Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Damn you, flip flops.

You are the choice of shoe for my 6-year old, and I hate you.  You are the reason that the soles of her feet are now permanently black.  I blame you for her skinned knee last week on the way to school and this morning for the twisted ankle because you provide absolutely. no. shock. support.  So I had to drag my daughter a block and a half to school with a few "we've all been there"'s and "rough morning, huh"'s tossed my way as she screamed at the top of her lungs.  And it's all your fault.  I would like to hurl you into the fire pit this evening while I have a stiff drink to celebrate.  But I know the power you have over my child and that would reduce us to hillbillies the next day when she walked in barefoot to school.  My search for a replacement for you has cost me lots of cash - Five Fingers for kids, indoor soccer shoes, many a pair from Stride Rite.  I know this is strong, but I might hate this aspect of her Asperger's/Sensory stuff more than the withholding of stools.  Yes, I may despise you more than cleaning up poop. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barn Light Electric Giveaway!

Even if I didn't live in a 75-year old house, I would still love mixing old and new in my decorating style. One of the ways I've done this is with lighting. We have old schoolhouse lights in our kitchen that I love. And now that the kitchen is finished we're working on the bathroom renovation.  And Barn Light Electric is where I would like to purchase the lighting - which is why I need to win their giveaway!  Of course, when I looked for ideas for the bathroom, I saw more lights for the other rooms of the house.

The Triple Botswick Bath Light for the upstairs bathrooms (even the non-gutted one).

Two Barn Light Radial Cast Guard CGU Sconces for M & JJ's room (to go in each built-in bed, because hey, I'm already dreaming).

The Halsted Semi-Flush Ceiling Light for the powder room downstairs - or the upstairs foyer - or both!

Small Cape Cod Barn Lantern, Weathered Bronze

And a Cape Cod Barn Lantern right outside the front door.

Winning would make me really, really happy.  :)

Want to join in on the fun?

1. Look around online at Barn Light Electric and pick lights you'd love to win.

2.Share your picks on your blog and link to the lights if you can.

3.Copy and paste these rules at the bottom of your blog post.

4. Once your post is up, you must email your blog link to: to be qualified to win. The contest ends October 12th, 2011.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ahhh, a wonderful Fall Saturday

After two sad and depressing blog posts, today I am filled with the spirit of Fall.  It's only 2 pm and if the day ended right here I would be satisfied.  A refreshing 8.2 mile long run this morning in the cool autumn air with two amazing friends where we got to vent and work towards our half-marathon goal.  Afterwards, a Mediterranean breakfast sandwich and orange juice at Bread Co. (Panera for all those outside of STL), which after said long run tasted like the best breakfast sandwich I had ever eaten - Jen & Ellen expressed the same sentiments about theirs.  Something about a long run that makes everything you eat afterwards taste even better than usual.  Then home to hear about the girls' awesome soccer practice where they BOTH wore their soccer cleats.  Woohoo!  M also wore shoes last night to her school's Fallapalooza festival so maybe we are turning a corner - but I won't get my hopes up yet.  They also made their team shirts - tie dye - I love this team.  I am so glad that my friend Heather organized it and my friend Erin lets us play in her huge backyard.  And the high school boys that run the team are magical and get them to actually listen and play.  I took a glorious warm shower and after putting on my Mizzou black & gold (GO TIGERS!), I made hard-boiled eggs with JJ.  Our neighbor gave us some fresh eggs from his chickens so I had to use up the store bought ones.  Then I used the apples from JJ's class trip to the orchard on Tuesday to make an apple crisp that will make our friend Barb's house smell so good while we're watching the football game tonight.  I wish every day could be this wonderful. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I just had a great walk & talk with a friend.  Starting at our house, walked a mile or so to Starbucks, then back again with frappuccino in hand.  There is a comfort level there where I don't question if she still likes me after I say something stupid or if I reveal too much of my ugly past that she will cut and run.  I've had this happen many times and I'm usually fearful of repeats so I don't open up.  I've even had worse than just the cut and run happen, as I mentioned in my running post.  And that has truly messed me up. 

