Sunday, September 30, 2012

Living an 11 year old's Schedule

Geesh - am I behind or what?  No Friday Faves (which I drafted and didn't finish) and missed about 5 posts this week.  I hate when I fall behind, not necessarily for my readers (sorry, friends) but memories are building and I'm obviously not writing them down.

Which is what this blog is all about!  Journaling my life, my journey, my story.  I gotta get on the ball!

I do have a good excuse for being behind though.  My little guy has had a jam packed schedule for the past week, plus I traveled some.  Throw that together and I didn't seem to accomplish much in my "personal life" (yes, amusing I know... what's that?)

Little guy did have a pretty awesome (busy) week.

First up:  he tried out for a competitive basketball team.  I watched before my eyes my confident, knowing 11 year old child begin to fray around the edges before the try outs.  Usually unnerved, he talked for days about how he was a bit worried.  So of course, I went right with him in that emotion (as I typically do with my kiddos).  I prayed if he wanted to be on the team that the stars would align and he would get his wishes.  I pumped him up every day up until the tryout telling him he totally had what it took and to not worry.  But worry he did.

So hubs did the BEST thing ever.  He went and bought him a new pair of basketball shoes, some cool new socks and a new under armour compression tank... anything to make him FEEL like an awesome basketball player.

And he did just great.  He tried out on Friday and had an invite to join the team on Saturday night.  I couldn't be more proud of him for fighting his fear and worry and giving it his best.  This season will be a blast to watch him grow!

Slide in his birthday - which was almost overlooked, quite frankly.  Falling on a Monday in the throws of fall activities is just a hot mess but we somehow managed to make him a homemade "fancy" dinner with some crazy triple chocolate cake and he was totally happy.  I have no idea where the last 11 years have gone but I want them back!

After tackling the basketball tryouts, he was invited to participate on the Lee's Summit West Varsity Softball team's homecoming parade float... as the opposing team's football player they had captured.  The kicker?  Oh, about 20 or so beautiful high school girls on the float with him!  I honestly thought he was going to crumble.... he was so incredibly nervous around the girls, smiled the entire time (who wouldn't?) and ended up loving the experience. 





To round out the week, I volunteered for a field trip to the local School of Economics with him.  He had to complete a job application, interview for the job he wanted and see if he was accepted.  What a great experience!  He was a bank teller and I was totally impressed - he wanted me out of the way so he could do it on his own.  He did a great job but at the end of the day, politely told me that he never, ever wanted to be in banking.  Amen, buddy... I hear you!  He said he didn't mind counting the money all day but the people just kept coming and interrupting him.  Ah... this is the part of him that acts more introverted.  He really wants to be left alone to his tasks and wants one at a time.  Who wouldn't?  I hated to break to him that adult life just isn't that simple.  Oh how I only wish I were 11 again!







Last night little guy had an awesome football game.  He ran for a touchdown again (an experience he will never get over) and then we grabbed dinner with some friends and helped celebrate their little guy's birthday.







October is already here.  Last night I caught a glimpse of the harvest moon and was reminded of how small I really am in this giant universe.  Although exhausted... I'm glad I had the week I did.  It affirms these activities that pull my attention right and left are the very pillars of experience that little guy needs to learn and grow and become a man.  I wish I could throw the breaks though.... it is happening way faster than I'd like.

Have a great week, friends!

Jen




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Anyone see the Toaster?

Ah.... finally settling.
 
The moving truck finally reached San Diego with the kid's belongings.  It's been a L O N G 10 days to say the least!
 
It never ceases to amaze me what I "need" on a daily basis.  More importantly, what I've come to expect available to me each day.
 
In the matter of a two hour span each morning (and I'm sure not unlike all of you), I've touched the following items (sometimes repeatedly):
 
1.  My alarm clock (repeatedly banging the snooze)
2.  My phone - always the first thing I grab
3.  Coffee pot (coffee cup, spoon, sweetener)
4.  Fridge (clouds in my coffee)
5.  Laptop (check fb and release my blog if not already scheduled)
 
And all of this takes place within 10 minutes of awakening, before anyone else is up.
 
When I get my dogs out of jail (aka kennel), I move laundry typically.  Then breakfast for the kiddo, which typically involves the toaster and so on.
 
All this is to say I rely pretty heavily on my "stuff" to get moving each day.
 
Now close your eyes and imagine you don't have any of that stuff.  Oh, including your BED.  You don't have anywhere to sit, either.
 
Yeah - I'm thinking most of us wouldn't survive a day.  But somehow, the kids survived 10.
 
This morning as I poured my coffee I thought immediately of my sassy, waking from her own bed finally and begin her day of nesting and settling into their new home.  I'm so glad she can finally have her things.  Now for the flurry of boxes!
 
 
 
 
Reminds us all to not take things for granted... even for a second!
 
Have a great Thursday, friends!

Jen

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 808 is Jumping!

Friends really do make the world go 'round.

I had the best time last night reconnecting with my Gallagher friends (aka.... the G-Girls, sans CB of course... beotch is living the dream in FLORIDA).  Unfortunately I do not see KiKi and Mama Lu enough anymore since my move to a new firm but man, oh, man do I ever miss them!  These women had me in stitches every day for 10 years.  We shared tears, joys and life events together.

I forget sometimes (and then I'm abruptly reminded) that we spend so much time at work that our work people become as close to us as our family.

