Little Lines….

I have fallen in love….

With mowing the lawn.

Yowza. I really do lead a crazy exciting life… There is just something so awesome to me about that feeling of accomplishment: getting it done for another week, getting dirty, smelling that fresh grass and dirt smell, being physical- all of it.  (Yeah, and I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes the smell of gasoline, too!) Maybe it’s just because I’m all high on endorphins from my run this morning. I keep waiting for the “novelty” of mowing the yard to wear off, but even after 4 months – I still look forward to it.

I used to hate mowing the lawn as a kid, but I have to admit – I’m so glad now that it was one of my chores!

Life Lessons Learned from Little Lines:

1.) Hard work will yield results. (Even when you have to do it repeatedly.)

2.) Yard work yields great sleep!

3.) Mowing the lawn forces me to be a bit mindless. I can think about all kinds of things, plan dinner, plan the day – whatever – all while I mow the grass.  I think just being is good for my sanity. I’m a better mom when I’ve had “just be” time.

4.) If I’m truly honest – yeah, there is a competitive side that likes it when I get to my yard before the neighbor does so mine looks better, if only for a day! Ha! (Admit it! You’ve thought that too!)

5.) The satisfaction level is directly proportional to two factors: Riding lawn mower vs. push mower and the size of the yard. Push mowing and large yard = more accomplishment and greater satisfaction!

6.) Edging nicely adds the icing on the yard cake!

7.) Seeing lines in my grass reminds me all day how productive I’ve been. Even if that’s all I do ALL day!

8.) Gets me fresh air! The kids get fresh air. And it forces them to find something to do independently.

9.) Ice water, lemonade, sweet tea, or an ice cold beer never tastes as good as after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day!

10.) I’m reminded of a trainer who did a lawn mower cord pull move. She said, “Get that mower started with just ONE pull! Get Stronger!” I think of her EVERY TIME I start that thing!

11.) Knowing I don’t have to do it again for a few days is a nice bonus!

12.) For me personally, I thought when we first moved in we might pay to have a yard service not knowing how I might manage with the kids during deployment.  EVERY TIME that lawn gets mowed I am reminded that I AM strong. I CAN do this (and more). And I can ENJOY it!!!

Part of my freshly mowed back yard!

Making Lemonade

Today was a rough one. Not for any particular reason…just weepy, over-emotional, overwhelmed, missing my Hawaii peeps, missing the hubbs, church this morning was spot on, and oh yeah, I’m a woman! Ha!

After church and braving the grocery store for ONLY FIVE items that inevitably turned into 25 – I felt a little blah despite the sun making a seemingly rare appearance. The kiddos and I puttered around the yard, picking some weeds, Hannah picking some radishes that weren’t quite ready yet, me fixing my little garden “fence” after Hannah tore it out, digging the wormy strawberries out of Hannah’s mouth – you know, the usual! Jake was riding his “monster truck” (aka – the Dora quad):

and while not an unproductive day…I just felt antsy and kind of blue. Last weekend’s half marathon was one of the worst races for me as far as my mental self talk was concerned. The time was fine, especially considering the conditions, the fact that the hubbs left 2 days later, etc. It just was a tough one mentally. Usually my races like that start out great – lots of race energy and adrenaline. The first 2-3 miles usually FLY by. And while some miles are tougher than others, you muddle through those until you come to the miles that bring the endorphin high where you feel you are soaring and don’t ever want to stop. It’s like body and mind and spirit are completely peaceful even while thinking all kinds of thoughts. I feel on top of the world, making eye contact with another runner, encouraging each other with a simple smile and a wave and all is right with the world.
None of this really happened last weekend. The rain kept running into my hat and down my face. Looking at other runners I saw the same trudging-on-but-I’m-really-not-into-it-today looks. After the first mile I was asking myself, “Why the heck do I do this again?” Oh yeah, cause it helps me stay sane and it’s cheaper than anti-depressants according to my friend Nina!! 🙂 And she’s right! There is a “losing myself” and clearing my mind that I don’t get any other way.

I felt defeated with the race. I have been working out, but I know I can go harder. And my cardio days have been virtually non-existent, due to a sprained toe in part, but mostly laziness. I get caught up with the kids, they don’t want to ride in the stroller or the weather is crap blah blah excuse excuse blah blah blah.

