Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Back in 8th grade, I was told that I should not study a foreign language in high school. Having dealt with nearly paralyzing shyness, a learning disability, and struggling through elementary school and junior high, I was advised that a language would be too difficult for me and that I should focus on the basics, rather than add to my work load in high school.

Game on. Sign me up.

From the many languages at my disposal, I chose the language of my lineage, German. Difficult, at best, and quite a surprise to the administrators and teachers who were trying to steer me away from what they thought would be certain failure. One might argue that they had my best interests in mind, but I argued that they were challenging me, and I accepted.

Between a heavy workload of music classes and the usual math, history, English, and science, I was determined to show them that they were wrong. I *could* handle it. The first couple years were tough, but, high school isn't exactly a cake walk no matter what you're studying. By junior year, more than half my day was filled with vocal and instrumental instruction, and a bulk of my time outside of school was spent in private lessons and independent practice. I was that kid who worked their butt off to anchor the flute section and stay buried among the sopranos, but I loved every single second of it.

With the support and help of two very dedicated German instructors, I did not quit like I wanted to those last two years. I didn't want to let "them" win. For as much work as I had to put in to just passing, though, even *I* didn't want to fail. Luckily, my teachers and my parents didn't let me. They helped me, they supported me, and most of all, they believed in me, even when I didn't.

As a final act of defiance, I chose German as my major field of study in college. I admit, this was really just because taking introductory German classes as a Freshman seemed like a good way to get some easy A's. Let's be real. With two amazing instructors who helped, encouraged, and supported me through some very difficult times, I earned my B.A. in German. There were even (very brief) times when I thought about continuing my education and pursuing a career as a translator. No, I didn't follow through with that, but to even have those thoughts was a pretty monumental thing for me.

Fast forward to 2010, when a friend of mine asked me to run a 5K race with him over the July 4th holiday. HA! I had run some in college with a friend, but, to say that I'd ever really 'run' was laughable. In college, we would run in the absence of a car to visit each other. We would run up and down the steps of the football stadium and all the upper level steps in the basketball arena. For fun. Twisted, not really fun, fun, of course. Trust me, aside from my friend's company, it wasn't really all that fun. Most of the time.

They never called me Sporty Spice
So to do a 5K when I hadn't laced up my shoes in (a few) years was more of a joke to me than an invitation. With two kids and a desk job, my most rigorous exercise was bathing my children and shaving my legs. Finally I agreed, mostly to get him to stop asking, but also because I figured I was up for the challenge.

My time in that race was more than a number on a clock. It was now my newest challenge. I could do better than that, and I would. Slowly, I replaced time with my therapist with time in my running shoes. I also regained a little of my pre-mom self and found a competitive spark that had been dormant for many years.

Since nobody is ever happy with our station in life, when you begin running, you're like that single girl at the office that everyone thinks should be dating, then married, then having kids. You do a 5K, now when are you doing a 10K, or a half marathon, then when are you doing a full marathon? It never ends. So, in following with my spirit of facing the challenge, I decided to sign up for the Chicago Marathon 2012.

My body had other ideas for me in 2012, and I injured my hip in the pursuit of that marathon. Scratch the year off the record. It would have been easy to give up and just stop running altogether, of course. When you can barely walk, who wants to think of running? Me.

Last year was filled with physical therapy, failed attempts to show I was healed, more physical therapy, and finally - no more running. More coffee. More wine. Where'd I put the number for my therapist?

....with wine...
There was no way I was going to let my hip keep me from this marathon. Did I believe I could do it? Hardly. Did I want to prove to myself and others that I could? Totally. Especially after being sidelined by something that only I had control over.

Since little comes easy for me, it was only fitting that even registering for the marathon wouldn't be easy. At least this time, it wasn't just me that the Gods were trying to test. Luckily, I got in without having to endure weeks of waiting to be chosen by Lottery.

In hindsight, I can honestly say that I've worked my butt off to get to this point. I still don't know that I am certain I can do this, but, I have allowed myself to have the confidence to make others believe that I think I can. I've even got others thinking that I can!

