Mom, TRIs

After our first child was born, I decided I wanted to work toward completing a triathlon. Childbirth – ridiculous race involving three sports – seems like a reasonable jump to me. Two more children and several years later, still no tri under my belt. Something in February (my last birthday…cough, cough) fueled me to get a plan and set a goal.  An old friend of mine is an avid runner, marathoner, and is in all around kick-butt shape.  She was running a half-marathon in the area, so I signed up and started getting to business.

I loved the routine.  You can’t miss workouts and expect to survive anything with the word marathon in it.  I loved the excuse to clean up our eating, avoid eating out, and I loved how now we had a weekly family day.  We were outside, together, and being active.  I think Man kind of liked it too, but more on that later.  It was a new norm, and I liked it.  Time consuming…oh, my, yes.  Scheduling nightmare…sometimes.  Support…for sure. New gadgets, food stuff, and time spent picking out more workout gear…don’t even want to count the dollars.  Worth it?  Totally.

I didn’t magically find running that first mile any easier (I think that will always stink).  I did look forward to the upcoming challenge.  I looked forward to the time outside covering new ground.  I looked forward to seeing my support bike and cart come by.  I felt more me.

Then in early April, we woke up in the dark and drove an hour to a shopping center so I could test my work.  13.1 miles with a few more hills than my legs had seen before.  I stuck to my very detailed plan.  I followed the advice of my veteran friend.  I crossed the line tired, happy, legs killing me, and slightly delusional.  Before the race was over, I was convinced I would do better next time.  Before we got home, I had worked out how I could alter my training plan.  Before the weekend was over, I was picking out a marathon.  After 13.1, why not 26.2?

Looking over the time since I started full-time mom as my full-time job:  Some days, I feel like this mom thing is a fast 5K, other days, I feel like I’m halfway through the Ironman and they are about to DNF me.  Either way, this mom tries.

Run over to the blog, to check out my journal of one mom’s trials and triumphs on the road to 26.2 and beyond!  Please note, training for any major athletic event does not impact housekeeping in a positive manner.  Except…the workout shorts & socks are always clean.

New Year’s Resolutions

I have resolved not to resolute. 

Goal make, great. 

Determine to finish things I have long put off, sure!

Seek new adventures, you betcha.

Find a little peace in this world, I can hope.

Resolutions, diets, and unrealistic expectations, nah. 

I have no idea what you want to happen in 2016, I just hope I have inspired you to dig a little deeper.
Stick around, January is all about little changes that add up.

Time flies…hello 2016

Day 1: 

I often think about the old adage, “time flies when you’re having fun”. Well guess what? It flies when you’re not too. Last year was a lot of happy, frustration, sadness, hope, surprise, and dismay all tied together in one wonderful knot. Marriage, children, world events, and family life can do that to a person. 

Reflecting over the past twelve months led to an examination of the past thirty four years.  In so many ways I’m right where I always imagined I would be. In others, I’m  a world away.  I have witnessed and done things I never dreamed and I have truly remarkable people in my life. With the dawn of this year came the realization I will soon be firmly planted in the middle age mom category. Friends, there are a few things on my laundry list that I have dorked around with for far too long.  It’s time to stop jacking around and get down to it.  

I have had fun years, hard years, and “I don’t know how I ever did that” years.  There have been years of great change and great joy.  I’m not sure how this year will end up, but at the starting line there is great determination in the air. I’m looking for a little inspiration, a lot more adventure, and one memorable ride. Tick tock y’all. 

Men Stuff…Cause the other word just isn’t ladylike.

Women, I know we get the reputation for being the harder to please sex, but there are days that I feel my whims are well deserved.

Like when Man goes out for deer and he comes home with a rattlesnake.  Then asks you to make fajitas with it.  These are the days that remind me of the other man related things that seep into my every day life.  For instance:

  • the 9,999 screaming for attention around the house, but he found this stand and feeder for one GREAT deal, and it just needs a couple of adjustments
  • when you go to get a family pet and there are retrieving requirements and frozen birds in your deep freeze
  • when the number of animal heads on your walls is the same as the number of children’s photos hung
  • the sheer number of hunting related apparatus that fill our garage, shed and carport
  • so many other hunter related items I have learned to love as part of his charm over the last 13 years.
  • Most days I don’t mind the hunter, fisher, all season outdoorsman.  He’s rugged, tough, and very masculine.  He comes home from the hunt scruffy, happy, and smelling like campfire.  It is part of what makes me feel safe and secure and know our family will always be provided for.  It’s sexy.

    But, then there are days, when he knows.  I am sooooo not finding Mr. Great Outdoors sexy or cute.

    Today is one of those days.  He grins and pokes fun at me a little and says, “baby, this is man s&*t.”

    Yeah, I saw the writing on the wall New Year’s Eve circa 2001 and I married him anyway.  I apologize to my pretty french pan and simmer the snake.  I make myself some yard bird and day dream that I probably earned myself a date night.  No butchering or skinning required.

    Writer’s Note:  The snake was brought home as meat. No skin, no head, no rattle. Looks like a long fish. The snake died because it was in the barn between my son and my husband aactively rattling with its head up. My husband is a hunter and though many may not agree, I can count on one hand the number of animals he has killed and not eaten (he draws the line at rodents).