I grew up placing friends at greater importance than family.  That may sound cruel, but my family history would explain a lot.  I invested a lot in my friendships, usually more than I got back, but I was ill-equipped to really be an adequate friend while I was younger because I hadn't had good examples.  My parents didn't have close friends and my siblings and I weren't really taught to be friends with each other.  And while chaos was all around me - drugs, yelling, divorce, etc. - I was too immature to be there for friends while they were going through tough things.  I would retreat and lose friendships. I was always friends with those who were okay with being surface-y, but not too deep.  I often befriended those who moved to my town for a short time, then moved away again soon after.  Those who didn't know where I came from.  I look back and see so many missed opportunities - if I hadn't been so scared. I have reconnected with some, and I'm thankful for that, but I'll never get back those bonding moments that I just wasn't prepared for.  There's one friendship that I don't have a second chance at because she was killed in a car accident my senior year.  I started pulling away from her my junior year because I didn't trust her or her reasons for being my friend.  It was my own insecurities that led to the demise of a great friendship.  I couldn't have prevented her death, but I would have so many more memories of her if I hadn't mistrusted her. Despite all my efforts to isolate myself, I still managed to come away with best friends who I am so grateful for.  They won't give up on me even if I tried to push them away.  They are family to me.

Despite being wounded by my past and the actions of those I thought were friends, I am still taking risks with new friendships.  I know I won't always be safe and I am much more guarded now than I used to be.  I just need to find that balance again so I don't shut people out who are meant to enrich my life.  The walk today was refreshing and I shared a little bit more about my life - and I didn't have that sick feeling afterwards where I worry about if she thinks of me differently or whether the friendship will fizzle.  She is a true one, a safe one.  Actually, I see a lot more of that in my life now.  Maybe it's because I'm learning to be vulnerable.  I can't say that it's because I'm becoming more comfortable with my past, because I know that's not true - I'm still working on that in counseling.  It's funny, someone once told me (yelled at me, actually), that I needed to go to counseling.  I was already in counseling at the time, but I've needed much more since then, thankyouverymuch.  I don't know if I'll ever get this life thing down on my own.

Another thing I'm thankful for when it comes to my current friendship situation, especially with how it affects our girls, is our House Group from church.  It's a diverse group of men and women, some single, some married, some older than us, some in the same place, some just starting out.  They come over every Wednesday night and M and JJ get so excited.  I love having our house filled with laughter and noise and I can tell that they do too.  It's redeeming to now have a home that I feel safe in and that my friends can come over and share life with us.  Because of this, I hope our daughters will grow up with a different perspective on friendship and how important it is.

Things I Would Spend Money On If I Had Any

1. A gas fireplace insert.
2. A new couch.
3. A plumber for our gutted bathroom upstairs so Jeff wouldn't have to do it himself.
4. An eliptical trainer.
5. Furniture for our enclosed porch - I like the brown wicker stuff from Pottery Barn.
6. A lot of things from Pottery Barn.
7. Fabric from the fabric store that I am in love with.  Green with brown stripes - beautiful.
8. Elfa shelf system for the girls' playroom.
9. Lumber to build beds for the girls' room to look like many of the pictures I have saved on Pinterest.
10. A carpenter to do the work so that, once again, Jeff doesn't have to.  Wait - Jeff won't be doing that anyway - he says we have to finish the bathroom before we do anything else.  But I highly doubt the bed project will ever happen.
11. A vacation to somewhere warm.
12. New jeans.
13. Cozy sweaters.
14. Shoes that M will actually wear.
15. A new garage door/opener.
16. Actually, just an entirely new garage. 
17. A custom closet.
18. World peace.  Saying that will help me get all of these things, right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

One foot in front of the other....

That's a mantra I used to repeat to myself on my really long runs, usually 10 miles and up.  Yesterday I was having to tell myself that on my 6-miler which is my current "long run".  I've been a runner since jr. high, but I've recently been in a slump. 

