Messy Middle

From Fall 2021:

“Just do the next right thing, just the things that need to get done today,” I often tell myself as we are muddling through the first back to school weeks. Getting back to our routines and schedules of the fall and adjusting to the ever-decreasing daylight in the Pacific Northwest propel me to increase my caffeine intake in the form of that delicious dark elixir we call coffee. I had cut down, and even quit a few months ago, but I’m back. That cup of coffee each morning is what I look forward to at night as my mess of curls gets secured up high so as not to choke me through the night. Hitting the pillow, I dream of how that creamy deliciousness will lie to me, again conspiring all the ways we are going to be productive. Inevitably, I do what I need to do, but find this time of year – it all seems hard.

I hate all the things about the going-through-it phases of life. I love the triumph of having gone through something hard only after the fact. Lessons learned and experience gained is a great thing. Learning the lesson? Gaining the experience? That pesky present tense verb is the part I’m not in love with.

And we are in the middle of it.

Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? Where should they go to school?

There are no answers. I don’t like not having answers. Or a plan. Or a direction.

“Just do the next right thing,” I remind myself for the 58th time. Keep working out, keep walking the dogs, doing the dishes, making dinners, cutting vegetables and making lunches. Tame the never ending laundry, or at least beat it down a bit. Keep moving forward. The next needed thing.


I love the colors of fall, the crispness in the air and especially the Halloweeny things. Twinkle lights dangled around our porch offer coziness each evening at dusk, a reminder of summer days spent camping.

Today? March 7th, 2022?

Still tired. Still drinking that exquisite cup of Joe each morning. Added Wordle into the mix with friends each morning, but, still in the messy middle in the midst of March. Sunsets are coming minutes later each day as the hours of light incrementally stretch longer. Maybe the whole point is that while we may have a new job, a move coming up, etc., we are just ALWAYS in the messy middle? If it’s not our physical location, it’s kids changing phases, or schools, or I don’t know, global pandemics. Maybe being human is just that there is no end, until the end-end. There is no ‘there’. Perhaps It’s just moving forward doing the next best thing we can at any given moment.

I think the next right thing is to go to bed. That morning cup of coffee calls me from just the other side of sleep…


It’s Fall, Y’all!

Fall is here and with the change of season, for our family, comes football. My husband has umpired high school and college level games for years and loves it. With our move to the city with no yard for the dogs, it has become necessary to walk them more frequently and that job falls to me in the evenings when he is at a game. (See what I did there?!)

The change of season not only brings football, but the change in temperatures (from 85 all the way down to 79!), the little bit of crispness at dusk and dawn, pumpkin spice all the things, school in session, and of course Halloween on the horizon. The last dog walk of the evening is my favorite. There are very few people out, it’s quiet and calm and it gives us a chance to relax and settle in for the night. All the townhouses in our community have automated porch lights so it’s actually bright enough to see festive decorations trimming doorways along our route. Fall is here.

As I matched Hippo’s pace on our evening jaunt, my eyes scanned the sidewalks for possible hazards – the dog will eat all kinds of gross findings. I took a deep breath and as I rounded the corner under the large maple trees that line the walk, I saw something that looked out of place. It was a leaf, but oddly suspended mid-air. I stopped suddenly and Hippo looked up at me expectantly. I followed the line up from the leaf, and at eye level, about 5 inches from my face, is a spider the size of a quarter nestled in his ginormous web. (For the record, I’ve NEVER seen a web this huge before in real life. At least 6 feet high). His fat juicy body was the size of the coin, and his legs spread out from there, daring me to come just a little bit closer. I swallowed the bile threatening to exit and I abruptly stumbled back and turned the other way. Hippo glanced at me again, convinced I’m nuts because, let’s face it – I am certifiable when it comes to bugs. Scorpions, roaches and rattlesnakes were 3 things I was very happy to say “adios!” to as we drove out of south Texas. Spiders have never been my favorite, and after our stint in Hawaii and coming face to face with a cane spider, my hatred has far from waned.

When I say “stumbled back and turned the other way”, what that really means is this: you know when someone startles you and you freak out? Like when your kid stands at the top of the stairs, just out of sight waiting to nail you? You get to the stairs, they yell, “BOO!” or “Gotchya!” and you react by jumping straight up, hair standing out on end, and yell something super intelligible like, “HAWOGHGHHGHHHHH!” while your heart races and you marvel at the fact that you just almost died and why would your dear, sweet offspring want to give you a heart attack like that?! No?! Just me? I digress… But that’s basically how I reacted to a spider 5 inches from my nose. In the dark. In the fall. When it’s almost Halloween.

I consider myself a rational person. Intellectually, I comprehend the fact that arachnids have their place in the food chain and if we didn’t have them, other insects would flourish blah, blah, blah. I love trees. I don’t love that they are spider houses. If you are a spider, and I see you – I will murder you or hire someone to murder you. If you have more than 4 legs, I want no part of you. Do not come to my house. I don’t need roommates and I do not want to be your friend.

