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Monday, November 29, 2010

I know you are all waiting... on pins and needles... for me to post my birthday post. The one that I promised... filled with additions to my list. 


It's coming. 

But, it's still not finished. 

You see, the holiday weekend and my birthday celebrating just ended this morning. Well, that sounds really fun, right? It does, it does. However... most of the weekend was completely rushed and exhausting, in a perfectly good way. It just didn't leave me much time to focus on one of my favorite things in the world... my blog. :) 

Do you really want a rundown of my weekend? Probably not. I've been told I give too many meaningless details when discussing these things. Yes, I've been told that my entire life. lol. :) 

So... the quick, detail-less version (haha, I know... imagine if it were the full detail version): 

Wednesday - worked until 4:30 and then traveled to my parents' house. There, my daughter coughed so hard that it made her sick and we had to change the sheets. A perfect beginning to the weekend. lol. A perfect indicator of how the kids would feel all weekend... absolutely. 

Thursday - got up and ran a 5K with Brad, Colt, and Dawn. Finished it in 30:20. Not a bad time, but not as fast as I had hoped for. I should have trained harder leading up to it. It's my own fault. But, it was a great start to Thanksgiving. Spent the day at my grandmother's and then to my grandfather's to help cook. Overate... extremely. Kids felt bad, but I thought it was just a cold. 

Thursday night - Bailey got sick again. This time, she made it to the bathroom and we didn't have to strip any sheets down. 

Friday morning - up and at 'em at 4 a.m. Shopped until 10 a.m. Brad and Dad took the kids to have breakfast (they loved it). Then, headed to my mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Deliciousness. Except that Jake was sick, too. He had to run to the bathroom all day. You could tell he was feeling terrible. That night, we traveled back to my mom's to spend the night. He threw up all over the car. ALL OVER CHRISTMAS GIFTS. Well, really, only one Christmas gift, but still. Brad inherited a new jacket by default. :) 

We made it through the night without any sickness and with good night's sleep. Thankfully. I was exhausted. 

Saturday morning - we had to get back for Bailey to practice her ballet for the Nutcracker. She was still coughing pretty hard, but not as bad as she had been. We cancelled my birthday celebration and rescheduled it for Sunday, just to be safe. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and I bought our Christmas tree. We have it up, without lights or decorations yet. That will come later this week. 

Then, Sunday rolled around. We slept in. We fixed breakfast. I was bombarded by birthday wishes online and by phone (I love you all so much). I felt old. Not really. But, I felt like I should feel old. :) We played Guitar Hero to make me feel younger. I can still rock out the medium skill level, so I'm feeling OK about myself. 

At 5, we met our friends for dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, where we continued to gorge ourselves on delicious food. We also tortured an eleven-month old baby with the fire on the Hibachi grill. No, we didn't torture him on purpose, but I'm pretty sure he thought we did. He couldn't believe that we were eating at this wretched place. :) Sorry, Carson. :) The other kids had fun. We had fun. It was perfect. And, I got gifts. :) 

My hubby and kiddos got me an ipod touch (older generation): 

My mom and dad got me Paula Dean cookware (I LOVE it): 

My mother-in-law gave me money for my new running shoes (hopefully I'll get them this week): 

Photo pending my shopping. :) 

Cilla and Bret got me four of the most wonderful cards and an ice cream cake (my absolute favorite): 

Rebecca, Paul, and Joseph got me a book (Shit My Dad Says - I can't wait to get started on it!): 

And, last but certainly not least, Dawn (and Brandon, Jackson, and Carson) got me an adorable keychain with a 5K and 10K charm on it. She's promised a 13.1 (half marathon) and a 26.2 (marathon) once I complete those races, too. I might be waiting a while on that 26.2. :)

I dreaded this birthday more than any. And, yet, it turned out so wonderfully. Everyone has made me feel so loved. And, I don't feel old. At all. I feel alive. Very much alive. And very thankful for everything. And, while I absolutely love my tangible gifts, the ones that mean the most to me are the ones that you can't see. The love and encouragement I get from all of you. The cuddles with my kids and husband early in the morning. It's the sweetness of Bailey telling me happy birthday at 5 in the morning, because she woke up and instantly remembered. It's the way that Jake looked so sweetly at me on our way to go eat and told me happy birthday, even though he was very disappointed that it wasn't his birthday and that our meal would not involve french fries or rides. It's the way my husband graciously offered to fix me omelets for breakfast and let me play lead guitar on the Xbox all morning, while he sang songs he didn't know. lol.. The little things, people. :) And, it most certainly is in the hope of 30 more wonderful years and fulfilled birthday wishes (just like this year's - ;-).) 

I love you all... and thank you for being such a sweet and wonderful part of my life. 