I have had some awesome support throughout my return to running and my marathon training. It means more to me than I can even try to explain. Who would have thunk that anyone would get their butts out of bed to meet *me* at O-dark:30 on Saturday mornings during the summer so I could run seemingly endless miles with great company? How many people are fortunate enough to be part of a team of runners whose common goal is to have fun while doing something that we love? And holy hell, who would have thunk that I'd ever get back into those size 8's that I secretly kept in my closet?
Let's keep this our secret, OK?
I haven't logged my training this summer, in part due to the fear of the jinx. Like washing your car invited birds to crap on it, I didn't want to write about my training and end up jinxing my success. It doesn't hurt that a full time job, house, husband, and two kids take up a good chunk of my time when I'm not running. So, since you haven't had to endure weeks and weeks of me talking about running, being sore, being busy, and more running, I hereby thank you if you subjected yourself to reading this entry, which might take you as long as it will take me to run 26.2 on Sunday. Perhaps I will have some brain power in the days following the marathon to chronicle the race itself. Perhaps not.

In these few days before the marathon, I'm trying not to obsess or question or pay attention to the new pings and aches that are trying to take over my mind and body. Instead, I'm focusing on teaching the kids how to get Mommy her morning coffee, make my lunch, and deliver my evening glass of wine (without spilling!) so that I might enjoy some time off my feet after accomplishing my very.first.marathon. Chicago 2013, here I come!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hello, Summer? I think we got disconnected...

Someone told me the other day that it is now August. Actually, that was in reference to the fact that it's almost September. September is just the month before October. October is when the Chicago Marathon happens. I'm running in that marathon. I've been training for it all summer. At least, what I think was summer.

A few days ago (OK, in June) I left for Ragnar, and when I returned I said, "I can't wait to write up my summary of this weekend!". I still can't wait to do so. This race reset my running brain, and proved that my body can accomplish so much more than I convinced myself I was capable of earlier this year.

Then I took the kids to their first day of summer camp. Each night after that, we scrambled to have clean, dry bathing suits and towels, lunches that would withstand field trips and bus rides, and oh ya, dinner. And getting to bed.

Then Fred started Rookie Ball two nights a week. Of course, Rookie Ball was the same two nights I run. Then Hot Dad's softball started on one of the same nights as Rookie Ball and my running. Let's not forget the softball league Hot Dad plays on with me on another night. At one point this summer, I wondered why we pay a mortgage and not rent a suite in a hotel for as little time as we seemed to spend at home.

Weekends have been additionally fun. I get my long runs in on Saturday mornings, usually before the rooster sends out the morning call. Still, as my running distance grew, my Saturday mornings were more and more consumed with my absence. Being home was then consumed with removing the grime of the miles from my body and resetting my mind back into Mommy-mode.

Hold on, 'just the other day' wasn't June. It was the 4th of July. Yes, that's it. The sun was up early, the birds were waking me for work and early long runs, and we could play softball casually without fear of darkness before the 5th inning. That was just last week, right?

That's about when Hot Dad got the running bug. He did the local 4th of July 5K for the third time and got a huge PR! Amidst all the ball games and my running, we squeezed in some time for him to get out and put in some miles.

The kids have watched a LOT of Animal Planet. I have run a lot of miles. Hot Dad has put up with a LOT of whining from all of us, and has made sure the kids are where they need to be each night. I have enjoyed plenty of wine. I drink a LOT of coffee.

I'm wrong, it was just June. We just got the field trip schedule from camp. We just put away the school back packs and got the new camp ones. Right?

I'll be honest, I feel cheated of a summer. I'm not sure how to justify that because I was outside so much pounding out the miles on the road or playing ball. Still, I feel like we were so crazed this summer that we, OK I, didn't get to enjoy it. There was no deep breath, no sitting by the pool, no time in the God forsaken tundra of weeds yard.

