
3:11 Youngest had his 2nd wet accident of the day. Great. I help his teacher change his clothes. He goes back to his snack.
3:13 I keep reminding the kids that we need to go get big brother so if they could just please finish eating quickly that'd be really helpful for mommy.
3:15 Standing there. Sweating more. Still reminding kids to hurry up and eat.
3:17 I drag screaming kids into the bathroom to wash their hands (per preschool policy) singing the ABC song as quickly as I can (they are required to sing that so that they wash their hands long enough). I sing it so fast the kids can't keep up.
3:19 Put coats and hats and gloves on the kids, still dragging them while walking across the parking lot to our car.
3:20 Strap kicking and screaming kids into their state required, very complicated car seats.
3:22 Finally on the road with 28 miles to go.
3:28 Call husband and have a small emotional meltdown about how I'm never going to make it to pick up the first grader by 3:40 dismissal.
3:31 Look at the clock. Youngest kid is screaming because I won't let him have the iPad as punishment since he peed his pants twice at preschool.
3:35 Look at the clock. My heart starts racing a little.
3:36 Look at the clock, yell at the kids for being so loud, say a quick prayer asking for calmness. Focus on slow breathing for a few minutes.
3:40 Look at the clock. Notice that I am still a good 10 minutes from the elementary school, even though school is getting let out, Right. Now.
3:41 Scream at a fellow driver who insists on driving the speed limit in a school zone. Yell again at the youngest kid to stop screaming. I notice that he is getting really upset.
3:43 Look at clock. Yell at another slow driver while displaying the "come on" arm gesture.
3: 45 Yell at a red stoplight. Daughter asks me why I am yelling at a stoplight. Stoplights aren't people.
3:46 I start crying real tears. Son is now screaming uncontrollably.
3:48 Glance at my phone to make sure the volume is on so I'll be able to hear if the school calls to remind me that my son needs picked up. Panic starts really kicking in. Chest feels constricted. Breathing becomes harder.
3:50 Just when panic is about to solidify, I see cars in line by the elementary school! I am finally in the pick-up line. Somehow dismissal is going slowly on the perfect day! Quickly my joy disappears as the youngest is still screaming so hard that he is now gagging. Husband texts to ask if I made it on time. I text him back yes.
3:52 The line is moving. This is good. Thirty seconds to pick up! I see my first grader waiting, I made it!, I smile. Then I hear more gagging and look in the rear view mirror. My screaming youngest son pukes up the crackers, string cheese and peaches that I just had to wait for him to eat at snack time. He pukes everywhere. All over himself. All over his car seat. All over his coat on the floor. Daughter starts screaming about how gross the car smells. She starts gagging.
3:53 Door opens to my first grader's smiling face. He stops. He immediately starts yelling about how gross the puke is and refuses to get in the car. A teacher helper looks in, visibly gags and then asks if I need anything (stupid question lady). Oldest son still refuses to get in car. The teacher volunteers to go get paper towels. I decline. I need a hose.
3:54 We are now holding up the line. Oldest still refuses to get in the car. In front of many teachers I scream at my oldest son to "get your butt in the car." He does so, Spiderman-like sprawling against the inside of the car door window, refusing to sit.
3:55 I give up and drive the one mile to our home like this. Once in the driveway I send a helpless text to my husband briefly explaining that the youngest son just puked all over the car. He offers to come home early from work. I decline. The hardest part is over.

Eventually we got into the house (although I did strip down my youngest son out in the driveway before bringing him inside- very classy, I know). Eventually baths were had. Eventually clothes and carseats were washed, and eventually the car smelled normal again.

Yep, just another typical day.

See why I have thrown time management out the window?

*reposted from earlier this year

Guest Post: Poop and Snot (among other things!)

What a treat I have for you today! Another great post from Team 2015 Miles in 2015 Member, Brandi Jones. She discusses her last month of running, supporting other runners, an injury, and some overall good advice for the not-so-glamorous side of running. 
Read below for Brandi's article:
Hello!! It’s September! Current mileage 493.49/672 – 64.97miles for August. Still “free” of registrations!
 My August started out GREAT and ended a little rough! My hometown celebrated their annual Fun Day’s and this year it combined with the Jon Tumilson Go Crush It Challenge. This run was held by the  3 Minutes Out organization. It is another race I would have participated in but instead I was up at 5am,  got 6 miles in, showered, grabbed my cow bell, and headed out to cheer the runners on. The run was held at The Fossil and Prairie Park.
My cheering point view.
 Where I stood was the end of 3 major uphill’s. Keep in mind about half of this race is on loose rock. It is a very challenging course, I heard next year they may add an 8.6 mile as that’s the date when the helicopter was shot down.
First runner from beginning to end (fellow friend I went to elementary school with). Finished with a time of 21:17!! AMAZINGLY FAST!!
Since this was in my hometown I knew a lot of people running/walking but a couple of people stuck out. These brothers have been inspiring me and many others. They each started their fitness journey a few years back and most recently have been logging their miles for Olivia. Olivia was their niece that suffered from CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia). Even though she was only here for a short time she touched so many people. They have a Facebook page set up for her under Olivia’s CDH Journey. Keep kicking A** boys!
Great job guys!
I have to say lately I have been amazed by others. Every person is fighting their own battles whether it be physically or mentally. Your attitude and views can make changes for not only yourself but others. Stop defending yourself and making excuses. Push yourself to that next level, the feeling of accomplishing what you didn’t think you could – Is priceless! Turn the bad in to a good. Negative into a positive. 