And, I promise... the additions to my list are coming. I am just getting slow in my old age. :)  

Just for kicks... here are my favorite girls in the world. :) 

I am... thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Guess what is on TV tonight? I'll give you some hints... it isn't Elf. I love Elf. I've already watched it once this week. But it isn't Elf. In fact, it isn't a holiday movie at all. Yes, it is November. And, I am not watching a holiday movie. 

It isn't a superhero movie either. And it doesn't involve any animation or animated characters or princesses or teenagers named Carly or Sam or Freddy. 

It isn't a movie about killing people or wars or a comedy about drunken men in Vegas. 

Although I love all of these types of movies (sometimes), it isn't one of these. 

Instead, I am watching a movie that will probably make me cry. It is a movie that I probably should not watch in my last week of my twenties, on the verge of turning 30 and feeling like it is all slipping away. 

Well, I'm not really thinking that it is all slipping away or anything. I just think it sounds more dramatic like that. :) 

It is a movie that really makes you think about your life and how you want to spend it. 

The movie? The Bucket List. 

So, you know what's coming right? 

Oh... so you think I'm going to give you my updated list with new items? Well, think again. I am doing that. It's in the works. It will be posted this weekend. You know, when I actually do turn 30. It will be my actual first-third of life crisis post (I hope I live to be 90 - at least). :) 

I could totally do nothing but focus on my need for this list. I could tell you about how it makes me feel alive... like I am working to make my life mine... that I have some false sense of control over my entire life. Do you think I have issues? :) I do. 

While watching this movie, I realize that I'm not alone. :) 

I also realize how fast life goes by. I look at my little girl and remember the day she was born as if it were yesterday. I can't see how she can already be 5. Jake is growing so fast that it will only feel like months before I am sending him into the kindergarten classroom... of course, I'll be crying like crazy, I'm sure. 

October slipped away without me realizing that it was nearly gone and now Thanksgiving is upon us and will be over in the blink of an eye. And, Christmas, well, I can hear the clock ticking all day... it will come and go and I will wonder how in the world we fit it all in. 

Every month. Every week. Everyday. They all fly by so quickly. And some days I just feel like I haven't accomplished anything at all. 

Some days are wonderful. Some are less than. Sometimes I wish the day would last forever and sometimes I would just as soon crawl back into bed by 8 a.m. 

Yet, everyday, I am grateful for some blessing that God has given me. And He has given me so much. I desperately want to hang onto it so that I don't forget all of those blessings. I don't want to wake up 45 years from now and wonder where it went. So, while I'm savoring my turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes, and pies, I'm also going to be savoring all of the wonderful things in my life. 

I'm so thankful for so many things. There really isn't a way to name them all. So, in honor of my 30th birthday... here are 30 things I'm thankful for.  

  1. For God. Without Him, life is meaningless and cold. Trust me, I've tried walking alone. It's much better with Him. :) 
  2. For love. The kind of love that makes your heart skip a beat... that makes you feel 16. While we have our moments, I am so lucky to have a husband who I still love and who I think still loves me. Sometimes. :) And to make it better, our love just continues to grow. Sometimes up and sometimes down, but it grows. :)
  3. For laughter. Knock-knock jokes, fart noises, tickle machines, and giggles over the smallest things. Seeing a smile on my babies' faces, hearing their laughter, and seeing their happiness over the most simple things in the world. I am truly not sure if there is anything sweeter in my life. 
  4. For parents. The kind of parents who are always there, ready to do whatever you need, and ready to support you in whatever choices you make. My mom is my best friend in the world... and my dad is my superhero (well, Jake would argue there). And my mother-in-law is incredible... always there, always supportive, and always with a smile.
  5. For brothers. Little brothers who always act like little brothers. They are always there. Always making jokes or wrestling you to the ground, just to show you that they still can. 
  6. For grandparents. They spoil you, love you unconditionally, and send you home. I love the two I have still with us... and miss the two who are gone so much. 
  7. For friends. The kinds you can talk to everyday, sometimes about the same thing repeatedly and still not get tired of talking. 
  8. For pedicures. Period.
  9. For food... good food. And the Pioneer Woman. She is my newest hero (look out dad and Jake...). :) 
  10. For Diet Mountain Dew. It's saved me on more than one occasion. Usually from hurting someone else. 
  11. For a clean house, cabinets and a refrigerator filled with food, and cars that work. 
  12. For DVR. 
  13. For the ability to run. And the ability to enjoy it.
  14. For healthcare. Yes, I said healthcare. As much as I think it needs help, I can't help but remember that it saved my mom from breast cancer. She is in my life everyday because of healthcare. So... yes. Healthcare. 
  15. For bubble baths. For big, hot bubble baths. 
  16. For sunrises and sunsets... Jake loves a colorful sky just like me. Every time he sees the colors in the sky, he says, "Wook, mommy. Da sky is bootiful. I see pink, puhple, and orange." It makes my heart smile every time. 
  17. For football... and really all sports.
  18. For tears... of joy. Of sadness. Of love. Tears. Sometimes you just need them, even if it's only to get the dust out of your eye. I'm thankful I have them. :) 
  19. For pictures. Memories that you can touch, unless you are like me and never upload them to be printed. Then, you can just look at them on a computer. 
  20. For hope. Sometimes when you hold onto your faith, you can will things to happen. I hope so. I really hope so for some things I'm hoping for right now. And praying for, too. :) 
  21. For Saturday mornings cuddling with my kids and hubby, eating a late breakfast, and spending the day in our pjs. 
  22. For snow days with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and movies. 
  23. For lazy days at the lake, beach or pool with sun-kissed skin and an icy cold drink. 
  24. For car washes in the driveway. 
  25. For music... one song can change your day entirely. Or your life. Or it can just be fun. Or it can melt your heart. Listening to my kids sing their "God, Our Father" prayer is incredible. Hearing them rock out to Kryptonite or just about any Taylor Swift song can make my day... or can drive me crazy. :) 
  26. For Christmas music... even when it annoys the hell out of everyone. And, yes, it does deserve it's own category. :)
  27. For slow dances with my husband... for fun dances with the kids... and for ballet for my baby girl. 
  28. For books... and the ability to read.
  29. For imagination. I told Bailey to stop pretending something today... and she said, "But mom, I have to use my 'magination." Yes, honey... that is exactly what you have to do. And, God knows Jake has practice using his with all of his costumes.
  30. For apologies... especially when I'm not too proud to be the one to say it. Sometimes it takes a child's sweet innocence to remind us that we are supposed to apologize when we hurt someone...  unfortunately, I catch myself feeling horrible and needing to say I'm sorry to my kids way too much. It's in those moments that I remember that I need to read through this and enjoy life just a little bit more. :) 
Life is too short. Savor each moment. Happy Thanksgiving (a couple days early!). 

