08-21-18 Stop talking to me, Mommy!!!

Tomorrow is trash day and I needed to empty all the trash cans upstairs. I snuck into our bedroom after Baby E had fallen asleep. (He is, unfortunately, still sleeping on a toddler mattress next to our bed.) He started stirring almost immediately so I froze, hoping he would roll over and settle back in. All of a sudden he started to groan in annoyance and then in a loud voice insisted, “Stop talking to me, Mommy!!!” As I stood there silently he repeated his request with more conviction. “Stop talking to me, Mommy!!!”

Not wanting to risk waking him completely I replied quietly, “Ok, buddy, I’ll stop talking.” He murmured something incoherent and fell silent.

08-20-18 The Book

I woke up sore this morning, probably because of all the activity yesterday. I spent time organizing our classroom and the school materials this morning but by this afternoon the kids were itching to go to the pool. Since it won’t be open much longer, I happily obliged.

Sitting by the side of the pool, listening to my children play Marco Polo, I finally finished the novel I bought in a grocery store in Ohio on vacation two years ago.

Apparently overcast, cool August days the week school starts are the best days to go to the pool. We had the entire place to ourselves for hours!

08-19-18 Race Day

I started running on the treadmill about a week after we moved, with the goal that one day I would do a 5k. I was on the internet last week and was randomly looking at local 5ks and I saw that there was one this weekend very near our house. On a whim, I signed up for it.

I stood in line yesterday at a running store to pick up my race packet. When they handed me the shirt and bib my heart started to beat faster. I couldn’t believe I was doing something so far outside of my comfort zone. By the time I got back to the car I’m pretty sure I looked like a deer in headlights.

It was still dark this morning when my alarm went off. Today was race day!! I got up, took my shower, got dressed in my running clothes, and made my way downstairs for breakfast. The house was still quiet.

When I woke the kids up this morning they hurriedly got ready. It was race day for them too. After the 5k started, there would be a kids’ Fun Run of 100 yards. All three of them couldn’t wait to do it.

We arrived on location in time to see the 20k runners start their race. 15 minutes later it was my turn. I stood in a massive crowd of people. I couldn’t even hear the announcer, but suddenly everyone in front of me started to run. That was my cue.

I didn’t really know what to expect because ALL of my running has been on the treadmill. I knew it would definitely be more difficult and my time wouldn’t be as good, but I was just happy to be there, and my goal was to finish.. (and not be last!)

And I did finish and I wasn’t last!! My time wasn’t great and I walked more than I had hoped to, but considering 6 weeks ago was the first time I stepped on the treadmill, I was really happy!! Tim and the kids cheered me on as I crossed the finish line (which came at the top of the steepest hill!!) and they couldn’t wait to tell me about their race.

C came in 4th, Big E came in 5th, and Baby E came in last, (though if you ask him, he will tell you he came in third.) Tim ended up holding his hand the entire way. All the kids got medals for completing their race and they were so proud. I was very happy for them! They even insisted on wearing their medals to church.

This evening I went back to my trusty treadmill and ran for the same amount of time that I had raced for this morning. I was able to go 4.40 miles this evening, which definitely made me feel better about my time this morning.

While this experience was hard, I can’t wait to do it again! I’ve already been looking up what race we can do next!!

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My cheering squad!

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C gave herself a tattoo this morning and showed it to me right before I got into line. It said, “Go Mom”

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The kids were waiting for their race!

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08-17-18 The Magic Cure

The wind shook the tiny leaves off the branches and we watched them flutter and dance to the ground. The trees, which moments earlier had been still, were swaying. The low dark clouds had crept up behind us as we sat in our car looking down the steep hill before us. The road guided us through a 180 degree turn, down a sharp hill, and through a small town with ancient houses and a dusty antique store. Most of the roads we passed were gravel and seemed not fit to travel under blackened skies.

Twenty minutes earlier we had been at the pool when the first roll of thunder made it’s presence known. The pool was vacated, leaving me with three unhappy, dripping wet children who couldn’t see past their own disappointment. I suggested we adventure until the pool reopened, and by adventure I meant we could take roads we had never taken, see places we had never seen. A grumbled consent reached my ears from the backseat.

We made our way toward our mountain.

There we wandered some back roads. We saw baby cows, vast farmland, and old houses. As the wind and rain picked up speed around us, however, it became apparent the storm was stronger than I anticipated and any return to the pool seemed unlikely. The kids became nervous of the lightning, recounting stories they had heard of lightning hitting trees and sending them crashing down onto cars. They thought the lightning might strike the car and kill us as we drove. I assured them we were safe, and meandered our way to the main road to prove it to them.

Ten minutes later we were in the drive thru line at Dunkin Donuts, and their pool disappointment was quickly replaced by a sudden rumbling in their stomachs. If I’ve learned anything as a parent, it is that donuts are a magic cure to many a childhood disaster.

08-16-18 Looking in from outside…

It’s a strange sensation to know a place so incredibly well, yet walk in as an outsider. I worked in the same building for nearly ten years. I know every uneven stair, every stain on the ceiling from the random leaks, every strange little quirk that gave it its unique personality. Over the years I saw dozens of people come and go, many staking their claim, only to move on several years later.

