When I was 16 I REALLY wanted a tattoo. Really. A lot. But when my mom asked me what I wanted – I was always at a loss. I could never come up with something that I knew I’d be okay with at 90, or in a place that wouldn’t sag or droop or just look ridiculous all stretched out. That and I really detest needles and pain.
My friend Katy has a few tattoos (Eric has one too) but nothing ever grabbed me. Then Katy explained what each of her tattoos meant and why she got them. She also described a tattoo as a symbol of a significant event or to bookmark an important chapter of your life.
This year has been an incredible one. And I know that even at 90, I’m still going to be proud of losing weight, running marathons, and doing all kinds of things I never thought I would. And now I can add getting a tattoo to that list! (By the way – it hurts like CRAZY! Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s “no big deal” it hurts! It was really all I could do not to kick the guy in the head with my other leg!) I have to admit – I was a complete pansy for the first 20 minutes or so. I sat up to watch as he added color and the distraction of watching him (and my leg kind of going numb) eased the pain a bit – but it still wasn’t pleasant. You really have to want one to sit through that!
And you really need a strong hand to squeeze!! Luckily, Katy was my hand and she was very good at distracting me with all kinds of stories! Hopefully the feeling has returned to her fingers…..
Originally, I thought about getting a running man, since running has been the catalyst for so much of my growth this past year. And I knew I wanted to incorporate the 13.1 and the 26.2 marathon distances somehow.  Then I thought of the journey as a whole and perhaps a tattoo that had the running man down a path – but there wasn’t just one thing that really stuck with me. Running has been the starting point, yes, but its the weight loss, the learning to make new friends, trying new things, not being afraid of failure, having energy and gaining strength in so many areas that I never knew I had, or thought I had lost.
While considering all this change, I began to wonder what animal goes through a complete transformation?
A caterpillar.
It goes through a metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly.
And essentially that is what I feel like.
And as a friend of mine put it – “Dang girl! Spread your wings and fly!”
And that is just what I intend to do!


I love The Biggest Loser, and while not a fan of this particular cast, I do love the theme of “No Excuses”. It really is mind over matter. You make a choice and you follow through. And each day is made up of a million little choices – workout or not? Eat crap or  eat good fuel for my body? Go out to eat or stay home and cook? (The answer is of course stay home!)
With all of our household goods currently packed up and headed for an extended ocean cruise, it is so tempting to just give up, throw my hands in the air and say any and all of the following:
“Ah screw it! I’m in the process of moving!”
“I DESERVE to take it easy for a couple of weeks.”
“I’m moving and stressed! Let’s just eat out.” 
“If I go grocery shopping, I know half of it will probably go to waste, so I might as well just get take out.”
“I’m so exhausted. I just don’t have it in me to go running.”
“Jake doesn’t fit in the double stroller anymore, I CAN’T go running.”
“I can’t cook in these pans – they are stainless and everything will stick to them!” (Talk about a first world problem! Sheesh!)
And on and on it goes….
And this lasted for a couple of days in my head – going back and forth trying unsuccessfully to justify not doing what I know that I should.
I did workout when Eric was home (2 of the last three days) and I will work out tomorrow, even though it will be in the evening – it will get done. Because I make the choice – and then follow through.
We also got some temporary household/kitchen items including some pots and pans, (those dang stainless steel ones!) dishes and silverware. There really isn’t any excuse. So I went to the grocery store and got supplies for the next week or so. I will be eating at home. I made chicken soup today (which was SO YUMMY!) and the hubbs and I had french dip sandwiches tonight with big green salads. Tomorrow will be chicken fajitas and spaghetti will be thrown in there at some point. 
A choice has to be made. Am I going to make an excuse to not exercise and eat out, or am I just going to buck up and do what I know in the long run will not only be the right choice, but I will FEEL better physically? And during a stressful time (such as moving with small children) shouldn’t I WANT to feel better and at my strongest?! I think yes. Oh and yeah, there’s that biathlon this Sunday too….I DEFINITELY need to be at my best! I have a record to beat! 
There is always an excuse. For me it’s getting past the “I can’t because….” and getting back to the “Here’s why I need to….” 
And I have yet to regret doing what I know I should.

11 Years!

Wow! A decade flies when you’re having fun!!!

I read a quote somewhere that said something to the effect of “99% of your happiness is determined by the spouse you pick. Choose wisely.”
I love this quote and it is so true. I feel like I won the lottery with the husband I chose!

While we are very compatible in the “biggies”, (religion, children, money, etc.) I find the fun and more important things lie in the “smallies”. Stuff like the way he hugs our kids just a little bit longer as he leaves for work or the way he knows our son and adapts to his needs when needed, spending an extra hour at the hardware store to play “boo!” in the display doors because he knows how Jake loves that game. Or when he knows I just need a break so he takes the kids on an adventure! Or my favorite is rehashing our day before falling asleep and it usually turns into a “funny things the kids did” session or “how did we get to be so blessed?” conversation.

I think the art of loving someone well comes down to these “smallies”.  Little, seemingly inconsequential decisions to do the things you know will make each other smile. Not everyday is smiles and rainbows, but they sure out number the days that aren’t.

For that and so many other reasons, I feel very blessed to spend my life with the man for which I was destined. Or was destined to put up with me!

Happy Anniversary to us!

Parenting Gunk

Ugh. I seem to go in cycles with being a Mom. I feel like somedays I have my kids figured out. Life is good. I have the proverbial “key” that seems to work for the specific stage they are in.

Then they go and change the lock on me.

I’m currently locked out.  And it’s not my favorite.

I guess I have to look at it like I look at hitting the wall in running. You just put your head down and keep going until you get to another sweet spot.

I love parenting sweet spots. When the kids eat well, feel well and are getting along with each other. They say thank you without prompting. Then one of them comes up to you and puts their head on your lap and says, “Mama. I love you.” Doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

For me its as if there is a parenting style “sliding scale” based on parenting that I have been around, grew up with, or have read about. On one end there are what I call the “Free Spirits”. Those are the easy going folk who don’t ever seem to be bothered by anything their kid ever does. They can handle high levels of chaos, go with the flow, but also don’t follow convention. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the traditional authoritarian “kids should be seen and not heard” and “just make them do it” etc. No judgement on any of these styles because in my limited experience it seems what works for one child may or may not work for another.

I think my issue is trying to find my footing some where in the middle of this “scale” and finding what will work for my kids. And realizing that where I am on this scale may be different for each of my kids. My son had always been a kid who will NOT be rushed, won’t be cajoled into anything, and definitely knows his own mind. I think we are a lot alike in someways, which is probably why we can butt heads sometimes. And the fact that he is a 3 year old cave man doesn’t help either!

It’s just amazing to me that in the space of an hour I can go from having my heart go pitter patter from some ridiculously cute thing they say or do, to being completely frustrated by something else. Somedays I wonder if I’m bipolar! I like parenting theory books since I don’t have all the answers and neither does any other parent! It’s nice to have fresh ideas. Some of them I’ve thrown across the room or laughed out loud knowing that “that” would never work for me or my family.

I also love veteran parents when they advise to “cherish” these moments because they go so fast. And it is true. I’m trying to cherish as much as I can through each phase. I love being a mom and can’t imagine being anything else. I know why I was put on Earth. But, as a friend recently put it – “My kid has stretched me farther than I ever thought possible or I ever wanted!” No joke! Mentally, emotionally, and of course physically. Being a parent is definitely not for the timid!

Here’s to trying out some “keys” to get back into a sweet spot. And hoping the lock out ends sooner rather than later! As Martina McBride put it in her song “Teenage Daughters” –  I think I need a drink!

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