What would my Hawaii self tell my Washington self? Probably something like this:

“Stop being such a whiney baby. If you don’t like the way it’s going – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You know what to do. Don’t gain a bunch of weight back and use the damn deployment as an excuse!! (yeah, I swear at myself sometimes! 😉 Seriously! People you know do this with 4 and 5 kids. Get a grip! And get moving!”

So I got on my treadmill and ran a couple of miles. It felt SO good to sweat and just run without thinking about time or distance. Sure, I had to stop and break up a couple of kid fights, and peel Jake out from under the treadmill because he “just wanted to look at how it works”. But I got my sweat on and that’s what I needed to do to make my sour lemon attitude into some refreshing lemonade!

The Not-Quite-Perfect Perfect Day

I am sitting here listening to the rain pound the roof as a thunderstorm passes overhead reflecting on the day. The kids are napping peacefully after our morning excursions.  We ate breakfast (at the table, following our new rules! 🙂 and drew pictures and wrote a letter to Daddy for his first box o’ goodies to send out to him on the ship.

After that, getting cleaned up, dressed, and out the door went fairly smoothly. Jake was upset because he had to wear socks. We quickly sidestepped the socktastrophy and off we went. Our first stop was a success, then got to the car and realized we’d forgotten one item, so back in we went (of course I didn’t realize this until after I had gotten them both in and buckled and was double checking the list. Why I neglected to bring the list into the store with me in the first place is still a mystery!)

Forgotten item secured, off to the post office. But now the minions were asking for lunch and I knew if we didn’t eat soon it wouldn’t be pretty.  And now that we don’t do drive thrus, I braved a sit down restaurant. With two kids. By myself.

We were in Anacortes and Calico Cupboard sounded really good. And I figured we’d be able to get something nutritious there. We were seated in a corner table, it was busy and bustling but pleasant. The kids sat at the table, weren’t perfect, but did SO GOOD.  Hannah charmed the pants off the neighboring tables and Jake ate most all of his sandwich that he ordered all by himself. (He likes to tell the waiter what he would like 🙂

After a yummy lunch, we hit the post office to mail Eric’s box. I love the post office in Anacortes! No line, friendly people and open on Saturdays! The kids looked around but weren’t wild banshees. Hannah was smiling and engaging the person behind us, Jake was playing with some packing tape – and it was AWESOME! The employee even remarked on how well behaved they were and gave them each a ball!! AND JAKE SAID THANK YOU!!! Parental angel choruses were singing “Hallelujah!!”in my head!!

I know not everyday is perfect. We probably learn more from the not perfect ones. But after having a conversation with my sister the other day about kid behavior, I realized that I was having unrealistic expectations for their age. How do kids (and all of us) learn? From our mistakes. It may seem like a duh moment but for me it was an ah-ha! They aren’t perfect, they aren’t going to behave perfectly all the time – AND IT’S OK!

Garden Fun

In an effort to teach my kids where food ACTUALLY comes from, we planted a garden this year and its growing quite nicely! Jacob likes to water and find the red berries for Hannah. (He doesn’t like strawberries because they “are too dirty”!  Ha! i think its the seeds he doesn’t like….
 Hannah and her favorite!! STRAWBERRIES!!!


 1st Day of Summer!!
Jacob and Hannah both had their first tastes of radishes. They were delish, but the kids weren’t so impressed! They tried them though and that is all I want!

For my kids…

As a part of losing 50lbs, my diet changed. I do not drink soda. I don’t drink juice. It’s water or milk and coffee with nonfat milk in the morning. I have had 2 glasses of wine (separate occasions) in 5 months. I didn’t finish either glass.

When it comes to the kids, however, I have been giving them watered down juice. I didn’t think much about it, but recently learned that it has nearly the same sugar content as soda! Yikes! It’s the same as giving them a soda. Ack! How did I not know this?

As a trainer I know always said – why do you feed your kids crap and you won’t eat it yourself?! Your kids deserve better! I knew this in my head but always used the excuse that my son is EXTREMELY picky. Insanely picky. He eats some fruits and would live on cheese pizza and a gallon of milk if I’d let him. For the 3 and half years of his little life I have struggled with food with him. Probably making all the mistakes that will make food a bigger issue than it needs to be. However, after a trip to the dentist – and a few cavities – it’s time to become a little hard core.

So here is what I’ve done:

*I dumped the sippy cups (it was over due anyway!) Both kids are drinking out of big kid cups. I have been cleaning up spills left and right (but how else do they learn, right?)

*I no longer buy juice. They don’t need it. Milk or water. Period.