Gobble, gobble!

My fantasy, the holidays, and my favorite superhero

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Where am I?

Well, at this exact second, I am in a fantasy world, where my Christmas shopping is done, all pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas are prepared and frozen nicely in my freezer, and I have not one dime of credit card debt to show for it. I have sewn multiple, beautiful gifts. I have found perfect items for my babies, who are growing so fast. Oh, and my feet have no calluses, I have completed 24 miles a week of running (each and every week), and I have finally taken the time to organize all of our closets to be color-coordinated like they were months years ago.  HAHAHA! Yes... a fantasy world, indeed. Really? You know that I am old when this is my fantasy. :)

In all seriousness, I am in the middle of my absolute favorite, most exciting, wonderful, incredible, time of the year, hashing through all of the sales papers and online deals for the best Christmas gifts for everyone in my family and trying, with all of my heart, to find the most perfect gift for each person that I love. I am trying to find the perfect recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, trying to find a way to make all the gifts I want, and trying to pull it all together and still be sane.

And, this is my favorite time of year. lol. Yes, it really is. No matter how stressful and crazy it gets, I love it.

I love, LOVE, Thanksgiving. It might be my favorite holiday, if it weren't for Christmas. It absolutely would be my favorite holiday if it weren't for Christmas. Who doesn't like a holiday that involves overeating, being completely lazy, and then shopping at 4 a.m. the next day? (On a sidenote, I about laughed my butt off when you said almost the EXACT same thing last night, Bret... I had already written most of this post then). I love everything it represents - gratefulness... family... food... tradition. I love that my mom and I can spend an early morning together, shopping as if it were  a competition. Laughing about all of the craziness and enjoying time together that we rarely have. I love that we still go to my grandparents' homes on Thanksgiving Day, that there are always shrieking children to watch, and that I can spend my Friday after shopping, curled up at my mother-in-law's home, watching a fire in "Lilly," the famous potbelly stove. I just love it. And, well, we can't forget that I always get extra love because my birthday usually falls around the same time... and there's always someone with a present for me. :)

Oh yes, it would be my favorite.

But instead, Christmas has the first place spot. There are so many things I love about Christmas. And I promise I have so many ways to describe each and every one of those favorites. But I absolutely refuse to write this post about Christmas. You know why? Because I am sick of everyone going straight from Halloween to Christmas and totally ignoring what would be my favorite holiday of the year (if it weren't for Christmas). So, with that I am celebrating Thanksgiving.

You will see a post later (when I dig out from this pile of stuff I'm trying to get done) about all the things I'm grateful for. :)

It will come.

I promise.
Don't hold me to promises, please, even when I totally intend to keep it. :)

In the meantime, I will start with this... I am completely and utterly thankful for superheroes. And my superhero is going to love this for Christmas.  :)  It's reversible... and handmade by a superhero's mother, who loves that he is so obsessed with something so entirely adorable. :) Shhh... don't tell him.