In my desperate attempt to keep some sort of social life, I tried to schedule times to see friends. This has been much harder than it sounds. Grocery shop? Do laundry? Clean the sticky spot on the floor? What's that thing in the corner with the hose that plugs into the wall? Vacuum? What language is that? Where's my wine?

I grew more and more tired as the weeks drew on. All of this, and we have only ONE kid doing any kind of activity!

Let's not forget the joy of weekday mornings with tired kids. Camp is enough to wipe you out, but when you have to get up at 6AM every day to go, there's a whole new layer of fun. I never could keep up with blogging our lovely mornings before camp with the daily pictures I take of the kids. There's been no time! Is there more coffee around here?

I am super thrilled (nobody says 'super' any more, why?) to be doing the marathon this year. My training is going well, I have been pain free except for the normal spongy legs and brain that go along with running through three towns, two counties, and then grocery shopping with two kids and then making dinners and trying to keep some semblance of order in the house.

Imagine my surprise when someone asked me if the kids were excited to start school "this month"! "This month"? You must be mistaken, summer hasn't yet begun.

In a mad attempt to find summer, we took our annual trip up north to a home away from home that I have come to treasure for its sunsets, indoor/outdoor pools, and its distance from home. I hadn't accounted for early morning wakings, though, to get in a run before the rest of the family was geared up for the pool. Still looking for that one relaxing morning on vacation.

I find myself, now, in the midst of school backpacks, homework, and making sure books go back to school. And lunches. But it's still only June, right?

Last day of camp

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The glamourous life

I just love mornings. Being a full time working mom is wonderful. Waking your children up to leave the house for 10 hours every week day is just a blessing. Come on, you know you agree.

Some parents are weary of exposing the real truths of life at home with small children. I am not really one of them. There are things in life that you experience, and afterward you think, "Man, I wish someone had told me about that earlier". You know, like barfing and farting during pregnancy, truly sleepless nights with a newborn, colic, evil three year olds, and temper tantrums that don't stop after the phantom "terrible twos".

On one hand, we don't share these things because we feel pressure to live up to the Leave it to Beaver standard of family life. Still, there is a reality behind those cute little babies and perfect family pictures that we post on social media and hang on the walls of our homes.

Those of us in the trenches realize that if we really share these deep, dark secrets, then others won't be as likely to join us in the journey of parenthood and then we'd be left on the island all alone. Fighting the battle every day against single-digit aged enemies. We simply cannot have that. So we stay silent.

On the other side of this coin, we have to realize that when we don't share, we can't laugh at the huge mistakes we are each making when raising our kids. You know, stuff like forgetting to put candy in their lunch box, throwing out the four millionth an art project, and not doing their laundry when they wanted to wear that outfit to school. You know, THAT outfit! Ugh, MOM!

Thus, I offer you 60 minutes in the life of us, beginning at 6AM. Mind, you Mommy has been up for 60 minutes prior, because she has it easy. 

After the initial battle to get Ethel out of bed (20 minutes), I mentioned that I'd like to put sunscreen on both kids before they get their clothes on.

Begin battle royale.

Protest, anger, yelling.

Blood pressure - Mach 3

Meanwhile, Fred came out of his room, stark naked, and said, "I'm ready for sunscreen". Bless his naked little self.
This week at camp is a 'team challenge week', where the kids divide up on teams led by a counselor, choose a team color, make banners, and have little games. Yesterday, they were to wear their team colors to camp, and they did. Luke decided to wear hers (dark blue) all week. I picked Fred's clothes this morning, upon his request, not knowing that today they should/could wear their colors (his is yellow). He came down the stairs, met with Ethel's instructions (whiny as hell) that he needs to wear his team colors. He tried to defend his (just fine) attire, to no avail. I told her it's OK, I didn't read it on the list of the week's activities, etc, her brother can wear whatever he likes. So, she got the flyer out and started to tell me that I was wrong when I told her {brace for sudden subject change} that they aren't going to Pool X today, they ARE going to Pool X, and why did I say they aren't?