Picking up dog poo and taking deep breaths to calm down (not necessarily in that order), I collected myself and vowed to never ever under any circumstances ever go on that side of the road again. I also vowed that now my husband shall be the chief evening dog walker. I brought Hippo in and grabbed a drink of water to calm down. After leashing up the other two, we head back into battle. It’s the littles and me against all the creepy crawlies. I’ve just about talked myself back to a normal functioning adult when what do I see? A RED ROACH SCURRYING PAST MY FEET. I should mention that my feet are exposed – bare and in flip flops adding to the heebee-jeebee creepy feeling. As if that wasn’t enough, the universe decided that I must be tested further when it’s mate joined him from one patch of grass, across the sidewalk and under a bush, followed by what appeared to be a baby. Awe! How sweet. Mr. and Mrs. Roach and family crossed the sidewalk right in front of me. And on the same night that I almost died from a a spider on my face!

Just give me the dang straight jacket now. If it comes with a padded room, great. As long as the door seals tight and no bugs get in, I think I’ll be good. Happy Fall!

Am I Ready For Some Football?!

Ah, football season is here again. Or, as I like to call it, the season of non-deployment-alone-time-with-minions.

Despite the hard time I give my husband about his “habit”, I secretly (shhh! don’t tell him!) love how passionate he is about football and sports in general. Not only did he take the time years ago to explain football to me (I grew up in a fairly non-sport family), but he went further and explained why he loves sports so much. And it’s not what you might think.

To a non-sport enthusiast (when we were first married) I just didn’t get it. Sure he’d be umpiring this game or that, he earned some extra money, and he got to do something he enjoyed doing. I think it’s healthy, and necessary, to have some hobbies and passions that we do separately. While he has never come right out and said it, watching any and all sports-themed films over the years explained for him just why he is so passionate about sports, football in particular.

Movies like Hoosiers, Major League, The Rookie, Tin Cup, The Legend of Bagger Vance, We Are Marshall, Cinderella Man, Coach Carter, Remember the Titans, and of course Field of Dreams, all speak to the sense of community the given sport inspires. The town rallies around the underdog, the team overcomes obstacles, the athlete pushes through circumstances and triumphs. That verklempt feeling you get just as the story reveals it’s climactic moment:


My fitness journey, and subsequent passion for running, really is a more individual expression of the same concepts. Perhaps that’s why I can appreciate his love for sports and officiating now more than ever.

It’s been a long 2-year wait for him to be able to don his stripes, and I think that ear-to-ear grin says it all:


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I sat on the bleachers with the minions and attempted to help them understand what and why Daddy was out there “in the stripey shirt”. What night of football is complete without the “I need a cracker,” and “I need to go potty,” and racing up and down the bleachers 379 times?

Oh. Maybe that’s just us.

Here’s to another season of football, bleacher sitting, and a husband with a permanent grin on his face!

The Things I Do….

It has been said that “If you are interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

That pretty much sums it up for me lately, today in particular. I do what it takes to get a run in whenever I can.

I started the day with a massage this morning and it was FABULOUS! Long overdue and much needed! I came back to the house and the long-missed “ball of fire in the sky” made a rare appearance. After playing with the kids in the yard for a while, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t seize the opportunity to run on such a nice day. November in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t lend itself to nice days like this very often. So inside to grab some running clothes, get shoes for the kids (they run around barefoot whenever they can, regardless of the temperature) and load up the bike, trike, and stroller. And 3 bananas. And apples. And water. Oh! And I now have a Garmin – gotta test it against the app on the iPhone….okay – I think I got everything. Down to the trails!

Last week my mom watched the kids so I could run – and I ran 6 miles. In the cold. And rain. Chilled to the bone by the end – but it was still good! I’ll take my miles however I can get them! Even if it means jumping through all kinds of hoops to get it done….

Today’s hoops included the following: Hannah had a pooptastrophy. So after quickly getting the bike, trike and stroller out of the back, in went Hannah the hot mess. Let me just say this: she had to don her backup outfit because it was EVERYWHERE! (Meanwhile, 3 or 4 other people have parked and ran along on their merry way while I wrestle an now clean and redressed Hannah out of every single mud puddle AND trying to keep an eye out for Jake so he doesn’t careen into another runner on the trail while he races up and down the hill.

Multitasking at its finest.

Here’s our deal: Kids get to ride bikes up and down the trail a bunch of times, then mommy gets to run. Run with kids in the stroller AND strapped in, so I can plug my ears (with music) and for 30 minutes TRY to imagine that I am not, in fact, pushing 80+ pounds! Usually they have no problem sticking to the deal. Once in a while Jake decides to ride his bike alongside the stroller, only to want to turn around and put the bike in the car a quarter mile in. Today I got lucky and he was cooperative and gladly climbed into the stroller. Bribing him with a banana helped.

It was a nice easy 2 miles, scenery was fabulous! (See picture: fall at its finest!) and the best part was as I was finishing up a sprint to the end, a very sweet couple gave me a standing ovation! Well, granted they were already standing/walking, but the applause was a nice touch and a great boost to my run!