I feel really fortunate and grateful to call my industry my second family.  I started the employee benefits industry 21 years ago (gasp) and can pull friendships still from each of my four firms in those 21 years.  How awesome is that?!

So big shout out this morning (after Advil, of course) to the girls and their ever loyal friendship to me.  I love you both!  BTW - you both look FABULOUS in case I didn't say that last night!!

Music for some smiles this morning... 

you don't have to love me, you don't even have to like me, but you will respect me.  You know why?  'Cuz I'm the BOSS!   Click here for your tunes --->  Bossy by Kelis

CHEERS, GIRLS!


Have a great Wednesday, friends!
Jen



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Support

Ugh.  I miss them.



I came into the office today with a special present laying on my desk.  A fantastic friend showered me with support with a beautiful bracelet.  The inscription says:

navy mom.  my heart is on the line. 

I started to cry.  I love it.




The kids are having a blast.... without their stuff, that is.  The moving company still isn't there with their things so I fear Sassy may kill someone with her mind very, very shortly.

E doesn't seem to mind.  I mean seriously... who needs toys?



Talking on the phone just isn't the same as crazy strong hugs and snuggles with E.

It's hard being a momma.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.


Jen


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Birthday Boys of Fall

Oh lord, my son is officially a tween.  Help me.

Today is little guy's 11th birthday. I have no idea how he got this old this fast.  

Of course his sarcastic Libra self didn't get there alone... Hubs birthday was yesterday.



These boys are two peas in a pod.  They are seriously so much alike it is scary.  Well, that is, until little guy is like me.

I think it's awesome to watch your kids grow up and see where they have assimilated one parent's traits or the other.  Coop has all of my literal thought processes:  "that can't be because it's not."  He struggles with intangibles a bit but is overwhelmingly interested in figuring them out. 

His analytical brain is definitely his daddy's.  He wants to know how everything works... and why.  He dissects every sport and memorizes miles and miles of statistics.  Ugh - so not me.

And he's sweet and tender, forgiving and loving and generally a very happy kid.  I feel so blessed.

So happy birthday to both my boys (at home).  Thank god Bubba is a Virgo so I'm not trapped with THREE Libras.  Justice of scales my ass... I am pretty sure the scales are tipped in your direction most days!

Have a fantastic Monday, friends!

Jen 

Friday, September 21, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

My sweetest little nugget leaves today to join the kids in California.

I'm heartbroken.

I spent the day with him yesterday.  Perfect park weather.  Popsicle after breakfast.  Snuggles on the couch.  It was fantastic.

So today I feel like sharing my fave pics of my buddy.  I have a zillion but I'll pair it down for this post.  Finding just a few was actually quite hard!

FAVE MOMENT

His birthday, of course.  That's when I met him for the very first time.




FAVE LOVE

Watching Hubs fall in love with E has been amazing.  This was our first Father's Day with him.
A great gift for hubs for being a great dad!



FAVE FLY

Ohhh, I love this one for a couple of reasons.  For starters, it's a great pic of E.  He is wearing a pair of jams handed down from Uncle Coop (which I loved).  And Jeremy is completely happy.... this was a Taylor Cousins get together I had for the kids.



FAVE FOOD

Nugget is so easy to take out to eat.  He really loves to color, play with the sugar and eat chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese!  On this day, Jer met me and we took him to Neighbors Cafe in Lee's Summit.  It was a great way to start the morning!



FAVE WALKER

And... he's off!  I love this picture.  I snapped it on our second Father's Day.  E walking with his Pops.



FAVE KISSER

My buddy gives the best kisses and has as soon as he figured out how.  I'm gonna miss that.




FAVE SERIOUS MAN 

My nugget has a seriousness about him that I absolutely love.  He is really quite intense.  I can't tell just yet who he gets that from as both his mom and dad can have a serious side to them.  As per usual, I am smiling at the camera and he is just as serious as can be.  Love it.



FAVE SNACK

Every time E comes to my house, he walks to my fridge and tries to open the bottom freezer drawer.  He will pull, grunt and lean way back to try to get what he wants.

Yep, this is it.

My boy loves Popsicles.  And as a good Nana, I give them to him.  Whenever he wants.  Because that's what you do when you are a Nana!



FAVE WONDER

We took E to Rainforest Cafe while in Chicago last month and I loved this pic.  The amazement and wonder in his eyes says it all.  Ah, to be 2 again.



FAVE THINKER

Once again, his serious side.  E stood at this waterfall at the park yesterday with me for a very long time (for a two year old).  I want to know what he was thinking.  I'm sure he was thinking it is almost time to see his momma.  He has never been this long without her.



He is going to have the best adventure today.  It's his first flight.  He will be reunited with his momma and daddy. 

And I will miss him terribly.

Nana loves, little buddy.  I'll see you soon and Skype with you often!

Have a great Friday, friends.


Jen 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Are we STILL training for a Marathon?

Hubs and I have been struggling.  Our schedule for marathon training has heated up and we are having a hard time getting to our midweek runs with football interruptions.  

And it has an impact.

The marathon gods before us clearly knew what they were doing when the set recommended schedules.  We are halfway through!!

Hubs and I took out yesterday to some beautiful weather.  Okay, a little on the humid side.  But otherwise cool and breezy.  We went a new route (since I'm determined not to play Frogger on my road anymore) and it was awesome.  Long, rural roads.  Mostly flat.  Okay, flat and uphill.

Our first 4 miles were fantastic.  At the end of mile 2 I even popped my ear buds to specifically tell Hubs that my leg muscles were warm and tingly.  Yes, we have stupid conversations like that when we run.