I went to visit my best friend Gail for a lunch date. I was nervous the whole drive over, wondering what it would feel like to be back there. I got to check out the renovations that got underway after I left. I saw old friends and colleagues. I spent about twenty minutes watching a shoot, standing next to the woman who now has my old job.

It was surreal.

I think what I experienced most was sadness mixed with relief. Sadness that time keeps marching and everyone is replaceable, yet relief knowing there is freedom in making the difficult choices, the ones that scare you but you do it anyways.

I loved my time with Gail (though it wasn’t nearly long enough) and I enjoyed the few quick chats I had with friends. For the first time in weeks I missed my old life, but only for a little while. Seeing my children as I walked in the door this evening banished those thoughts away.

 

08-15-18 The Hurt Toes

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I was looking down at my book when Big E started whimpering from the pool. Within seconds he was full out crying. My eyes shot up and I saw him standing on the steps at the edge of the pool, tears streaming down his face. I stood up and he came running towards me, dripping and cold, throwing his arms around me.

“What’s wrong? What happened?” I asked as he continued to weep, drenching my clothes and dripping on my book. He couldn’t answer. C walked up behind him and I asked her, but she couldn’t answer either.

When he started to regain his composure, Big E told me that he had scraped his foot on the side of the pool as he was jumping in. He hobbled over to a lounge chair and sat down. Sure enough there were multiple scrapes along his toes, and his one toe nail looked damaged. As he noticed the blood coming from his cuts he began to scream even louder.

I grabbed his towel and wrapped his foot in it to stop the bleeding. Within a minute the bleeding had stopped, but the pain had not. He squeezed my finger as each new wave hit him until finally he started to calm down.

As C turned her attention back to the pool, and I began to read again, Big E propped himself in his chair and looked around. I glanced at him over my pages and watched him wince. He’d check his toes. He’d talk to me. He’d sit in silence.

After awhile he started to get bored. I told him he could get back in the water and he looked shocked. “But it will hurt!!’ he exclaimed. “Maybe,” was my reply. “And if it does, just get out again. It stopped bleeding awhile ago.”

Timidly he got off of his chair and dipped his toes in the water. He let out a squeal and hurried back to his retreat. “It hurts!!!”

“You know, if you don’t think about it, it won’t hurt so bad.”

He looked at me in amazement.

“If you don’t focus on your pain, you might not even notice it.” I watched him think this over. After a few moments he stood up and said, “I’m going to try again, but I’m not going to think about my toes.”

Sure enough, within three minutes he was splashing around the pool without a care in the world. No more complaints, only smiles and laughter.

That’s life isn’t it? It’s the choice we make daily. When we can’t take our eyes off the things that hurt us, they are the only things we can see. But if we look past them, choose to temporarily forget them, and live beyond them, they lose all the power they once held over us.

 

08-14-18 This is the “Why.”

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There are many reasons why we moved, but this is one of the most important ones.

This evening after work, Tim texted me to let me know he was on his way home. I texted back that we were at the pool and that I was sure the kids would love if he could drop by. A little while later he pulled in at the pool without the kids noticing. When he walked through the door, one by one, the kids started squealing “Daddy!!” and threw themselves into his arms.

This guy doesn’t get enough credit for the hard work and sacrifice he has done for our family. He gets up before sunrise, works long days, and comes home exhausted, but excited to spend time with his family. For about four years, his days included at least three hours on the road each day to get to and from work. His life was a whirlwind of traffic, work, and a blur of sleep. It was hard on us, but it was especially hard on him as it meant he missed a lot at home.

He’s now only 25 minutes from work, which means he is home a great deal more. We even drop by to visit him at the shop sometimes just to surprise him and say hello.

This evening I came into our room to see him and Baby E curled up on our bed, flipping through the fungi book. I watched and smiled as Baby E asked about each one, repeated the things his daddy said, and posed questions to be answered. He was eating up every minute. I think they both were.

Moments like that remind me we made the right decision. Hands down.

08-13-18 The View From The Floor

This is where I find myself most evenings, long after the kids have fallen asleep and the house has slipped into silence. I choose a music playlist or a show to watch, stretch, and I start to run. In the first few weeks I walked a lot, peppering my time with short bursts of running, but now it’s nearly half and half. At the end of my run, after I cool down, I lay on the floor next to the treadmill, stare at the ceiling and listen to my heart beating and my lungs breathing.

Six weeks ago I would lose my breathe climbing the steep and uneven stairs to my third floor office, a chore I had done for the better part of ten years. Tonight I went eight miles on the treadmill in 74 min 18 sec. There’s room for improvement, but I’m proud of my progress.

08-12-18 The Crayfish

I heard the sounds drifting down the stairs as Tim was putting the kids to bed. I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and a smile crept across my face. They were singing my favorite hymn. Of all the hymns that I have ever sung in church, it’s the one that resonates the most with me.

Come Thou Fount 
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Oh, that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy wondrous grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Take my ransomed soul away
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
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This afternoon we decided to take the kids to the creek to splash around for awhile. They had never been there with Tim and he had been wanting to take them. It was raining for most of the afternoon, but as it began to let up we pulled into the parking lot. Because of the weather, there weren’t many people out. We did manage to come within ten feet of a deer eating in the woods, we came within sight of a large heron, and we ran across a very large (dead) cray fish, (which honestly looks more like a lobster!)