Round and Round and Round I go...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Alright. All right. All righty then. I have to, I just have to, do a running post. 

It's just been too long. 

I just have to. 

Don't worry. I've been writing about my running - it's just that I've been sharing it with my "running listserv" of friends instead of my blog. :) 

It has been tough staying motivated. 

Well, really, it hasn't been so tough to stay motivated, but more that it has been tough to find time to be motivated. 

So, running has taken somewhat of a backseat lately. 

I am very pleased to report that I ran today though. It was a tough run, but it felt good. We went to the YMCA, despite the wonderful outdoor weather. 

One thing I've learned is that my running does not only take a large amount of devotion and commitment from me and my body. It takes a large amount of dedication and love from my family. So, sometimes I have to sacrifice a good outdoor run for a stuffy indoor run on the YMCA's track. Tonight, the kids wanted to play at the Y and Brad wanted to lift. How can you complain about a family that actually enjoys the time while you are running? 

So, around and around and around the indoor track, I ran. I won't say it was exactly interesting. There are only so many ways to count to 96. That's how many laps it takes to run 6 miles. There are only so many times that you can pass the same walking person without feeling like you are being obnoxious. There are only so many times that I can curse the skinny girls that might be 15 who are walking on the track at the absolute slowest pace ever, as they share an Ipod. Yes, I said share it... meaning they each have one of the ear buds in their ear and they are walking close together and listening to the music together as they pace as slowly as possible around the track. I nearly run over them or into them at least 20 times. 

Honestly, I wasn't having nice thoughts about these girls. I was really frustrated every time I had to pass them, squeezing between them and the wall, as they chattered on oblivious to the fact that they were in the way. I was annoyed by their short shorts, their blonde highlights, and their shared Ipod. I was aggravated that they continued to be on the track for the entire hour that I ran. I found it entirely irritating that the one girl's boyfriend kept coming on to the track to talk to the girls and making it even more difficult to run.

And, then, I thought, "You know. I should be nicer. I should be happy these little girls aren't smoking, drinking, or climbing into some guy's backseat. I should be nice. If this is the worst thing these girls are doing, then there is hope for the world. I would be happy if when Bailey is that age, this is the most annoying thing she does." 

So, I changed my crappy perspective and fought against my natural instincts to shove the girls over the ledge of the upstairs track. :) 

As always, I digress. 

I have to admit that by the time I hit mile 4, I was really hoping that Brad was going to come out and run with me (he did that last week at about 4.5 miles). I kept watching for him, hoping that he'd be ready to push me along the last 2 miles without any problems. Yet... he didn't show up until I was at 5.5 miles. 

Oh well... I still made it. And, had it not been for the hole that I could feel forming in my sock and the cramp that was working its way into my calf, I think I could have gone to mile number 7. But I didn't. As a matter of fact, there seems to be this little block on my ability to move past the 6th mile. I don't know how I will ever be ready for a half marathon. Beyond the mental block that I seem to have about going farther than 6 miles, I find it really hard to not get bored after I've run for an hour. 

New music time? Yes. I would guess so. :) I know, Dawn. I'm still not a real runner until I give that up. If it makes you feel better... I forgot my mp3 player tonight and had to run without music. It was not horrible. :) 

Our Over-Achiever

Monday, November 8, 2010
Last week was our parent-teacher conference at Bailey's school.

She is rocking out at school. Really and truly. She makes us so proud. 

I think she is awesome. And I'm not the only one. It's nice to know that. :) 

I feel justified in bragging on her. Because I can totally just tell you what I was told instead of feeling like it's all coming from me. lol.. 

She is reading at a first grade level. Private preschool paid off. lol. She was reading at the level that they wanted her to be at by the end of Kindergarten by the second week of school. Go, Bailey. The school wants her to have a year's worth of growth. So, by all of our ratings, she needs to be reading at a second grade level by the time she leaves Kindergarten. 

If Bailey has it her way, we will practice reading for at least 4 hours a day AFTER school and she will graduate from high school by 3rd grade. :) 

I'm not complaining. Really. She loves to read. I'm thrilled. She is doing so well, that I am actually considering marking off of my list the item that includes me teaching her to read. She's really doing that well. 

However, her report card had indicated that she scored low in one section of math (Disclaimer here - she is still well above average in her overall math score). Said section was dubbed "problem solving." I laughed, knowing that the test was probably just a fluke. My daughter, who at age 4 told me not to worry about trying to figure out how to put my new cell phone on silent for the movie... just to leave it in the car, tested low for problem solving. I laughed. Brad did not. He began "helping" Bailey by giving her problems to solve at every opportunity. You can't say that he's not engaged or interested. :) After all, math and science are where money jobs are... she's not going to have a major in something like public relations (ah-hem) if it's left up to certain people. lol.