    Our boys fully understand what it means to harvest an animal, why we eat game opposed to only commercially produced meat, and the ramifications of over population of prey (such as deer) in an area. I can definitely respect Man for those lessons. As for the meat last night…I had chicken. He was fully prepared to eat that one by himself.

    Thankful for the Beautiful

    If you haven’t ever read these familiar lyrics completely through, today is a great day to do so. Thankful for so many blessings. All too often we take things for granted.

    O, beautiful for spacious skies, 

    For amber waves of grain,   

    For purple mountain majesties 

    Above the fruited plain! 

    America! America! 

    God shed his grace on thee 

    And crown thy good with brotherhood 

    From sea to shining sea! 
    O beautiful for pilgrim feet 

    Whose stern impassioned stress

    A thoroughfare of freedom beat 

    Across the wilderness! 

    America! America! 

    God mend thine every flaw, 

    Confirm thy soul in self-control, 

    Thy liberty in law! 
    O beautiful for heroes proved 

    In liberating strife. 

    Who more than self their country loved

    And mercy more than life! 

    America! America! 

    May God thy gold refine 

    Till all success be nobleness 

    And every gain divine! 
    O beautiful for patriot dream 

    That sees beyond the years 

    Thine alabaster cities gleam 

    Undimmed by human tears! 

    America! America! 

    God shed his grace on thee 

    And crown thy good with brotherhood 

    From sea to shining sea! 

    Katharine Lee Bates

    Hope despite the ominousness

    Recently, I visited my brother up in Washington and I commented on how beautiful Mount Rainier was and how interesting it was that some days it faded from sight. My brother said, “yeah, it’s always loomin on the horizon”. To which I replied that looming was a strong word.  Of course he rebutted, “you know, it’s a volcano”. Well, in my ignorance, I did not.  It did get me to thinking… despite ominous outlooks for so many things in our lives and the unrest in our country and abroad, we can look for the good in the world and have hope.

    Happy Fall Y’all

    In a great land, not so far away, there lived a mom of three little children.  Every autumn, when the winds begin to blow and the leaves float to the ground, she is reminded, she married a hunter.  

    Here’s how autumn life goes when you are a have three small children and one hunting husband…

    1. Friday night finish all the laundry and plan to make sure Saturday’s breakfast will not leave any dirty dishes. Pack up the family to spend Saturday morning at the ball park and the rest of the weekend at the hunting lease. 

    2. Make hot cocoa for the soon to be very restless non-ball playing almost three year old, coffee for yourself, and breakfast for everyone. Pack water bottles, bleacher seat, snacks, hats, and sunscreen and head off at an unGodly hour for pee wee games. Watch cuties play ball for three and a half hours. Make one not so quick Academy trip, grab lunch, load up, (checking again for smelly laundry, dirty dishes or stinky trash that will be beyond disgusting in 48 hours) four hours in the truck with the hubby and sleepy little ones, get to lease, (pull out your shiny new shotgun) dove hunt, get a lesson in fetching and harvesting birds, watch hubs help a guy with his tire, grab dinner at THE restaurant in town, head to hotel (thank you sweet Man), clean everyone, get “rest” next to tornado two-year-old. 

    3. Wake up next to tornado two-year-old at 2:30 AM convinced that it is unGodly hunting hour; husband assures you it is indeed the middle of the night.  Grab breakfast burritos (and a granola bar for mom) at the local Gas station and head to the lease for the morning hunt.  Read the Bible, play spot the dove for dad, and watch the sunrise. Reflect on how peaceful it is to sit and watch the sun peak out from behind the clouds, birds flutter about, and ripples of the tank.  Glance around and remind self it is peaceful because you have in earplugs.  Decide overtired kids will not be still or quiet, so head to the other gas station in town for a morning lunch of homemade steak fingers and burgers.  Take kids back to the lease and watch them give up bickering for playing games and collecting rocks, sticks, and bugs together. Realize we have a flat and console distraught two-year-old while husband changes the flat. 

    4. Enjoy calm conversation with the Hunter while listening to quiet snores from the back seat as you head home.  Decide to round ou the three squares with delivery pizza.  Unload everything from the truck.  Send the kids to the backyard to run around and get the crazies out.  Watch them push each other around on the petal car and think…yeah, we should do his more often.  Finish dinner, clean everyone, and put the kids to dinner.  Share beers while the Hunter debones the dove.  Collapse into bed and pray there are no tornados tonight.


    The first six months of this year have started with such divide and turmoil in our country, I love this verse.”Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”


    Boomerangs & Birthdays


    As you age, your circle of friends gets smaller. Really good friends who are there for you, they weather the storms with you, they celebrate the everyday victories with you…weddings, husbands, house hunting, countless birthdays, babies, careers, teething, potty training, schools – life. You work at friendship, you keep up with each other, and you support each other.  You don’t always see eye to eye on politics, parenting styles, or career moves, but you don’t let it drive a wedge between you.  We still have our sorority sisters, our buddies from high school, and our dependable colleagues…but distance, obligations, and time all take their toll. Days, weeks, and years go by.  You blink and you pass another reunion, miss another life event, and time ticks on.