I apologize (because I'm obviously an idiot, right?) and try to clarify what I was saying, at which point she interrupts me and says, "Stop talking!".

Blood pressure - Mach 7.

She continues this pissing and moaning through breakfast. No sunscreen, I told her to get a sun burn.

Suddenly, it was discovered that when I put their swim gear in their backpacks, I mistakenly put his towel in her backpack, and hers in his. Holy crap, how could I have done such a thing? Why did I do that? Are you joking? Apparently someone needs their Mom Card revoked. Thank goodness for kids who are right there to point out these kinds of flaws.

Finally, we got into the car. As I got into the driver's seat, Ethel screamed, "My diary!! I wanted to bring my diary!!". I explained that we're leaving and she should have thought about the diary earlier, and she hurled to me, "I FORGOT", very emphatically.

I was pretty much ready to drive the car through the family room wall at this point.

She tried to climb out the window. Literally. OMG.

I waited 'til she sat. I started the car and pulled out of the garage. Ethel screamed at me because she was not buckled. Obviously, I had not given her ample time to do so. Mommy's on a roll this morning!

{insert snotty, know-it-all intonation at full volume} "You'll get a ticket and it will be your fault because you didn't follow the rules!". I told her "I'm OK with that". She is now enraged even more, and buckles her seat belt. Loudly. With a grunt.

The drive to camp was not quiet. I got an ear full about how I hurt her feelings, I'm the one who makes the mornings difficult, etc. I asked her why life isn't so burdensome for Fred, when I ask him to do the very same things? {my first foray into comparing the lives of my children to make a point - fail} Of course I don't ask the same of him, she explained to me. I only asked him to put on sunscreen. Of course, how could I be so stupid as to not know what I ask of my children in the morning.

We got to camp and she didn't get out of the car. So I closed and locked the car door and began walking. Poor Fred just stood there. I felt so badly that he was stuck in the middle of this. Then I watched as Ethel climbed into the front seat (totally forbidden act in my car, btw, you do NOT climb in a car) because she knows I have the child locks on the back doors. Too bad, kid, I locked the car, you can't get out. She pounded on the door, crying and yelling.

I finally let her out (the back door) and she yelled at me for locking her in. Now it's my fault. As we walked to the entrance, and I told her it was not my problem, she PLUGGED BOTH EARS!!!!!!

Yes, I am the mom who grabbed her 8 year old in a headlock and pulled her backward several feet telling her, "Don't you dare". And she is the 8 year old who told me, "I had something in my ears!". Yes, we got some great looks from the other patrons entering the building. It was awesome.

Mind you, this entire time she is bawling. Yes. Good mom bringing her sobbing child to camp. At 7:00AM. It's already been a long day.

And you know what? I don't care. When you're having this much fun, it's only right to share with those around you and let them have some fun, too.

She cried all the way into the lap of her favourite counselor, whose lap she sits in every morning when we get there. And Fred, proudly, gave me multiple hugs and kisses, as he does every day, and made his way to a friend in the room to play.

Bless the counselor who tried to make me feel better and said, "Oh, I bet she won't be the only one. For some reason Wednesdays are harder than Mondays".

I wonder if that counselor babysits.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In the Mommy 'hood

Thoughts from last night's run:

This is how I feel running, into the wind, up long, steady inclines
Who runs with lipstick and eyeshadow?
This is how I feel as a parent, dealing with the constant demands, whines, objections, what-ifs, and general duties associated with young children.

Is this more effective than coffee?
And when all is said and done, the run is complete, the children are asleep, and Mommy is having some wine finally sitting down and relaxing {insert hysterical laughter here}.....

Minus the lipstick
Honestly, though, as I got through the run last night, I realized that there have been so many times when I just wanted to quit. Just stop, toss the shoes, not run the next run or race, and walk away. At home, I am overwhelmed. Some days I feel like I am not cut out for this motherhood thing. I want to run away more often than not, or so it seems. Ironic, right?

