Screw Everything, I’m Going For A Run

I saw a pin on Pinterest yesterday that said “F Everything And Run” (Except it had the REAL F-word) – and while it damaged my sensibilities with the dirty word (WHAT?) – I’ve been thinking about it a lot since.

Yesterday was a BAD DAY. I would love to run down my List Of Crap Stressing Me Out but I don’t want to give that list any more power than it already has on my life. Let’s just say this: I was called to the principal’s office. And that was probably the LEAST stressful part of the day.

After my race 3+ weeks ago I told myself: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Those would be my running days. I’d like to do more than 3 miles each weekday and more than 6 on the weekend. Beyond that? I was just going to go with the flow of any running group I could find.

I found a group to run with last night, and I’m so glad I did because I just said, “F*ck it, I’m going running.” That is the sentiment of my running life now. Running has become my escape. My therapy. I was desperate to find someone to run with last night so I joined a group with a few people I knew and I hope I didn’t slow them down too much because those six miles were EXACTLY what I needed to brush off the day.

Running has become that THING in my life that just makes me feel better. It’s funny, it’s like popping a beer (which I do some nights on top of running!) or stuffing my face (which I try NOT to do) – it’s something I do because I know that while I’m doing it, it calms me down. But the awesome thing about running as a stress-reliever it? It doesn’t make me feel like shit later like binge-eating or beer does. I finish the run, the stress has waned, and I feel GOOD.

So, on each running day, I take all of the crap that is bringing me down and I say, “F*ck it!” and I run. I’m not training for anything, except for my own mental health. And to be there with running now? Is amazing. This is why I want to keep running four days a week, because I know that my relationship with running is good for my body AND my mind.

I feel like I spend a lot of days lately debating the merits of medications for my anxiety. I consider that a “last resort” type of step and don’t want to take it until I feel like I’ve tried all other options. And after every GOOD RUN that I get in I say to myself, “No where close to last resort yet.” Because – for right now – running is keeping me sane.

I want you to truly understand that a year ago I would have read this entry and wanted to punch the person writing it in the face. I would have thought she was crazy and most importantly: SO DIFFERENT FROM ME. I want you to truly understand that this did not come naturally…it took almost a year of regular running and finding great running groups for me to get this attitude about running. But now? I need it. The Mommy guilt of ditching the kids subsides because I know that THEY need me to run, too. They need me to leave all of that stress out on the road and come back to them with a clear head.

(For the beatings, of course.)

I know a lot of you struggle with running just like I have in the past and I hope that every one of you, can some day feel what it’s like to let go of all of the stuff making you sad, angry, and stressed – and just hit the road. For those 6 miles I was fine. I felt great. It was cold and wet but I was running and for each mile I ticked by, my muscles loosened and my heart grew stronger away from a day of anxiety. I came home ready to face it all with a much better attitude than before I ran.

I hope some day you can say the same thing.

Yet ANOTHER My Teenager Is Amazing Story

Here’s a story I’ve told everyone on the internet BUT those of you here on my blog because it happened amidst a crazy level of chaos and I never got around to writing about it.

The Saturday before I flew to Baltimore, E took Nikki to see Shrek The Musical with a couple of his friends. As the story goes, Nikki basically projectile vomited while sitting in her seat inside the theatre DURING the show.

E immediately broke into PARENT MODE, grabbed her in a basket hold and ran out of the theatre. When they got in the lobby she continued puking in the garbage can while volunteers in the lobby stood by not really knowing how to help. He was really needing another pair of hands, but no one seemed to want to join THAT party. Part of me understands…PUKING CHILD! RUNNNNN! But another part of me sees a teenage boy trying to care for a sick little girl and wonders why NO ONE stepped up.

Eventually he made it to the bathroom where he was getting her out of her puke-covered clothes when an EMT came in. Evidently the workers in the lobby decided THAT was the help he needed. An ambulance. He frustratingly explained that he didn’t need medical attention, but a glass of water would be nice.

His friends were there to help him when he came out of the bathroom. He had taken off his button-up shirt and put his sister in it while he put her puke-covered clothes in a garbage bag. His friends sat with his sister while he ran, probably half a mile or more, to the minivan that was parked quite a ways away. He got her home and told me what all had happened. I had two thoughts:

1) OH MY GOD. I have the most AMAZING teenager EVER. Seriously? Can you BELIEVE IT? He totally rocked out an awful situation like a superstar.

2) OH MY GOD. Better him than me.

Thanksgiving Recipe Review

We didn’t have Thanksgiving on Thursday this year because we were missing 3 members of our local family. We did a BBQ at our house for those who were hear. I tried a couple new recipes that day and then I tried a new casserole on Sunday when we celebrated our our Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house. Here are the recipes I tried (all found on Pinterest, OF COURSE) and my thoughts on each of them.

Fall Fruit Salad – I added grapes, left out walnuts, (I leave out nuts on every recipe because that’s the perk of preparing meals. You get to leave out what you don’t like.) and left out the cool whip because it seemed like unnecessary sugar. And you know what? Turned out great! Yay for successful modifications!