    My friend J, is one of those weather the storms friends. She lived with Man and I for a bit after college.  She was about to move across country, her apartment lease was up and Man was in paramedic school.  It was awesome to have a roommate while Man worked away the days and studied away the nights.  J has never known me not married to Man.  She didn’t know me in high school.  She only knows adult me.  She has moved all over the country, but every few years she comes back home.  She’s like a boomerang.  Ooooo – I may have just found a new nickname.

    We play with the kids, go grocery shopping, and hang at the museum. On shift nights, we make cotton candy; we have breakfast for dinner, drive through Arby’s, and when she moves again, it makes me sad.  Never the less, we still make kids’ birthday parties, babies’ births, and those big moments.  We keep our weekly phone dates, and remember the passing birthdays.  We share the same middle name, a fondness for boxed pasta salad, an appreciation for a restaurant drink so strong it can only be called “cup of drunk”, and contentment in just doing every day, normal stuff together.

    Today, in honor of J – breakfast for dinner, the BEST pasta salad, and my picks of the best places in Fort Worth to take kids. Happy Birthday J & hurry home!

    Best Places in Fort Worth to Take the Kids

    • Fort Worth Zoo
    • I can’t tell you how much my family loves this zoo. They have a trading village, petting area, renown Museum Of Living Art, touch tank, and an amazing selection of animals.
    • Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
    • This museum is designed with children in mind and is very interactive. My boys love the hands on centers with lots of opportunity for creativeness and exploration. There is a section for smaller children focused on imaginative play and one for older children focused on building things. The museum has rotating exhibits, houses the Cattlemen’s museum, and boasts a planetarium and IMAX theatre. Don’t worry, they still have dinosaur bones.
    • Mountasia
    • This place is miniature golf on steroids. In addition to two different mini-golf courses, you can rock climb, paddle boat, battle out laser tag, play arcade games, hit a few at the batting cages, or take a spin on their go carts.

    Need somewhere to eat with kids in tow?

    Try out Tim Love’s Woodshed (BBQ), the Clear Fork Food Truck Park (smorgasbord), or the Mellow Mushroom (pizza, hoagies).

    Shift nights often bring about creative dinners – including breakfast for dinner. Here is one of my easiest throw together breakfast for dinner meals.
    Dad’s Breakfast Casserole
    1/2# ground breakfast sausage (or bacon, cut into ribbons)
    1 can green chilies
    8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup half & half or whole milk
    1/2 bag frozen hash browns

    Preheat oven to 375*. In a skillet, brown sausage (throw in some onion & peppers if you’re feeling fancy). When meat is almost cooked through, toss in the hash browns to thaw and begin to heat through. Season well with salt & pepper. In another bowl, beat eggs and milk together with green chilies – set aside.
    Grease an 8X8 pan. Sprinkle sausage and potatoes in pan. Pour over egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes, topping with cheese for last ten minutes (after all of egg is set).
    Want less mess? If your skillet is oven proof, pour the egg mixture over the meat and potatoes and cook right in the skillet.
    *Don’t feel like turning on the oven? After adding eggs, reduce heat to low, cover and cook on the stovetop.

    These are two of my favorite essential breakfast recipes.
    Fluffy buttermilk biscuits from Spinach Tiger
    Essential Pancakes from Inspired Taste

    Terry’s Pasta Salad
    1 pound small penne or bowtie pasta, cooked in salted water until al dente
    1 roma tomato, diced
    1 purple onion, finely diced
    2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    Finely ground black pepper
    Garlic powder
    Ground oregano
    Onion powder
    Olive oil and Greek (dried mint, allspice, cardamom, coriander, cumin) or Italian (dried basil) seasoning
    Mix-Ins: This is where you can decide how Greek or Italian you want to go
    Baby corn
    Sundried tomatoes
    Leftover raw veggies you might have on hand
    Feta cheese, crumbled, Provolone, cubed, or Mozzarella, cubed
    Kalamata olives, pitted & sliced – feel free to sub a mix of green & black olives
    Diced salami, pepperoni, or other yummy deli sausage

    To make:
    Marinate the pasta, tomato, garlic, and onion over night in olive oil and Greek seasoning. Before serving, toss with whatever mix-ins you chose.  Drizzle with some additional olive oil.  The pasta absorbs A LOT of oil, so drizzle liberally.  Go crazy and shake on some flavored vinegar.
    If you have a garden full of fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon of fresh to 1 teaspoon of dried is the normal conversion. I would recommend using a mortar and pestle to crush and mix the herbs.

    Peace for today

    When we are paralyzed by fear and uncertainty, we call on them, and they come running.
    When question our abilities in a crisis, we call on them, and they don’t hesitate.
    And, if we are lucky, they will call on Him to accomplish the extraordinary in the unimaginable.
    We pray for their strength and courage.
    We thank God for their aid and their sacrifice.

    Today we remember all of those who have laid their life aside for another, and thank our first responders for what they do every day without a second thought.

    Peace be to all those lost and survived on 9/11.