The Terrible Twos. Nope. Threes. Nope. FOURS. Yes. The Terrible Fours.

Remember how, when Nikki was 3, we all commiserated that the “Terrible Twos” never held true for us and that age three was a much more evil age? And how she got so much better at age 4? And then…then do you remember how I was counting down the days to age 4 for Wes because three was killing me? Well…guess what? It turns out that age 4 is the devil zone for my third child.

Kids, man. They never read the parenting blogs, do they?

Age four is KILLING ME, y’all! Donnie and I have both been trying out new discipline waters to cope with the wonderful personality changes Age Four has brought us. Things Wes is doing at age four that he never did with any regularity before?

  • Spit. ON PEOPLE AND THINGS.
  • Hit. PEOPLE AND THINGS.
  • Throw tantrums. None of my kids threw tantrums and now, Wes? Is the king of them all.
  • Yells. At everyone.
  • Writes on things. Sometimes in permanent marker.
  • Tears up books.

He lost his library privileges a few weeks ago for soaking a library book with spray air freshener. (WHAT IN THE HELL?) Yesterday, he tore the book Nikki was reading and then I found the remains of two of his own books in his room that he had torn up. So…what did I do? I didn’t yell (I try not to do that with him since I’m often getting on to him for yelling) – I just very calmly said, “Well…that’s it. No more books for you.” Then, I took a giant black garbage bag and filled it with every book from his room. He screamed bloody murder the ENTIRE time.

“NOOOOOOO!! NOOOOOOO!!! DON’T TAKE MY BOOKS!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!”

It was so loud that Donnie ran upstairs thinking that maybe I was beating his child.

Nope. Just taking away his books. And it was obviously a good punishment choice since he was so upset about it.

(Sidenote: Don’t you hate it when you punish your kid and they don’t seem to care? I prefer the upset child because then, at least, I know my punishment hits a nerve.)

I explained to him that he has been showing us lately that he doesn’t seem to want to be a big kid anymore. He’s been acting like a baby who doesn’t know the rules. So, if he’s going to act like that, he doesn’t get the big kid things anymore – like books. I told him I’d take away all of his Avengers toys next. “NOOOOOOO!!!” This time, E and Nikki run upstairs thinking I’m beating their brother. I’m telling you, when Wes screams it’s INSANE. Like he’s being murdered.

So…Yay! Yay for continuing parenting challenges! I mean, if this was always easy everyone would do it, right?

Now…does anyone want to commiserate this time about how age four was the worst for their kid? And about how age 5 got miraculously easier? I need something to keep me from picking up a hard-core drinking habit in the next 11 months.

Operation 50 Miles (Week 1)


So, I tend to casually reference big races around here. Like the time I casually referenced I was running a trail marathon and a few of you were like, “Um…what? Did we miss that entry?” Eventually, of course, I admitted I had signed up for that trail marathon, but not until I was far enough along in my training that I was confident it was actually going to happen.

This time? I’m telling you all Week 2 of training: I signed up for a 50 Mile run.

FIFTY MILES.

Here’s why I did it. I wanted to do an ultra race this year. An ultra is anything more than a marathon. We have a good 50K (30 miles) race November 22nd that is on trails I know, and it is “easy” as trail runs go. All of my friends were going to do it too. PERFECT.

Here are the problems:

1) I have a niece/nephew due to be born 5 days after that race. I want to be there when it’s Baby Time so I could miss the race.

2) There’s a time limit on that race that I got a wee freaked out about after it took me 6:30 to do my trail marathon. The cutoff is basically 10 hours. Mathematically I should/could make it, but it was still freaking me out.

So…I started researching any other ultras in the area. I found the Nashville one. And they had a 50-mile option! Another of my “bucket list” items but most of them have a 12-hour limit and…what? WAIT. WHAT DOES THAT SAY? They give you a 2-hour head start if you’re worried about the 12-hour time limit? AND…you know what else? You can have support runners run the whole thing with you! AND…you know what else? If you change your mind while you’re running and want to just do the 50K? You can.

In terms of a 50-mile run? This one was PERFECT for me. It gives me my ultra in case I have to miss the other one for my new niece/nephew. But it also gives me the feeling of HOLY SHIT ON A STICK! I JUST RAN 50 MILES!