My August didn’t end the greatest. Two weeks left in the month and I started to get right knee pain. I think I was too ambitious on the box jumps in morning class. J I ended up walking for a little over a week, icing constantly, and strengthening it up by exercising on my house steps. My first run back wasn’t bad. I read an article saying to shorten your stride and focus on using your glutes/hips more. This definitely helped but down hills were still a little sketchy. I have found over the years that it’s best to rest and recover then push through. It could be the difference between a week/month long break to a lifetime of pain. Take care of your body and your body will thank you!
Treat your body like the most amazing machine ever designed!

Warning….the next paragraph is graphic! J
 On a more un-talked about note... It seems like lately I’ve had a lot of discussion with our running group about poop, snot and sweat. Yep, you heard me right! These are some of the many not-so-glamorous things about running.  Have you ever had the “oh crap” experience.  The all of a sudden “where’s the closest bathroom!" For some reason it’s the easiest to talk about with a fellow runner but  I wouldn’t bring up with anyone else. Understanding of your bowels is something that is a must when running. What you eat pre-race, post-race and in training can make a world of difference. I read an article stating one of the major issues is the lack of blood flow to your intestines when running. Food and water intake are the second leading culprits. Eat good – Feel good! With the high summer humidity staying hydrated is a must. 
Next, the snot. I think someone needs to invent a Kleenex dispensing belt, but then again it’s another apparatus to strap to yourself. Till then my sleeve it is! Last but not least, the sweaty mess. You sweat from places you won’t think would sweat! You simply tell me that we are going for a run or exercise and I automatically start sweating. I’m a person who sweats profusely. Have you ever finished a run and your face was powdery white? Yep, that’s the salt draining from your pours. At first I never really thought twice about it. After my long runs lately I’ve been drinking Propel Water with Electrolytes. I’m amazed at how fast my body starts recovering. So to all runners looking for a bathroom with snotty sleeves and white faces, I’m here with you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Guest Post: Giving Up the Cherries in the Fruit Cocktail

GUEST POST: I am so pleased to present the writing of my dear friend, Nicole Juranek. I hope you enjoy her truthful yet unconditionally loving perspective to a life-changing struggle that all of us parents have endured, but that none of would ever change. I love her honesty as she tells us of the sacrifices it takes to be a good mom, and the incredible love that those same sacrifices create. Enjoy!

Nicole with her two wonderful reasons for sacrifice.

“True love is giving up the cherries in the fruit cocktail...” is what a friend recently shared about parenthood. Just hearing that made me nod along in complete agreement. First, you must know my whole life has been shaped by words. My mother had a saying in our bathroom (of all places) that read, “Don’t pray for an easy life; pray to be a strong person.”  I say things over and over to myself to keep me motivated/alive. Just last night, a friend of mine said, “The more you struggle, the closer you are to God.” 

His words almost knocked me off my feet. 

I am drawn to words and I live by them. So, what else have I given up besides the cherries in a can of fruit cocktail in light syrup? Some days I feel like I’ve given everything up, and yet, some days I feel like I haven’t given enough of myself to my two boys.

Each day, I know my work day is over when my colleague, Kaci, walks down my office hallway and stops in my doorway. We are both community college professors and we have both have small kids who attend the campus child care center. (It’s not a day care; they care for the child, not for the day.) She’s in my doorway which means it’s time to go get the kids and start shifting into motherhood from professor. She was wearing a sleeveless top (carrying a bottle of breast milk for her baby). She said, “To hell with it, I’m a full professor. I’m wearing a sleeveless shirt on a hot day. Let the students see my tattoos.” Then Kaci said, “I wish I was more of myself, like the person I once was, but I’m not. I’m all like, gotta get the kids to soccer, dance lessons and have a roast in the crock pot.” 

I know what she’s talking about. She’s talking about giving up the cherries in the fruit cocktail…for her kids.

Of all the things I have given up, I do know it was worth it. I can’t imagine life without my boys, despite the challenges. My boys are night and day. From the way they look, to the way they act, I couldn’t raise two more opposite children. What do they have in common? Poop jokes and the same parents. Oliver is blonde, brown-eyed, full of adventure, and talks non-stop. Getting in line for something is an Olympic sport. Owen is a red-head, with blue eyes, slow moving, introverted kid who notices the very small details. I had no idea they painted all the neighborhood fire hydrants a variety of colors until Owen pointed it out.  He can tell you where they are and how they differ.