But we also have really good planning discussions, too.  What else can you do in almost 3 hours?

As we started a GIANT hill in mile 5, I slowed my pace WAY down.  No, PP.... I didn't walk, thank you very much.  That comes in mile 6.  

Somehow though, as I hit stride into mile 7, I really, really felt good.  I actually told myself "I could do this forever"... words I hardly ever say!  It was even on an incline so I was feeling really proud of myself.

I struggled a bit through mile 10 and rounded the corner to come home (on my street, praying I wouldn't get hit).  Traffic had picked up from our departure so I was a bit worried.  Not to mention I am always aware of my performance that close to home ~ I do NOT want one of my neighb friends to see me walking!  Call me competitive...

I'm sure anyone that saw me on my last mile thought I had an injury.  By then my feet were screaming at me... my right in particular.  Not so happy with a perceived new blister (turns out I didn't have one... I'll have to figure that out). 

Almost 2,000 calories burned.  WOWZERS.  If you don't think running can burn them up, you are mistaken.  Now... the giant plate of pasta the night before to fuel certainly did it's job (and stored fat, I'm sure!)

This week our schedule heats up - 4 miles Tuesday, 6 miles Wednesday, 4 miles Friday and 14 on Sunday.  Lord help us.

I still love running with Hubs.  His left shoulder... I like to run directly behind it so I can see.  I'm thinking the true meaning must be a protective one.  It does feel pretty safe right there.  And I totally love the way I feel when a long run is complete!



Have a fantastic Monday, friends!  Do something that inspires YOU today!

Jen 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Lost Art of Etiquette

Fall football... is there anything better?  Little guy played his first game under the lights this season and it was incredible.  Well, except for the refs and their hankies.

I absolutely love this sport.  Honest, I do.  I love the strategy behind every play and position.  It truly is a complex machine knowing that if 5 linemen do their jobs, the other 6 will run and do theirs simultaneously and miraculously one of them will slip through the specific hole he was assigned and run 50 yards for a touch down.  The mere fact that a group of 10 year old boys can understand this is amazing to me.  I can't even understand the rotation of a volleyball team, let alone all of this!

Touchdown!


Being a boy mom is so easy in so many ways, or so it seems.  I'm surrounded by girls both in our family and in my friendship circle.  The stories, concerns and battles I hear my friends share over their daughters it totally overwhelming to me.  Obviously we aren't in the 50's any longer, so etiquette training is not front and center.  I don't think a single friend I have has spent time with their daughter teaching them to stand up with proper posture with a book on their head or lift their pinky finger when drinking tea.  I could be wrong... I don't live inside their houses.  But it just doesn't seem to be priority any longer to teach girls to "be a lady".

Nope, thank you feminism.  In this generation we teach girls they can do anything a boy can do... and better.  Well, can't we?  Hmmm... I gottta be honest.  I fly my fem flag all the time, but I can't do everything my husband can do.  And quite frankly.... I don't want to!

Contrary to women's rights, I do still teach my boys chivalry.  Because as a woman, I really like it when men are chivalrous.  And it truly isn't that often.

I want my boys to open doors for women and let them walk through first.  Or open car doors for them.  Or let them order first (and offer to pay for it!)  I want them to know women like to feel special, as if they are the only one in the room.  And I want them to have manners and not burp, fart, cuss or act like general a~holes around women... at least when they first meet them anyway.

My oldest has drastically changed since boot camp.  If nothing else, his manners have definitely been refined.  Not only is he holding doors, he is saying "yes, ma'am and no sir" to people he meets and speaks with.  A little formal for my taste, but so respectful.  I like it.  And he is not allowing drama into his family unit... he is refusing it completely.  I LOVE that.  Very protective and unfortunately required given some of his family interactions.

A lot of my friends have their children address hubs and I as Miss Jen and Mr. Tim (or Davis).  I always feel a bit strange about it but I get it totally.  They are trying to hold onto a level of adult respect with their kiddos.

I think we all need more of that.

As we were in the car coming home from his game last night, little guy dropped a profound on me.  I love when he blurts stuff out in his rambling sense (just like his momma) and doesn't even know what it holds.

I really like my team, mom.  We've got each other's backs.

Yes bud, you do.  Welcome to a family.  They may come together in different ways but it is always a positive experience when you know people truly care about you and you have common goals.  Chivalry
still does exist... even on a football field!

Have a great Sunday, friends.  I'll be spending mine slathered in more football after a 12 mile run!
 Jen 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

23 Years Already?

Awww... does it get any cuter than this?



Actually, truth be told, this was known as the time out chair in my previous in-law's home.  And Bubba was in there A LOT.

Most of my friends know the journey I've taken to get where I am today quite well but for those readers that don't know about this stage of my story, I'll give you a BRIEF overview.

I met a boy 3 months after the beginning of my high school career.  Assessing now (with an adult brain and emotions), he was really the first boy to enter my life that I identified as protective, like my father.  I didn't quite understand that possessive wasn't exactly the same thing as protective, a lesson later learned.

Within 6 months, I had eliminated virtually ever girl friendship I had with exception of one.  Sure, I still talked to other girls, but their level of importance in my life drastically changed.  This boy and I did not have a fantastic relationship ~ we fought a lot, broke up (and got back together) far more than anyone should and neither of us could pull the trigger and just leave each other alone.  