After reviewing all of her tests and work and basically having lots of discussions about her weaknesses (she loves to talk), we discovered that there really is nothing to worry about. Bailey is literally scoring perfect on nearly every test she is given... yes, even in math. Mrs. O. suggested that she might just have had an off day when she took that test (it's all on the computer). Or maybe she rushed through it. Bailey? Rush? Never. lol.  

Her teacher reports that she loves to learn, that she is always helpful, and that she is moving her to sit beside the kid who doesn't speak English (again). That way, she won't be talking all the time. lol. In all seriousness, she did say she was going to move her to sit with this little boy who doesn't speak English, mainly because she really does help him understand what's going on. He looks to her for help every time he doesn't understand what he's supposed to do... even from across the room. It just so happens that it also helps to keep Bailey from talking ALL the time. :) Oh, our little model citizen... 

Which brings me to tonight. It was our Girl Scout Daisy Investiture program (aka Daisy pinning ceremony). Aside from taking a lot of time to get it together and aside from the fact that I had to speak publicly and I had to sing in public (gasp), it was a lot of fun. These little girls are just incredible. I am lucky to have them in the troop... and even luckier that there are plenty of supportive parents who came tonight to show their love for their daughters. And, as always, I was reminded how special my little girl is... upon calling out her name to give her the Daisy pin, she smiled the cutest smile ever and gave me a big hug. It was pretty special to be a part of something that she is so excited about. I'm taking all of the love I can while I can... it won't be long before I'm the uncool mom of a 13 year old. :) 

Mushy post about my girlfriends... :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010
I started this post about these three amazing friends of mine like a month ago. And, no matter how many times I edited it and reviewed it and re-wrote it, it just never did my girls the justice they deserve. So, I deleted it. All of it. And, tonight, I am trying again.

I am reminded of how difficult it can be to write about the people you love when you know that they are reading it. Why is it so hard to find the perfect words? I don't know, but I wish it were easier for me to share with you all how wonderful these three ladies are and why they each mean so much to me in a different and equally special way. 

I have mentioned on at least one occasion how my dad was in the military and we moved around a lot as kids. Well, as I developed my deep love for change, I also developed this uncanny ability to separate myself from groups of people easily. No, I do not have some social disorder that keeps me from making friends or keeping friends. It just has never been difficult for me to have friends and not speak to them for a period of time. It bothers many of my friends. I am sure that I have actually lost a great deal of really great friends (or at least lost touch with them) because of this "ability." Add that "ability" to the fact that I dearly love to hang out with guys and talk sports, politics, and action flicks, and you have the perfect equation for me - a girl with a small group of close girl friends. 

Now, some people see that as a negative. Some would even venture to say that I won't let people get close. And, some people would be partially correct in both places, I suppose. 

However, I love all of my friends, close or not, deeply. I just am not good about keeping in touch with them all. Enter Facebook and Blogspot and things change a little. :) 

Anyway, I think God has given me some really incredible friends throughout my life. Many of them have been there for me through wonderful (and horrible) situations. Many of them have only been a part of my life for a few months, while others have been a part of my life for years. Some enter my life for a short period, are absent for a while, and then re-enter without missing anything. I am thankful to God for each and every one. 

I guess because I know this about myself and know that things change so quickly, I want to savor this moment of great friendship between myself and these three incredible women. I don't envision any of them going any place any time soon, but sometimes it feels good to acknowledge how much people mean to you... you know... while they are actually interested in hearing about it. lol. 

Now, girls, remember... I know that no matter what I write here, it's not going to be enough to make you understand how special you are to me. So, instead of making this an ultra-mushy post (it's already there, right?!), I thought I'd list my favorite things about you in whatever way I can. Bear with me. :) Extra mushy... I just can't help myself. :)

Cilla... my best friend for life... my right-hand... my soul mate in every single non-Lesbian way... the perfect complement to my right-brained personality. :) I love... 