Corn Casserole – This was SO EASY and OH MY GOD everyone loved it. SO GOOD. Donnie doesn’t rave about much because he eats anything. But that casserole? He raved about to EVERYONE.

2 Cheese Squash Casserole – This was a lot of effort. I feel like casseroles should be EASY so when there are multiple “steps” I sometimes avoid them. However, I needed something new to bring to Thanksgiving so I gave it a whirl. It was good, but honestly? I think you could use frozen sliced squash to avoid the whole First Step timesuck. Also, I left out the eggs. I know a lot of casseroles call for them to as a binding factor, but I always leave them out. And most of the time the casserole is more liquidy than it would be WITH the eggs, but I prefer that over the eggs that I ALWAYS CAN TASTE. I’m not a fan of the hidden eggs. Long story short? I will cook it again, but with frozen squash. And still without the eggs.

WINNER! Pumpkin Spice Cookies With White Chocolate Chips – BEST COOKIES EVER. I made two batches, I suggest keeping the cookies small because they are so moist that they crumble if they’re too big. The small cookies? PERFECT. They are AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD.

What about you? Did you try anything? Love it? Hate it? SHARE YOUR LESSONS LEARNED!

Important Skills

This week’s article at CafeMom has me teaching my kids how to make breakfast burritos. Or, quite possibly, the world’s most perfect breakfast food. Read the article here.

My children are picky eaters. And, of course, they’re picky in different ways. This puts us in a position where we struggled coming up with meal options that make everyone happy when we go out to eat. The one constant when we’re eating outside the home? Mexican food. We can go to just about any Mexican restaurant in town and everyone will find at least one thing on the menu they’ll eat. The best part, is that I find my children will eat more variety as long as it’s rolled up or grilled up in a tortilla.

So, what was my latest Breakfast Kitchen Adventure starring my mini chefs?


That Damn Elf.

So, I mentioned on Facebook recently that I was thinking about doing the whole “Elf on the Shelf” thing this year in an attempt to scare my children into behaving better. Everyone who has used it have varying degrees of effectiveness, and as long as no one said, “IT MADE MY CHILD MORE EVIL!” then I was on board.

I decided to set it up last Friday so that I could talk to the kids about it before the babysitter came over for Donnie and I to grab some dinner. Nikki was IN AWE. She listened to the story and immediately started talking to Fifi (that’s what they named him) and being on her BEST behavior.

Wes was not so inspired.

He kept trying to touch the Elf which – as you may or may not know – causes him to lose his magic so he can’t get back to Santa. Luckily, I had placed the Elf inside a cup so I could just move the cup without touching the Fifi. I moved him to a higher shelf as Nikki watched – TERRIFIED I was going to slip and touch the thing.

Well, Donnie and I went to dinner and the babysitter was asked to read the story about the Elf OVER and OVER again. HOWEVER, while I explained to her about the Elf before I left, I didn’t tell her about how I skipped over the line about the kids needing to “Say your prayers” in the book. You know, because I knew Nikki would be like, “WHAT?!” and immediately freak out because she doesn’t say prayers.

Lauren, our sitter, read that part and Nikki did exactly what I though she would. She freaked, dropped to her knees and immediately started “praying”. How many other kids has Santa inspired to be religious?

Anyway, no big deal, my daughter prays. How or for what? Eh. I’m not concerned. We talk about religion all the time so she knows how I feel and she knows I don’t pray but don’t have a problem with people who do. ESPECIALLY IF SANTA WANTS THEM TO!

Little did I know this would not be the greatest drama to come out of the damn Elf.

We got home and I immediately went to take Lauren home. I called Donnie after she told me the Nikki Praying story and I could immediately hearing Nikki crying in the background.

What’s going on?
Huh? What happened?
I TOUCHED IT AND NIKKI IS FREAKING OUT AND CRYING BECAUSE SHE THINKS I BROKE HIS MAGIC! I tried to explain it doesn’t count for adults but she doesn’t believe me because YOU evidently acted like it COUNTED. She said you wouldn’t touch it so it would have REALLY BEEN NICE if you had told me this before I SCARRED HER FOR LIFE!
Let me talk to her.

I basically told her that I didn’t know if the Elf’s magic was gone or not. “Daddy said he didn’t feel a shock or anything when he touched him…so maybe the magic is still there?” Sure, that sounds right. I assured her that that Santa was understanding and probably knows that Daddy didn’t know the rules yet. I told her I really hoped he did but that we would know for sure when we woke up in the morning because if the Elf had moved? It meant his magic was still intact.

And if he didn’t? It meant that Mommy forgot to move him.

I woke her up as she asked at 5am before I went to go run and told her, “He moved!” and then she went back to sleep, peacefully at last.

Donnie, on the other hand, has been in a catatonic state for five days now. The trauma of almost ruining the magic of Santa has he mumbling in the corner and flinching at the sound of Christmas music.