I became pregnant in the winter of my junior year of high school.  I'll spare you all of the details, but the most important relevance to this period of time is my parents had just divorced after 37 years of marriage.  I am the baby of the fam and was the last sibling at home to endure their upheaval.  I didn't take it so well.

I married the summer between my junior and senior year and delivered my first son in September of my senior year.  I was the only person in my school (graduating class of 587) that I am aware of that was married and nursing at my senior prom.  I finished school and pushed on, landing the first of job in my industry (and career) at 19.  A great job.  With great friends, an amazing support system and tons of opportunity.

I finally got brave and left my marriage with my son.

Although my path was certainly not the best choice a girl could make I am proud every day of enduring those painful lessons.  They brought me to understand myself better, to trust my instincts, to take risks and move forward.

And I have the most fantastic son.  He is an incredible man and I'm reminded every day that although I had NO idea what I was doing as a mother, made lots of mistakes and somehow bumbled through each phase of his life, I actually accomplished something in the process:  the title of mother.  He is an amazing man, friend, husband and father.  He is unselfish and unwavering in his love for his family.  

And I cannot wait to see what the next 23 years bring him!  Happy birthday, old soul.  I sure do love you, Bubba.  You make this momma a very happy woman!

Have a great Saturday, friends!

Jen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Time to Go

And they are off.  Bub and Sassy have hit the road.
 
You know that commercial with the little girl behind the wheel of her daddy's car, asking him if she can go out with her friends?  Flash forward to the next scene and she's a teenager?
 
That's how I feel right now.  My kids drove off this morning for their cross country trek to their new home in California.  How is that even possible?  Seven years ago, they were these two kids!  I will say this though:  they look practically the same as they did back then.  I'm so jealous! Seven years drastically changes me!

Memorial Day, 2005

And now?  Well, after proms, graduations, college, a beautiful wedding and an incredible child, they are so ready to take on another new challenge. 
 
Oh, I know.  They will be fine.  They will have fun.  They will love it there.  But I will miss them so, so much... every single day.
 
My bestie totally has my back.  A trip is already planned and they haven't even left the state yet.  She knows my heart well enough to know I needed a plan in order to get through this departure in one piece.
 
Their turn around at home was short and sweet.  Packing, planning, mapping and visits with family and friends jammed into less than a week.  I think being on the road alone together will feel fantastic after all of the talking and physical work they have completed in such a short time!  They have thought of everything, planned and saved for the unexpected and are ready to get there. 
 
My last night with them was painful.  I couldn't stop hugging them.  I cried a lot, even when I tried not to.  I told hubs my heart was hurting. 
 
Lot of families live far apart.  They talk once a week, or once a month and maybe see each other once or twice a year.  I so can't do that.  I try to talk to one (if not both) of my kids every single day, even if it's just to hear their voices and know they are doing okay.  I guess I can still do that with them 1,600 miles away.  It just seems so far right now.
 
Please send up a prayer that they travel well and arrive safely at their new home.  They are definitely living on love and faith and have given it all to God (and the United States Military, of course).  I couldn't be more proud of the wonderful family they have grown. 


Arrival Home from A School, September, 2012

 
 
Happy Thursday, friends!
 
 Jen

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MY wing is the best!

I received what has to be the nicest comment about my blog this week from an old friend.  She thanked me for writing and told me she looked forward to reading every day.  How awesome is that?  Special shout out to Donna for giving me encouragement to do what I love!

Not everyone would agree with everything I have to say and I certainly don't expect them to.  That's the beauty about these words on this paper (okay, screen)... they are all mine.  I love that.  

With the election around the corner and the advent of social media, things are definitely heating up in the Davis household.  Hubs and I enter into a ton of debates at election time.  Social Liberals vs. Fiscal Conservatives... round 1.  We truly do have a very common set of morals and values, however as with all things in marriage, we do not possess the same opinions on all of the issues.

I don't remember facebook and twitter being as prevalent a platform for the candidates in the 2008 elections but I could have just blocked it from memory.  This election seems much different to me.  Every day when I log on I have a hundred items on the wall, some with pictures, some with quotes, all saying the same thing.  I'm better than you.  In most instances, these catchy phrases and digs don't seem to really outline HOW one of the candidates is better than the other, but nonetheless they are better.

It irritates the hell out of me.  I've voted in every primary election for over a decade.  I listen and watch both the DNC and the RNC so that I can try to glean a better understanding of each of the candidates platforms.  I watch CNN, MSNBC and Fox to try to hear what the commentators have to say about both sides (until my ears feel like they are bleeding).  I faithfully listen to all of the debates.

And I end up more confused than when I started.  Because the truth is neither candidate represents ME completely.  

Our country remains divided and in order for candidates to be voted into office they have to show their true alliance with their party in an aggressive manner.  The result?  The left candidate moves to far to the left and the right wing candidate moves to far to the right, hence both parties exclude people that are moderately situated somewhere in the middle.

Just as the middle class is often overlooked by both candidates in their platforms.

It just wears me out... but it is SO incredibly important.  And it's a true freedom we cannot overlook.  We could live in a third world country where their citizens have no voting rights and women are beaten into submission and slavery.

Yeah, I don't think so.  I think I'll figure out how to live with a President that might not align perfectly with my opinions.

It's only September 12~ we've got a way to go until election day.  I hope we can all make it through still friends!  Truly, it's the differences that we have that make America a more fair and equal place to live.

Or we can just do this:



Happy Wednesday, friends!

Jen




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Accountability Factor

Accountability has become completely overrated in our society.
 