  • ... how you can justify anything I do, even if I am completely acting insane.
  • ... how you always know what the scoop is on Days of our Lives.
  • ... that you don't even try to have a drink anymore. Pepsi or alcohol... well, at least the alcohol part is right. :) 
  • ... that you always think it is a good idea to go out to eat. 
  • ... that you are more obsessed than I am about the Twilight series. 
  • ... that you still talk to me about your photography business and actually care about my opinion, when you so totally have it all figured out.
  • ... that I can tell you the most embarrassing things ever and know that you will make me feel completely normal. :) 
  • ... that I can tell you about any crazy dream I have and it will never, ever top your bees with parachutes dream (are you sure you weren't smoking something that night?). 
  • ... that you listen to me talk about running when you really think it is just insane that I actually want to go and run. 
  • ... that when I have a crappy day, I know I can call you and just vent like crazy. And, then, I'll feel better.
Rebecca... my drinking buddy... my running partner... the mom I know will always be ready to pack the kids and go try anything... the person who reminds me that we don't have to act old, even if we are just hanging out at the house all weekend. I love... 
  • ... how you tell me the brutal truth that I need to hear, when I need to hear it. This is a good thing. I promise.
  • ... how you always know what is going on in the entertainment industry and how you educate me (without even knowing it) when you tell me about any post-90s music (other than country, of course). 
  • ... that you and Brad and Paul always recite movie lines that I don't know, but it's funny watching you guys re-enact them... much funnier than the actual movies ever were. 
  • ... that you are always up for anything... if I need to chill out with a drink, you are ready. If I want to run a mile or 6, you are ready. But, you don't mind if I say, after deciding that we should run, "Nah... I don't really want to go now." :)
  • ... that you always know where I should go for the perfect toy, shirt, or any various item and where I can get it at the best price. :) 
  • ... that you become overly-obsessed with things like Christmas presents and birthday presents, just like me. 
  • ... that you are so thoughtful about sending the kids cards (like the Halloween one that I keep forgetting to thank you for). And that you are raising such a cool kid for my kids to hang out with. 
  • ... that you NEVER cheat on Catch Phrase. Ever. :) 
  • ... that we can have so much fun and never have a deep conversation, but when we really need to talk, we can talk for hours about the most serious issues. 
  • ... that you inspire me to be a better Guitar Hero player every time winter rolls around. :)
And, Dawn... my e-mail buddy. hehe... the one person I know that I think responds to nearly everything exactly the same as me... my running mentor (even if you would hesitate to call yourself that)... my newest close friend. I love... 
  • ... that I know I can e-mail or text you after each and every run or basically anything else I do and you will respond (quickly, too) and really care about what in the world I'm writing about. :) 
  • ... that you are so incredibly thoughtful and you remember everything (this is probably where we are most unalike - I am a terrible friend when it comes to this). 
  • ... how you love to plan things and you hate when plans fall through. I feel so less alone knowing that I'm not the only person who has these "issues." 
  • ... how I can ask you virtually any crazy question about running and you will actually have an answer or an example when someone else has dealt with it. 
  • ... how your list is so similar to mine in so many ways, but yours is so much more giving.
  • ... that we have grown so close in such a short period of time... and that we are always dealing with so many of the same decisions at the same time. It is so wonderful having you to bounce my thoughts off of. 
  • ... that you are OCD... and organized... and a great task master. lol. :) 
  • ... that you actually would be happy if I called you fat. Or a cow. Or somehow insulted you in any other way... so that you would be encouraged to run. Like I could ever do that. 
  • ... that your little boys are such awesome kids and that they are getting used to hanging out with our kiddos. And, that my man Jackson is giving Bailey a run for her money. Show her who is boss, Jackson. :) 
  • ... that you approach everything with the same "fix it" attitude.
  • ... that you and I can seriously laugh through e-mail for like an hour over a completely misunderstood e-mail message. :) Still laughing about it, by the way... 
This doesn't even begin to put a dent in all of the wonderful things that I think about you. But, I do love you girls. I know each of you are going through different things in life right now - some good and some bad... and some just emotional. We all have ups and downs and days where we just wonder how in the world we can deal with it all. I know that you guys are always picking me up and making me smile every time you get a chance. I hope this one will make you guys happy... and at least know that you are loved. :) 

And, just to show you guys how thoughtful Dawn is... 

As part of her list, she is doing a random kind act each month and sending a handwritten note each month. I was the happy recipient of both this week. I'm not sure if she counted it on her list, but I do. She completely surprised me with a gift in the mail... a running shirt. I have been trying to figure out what kind to get for the winter and what do I find when I open my mailbox? A package from Dawn. I have to admit that I hoped I might be the recipient of one of her random acts over the next year. hehe... not that I'm so greedy, but I love being surprised. And, she totally surprised me. It made my day. I had no idea it was coming. And, let me tell you, I usually can see these things coming. :) It had been one of those bad days, too. I was late for work because I forgot Jake's breakfast on the way to school, so I had to stop. Then, I just lost my mind and drove right past the turn off for his school, which meant I had to drive about 10 minutes out of the way to turn around and get back to his school. It was just one of those days. So, it really made my day to get a nice surprise at the end! :) 

Here are photos of the adorable shirt (I leave all the cool photos to Cilla)... and the cute note from Dawn. 

