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100 Smiles.

Have you ever set your sight on something in the future that ended up not happening…maybe a vacation cancelled due to illness or a promotion unreceived? If so, then you know disappointment and sadness and frustration from those unseen plans. That is exactly what Donnie is feeling all this week as he cancelled his plans to run the race he’s been training and planning for, for 9 months. 9 months of training, coaching, gear etc. It’s a lot of time and money spent on something not happening and it’s a hard thing to deal with.

Now, imagine your family went on that vacation without you. Or your best friend got that promotion instead of you. Imagine that conflicted feeling of wanting to enjoy your loved ones’ happiness but the constant reminder of your missed experience is just staring you in the face. That’s what he’s going to be dealing with this weekend as so many of our friends are running or crewing the race he’s not running.

THIS is why we immediately shifted plans to go to Chattanooga instead. We already had childcare taken care of for the weekend, so this was a pretty easy decision to make. Now we focus on trying to overwrite the instict for sadness over missed plans and instead have joy over an Anniversary Trip! That’s what we’re calling it since our Anniversary was just 2 weeks ago. We’re going to explore our favorite city and eat and drink and be merry! And I’ve decided that instead of the weekend of 100 Miles, we’re rebranding it. It is now the weekend of 100 Smiles!

We need it after this shitty week. Nikki did end up having a concussion, but once they gave her Zofran yesterday for her nausea (and ruled out any brain bleeding) she was able to eat and finally started feeling better. By bedtime last night she was a new woman, back to her old self. She’ll return to school today but no PE.

Dead Cat. Concussed Child. Cancelled Race. We SO VERY MUCH need this weekend!

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The Good and The Bad.

I went to an event last night at UAH where Yaa Gyasi (I wrote about her book here.) read a chapter from her book. She told us the character’s chapter using the name of the character but I couldn’t remember exactly which character it was. Then she read the first line and I remembered, it was a female slave’s character with a tragic story (I doubt there are any slave stories absent of tragedy) and I just watched her read these words and they were even stronger than they were when I read them off the page myself.

She did a book signing afterwards and took time for pictures but I didn’t have anyone with me so I did a selfie…OF COURSE I DID. She was very kind. She’s from Huntsville so her parents were there and they were adorably proud of her and it was just a lovely evening.

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Of course then I came back home to Bambi who is suffering from cognitive degeneration associated with aging. They got hime calm at the vet with a bubbler in a water bowl and they were finally able to get him to eat some so they let us borrow the bubbler and bring him home. I hoped we could get him “stable” enough to have a good weekend with E as he’s coming up to stay with the kids this weekend. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working. Part of why/how they got him calm may have been he was in a cage there…and here he can just wander around aimlessly. I don’t want to keep him locked up just to keep him calm…just to keep him alive. Also, keeping him alive just so E can see him…and then have to spend the weekend dealing with his decline…seems extremely cruel.

So I’m going to call the vet back this morning and say, “I think it’s time.”

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National Blog Posting Month!

It’s that time! Time for me to attempt to write a blog post every day for the month of November! I’ve done this every years since…2004? 2005? And I’ve probably been about half successful. And I almost started this year off by skipping because we’re out of coffee so I’m having to drink Diet Coke to start my morning and that just throws me ALL OFF. I blog while I drink coffee! How can I blog without it?

Then I couldn’t find my car keys that were lost in the Halloween shuffle. Oh…speaking of Halloween!

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Wesley was his favorite YouTuber: DanTDM. You either know him and will be all: “OMG! THEY MAKE COSTUMES OF YOUTUBERS?” Or you’ll roll your eyes and be all, “OMG. THEY MAKE COSTUMES OF YOUTUBERS?”

It was 88 degrees here though, so those costumes were HOT AS HELL. The trick-or-treating didn’t last long as parts of the costumes just kept coming off in desperation.

Also adding to the choas? Bambi is totes sick, y’all.

These are pictures from 2002 I dug out because I was sad that he might not come home from the vet.