Before I even start writing, know this.  I AM NOT PERFECT.  I am so far from perfect it isn't even funny.  I make mistakes.  A LOT.  I say things I don't mean or sometimes say things I mean but not in a very nice manner.  And sometimes my words or actions hurt others ~ both intentionally and unintentionally.  I'm blunt, to the point and say what I think.
 
But I'll say this:  when I do, I own it.  It's my responsibility.  And the consequences to every action I take are also my responsibility.  And they are never, ever someone else's fault.  I choose to open my mouth, to say what I say and to do what I do.  Even if it is in direct response to someone else's actions or words, it is still MY RESPONSIBILITY.
 
Apparently there are millions of people that think differently.  They walk the earth blaming everyone else except themselves.  It cannot possibly be their fault for their actions.

 
 
How is that possible?  And how it is possible that things are NEVER their fault?
 
I teach both of my kids that every single word they speak is theirs to own, forever.  Once it comes out, it belongs to them.  They made a choice to say it.  Were they antagonized?  Possibly.  Were they defending themselves?  Could be.  But no matter what the reasons to open their mouths, they chose to react.  Their reactions belong to them and nobody else.  They get to chose to how to respond to others.
 
This extends to actions as well.  If you get invited to something and you don't go, it's on you.  If it hurts the other person, you have to own it.  You CHOSE to either be sorry or not and you choose to tell them you are sorry or you don't.  Either way, each single step belongs to you.
 
I see this happening around me all the time.  Someone recently chose to remove me from their life and then consequently they are angry with me for not inviting them to an event.  I chose not to invite them because they chose to no longer speak to me.  Seems to be an easy equation to me:  if you don't want me involved in your life, then I won't involve you in mine.  I'm not sure where the breakdown in understanding is but apparently I am at fault.  The accountability is mine that I didn't invite them and I own that.  Other than that, I don't owe them anything further until they own their piece of the equation. 
 
I simply do not understand people that do not understand their actions have consequences.  This seems such a basic understanding to me, something we are taught in preschool.
 
Believe me, I'm well aware.  I've made decisions that have garnered consequences.  Sometimes not such fun.  But I get it ~ I made choices.  They are mine to own.
 
I wonder what the world would be like if people actually took responsibility for their actions and stopped the blame game?  If you truly couldn't point your finger any longer at another human being for the things you say and do and were forced to look inward, what would you see?
 
Food for thought.
 
Happy Tuesday, friends!
 

Jen
 
 
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Road Runner

It's pretty rare that I wish misfortune on others but sometimes Satan just gets the best of me.

Hubs and I had a killer run yesterday.  9 miles.  9 freakin' miles!  We had head out intending to get 10 but cut it a little short.

The morning was perfect.  A cool, crisp 68 degrees when we took out.  Our first mile was effortless... which almost never happens for me.  As we turned to enter a rural road I turned to ask hubs if it was okay.  He typically won't run on this road as the sight line is diminished and it makes him a tad nervous.

"I'd like to see my son again", he replied.
"It will be okay, I promise" I said reassuringly.

I'd run this road many times last year with my marathon friend.  She gave me loads of advice of how to tuck and roll into the ditch if necessary so I was totally prepared.  I led the way since I was wearing a brighter color than hubs and waved at every passer by that graciously moved to the center of the road to assure us they saw us coming.  By the end, we were past two miles.

We turned and ran through a development we know well and ran the next two miles.  No problems there.  We even turned and ran through my marathon friend's parent's 'hood.  Thank god we'd done that before so I knew where we were going!  I realized around 4 1/2 miles a potty break was necessary.  Ugh.  Hate that.  We'd already passed her p's so I knew it was a woods kind of day.

At mile 5 we hit a GIANT hill.  I hate it and almost never run on that street for that very reason.  I started to fall back as I watched hubs conquer it with ease.  I get so jealous of his running some days.  He pushes right through any perceived pain he may have (as I sure as hell never see it!).  Great time for a break... I slow to a walk and look for some trees.

I hit the road again realizing he is quite far ahead of me.  I kick it into gear as best I can and catch him at about 3/4 of a mile ahead.

Our last turn.  Mile 6 1/2.  We are in the stretch home.

As we are running up a very familiar road I am one step behind hubs.  I actually love running there (although usually I'm behind his left shoulder when on open streets or sidewalks).  I love to move with his same rhythm.  Most runs I forget I'm running as I watch his feet and mine mirror his steps.  If he ever stopped suddenly I'd probably ram into him and knock us both into the street!

We conquer our last hill (okay, I walked the last 20 feet) and started the descent towards our 'hood.  It's later in the day now (roughly 2 hours later) so traffic has kicked up a bit.  Even so, people around our area are typically very kind to runners and bikers.  Not so much today.

I never saw it coming... it was way to fast.  Luckily, I was a few steps behind hubs to actually see his reaction.  My following reaction was just as bad.

A full sized, gold Ford F-150 came right at us.  The side mirror on the right brushed hubs arm causing him to jerk and dive off the road.  I followed his jump just in time.

The asshole never even slowed.  

I was scared.  REALLY scared.  By the time we got another half mile to our neighborhood entrance, I was crying.  And I couldn't stop.

I actually thought we were going to be hit.

Images were flashing through my head so quickly I could barely focus.  He would have hit my right side... could he hit just my shoulder without hitting my body?  What if I flew in the air... would he (or someone else) run over me?  If he stopped, I feared hubs would have beaten him until he was dead for hitting me.  