I researched training programs and mapped one out that fit with my other races and travel plans for the year. It looked okay, but my friend Dave made this KILLER spreadsheet for his 50K training that I totally stole and added my training to it too. If you’re curious, here is the training plan. My schedule is in orange.

What’s my point of this entry besides letting you in on my insane plan? I think I’m going to do some specific training logs. Like: Hill run today made me want to punch my face off! Or Long run today took a million years! Things like that to actually chronicle the training. There’s a local runner who has been doing that here and I really like it.

I’m halfway through Week 2 of training right now but this will be my Week 1 update. (A training week is Monday thru Sunday). I’m thinking about leaving this off of the main ticker on my home page. It will still show up in my RSS feeds if you read through Google Reader, and it will still show up on the old school layout, but I think I’ll link my training stuff along the top and on the side instead of on the homepage ticker. We’ll see…I reserve the right to totally change my mind as this goes on.

 

Week 1

Monday
Boot Camp – 5:30am Legs
Tuesday
Boot Camp – 5:30am Upper Body
Cross Country Run – 1 mile warm-up, 3-mile tempo on the trails at about 29:30. (My 5K PR is 25:00, that shows how much a trail run can slow me down.)
Wednesday
Boot Camp – 5:30am Kickboxing/Balance
Thursday-Friday
SICK. Damn Endometriosis.
Saturday
5 miles at about 10:00 pace along Bailey Cove
10 miles with group at about 11:30 pace along Greenway
Sunday
9 miles on Bucca trail up at Monte Sano

All in all it was a good first week considering my endometriosis flared up. I came in 8 miles short on my weekly mile count, which is not ideal, but it’s week 1 and I have a really solid base of 30+ miles per week, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

The Pain From Running Is Way Cooler Than The Pain From Cleaning Your House

Sometimes I worry that I make running look too easy. Not because I’m gracefully winning all of the races I run, but because I rarely talk about any of the sucky parts.

And listen…the sucky parts are there.

I’ve mentioned several times about the lost causes that are my toenails. I currently have three “little” toenails that are in various stages of re-growth, which is actually much prettier than the one big toe that is black. The sucky part about that big toenail is that it had FINALLY fallen off, clearing way for the new toenail, when I ran the Cotton Row 10K, which turned it black again. I’ve run that course 20 times, not a problem, aside from the first time I ran it, which gave me the original black toenail. I think that my toes just hate that race.

(Sidenote: I’m the only one in my running group with extreme toenail problems. This does not plague all runners! The shape of your foot just makes you more or less prone to them.)

Right now, I’m dealing with the negative side of losing flexibility. My muscles are in recovery mode so often now that the only time I’m really loose and agile is about 3 miles into a long run. My calves are always tight lately…this morning even to the point of being painful. My hamstrings get like that too – just a general tightness that is painful in every day activities.

Sometimes my knee hurts, I often twist my ankles. My hips twinge and I still get the periodic shin splint. Some of it I can treat and make it better, some of it I just ignore until it goes away.

The thing is…the reason why I don’t talk about that stuff too much…is it all pales in comparison to the general aches and pains of my daily life before I started exercising.

We bought this house 2-3 months before I started bootcamp. This house has about 15 stairs leading just to the front door. And then there’s more stairs leading up to the main living room and the kid’s rooms. It only took about a week living here before every joint in my body started hurting relentlessly. My back was always killing me. I started getting anxiety attacks at the thought that we bought our “forever home” and I was already wanting to get out of it.

But then…a funny thing happened. Months into getting fit it hit me: I don’t hurt anymore. Sure…I felt pains after a good workout or a long run, but those general I’m-Getting-Old that we all get and those I-Live-In-A-House-With-Three-Stories-Worth-Of-Stairs pains that some of us get? Those pains were gone.

So, yes. I’m training for a 50-mile race right now and doing boot camp at least 3 times a week. My left calf hurts so bad I don’t like walking. I got poison ivy from a run last week and it’s making me want to amputate my leg. My big toe hurts like a Mother Trucker. But in the end? It’s all still way better than getting up in the morning and thinking, I hurt just because I walked up stairs yesterday. Or my back is killing me because I painted that room. Or my shoulders hurt from the weed-eater. Those general living pains that we get as we get older? Have subsided. They cleared the way for the pains of working out and training for races. And I’m okay with those pains. I don’t feel the need to whine about those as much because they’re more like badges of honor.