When I was pregnant, a friend with a baby quickly clued me in about what I would give up. “Say goodbye to doing things quickly,” she said. At the time I was flustered by her comment. But, I now realize that I have given up going anywhere quickly. This just happens when you have a kid or more.  Someone has needs-- missing shoes, shoes that feel funny, peanut butter on his face, peanut butter on his shoes, needs their special blanket/stuffed animal/lucky rabbit foot, permission slip signed, a drink, a nap, or a cigarette. Wait that’s me, wait, I quit smoking 10+ years ago. But I do still breathe deeply sometimes and wish I had a cigarette in hand. 

But, I don’t. I gave that up too.

Since my first child was born, I have struggled with giving up parts of myself and how having a baby changes your identity. I wish I could clearly communicate what I mean, but somehow my son’s arrival changed me. The summer of 2000 was the pivotal summer between college and my first job. That summer you could hear me saying, “Sleep when you’re dead” every time someone told me they were tired. I know I didn’t sleep much that summer; I was maximizing my time before REAL life arrived. That summer was packed with amazing friends, long talks, and very, very little sleep. My best friend had a minivan with no seats in it except the front seat. We loaded up that van each night to go to a bar. Having no seats was perfect for hauling 10 of our closest friends. And the least drunk friend drove the van at the end of the night. (I seriously gasp at the thought of that now).  I laugh now that I once said, “Sleep when you’re dead.” Those words make me laugh today. Now, I go to sleep approximately 15 minutes after the boys are tucked in their bunk beds. I used to say, “If you aren’t living life on the edge, you’ll miss the view too.”  But, it was just one summer of risks, freedom, and adventure. Was the view incredible? Yes, but I was never very good at leading an unpredictable life.

What’s life like on the edge now? Is this letting the kids stay up until 9:15? Letting them have ice cream and a Popsicle on the same day? But, who can complain too much? The view of them laughing, holding hands as they cross a street, and sunshine in their hair as they ride in the back of the Jeep is pretty magnificent too.

In the future, I promise not to say silly things that will come back to haunt me. I will only say that having kids will change you. Ten years ago, if you had asked me for the cherry in the fruit cocktail, I would have laughed in your face and gobbled it up myself. Today, I would cut a tiny cherry in two pieces to give to each of my boys.  But, then again, I didn’t know I would catch their vomit in my hands and scrub their poop off the walls after an explosive diaper incident. 

And, it doesn’t bother me at all. 

Not one bit. 

I guess that is true love.

Nicole and her adorable boys.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

August 2015 Miles in 2015

Hard to believe that August has come and gone. Team 2015 Miles in 2015 is still going strong, and all 3 of us reached or exceeded our goals again this month. We are on track to blow our 2015 miles goal out of the water if we continue at this rate!

I am training for two October half marathons so I am racking more miles than I had set as my goal, but I knew that would happen. I reached about 110 miles in August. I was hoping to get 120 miles in in August, but I have had some nasty toe issues (click here is you want to read more about that) that have put out a few of my long runs from my training plan. My toe is feeling a little better this week so I am hoping to get caught up in the next few weeks and that should get my miles back up to where I'd like to see them.

Brandi is once again a rock of consistency, getting almost 65 miles in. She has been battling her own injury, as she hurt her knee doing a class in August and is struggling to get it back on track a little. It sounds like her "registration free" year is getting harder and harder to complete with the temptation of some really special races in her area lately. I will let her tell you more about that in a blog post she wrote that I will publish for you all to enjoy next week.

Kate is doing great! I am so proud of her. She once again met her goal and reached just over 60 miles in August. She is definitely on track and with this cooler fall weather approaching, I have no doubt she'll he able to get outside and get those miles in for the year. I am hoping she will write another post for us in a month or two to update you on her journey this year... (hear that Kate?!). Her last post is one of the most popular posts on my blog... EVER! (see the column on the right?!?!)

Well that's our team. Going strong, battling a few injuries as athletes are bound to do, but focused on our goals. I look forward to sharing with you all our accomplishments when September ceases. 

Now get outside and get some miles in! Let us INSPIRE you. You have to start somewhere, and although it isn't easy, you CAN do it. Three years ago if you had asked me to run one mile I would have laughed in your face and told you you were crazy. 

If you haven't already, you should consider creating a team and starting your own plans to walk or run 2016 miles in 2016. Ask me if you have any questions on how to get started! I have been thinking about managing some more teams in 2016 if there is an interest. Send me an email if you are interested at and I will see what I can do to help you get team put together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

IMT DMM Post: Who Needs Pretty Toes Anyway?

Check out my latest post on the IMT DMM by clicking here. And viewer discretion advised- I have a case of Runner's Toe and the picture might make you non-runners squirm a little...