I've jumped off the street many times just to be sure I was far enough away.  I always, always run inside the white line (if there is enough pavement) or place my feet DIRECTLY on the white line.  I try so hard to keep my 30 inches of space away from traffic.



I've definitely been spooked.  A full mile and a half later I was still shaking... and MAD.  I'm still mad (obviously, I'm blogging it).

I wrote the City a note.  Told them if I get hit on this street with no sidewalks we are suing them (along with everyone else).  I've lived in this town 40 years, paid taxes for the last 22 and passed every single, solitary improvement ballot for this City since I was old enough to vote.  It's ridiculous that they can't figure out how to pave a sidewalk for this street - especially with the vast amount of bike traffic that occurs here.

They won't care.  They will give me some political or fiscal answer... if they even answer.  All I want is to run... and do so safely.

In case you are wondering (friends not from here). I can't get out of my development without this street.  For long runs, I simply cannot run in circles around my 'hood.  It drives me batty.

So I'll keep donning my reflective gear and bright colored clothes, wave and smile to everyone that is nice to me, and hope to GOD that I never, ever, ever see that asshole on the street again.  And I pray all of my other runner friends don't encounter him either.

Happy Monday friends... safe travels!
Jen



Sunday, September 09, 2012

Seriously Short

Is it okay to wear knee socks?  Let me clarify.  Is it okay to wear knee socks, showing over the top of your boots, with a skirt, over the age of 40?  How about over the age of 50?

I sat with a girlfriend Friday night at our local high school game and gasp as a mom walked by the bleachers in a TIGHT fitting team t-shirt, skirt and knee socks with boots.  Honestly, she looked like she would fit in perfect at one of our local catholic high schools.  'Cept the skirt was grey wool and not plaid.



Had she been in her 20's, she would have rocked that outfit.  Guys heads would have turned.

I will give her this:  she didn't look slutty or anything.  Everything was appropriately covered.  It just didn't seem to make sense.

As I watched her walk by, I turned to my friend (whose mouth was also gaping open).  I just had to ask.

"Is that appropriate?"

Little Miss Fashionista smiled at me and said firmly... "Uh, no.  Plus I hate her because she's so skinny."

Was that it?  Were we jealous of her tight bod?  Maybe a little bit.

Moments later, we glimpsed a barely teen, most likely freshman, in the shortest white shorts known to man, a cut up team tank top slit up both sides so her sports bra could be seen underneath.  Long legs, long hair, beautiful girl.  Sporting her team spirit, she even donned LSW eye black under her eyes.

And she was trying to hard to get attention.  And she was succeeding.

I wonder why girls think it's appropriate to dress that way?  Oh... could it possibly be their mother's may be that woman in the socks and boots, blazing the trail to feminism rights?  Could it be her parent's don't know she left the house looking that way?  How will she walk back IN looking that way?  Are all kids that deceitful that their parents don't have any clue how they are dressing?  Are we parents totally oblivious hiding behind our smart phones, SUVs and mounting debt that we cannot see what our children are up to?

I wanted to go hug her... then smack her and tell her to wake up.  She was a beautiful girl that would be just as beautiful in a hoodie and jeans (BTW it was 55 degrees and WINDY at the game, perfect attire quite frankly).

I'm not saying we should slather our girls in turtlenecks.  But someone, somewhere, has to use a little bit better judgement with our young women.

But what do I know.... I'm a boy mom.

Have a fantastic Sunday, friends!


Jen


Saturday, September 08, 2012

Sing. Sing a Song. Sing Outloud! Sing out STRONG!

Little guy burst into the kitchen one evening last week while I was writing.
 
"Mom - I have GOT to tell you what happened today!"
 
I looked up to see his compression clothes still clinging to his stinky, sweaty body after football practice.
 
"What it is, buddy... did you make a great play at practice tonight?'
 
"NO, MOM!  I MADE THE CHOIR!"
 
His face was beaming with the biggest smile ever.  As I attempted to stumble out of the bar stool to congratulate him, he had already streamed 5 more sentences together.  I barely caught the end before I interrupted him to slow him down.
 
"... and our shirts are black this year, and we have to practice on Thursday mornings at SEVEN THIRTY IN THE MORNING!  Can you believe that?  That means I have to get up extra early on those days!"
 
"Okay buddy... take a breath.  This is very exciting news!  I am very, very proud of you.  Do I have a form I need to sign or something?"
 
"Nope.  She didn't give it to us yet.  I'll let you know when you need to sign it."  And then he was gone with only the faint smell of sweat, mud and grass left in the room.
 
Just then, hubs rounded the corner into the room smiling.  My version of the story just told was much different than what he had told his daddy on the way to football. 
 
"Hey dad, the music teacher put me in choir today..."  No drama.  Minimal excitement.  Very matter of fact.
 
I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between.  I had been encouraging my son to consider singing for quite some time... just awaiting the option to be available at school.  He absolutely LOVES to sing.  And he does it well!  For now (which I know won't last), he actually sings in the tenor range (and on occasion, soprano).  Obviously that won't stick around once his hormones start blazing.  Nonetheless, he has great pitch and loves the melodic structure of songs.  And he sings NON-STOP.  Put him in a car and the radio becomes his.  And just like his momma, he can remember every word of every song he has ever heard.
 
I love how much he loves music.  I love that he can FEEL it.  And I love that he isn't ashamed or embarrassed about it.
 