When I was in 9th grade, it was easy to find motivation to run.  Getting out of my crazy house for some stress relief was reason #1.  My parents lived really close the MKT trail (also known as the Katy Trail), so I would either run a few miles or bike to the next town and back.  10th grade I had a really cute boyfriend who only lived 4 miles away, so I would run to his house and sometimes if I wasn't up for the run home, he would drive me back.  The duration of high school I ran cross country to keep in shape for soccer because I was a midfielder and we did a heckuva lot of running.  There was a trailhead that was unknown to most that I would go to on my own just to run in the empty fields and by the creeks that wound throughout.  Getting away from everything was my main goal and I loved that I was all by myself.  I would go there in college too, but by then other people had discovered it.  Jeff & I would go there a lot.  He knew that if I was having a rough day, that's where I would be and he would come and find me out there sometimes.  We had some of our best talks there.  It was where he would propose to me years later.  He knew it was a really special place for me.  I haven't found somewhere here that brings me as much peace as that place.
I kept running in college.  Still for stress relief, but mostly because that's what I did.  It's who I was.  I didn't feel right unless I had been running.  I wasn't an every day runner, but I had my routines; my set days. I would go to my old high school to do speedwork/run bleachers and would run into my old coach sometimes.  I think he was happy that I was still running but probably a little disappointed because it looked to him like I was more dedicated than I was while I was on his team.  :)  Jeff & I started to run together while we were in school and that's something I really miss doing with him.  I know a lot of people who run with their kids in a jogging stroller, but M's capacity was about 2-3 miles and then she had a full meltdown.  It doesn't do much for stress-relief to push a screaming kid while trying to run. 
When we moved to Rockford for Jeff's job, we joined a running club called Road Crew.  I loved it and I really miss it.  It's another reason I love my M.O.THE.R running group so much.  I had never run over 8 miles at this point and that was just in XC practice.  We did hill work, speed work, tempo runs, etc. and became better runners.  I was pretty good in my age bracket in local races and the Road Runners club I joined.  I still have my 5K, 10K, 1/2, and full PR's from then in my head.  Jeff & I trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon together.  Then we moved back to St. Louis 2 weeks after that.  We kept running, did another half marathon, but it wasn't the same without our group.  And then I had M a year and a half later.  While pregnant, I walked EVERY DAY with my friend Melinda.  In rain, in snow, in negative temps.  So I was in pretty good shape when she was born, but afterwards....running with a chest full of breastmilk HURTS.  I did not envy my friends who had to deal with cup sizes bigger than a C their entire lives.  I could see why many of them had breast reduction surgery.  But I got through it and returned to normal size.  I kept running but was not one of those women who gets better after having babies.  We used to run in Rockford with a lady who would win races mere weeks after having a kid.  We saw her name in Runner's World a few years back for winning the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.  And she has 4 kids.  How do they do it?!  Natural talent and lots of babysitters. 
When I got pregnant with JJ, I was busy chasing around M, but didn't get my running in.  And I had to go to physical therapy for a twisted SI joint, so working out wasn't tops on priority list.  So when JJ was a few months old and I thought I would just click out an easy 3-miles, my body said hell no.  Many ortho visits ensued and the message was clear that my body wasn't what it used to be. 
I finally started to get back into it and was doing pretty well when I was really hurt by someone I thought was my friend.  I thought that I would turn to running again to deal with my stress and sadness, but the mind/body connection is a funny thing.  The person that had hurt me had once told me that she starting running because she was inspired by me. Yeah, in a Single White Female sort of way.  So I think I subconsciously chose to not be anything like that person.  To not obsess over running, to not place my value in my physical appearance.  I didn't want to find my identity in running, and I think I also wanted to punish myself by not taking care of my body.  I would listen to the negative tape of messages in my head that told me I would never be the same.  That was 2 years ago and I am still recovering.  But now I am surrounded by amazing women who are real friends and who love me well.  I have a great running group again.  And I am getting my confidence back, running and otherwise, from that emotional blow. 
I went for a long run yesterday.  In the rain - one of my old favorites.  When my mind started messing with me, I focused on "one foot in front of the other" and "running is just hard" - another mantra from years before.  And the thought of a warm shower when I got home.  And I made it - with no breaks.  And I didn't let the negative voice compare the me now to the me then.  6 miles was a great accomplishment yesterday - I don't care if I used to do 10 miles every Sunday back when we were in Rockford.  That was over 8 years ago.  This is my new long run.  And I want to erase those old PR's from my head so I don't compare, but only celebrate my new accomplishments.  Next Saturday I'm doing 8 with two dear friends that are such an encouragement to me.  After a long drought, I feel hope.  For the first time in quite a long time, I feel like a runner again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sick and Wrong

I don't think this picture even needs words, but I will say how terribly gross it is to dress your toddler in Baby Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie.  Zulily needs to fire the copywriter who wrote the description of the collection, which consists of slutty rompers for 2-year-olds, because there is nothing classy about this look.  Well, I guess they were just doing their job and covering for the no-taste buyer who wasted their company's money and reputation due to what I can only guess was not enough sleep or caffeine on said buying trip.  And the sad look on the little girl's face screams "I want to wear appropriate clothing for my age!"  I'd bet that her parents were just looking for a little extra cash to supplement their attempt at being on  Toddlers & Tiaras.  This outfit will hang in the closet next to daisy dukes with words splashed across the backside, midriff-baring tees with demeaning phrases, and other clothes that solicit to pedophiles. 

Seriously.  Anytime I question whether I'm messing my kids up, I will just refer back to this picture and any mother/daughter pageant/dance show on TLC.