Breaking (well, just bending) the Rules?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Sometimes society sets standards that I don't understand. They make rules that don't make sense to me. They make rules that contradict common sense or instincts. I could give you a list of things that bother me about these laws, especially the one that makes it illegal for an 18-year old to buy a beer. It's not that I really want any 18-year olds out there becoming alcoholics. I just don't think it is fair for us to tell them they can't drink a beer, but we can ask them to fight for their country. Anyway, most of the time, I just chalk it up as part of life and go on. But there are certain times that they just force themselves into your lives and you have to acknowledge them. 

It's tough teaching kids that there are rules for society, school, and home. It is not easy to explain that the rules are "guidelines" and that sometimes it's just OK to break the rules. I know that sounds like I'm probably going down a bad path here. Maybe we are. I don't know. Anyway, trying to find a way to explain these types of things to a child is really tough... especially when the child is a very rules-oriented person with a "black is black and white is white" type of outlook on everything.

Here is what I'm talking about. 

Bailey was picked on by a little girl in her preschool class when she was four. It wasn't that big of a deal, but she did decide that she didn't want to go to school a few times because she didn't want to have any run-ins with little Ms. A. If I remember correctly, she would pinch Bailey and squeeze her arm if Bailey didn't do what she wanted to all the time. She and Bailey really butted heads, but Bailey would not defend herself. Her teacher, at a Christian preschool, even told me that she was upset with Bailey because Bailey would not tell Ms. A to stop hurting her. Instead, she would let it escalate to the point where she would be crying and the teacher would have to intervene. 

So, at that point in time, we sat Bailey down and explained to her that if Ms. A was hurting her, she needed to ask her to stop. If she didn't and there wasn't a teacher there to help immediately, she should pinch or hit or shove Ms. A off of her. This little girl was seriously maybe 6 inches shorter than Bailey. She was about the same size as Jake, who Bailey routinely beats up (and takes a beating from). I was really frustrated with Bailey because I did NOT want her to let this kid pick on her. Bailey was too worried that she would get in trouble with the teacher. She refused to defend herself. Again, we told her that no matter what, even if she got in trouble, if little Ms. A decided to hit her or hurt her and Bailey couldn't get her to stop by using her words, then she had our permission to shove her off of her. I told her that if the teacher got upset and if she got sent to the office, she should just tell them that she wanted me called and that I would take care of it. I even made a point to tell her teacher what instructions I had given to Bailey. 

I don't think she was happy with it (the teacher), but I think she understood what I was saying when I told her that if no one was defending Bailey, she was entitled to defend herself and if that was a problem, I'd be happy to come in and discuss it. 

Nothing ever happened with it. Bailey avoided Ms. A as much as possible, and I'm pretty sure that the teacher kept them away from each other as much as she could. Ms. A left the preschool program early. I worried it was because of us, but decided that they surely would not have pulled her out or kicked her out based on just one experience. Guilt... it is so terrible.  

Here would be a good time to tell you all... I do not condone fighting. I don't encourage my kids to fight with their fists. My kids would be punished in more ways than one if I found out they were bullying a kid. It might happen once. But I can promise, if I found out my kid was involved with some type of bullying, it would not happen a second time. I can also say that we have talked to our kids about defending themselves and defending people that are not as strong as they are. Bailey knows that if a little kid is getting picked on by a bigger kid, she should defend that child or find an adult to help. There is no doubt in my mind that she would step in and help one of her friends. But defending herself is something entirely different. 

So, what brought this post on? Well, Bailey got punched in the face at school the other day by a little boy in her class. Now, before you get worried, I don't think it was a really hard punch. She says she didn't cry or anything (and trust me, if it was hard, she would have cried). 

When I asked her if she hit him back, she said, "No. The teacher stopped me." The entire story was told over a few hours, with different pieces being added in at various points. Bailey didn't tell me the entire story in chronological order at all. But I think it went something like this: 

F hits Bailey in the face. She curls up her fist to hit him back, pulls her arm back to swing, and Mrs. O says, "Bailey, do not hit him." 

Bailey responds with something to the effect of, "He hit me first." 

Mrs. O says, "I don't care. We do not hit in this class. F, go to timeout."  

While Mrs. O punishes F, Bailey continues the argument, "My mom said it's OK for me to hit him if he hits me first." 

Mrs. O says, "I don't care what your mom says, the rules are that we do not hit." 

Bailey says, "You can call my mom and ask her. She says I should hit him back if he hits me first." 

Mrs. O says, "I am not going to listen to your mom about this, Bailey. You do not hit." 

That's how I translate all of Bailey's jumbled up story. :) 

I thought it was actually pretty funny. 

But, it did bring up some interesting conversation in our house and among some of my friends and family. 

How DO you teach your child to defend herself while also teaching her not to hit or become a bully? 

In all honesty, I think it is incredibly important for Bailey to understand that she needs to defend herself. She needs to see that it only takes one time of her standing up for herself to get the point across to others. I bet little Ms. A or F would think twice before they decided to hit or pinch her if she did it back to them just once. 