More importantly, it is so awesome to me to see my giant, athletic kiddo rock out to Drowning Pool, sing-song along with Carly Rae Jepsen or bust a move to Michael Jackson.  His need for diversity is almost as strong as mine!
 
Guess I'll be hanging around auditoriums as much as stadiums and gyms this year.  Sounds like a great balance to me. 
 


 
Have a great Saturday, friends!

Jen

Friday, September 07, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

After a week of surviving Labor Day, the broken washing machine and the DNC (with my hubs' head exploding every 5 minutes), I am ready to slide into a calm, relaxing weekend.

Yeah, like that is gonna happen.

Nope, instead I'll be screaming on a sideline all weekend long... from my local high school team to my little guy taking on the winningest team in the league in what I'm sure will be an awesome matchup.

I'm tired already.

Oh, and I have a 10 mile run on Sunday.  After a 5k race on Saturday.  My body will HATE me, I'm certain.

Hope you enjoy my fave finds this week!  As always, I have fun finding and sharing them!

FAVE KICKS

OH.MY.GOD.  I must own these!  Although summer has wound down and it's time to start dragging out the boots, these are so incredible I think I need them anyway.  Tipping the hat to my good friend KK who LOVES Reefs ~ flips to hold our alcohol! :)




FAVE YUMMO

I'm not a complete peanut butter freak but I do occasionally like ice cream, so I'm thinking this might be right up my alley.  Hubs and are constantly looking for new ways to get protein so I want to give this a shot!  Click here for the recipe:  Peanut Butter Protein Ice Cream





FAVE WINO

The days are getting closer to my girls weekend in Hermann at the annual Oktoberfest (aka giant wino drinking fest) and i think these would make a perfect addition to our time on the hill!  Whatta ya think, JP?




FAVE S'BUX

Oh yeah, oh yeah!  I LOVE me some Pumpkin Latte!!



FAVE CASUAL DAY

I love casual day at work.  Because I truly love jeans.  There is nothing better in the entire world than when you own the best pair of jeans that makes you feel incredible!  This would be a perfect fit for my office!






FAVE TECHY STUFF

I love, love, love this!  I have been needing (okay, wanting) a speaker thingy to hold my iPhone since the day I got it a year ago.  But I don't really need it, so I haven't purchased one.  I think I may actually NEED this one?!



FAVE SASSY

Us EC friends have a commonality - we all work together to "raise" the kids (outside, that is...)  All kidding aside, if my little guy screws up, I know I can trust my neighbs to reign him in, give him the what's what and straighten him out!  So I love this... it's totally me :)





FAVE KITCHEN GADGET

We absolutely love avocados in my house, so this is truly a love I have got to find.  Not as though it is hard to cube an avocado but I'd love to be able to get it finished fast and this precisely!  Gotta go on the hunt!



FAVE DESTINATION

Yeah, I think this will work.  Maybe I should go now.  Right... that's gonna happen!

Marieta Islands, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


FAVE COMFORT FOOD

Oh please!  Who wouldn't love cheese... and bread?  Okay, not everyone loves onions as much as I do but slather on a hunk of cheese and it becomes the most yummy, dreamy soup ever.  I can't wait for the cooler weather to hit!  Click here for the recipe:  French Onion Soup



Have a great Friday, friends!!



Jen


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

As I was getting ready yesterday I heard an interesting tag line by the anchor person on the local news.  I instantly thought to myself "Man, I need to blog about that!"  Yep, my brain absolutely works that way.  So here goes!
 
Is it ever okay to divorce a friend?
 
Hmmm.... begin pondering.
 
Yes.  It is.  At least in this girl's humble opinion.  And unfortunately (or fortunately, in some cases) I have done just that.
 
A friend of mine via my little guy's sports actually posted something about this on facebook awhile back, so I'm totally going to steal from her a bit.  Publishing liberty.  I'll give her credit (you know who you are JK!)
 
“People come into your life for a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFETIME.” 
 
Honestly, I have a lot of seasonal friendships.  People that come into my life that I learn from, grow from or share something in common with for a short while.  I get a lot quickly out of these friendships since I'm an "all or nothing" type person and give it my all... for awhile.  I'm not quite sure why people that are seasonal don't stick longer with me but suffice it to say I think it's because I grow weary and bored of them.  Yes, I'm an ass to admit that.  But it's the truth.
 
My reason friendships are awesome.  These are the folks that I need for one reason or another.... wait, I need someone?  Heck yes I do!  A lot of my work friendships fall into this category.  I have stayed friends of course with people AFTER I stop working somewhere (which has only been 3 times in my life) but most of the ex-coworkers I have I didn't stay in touch with after our separation.  It isn't because I don't like them - it's because I don't need them any longer.  Or friends in this category sometimes say or do something I won't forgive.  Or they leave and go somewhere else and I lose them.  Something happens and we become interrupted.  And our friendships end. 

"I'm finished with this guy" ~ Vinny Gambini, My Cousin Vinny.
 
The lifers?  Well... this is an extremely limited class for me.  These are honestly people that could literally crap on me, apologize, and I would love them anyway.  Yeah - it's a short list.  But trust is a big thing in this category and I require people to earn trust before I give it to them.  I'm stubborn like that (damn Scorpio).  And I have to know in deep in my soul that they have my back, no matter what.  Not that many people are that giving, quite honestly.  And I thank God every day for those here because without them I would seriously struggle through life!