*Food is for eating at the table ONLY. Ugh. I love sitting on the couch and grabbing a snack. This is the one I’ve had a hard time with but I’m REALLY tired of stepping in a mashed banana or some other nasty food that’s been there for who knows how long. (Gross, I know!)

*The short order cook has been replaced by a chef who doesn’t cook multiple meals. It’s my job to provide a healthy meal/snack – its their job to eat it. If they choose not to, then that’s their choice. I’m tired of the food battles. (Obviously, I make at least one or two things that I know he’ll eat and one “new food” to try.)

*One bite rule. You don’t have to like everything, but you do need to take one bite. One bite will not kill you!

*No More Fast food. This is a biggie. I don’t go to fast food joints anymore, but Daddy still likes to. While Dad is deployed he is cutting out soda entirely. (YAY!) And when he gets back – as a family we will not go anymore. There is nothing there that will nourish our bodies. When ever I do eat fast food, all I feel is lethargic and sleepy. And gross.

Too harsh? Well, after watching this:

It got me thinking about some of the things I need to work on. I do not want my kids to have those kinds of struggles. Or wait until they’ve spent a decade being overweight/obese to finally do something about it like I did.

We will see how it goes. In the midst of being hardcore and making some new rules, I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor and not “cry over spilled milk” – and since we got rid of the sippy cups, I get to practice that at least once a day! Ha!


Today was the last race before Eric’s departure. Kind of bittersweet, but I really didn’t have time to dwell too much on it because I was SO completely unprepared for today in every way that I just had to muddle through.

Flying by the seat of my pants, I snoozed longer than I should have (after staying up the night before longer than I should have), tried to get some breakfast and get dressed before Hannah woke up…no luck. She woke up so I was stuck nursing while watching the clock tick down the minutes before we needed to leave! Ugh. Normally, I am a person that plans and prepares and sets out the race gear/number/water bottles/breakfast the night before so I don’t have to think too much! Not so much this morning….

Then it dawns on me – hmmmm…. there was no race packet pick up. I don’t have a race number. I never got an email about one. Crap! But then Eric wondered aloud if I’d registered for this race way before I’d gotten hacked and changed it….Crap! Crap!  I quickly got online and found there wasn’t a packet pickup – just a number pick up at the start line. Okay cool. Now – where the heck did I put my armband for the gps/iphone for my tunes?? Crap! Crap! Crap! (Perhaps the title should be renamed CRAP!) Ha!

And of course by this time, Jacob is throwing a fit about something or other (there has been a few lately so it’s hard to keep track of them!) I then look outside to see it POURING buckets. Permeating, drenching, soaking wet rain. By the way – I got a sunburn yesterday from sitting in my yard. What?! I think I could deal with the weather better if there was some kind of consistency, but man! Is there something wrong with 2 days of sun in a row?! But, I digress……

Finally we make it – I have all my gear and I’m ready to go. Kiss Eric and the kids goodbye and I’m off. There is no chip timer. No gun start. Just a loud “3….2…..1….GO!” And there were maybe 75-100 people. TOTAL. Talk about a small race. And many runners seemed to be on the elite side because about 5-10 of us were bringing up the rear of the pack and I was running a 9-10 minute mile. Usually that pace puts me in the middle of the pack. Not a ton of beginners in this neck of the woods! Part of going from a city to a small town I guess….maybe that will help me get faster! Ha!

I did pretty good coming in at 2:21. The EXACT same time as the last half I did a few months ago. There was a definite difference this time in that with the lack of preparation – it just seemed to make the whole race that much harder because I felt like I was 3 steps behind before I’d even started! Mentally I kept hearing Christina (my Hawaii trainer) SCREAM at me…..”What?! You are stopping to walk?!!! You aren’t even breathing hard! GOOOO!!!!!!”

It’s a miracle we made it out the door! And I was totally sporting my Dumbell-Fit shirt! Gotta represent yo! 808 Baby!

Then there was the rain. Whoa. You know you are a “real runner” when even this soggy mess of a day doesn’t deter you! Whew. Even with a hat on, the water poured through the bill and my face was SOAKED. Afterwards I was getting the chills (Yeah, in June-uary!) So when we made it home I took a HOT bath! Felt great!

So moral of the story…..(or rather note to self) – PREPARATION IS KEY. Diet, sleep, rest, recover, run, cross train, hydrate – it’s all preparation. It’s all needed. And I will never again schedule a race in the last two weeks before a deployment!! Silly me!

Speaking of races…I better start looking for some to fill up the summer!!