What makes me want to keep at it, or even do it again, is the feeling at the finish. Whether it's a race or a fun run, or kissing the tears off a cheek and seeing a smile, the feeling of knowing I did it really keeps me going.

The last few weeks have been tough, and last week I could feel it in my legs on every run. Last night, though, I could feel the stress of the day fade throughout the whole run. I remembered the feeling of being able to accomplish what I need to after a good run. It was a feeling I haven't had in quite a while, and it felt good to finally have it back.

And, to top off my night, I made it to Fred's first Rookie Ball game (just a little late). I got through my day, melted away some of the stress, and got to see him play in his first game.

I have terrible Mommy guilt most of the time, and being late to the game last night didn't help that at all. Still, getting a hug from Ethel, and watching Fred out there watching airplanes and running to first base, it was like a big reward for the day.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smiling Monkeys

No, there were no smiling monkey pics yesterday. It rained yesterday. Streets flooded. I got road rage. This is what it looked like.
Actor reenactment
Today was much better. And they both smiled.

Actual kids, not actors

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smiling Monkeys


I don't have AD...wait, a squirrel!

There is so much I could say about living as an adult with ADD.  I would, in fact, but, I can't organize all my thoughts into something coherent that would be worthy of someone spending time reading it. Just getting to this entry has taken me weeks.

As a parent, as a mom, I can clearly see the impact of my ADD because it comes out in my family, specifically my kids. I can't organize my own time, my own life, how can I expect my children to be any better? How can I expect them to keep their rooms clean when I don't keep up with my own, let alone the rest of the house? How can I expect them to know what needs to be done, when I am too overwhelmed to know, myself? How can I teach my kids good time and money management, when I don't practice it, myself?
When did she have time to do her hair?
Once I start these questions, I begin the game of self-blame. It's my fault. I am not doing my job. I'm not an effective parent. I am breeding the behaviour, the problem, and not acting as part of a solution. But what's the solution? I'm not cut out for this.

Once that begins, it's not long before the defeat sets in. Suddenly, the hole gets deeper, and the light outside gets more dim. Before long, I've managed to convince myself that only something drastic will help solve this pickle I've gotten myself into, and I must act NOW.

NOW usually involves a frantic day cleaning the house, going through a closet, or rearranging the furniture in a room or three. With a weekend of frenzy behind me, I turn around and there is yet another pile of stuff that I hadn't seen in the madness, and I'm back to square one. I have to start all over again and tackle this pile. Will it ever end?

Now I'm paralyzed. I can't see past the things I haven't done, or how to upkeep the things I have. Before I know it, everything is back to the same state of disarray it was in when I started my frenzy. At this point, a child usually wants something to eat, needs me to do something for them, or decides it's a good time to piss the other kid off and start a battle royale in the living room.
Forget Calgon...wine...take me away!
I have a supportive husband who keeps up with the dishes, and is often found doing the kids' laundry. I can't wait 'til those little buggers can reach the washer and dryer themselves. All kidding aside, I wouldn't be able to keep what little sanity I have if it weren't for Hot Dad.

Wine Running has also helped me curb some of the madness that comes along with ADD. Changes in my diet have also helped curb some of my symptoms, and helped my mind see things in a more positive light. I have more patience with my kids after I run, which is something I make a conscious effort to show every day.

Mommy running, by Ethel
There are times when it feels like there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel. Hell, who am I kidding, end? What end? Other times, though, I realize that it's all just one day at a time. I need to take things slowly (no easy feat for me), and not worry about everything all at once.

I'm doing my best to get there. I really am. I'm not certain why I wrote all this out. I think my mind needed to dump a few things, it's gotten pretty overloaded over the last few days. I guess if you got this far, I say thank you. I'm doing my best to make time to get back to the blog. And next time I see you, I will likely have a glass of wine in my hand, or be sweaty from running. What some might find crazy, I find to be necessary for survival. Oh, and chocolate. Chocolate is vital to making it through the tough times. And it pairs well with wine. Especially after a run. I digress....imagine that......