  
I take stock in my friendships from time to time.  I try to consider and weigh them carefully.  Sometimes I question myself ~ what does this person think of me?  What does our friendship give to one another?  Am I there for them enough (or as much as they would want me to be)?  Are they there for me?
 
I deleted over half of my facebook friends last year for this very reason.  I nixed everyone that I hadn't spoken to (verbally or in writing) for over a year.  Why exactly am I "friends" with them on a social media outlet if I never, ever speak to them?  That's not even one of the categories listed above!
 
She finished her post with saying "It is said that Love is Blind but Friendship is Clairvoyant".  I'm not sure I would agree that all of my friendships are clear sighted, but I get the gist.  We do choose our friendships quite carefully (at least putting them in the buckets above). 
 
Food for thought, friends.  Do your friends have certain meanings in your lives?

Hope you have a great Thursday!
 


Jen

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I WILL PREVAIL

WOW.  Some days I am utterly shocked what my body will do... or won't do.

Turning 40 definitely brought about some giant changes, most of which were mental.  I thought that I was going to fall into the abyss after my birthday, joining friends that have giant lists of complaints about their bodies and health.  My combatant to that?  I jumped into physical activity even more.  The result?  I hurt myself... A LOT!  It seems like every three months last year something else was going wrong with my body.

Today I have taken a step back.  I don't push myself quite so far but certainly don't sit on my couch, either.  I don't run with abandon any longer - I'm careful about the path I run, the cracks in the sidewalks, the uneven curbs.  Unfortunately, I've learned to be a bit more careful.

Hubs and I ran a long run this weekend and as usual, I paid for it.  My body ached, hips screaming at me for torturing them.  Nope, I didn't stretch enough.  Nope, I didn't warm up with short runs last week.  I completely failed my body.

Although still sore and achy, I laced up the shoes this morning and hit the road.  The first mile HURT.  I was slow.  It was really hard.  As I rounded the trail into my second mile my body started to ease, loosening up.  My stride fell a bit longer.  My shoulders dropped.  It didn't seem so bad.  Mile three was probably one of the best miles I have ever run.  And although I struggled into mile 4, the finish was simple.

As we walked up the driveway, I couldn't help but think of how badly everything hurt when I got out of bed this morning.  Tying my shoes, I had given myself a hundred reasons that I shouldn't run today.  I even flirted with hubs to try to distract us from our goal.

I am so thankful for whatever drives me to get on that road.  And forever grateful for the ability to run it.  I feel a hundred times better.

Friends - if you are struggling with your exercise goals, just remember this:  the first step is the hardest.  Once you start to move, your body will appreciate your efforts and will make it easier for you.  The biggest stumbling block you have is your MIND.  Push through the negative and go for it!



I am my biggest enemy.  I have to remember that ~ my body will prevail if I just push myself to move..

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

Jen

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

WORK away!

Labor Day weekend turned out to be just that:  LABOR INTENSIVE!  I did get a chance to mix in some fun but overall my butt has been thoroughly kicked.  Mizzou pulled out their first win of the season, I ran an 8 mile training run, drank driveway beers with my fun neighbs and then died.

In my continued efforts to streamline and simplify my life, I tackled my basement.  I have a HUGE unfinished basement... and somehow have managed to completely fill it in the last 4 years.  I have hung onto everything from Bubba's high school artwork (in a giant art case), his drum stand from 5th grade and believe it or not, Coop's infant car seat.  Yes, I'm ridiculous (and I admit it).

So I fired up a pot of coffee, pulled up some Bob Segar on my iPhone and unrolled the 50 gallon trash bags and went to work.  And work it was.  I filled NINE bags with donations and another 5 bags with TRASH.  Yes, trash.  Seriously, what in the world is wrong with me?  TRASH in my house?  So ridiculous! 
 
Hubs and I have not made a serious purchase in over 4 years.  I cannot for the life of me figure out why I hung onto all this stuff other than moving forward and eliminating it was somehow to much of a feat for me.
 
Now I have the bug.  I cannot wait to get back down there this week and work harder.  I have consolidated all of my fave decorations under my staircase and have made a promise to myself that other than one shelving system, my basement will be EMPTY. 
 
The garage is next.  Watch out, hubs... you know what happened the last time this happened (where is that leaf blower?)
 
I did have an amazing experience this weekend.  I spent one hour of my life doing 3 loads of laundry at a local laundromat due to my stupid washing machine.  I make life FAR more complicated than it needs to be!  In speaking with the person working there (watching Stars and Stripes... NOT working at the self serve laundromat), I recall stories my Aunt used to tell me about her own business.  My family owned a laundromat in Southern Missouri for years.  It's quite an interesting clientele, to say the least.

My new fave hangout.... although mine doesn't look this cool, quite honestly.
 
 
I'm a little bit more grateful today for everything in my life.  Because it could be SO much worse.  Case(s) in point:
 
At least my sister didn't have my uncle's baby (true story).
 
I didn't start my laundry and get so drunk that I forgot to move it... to the dryer... 12 hours later... at a public laundromat (sidenote:  this possibly happens at home on occasion.  I cannot really admit or deny it).
 
I didn't buy my two year old dinner out of the candy vending machine at said public laundromat (again, true story).
 
I didn't drop (and leave) my undies in a public parking lot.
 
I didn't have to fire a co-worker that was breaking open my machines and stealing money from me.
 
Humble pie.  Best served with a cold diet coke... and a splash of Jim Beam if available.
 
Have a great Tuesday, friends.  Short work week!

Jen