My left calf hurts because I cut 30 seconds off my 3-mile cross country run last night. Which is way cooler than, My back hurts because I had to carry groceries up my stairs yesterday.

Positive Attitude Everywhere BUT My Home

They are bundles of positive energy…no need to squash that!

I’m not a religious person; I’m not a believer of anything Christian or Biblical. But, I am spiritual and seek out meditative moments (although I suck at actual meditation) of contemplation so I can organize my thoughts and my emotions. And I do have one tenet (Not Tennant, although I’d like one of those too) that I live by. It comes up in conversation sometimes and I have found that – no matter how I explain it – no one ever quite understands what I mean.

I always say, “I’m a firm believer that whatever energy I put into the universe, I get back.”

Somehow, this always get’s interpreted as either A) I believe Karma or that B) Everyone gets what they deserve in life.

And neither of these ideas really fit with my own.

In reality? Mine is super-simple. I just feel like if I stay positive, and try to be positive around others as much as possible, then I attractive positive energy. I’m not saying that if I volunteer for a homeless charity then someday I’ll win the lottery, and I’m not saying the douchbag you work with will one day contract leprosy to counterbalance his douche-ness. All I mean is that – if I keep a positive outlook and try to fill my world with positive energy – then that is what stays in my world. Whether it’s in the form of positive people or just positive opportunities; I feel like that whatever I put out there in the universe, is what stays around me.

I still feel like I make absolutely zero sense. I won’t be creating any sort of cult around this belief anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Let’s just move on and pretend you understand what I’m talking about, okay?

So…anyway…this holds very true outside my home. I am surrounded by a lot of positive energy in my life. And that breeds the same type of positive reciprocation in me. I love it. I love my life outside my home.

BUT MAN…I need to work on this tenet inside the walls where I live. I suck at being positive in my house.

I come home and I’m immediately pissed off because there are toys where they don’t belong. (Part of the deal with E being my Nanny this summer to earn money is the house has to look the same when I come home as when I left in the morning, as it would if the kids were in daycare.) I came home from dinner with friends last night and immediately went on a rampage because the kids weren’t in bed. (Donnie: I didn’t pay attention to what time it was! We were just watching a movie!) I come home at lunch and raged because I’m behind at laundry. I wake up in the middle of the night and rage because the dog scratched to go out and still peed on the carpet.

At home? I am nothing but a GIANT BALL OF NEGATIVE ENERGY.

So…if I hold to this tenet so strongly in the outside world, why do I throw it to hell inside my home and expect anything different? Of course my house is filled with negative energy…I PUT IT THERE.

Sometimes I just want to smack myself.

I touched on this a little when I talked about always saying, “No!” but I think I’m seeing it more now as a general concept. Maybe I’m getting a lot of negative behavior and attitudes in my home because I’m always throwing it out there. I mean, inside these four walls, I emit much more negative energy than positive. Way more nagging, yelling, griping, bitching, moaning than anything positive: loving, laughing, hugging, dancing. Once we leave this house? I’m better. We go to playgrounds and dance at Farmer’s Markets. But inside this structure I call home? I am the most negative person that I can be.

How messed up is that?

Basically I have this great outlook on the world brings a lot of positive people and energy into my life. And I barricade all of that from ever entering my home and benefiting the people who need it most: My family. And I just kinda realized I was doing this yesterday.

So! Let’s put a stop to that nonsense! I mean…if I’m going to have this great tenet (I keep think of the 10th Doctor ever time I type that word) that I truly believe brings joy to my life…I should maybe try applying the same mindset to my home, shouldn’t I? And see if maybe it works? Maybe if I don’t nag 90% of the time we’re inside this house – maybe if I tried to foster a more positive environment – maybe then the ripple effect of positive energy would keep my kids from acting out so often.