BUT... it is also important for her to understand that rules exist for a reason. She needs to obey and respect the teachers. It's a tough, very thin line to balance. Trying to figure out how to keep your child from being one of those students that you hear about that get bullied everyday or that bullies someone else everyday is not easy. I want Bailey to be tough and rough and strong. But, I also want her to be sensitive and compassionate and understanding. 

I'm not asking too much, right?! :) 

The End of October...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Today is the first day of November. I have 27 days left in my twenties. Boo. Sigh. Gulp. 

My kids actually decided to start singing Happy Birthday to me this morning. No, I am not normally one of those people who wants to celebrate the entire month for my birthday. However, Bailey learned long ago which months go with which family member's birthdays. So, she asked me what was next, now that Halloween is over. I told her that it's now November, so Thanksgiving is next. 

She proceeded to jump up and down in excitement. "It's your birthday!" Followed by my explanation that it isn't actually my birthday yet. I was ignored. The singing begun. Jake keeps asking when we are getting the cake. :) That's all he cares about when it comes to parties anyway (he is MY son). :) 

I guess ignoring this birthday won't happen... so I might as well embrace it. :) Happy birthday to me... in 27 days.

We had a wonderful October. It went by really fast. It was hot for a big part of the month. I don't really like hot Octobers. It makes them seem fraudulent. I love cool mornings with my falling leaves... not 80+ degree days. I like sweatshirts and sweaters... not tank tops and flip flops in the fall. :) You can imagine how happy I was this weekend when the temperatures actually finally dropped. However... the cooler temperatures are giving me excuses to avoid running. I haven't run in 9 days. I am mortified. Running has to happen today. 

With all of that said, October ended in a wonderful way. We had a great weekend in eastern Kentucky, visiting my parents and Brad's mom. My mom, the kids, and I spent most of Saturday shopping... trying to get ideas for Christmas, because as much as I wish I could see my mom every weekend, I will most likely not get back home until Thanksgiving... and then, we will need to be ready for our serious shopping day, Black Friday. We spent Saturday evening trick-or-treating in my hometown with Brad's mom. The kids had a blast, of course. Brad and I enjoyed seeing old friends and catching up, if only for a few minutes. 

Then, on Sunday morning, we wrapped up our little weekend trip, packed up the truck, and headed home. The weekend wasn't near over for us. Our fabulous friends were coming over to trick-or-treat in our subdivision and to eat chili. Basically, Brad thinks that I invited our friends over because I wanted them to bring me chili. I admit, the chili is so much better than what Brad and I put together. We just can't find a happy medium... Brad loves his chili spicy (as in on fire) and I like it with some flavor (as in spicy, but not take-your-breath-away-eat-500-crackers-and-a-gallon-of-milk spicy). :) Bret and Paul both fixed amazing chili - I ate two bowls of each. Yum. I wish I would have stolen a bowl or two for my lunch today before they left. :)
I did not invite them all over to cook for me... it was just a nice bonus. :) I did cook, too. I made potato soup and four pies (apple and pumpkin). We had a great time eating and hanging out. The kids had a great time playing. We all had a lot of fun trick-or-treating. It was probably one of my favorite Halloweens. Ours is normally pretty quiet. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids running door-to-door together and, of course, raiding their candy when they got home. Oh... and I found out this weekend that there is a good possibility that I am related to Brandon, my friend Dawn's husband. It's hilarious to us because we are from the same hometown, never met while we lived there, met through another person from our hometown, who lives in central Kentucky, etc. etc. etc. So, that was pretty neat... there's an addition to that whole "research my family tree" list item. lol. 

Anyway... the kids loved Halloween. Jake cracked us up, as he rarely remembered that he was supposed to get candy because he was too interested in what all the other kids were dressing up as. I don't know how many times I heard him say, "I want that one, mommy." He, then, proceeded to ask some people for two pieces of candy. After explaining to him that he's not supposed to do that, he quickly adjusted. Then, he gave me a report after every house on how many pieces of candy they gave him... and how he said "just one piece." 

Bailey was all about hugging any of her friends from school... and their parents. LOL. Leave it up to Bailey. She also wanted to sprint from door-to-door. I think she would have been much happier if I would have jogged with her through our subdivision. Her friend, Jackson, was not too happy that she kept running ahead of them either. He was so freaking adorable when he yelled out at her, "Bailey... stop running... wait for your friends." I loved it. 

All in all, we had a great time... and to make everything better, my fantasy football team beat my mom's team, which now places me in first place. The girls are totally rocking it out... the guys should totally take note. :) 

Oh... and please vote tomorrow. I would try to sway you, but I don't want a HUGE political discussion on here. Just VOTE!