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We all (including the vet) thought he was suffering from organ failure due to an onset of some crazy symptoms. BUT! His blood levels look better than some 2yo cats! (He’s 17-18.) However, it still doesn’t takeaway that he’s sick, losing weight, erratic, losing hair, and sometimes sleeping in his water bowl. So, he stayed at the vet overnight and we’re not hopeful as, you know, he’s 18. He’s old. We’ve been down the, “Make the decision” road before. It’s not a fun road to be on, but we’ll see. Think about sweet Bambi, if you can.

Happy NaBloPoMo! Finger’s crossed I make it!

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Harry Potter Tribute Cakes and POTUS

First? Let’s talk about the cake I made Nikki. I am creative but not crafty so this was the PERFECT Harry Potter tribute for me to pull off.

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Seccond? Let’s talk about my daughter and her BFF…President Obama.

Remember when she first wrote him three years ago? He responded with a letter and some token Bo and Sonny Obama stuff. Well, she wrote him recently again about LGBTQ equality and he wrote her again yesterday!

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This time the letter specifically addressed equality and she was SUPER excited. We’re inviting the Obamas to E’s graduation in May since were totes BFFs now.

That’s all I got today. Wesley was up with leg cramps and I’m still trying to pull off boot camp AND running in the mornings before work.

By the way – thank you for all of you who emailed me to discuss kids/anger as I requested on Monday. I’m about halfway through replying back. I really appreciate you all letting me vent/unload on you. You all are often my salvation in making me feel less alone.

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My Marriage and Trophic Cascades

Do you have minute? Can you watch a video about the Wolves of Yellowstone? There’s an obvious metaphor in there you won’t even need me to spell out for you.

If you don’t have time or can’t watch it (find time later, it’s amazing) the gist of it is that introducing small quantities of wolves back into Yellowstone made huge significant changes – even to the course of the river.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

I’m 100% certain you don’t need me to spell out the metaphor as these wolves relate to my life. But I’m going to anyway.

My depression and anxiety were taking their toll on my life before I started therapy. There’s no need to detail that here, just know it wasn’t great. But then I started going to therapy and I started working through my grief over losing my Dad which opened the door to a lot of crap that had laid undisturbed for years. I expected therapy to help me with my depression and anxiety, just like the wolves were expected have an impact on the population of the animals they prey upon, like the deer. That was actually the point of re-introducing the wolves, which had been absent for 70 years, just like the point of therapy was to reduce my anxiety and depression.

What I never thought about though, as I was overwhelmed in darkness of anxiety and depression, was the cascade of other changes that would follow. I have become a better Mom, a better friend, and most importantly? It made my marriage better than it’s ever been.

I could break it down easily and just say, “My anxiety and depression were ruining my marriage and so getting help fixed it.”

But that is way too much of an oversimplification. My therapist has helped me work through stuff I’ve come home to discuss with my husband which has helped him work through his own crap. She’s given me tools I’m using in my life and in my marriage which have also proved useful to him. She’s helped me be vulnerable to him instead of always stressed or angry, and he’s reciprocated.

We cuddle now. We haven’t cuddled in years.

My marriage was fine before therapy, it wasn’t really anything I thought I needed to work on. But like the rivers changing flow patterns in Yellowstone, I just had no idea the impact these baby steps in my personal life could have on my marriage. There were ecosystems along the river of our marriage before, it’s not like it was barren. But suddenly things started thriving where we didn’t know they were depleted to begin with. It’s not entirely accidental, we’re being proactive in a lot of these changes. We are making date nights a priority. We take time to hang out after the kids go to bed even though we’re exhausted. (Except on nights like last night when I was SO exhausted I fell asleep tucking Wesley in, and then woke up, went to tuck Nikki in, and fell back asleep with her for the rest of the night. I was tired, yo.) We are sharing quiet hugs and holding hands. We’re recognizing each other’s needs for support or validation. The trophic cascade (ecological process which starts at the top of the food chain and tumbles down) in our life once I sought therapy has been an amazing thing to watch, but especially as it relates to our marriage which I didn’t even set out to improve upon.

I tell you this story because 13 years ago today, I married my best friend. And things are just really great.

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