My Dad had quite a temper. And that’s quite a polite way to phrase that, for the record. We were talking about tempers one time and he said, “Sometimes we take out our frustrations at home on the people who can’t leave us. But someday they will.” And I think it’s so true. Some days I bottle up that stress so as to keep only positive energy to give the outside world, and then the stress bubbles over when I get home and my poor kids get nothing but NAGGY-NEGATIVE-NANCY as a Mom. And she sucks. TRUST ME.

(Does anyone ever feel like this blog is heavy on this: LET’S TRY TO IMPROVE MY LIFE IN THIS WAY! type of content? Is that a good or a bad thing?)

I’m going to try today to be a more positive source of energy in my home. I’m not sure how to do that when I walk in and rage because THERE ARE 14 SHOES IN THE KITCHEN. WHO WEARS 7 PAIRS OF SHOES IN ONE DAY? But I’ll try to figure it out today and report back with either A) Stories of wonderful successes or B) Stories of drinking beer 10am.

Whatever works!

Did I Mention It Was Hot This Weekend?

After Her First Ever (In The Park) Home Run!


Softball is over for the year, and I’m going to say something that I’m probably not supposed to say.

I AM SO GLAD.

The regular softball season was fine, but we took part in All-Stars after the season was over. I don’t know if your city does this, but after the regular city tournament, they put together All-Stars teams. Each ball park (our city league is organized like school districts) picks the best players from all of their teams in one age group, and sends one All-Star team from each park to a city tournament. Nikki got put on our All-Star team for the 8U coach pitch division. Yay!

Except, you know…not really.

All-Stars is a completely different breed of softball. If you are a really aggressive parent and like to yell at umps and what not? You’d probably love All-Stars. But I’m not aggressive. I cheer a lot, but it’s all positive and I never yell at an ump. The All-Star tournament from this weekend was full of REALLY SERIOUS SOFTBALL PARENTS. And that’s great! Good for them! I’m just not one of them. So, I was glad when it was over.

ALSO – After practicing almost every day for 2 weeks – the tournament was crammed into one weekend. Actually, we had a game Thursday night and Friday night to determine our seed for the tournament. Then the tournament started Saturday. Now…before I tell you about Saturday let me tell you two important facts:

1) Nikki is 6 years old (although there are girls on the team as old as 9)
2) The high was 98 on Saturday

The girls played THREE GAMES on Saturday.

Let me let that sink in…

THREE GAMES.

It was crazy. It was hot and hot and SO VERY HOT. I had run 15 miles Saturday morning and Donnie ran a duathalon. Then we played three softball games. And Donnie helped coach/pitch in those games.

Did I mention it was hot?

But Nikki was a champ. She never really complained other than needed water/ice rags/gatorade. She still hustled up until the very last second of the very last game. She was amazing. It’s so obvious she was born an athlete and I’m so glad that the klutzy genes I passed on to her don’t slow her down a bit. She may be the smallest on the team but she’s one of the fastest. She did great.

BUT I AM SO GLAD IT’S OVER.

I’ll tell you, though. This mister/fan right here? The best thing I bought this weekend. After our first game I ran to Target and bought a few of these fans and they made the second two games much more bearable for Wes. He was bored out of his mind so those misters kept him entertained and cooled off. If you need to spend many hours in the sun with small kids? GET YOU A MISTER FAN.

After the long day we went to see Brave with the kids. Nikki wore her costume and simply loved it. She’s always been a bit of a fighter, not a lover, when it comes to movie preference. But she’s still a girly-girl at heart, so giving her a movie where a girl in a dress kicks some ass? And she’s happy. We all enjoyed it too. In terms of the Pixar spectrum I liked it better than Cars and Up, but not as much as Finding Nemo and Toy Story. I loved it, though, and will surely buy it when it comes out on DVD!

Finally…I did some baking with the kids. We haven’t cooked together in awhile so I made a point to let them help me do the desserts for family dinner. We did an oreo cake (Improvised from this) and this cookie pie which is always a big hit. They were great helpers and it was a perfect indoor activity on Sunday to counterbalance the heat from Saturday.

All-in-all it was one of those super-busy weekends that makes me very excited to welcome Monday.

What about you? Was it so hot this weekend that your son burned his feet running out to the van with no shoes on? Because a certain teenage son of mine did. Summer in Alabama…where no one cares it it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, we’re more concerned about third degree burns on bare feet.