Endorphins, sunlight and a little applause made all the “hoops” worth jumping through today!

Happy Running!


Since June, it’s been a bit bumpy and lumpy around our house. We’ve (I) have been a bit lopsided. This is due to many things, including the following:

*Deployment (duh!) The kids have good days and bad days but 5 months into this – the novelty for all of us has definitely expired!

*Fall/Winter: the “idea” of seasons is great. It brings up feelings of nostalgia and the holidays. Picturesque ideals of the family sipping cocoa around a fireplace after raking the leaves come to my mind. The reality – not so much. I hate the cold. (And since losing weight, I’m cold ALL THE TIME!) I really dislike the “dark at 4:30pm” thing, too. Between living in Pensacola and Hawaii, living in a colder climate has lost all appeal to me. Ive become a weather weinee! All I want to do is sleep and eat casseroles. I don’t. But I want to.

*The kids adjusting: between Jake starting preschool, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, fitting in a race here and there, keeping up with bootcamp workouts, family and friends, etc., it feels like a lot much of the time.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a step back and recalibrate. 6 days a week of “something to do” is just too much for my kidlets. It would work for me, if it was just me. Staying busy helps during a deployment. But they are tired. It’s time for us to take a pause.



I started doing my workouts in the evening when the kids are in bed. Some days it’s difficult to walk back down those stairs and get to work when it would be so much easier to just go crawl in bed. But I have yet to regret a workout!

I also got a “blue light”. (Not the KMart variety.) It’s made by Phillips and helps with vitamin D production and the effects of SAD or the “winter blues”. Everyone I’ve talked to raved about how well they work. I have to agree. Although I would much rather experience the real thing, my little blue light does help!

I’ve taken a break from the routine. Just because its on the calendar doesn’t mean we HAVE to do it. Sometimes I struggle with this, as if I have to entertain the kidlets all the time. I think there is this “hurry hurry – go go go” feeling lately (and always during the holidays) between “workout!” “Get fit!” “Eat this!” “Don’t eat that!” “Make this Pinterest craft!!” “Post that to Facebook!” “Be The best parent by next Tuesday!!!!” “Save the Earth in 543 easy steps!” “Do 78 things simultaneously all while cooking dinner, looking fabulous, and have that smile on your face!”

It exhausts me.

I get caught up in “I should be doing this… or that” instead of just focusing on what I’m doing right here. Right now. In this moment.

Recalibrating. Focusing on what really matters, being in a thankful, quiet, sort of mindset with a minimal amount of “busy” is very appealing, particularly at this time of the year.

What do you do to recalibrate or reset life?

A Little Fall…A Little Gratitude….

After a couple of days of grey, wet, and typical Pacific Northwest weather, I am trying to not be such a Wendy Whiner and instead embrace the things I am grateful for.
Not having had actual seasons for a few years, it’s actually kind of fun to teach my kids and have them notice all the beautiful colors that are EVERYWHERE right now! Even in our own front yard!



Jake would barely let me rake this mini pile before diving in to kick them all around! He had such fun!


Hannah on the other hand was content to play in the “river” as both her and Jake refer to it….it’s the side of the curb. It was a “rushing river” that they felt compelled to toss leaves into and watch them float away.



These are a couple of the trees that have changed colors in the past couple of weeks.


And in one of our “inside recess” kind of days, we made beaded necklaces! Jake was loving them. Cracked me up! They love to wear the pjs EVERYWHERE. I can barely get Jacob out of them!


Does this girl know how to rock her accessories, or what?!
I am thankful for this fun little girl and boy and all their silliness, playfulness and boundless energy! They definitely keep me on my toes and keep me moving!
I am so very grateful for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Oh how I heart thee! If you have never tried one…seriously – it’s like drinking pumpkin pie. If it wasn’t 11pm right now I would be going to get one for myself!
I have been moved from the responses from my last couple of posts. I am in awe of some of the responses and humbled by the kind thoughts expressed. We are all connected and I am feeling the love!
I am grateful for the ability to run. While I don’t get to do it as often or whenever I would like, I do have my health and the physical ability to do it. I signed up for 5 races (2 5ks and 2 1/2 marathons) between November and April of next year. I am so excited and have to remember to keep goals to shoot for. It keeps me motivated. I am grateful for motivation.
I am so thankful that a friend turned me on to the show “Downton Abbey”. Its a PBS drama (I’ve been watching on DVDs from the library) It is such a fun ‘brain-candy’ escape!! Love it and can’t wait for season 3 to start!
The kiddos need some pretty extensive dental work done probably by the end of the year. Because of Jake’s inability to be a rational person where doctors and dentists are concerned, and Hannah’s age, they both will be put under anesthesia for the processes. While I am sad that they have to go through the ordeal, and frustrated that it costs so stinkin’ much, I am so VERY grateful that we have the ability to pay for it.
I am thankful for my nieces. We had such fun making homemade milkshakes and watching movies. I love that the cousins can be close and see each other often!
I have much to be thankful for. For that I am grateful.
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