Category: family

So for this year …

Long time, no post! Life has been hectic since … well, Christmas? Witness the Christmas cards still sitting on my desk, waiting to be mailed.Oh yes, really. I’ll get to that later though …

I spent a lot of time thinking after I wrote my post about being youer than you. I’ve felt for a few years – mainly at work, somewhat at home – that I’m not really being me. It’s not an uncommon thing, I think, for newer wives and mothers to feel that way. I mean, it feels like every few years you go through an adjustment and maturity process that makes you do that questioning of self anyway. That’s why we have so many great coming-of-age and finding-yourself novels, movies, etc. I went from established single woman to fiancee, wife, and mother in two years. Then we added two more kids, I changed jobs in the middle of that, and I work in an area where some forms of blazing personal expression that makes you stand out (purple hair, nose ring, visible tattoos) isn’t totally cool on the job. (My perception, anyway.) So somewhere along the way I felt like a lot of “me” got shackled, forgotten, grown out of, or otherwise left along the roadside because there wasn’t time, energy, or benefit to my career.

It just ended up making me sad. Sad and frustrated. And kind of angry. I’m done with that. I’m done with forgetting who I am at heart in favor of meeting someone else’s expectations that I haven’t totally bought into.

That doesn’t mean that I’m rejecting these wonderful roles and jobs that I have now — on the contrary! I want to go back to being the Me who got into them in the first place.

Be Me

Be Me

I want to have fun.

I want to be creative. I want to knit and scrapbook and write and make things with my kids. (And try to not freak at the mess.)

I want to laugh at things that I like, even if they’re silly and frivolous. I like Disney princesses, and I like young adult fiction, and I like cartoon movies.

I want to wear my Tinkerbell or Christmas socks any time of year, any day of the week, and not worry about someone thinking they’re not “executive” enough.

I want to keep my focus and priority on my family and friends, not on my job. If that means I never go beyond where I am now, so be it.

I want to help more. There are so many people I know who are going through tough things, and I want to help however I can. I’ll start running with Charity Miles, look for ways to support friends, and keep buying one extra bag of groceries for the food pantry whenever I can.  I’m trying to figure out how to host a virtual 5K/10K for a friend’s infant son who needs a kidney transplant.

I want to be more of the me that God intended me to be, and less of the me that I was letting my circumstances make me. I think I’ll need to start small because my brain can’t handle much more than that. 🙂

Colossians 3:17

WDW Marathon Weekend: Minnie 10K

Friday morning, around 4 am, the day and time finally arrived! I’d been excited and obsessed and planning for this race since Jenn mentioned it in September. I wasn’t worried about the distance, even though it was the farthest official race I’ve done. I knew I’d carry through no matter what because of the experience and because I was running with a friend! I’d gone over 5 miles in training, so the race itself wasn’t an issue. I know it may not sound like much to all of the Dopey challengers and marathoners out there, but considering that I only really started running again in July, I’m pretty happy with this. 🙂

I posted via Instagram and Twitter on walk breaks, so this is a photo-heavy recap. “Recap.” Ha. Here’s my recap: the weather sucked. It was hot, humid, and incredibly gross (and I’m from Houston, so that’s saying something). I should have brought my Camelbak mini mule. Being a nursing mom, running in high humidity, when it’s that warm … the water stops weren’t quite as much as I needed. I kicked myself because I KNOW THIS from the aforementioned living in Houston. The humidity messed with my breathing, my heart rate, and everything else, but the race was overall just AWESOME. But really, Disney, we could’ve done with some Powerade at the water stops. That would’ve made the race even better.

Posing with the starting line in the background, wearing our Homes For Our Troops jackets. HFOT has raised $32000 toward their $35000 goal through the Marathon Weekend races! Woo hoo!

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“Princess Sofia, at your service!” as my three year old Nora would say. I wore my HFOT tattoo and the costume my donors voted on. The fabulous and fluffy tutu was by Leslie from Greater Fitness, part of her own fundraising efforts for Girls on the Run. Shirt was Tek Gear from Kohl’s (and I loved it!), sparkly silver Sweaty Band for the “tiara”, and my beloved purple Mizuno Wave Rider 16s.

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The first three miles just sucked. I was in the last corral because I’m a slower runner (which is fine by me!), and that meant there were tons of people. We’d been waiting awhile for the other corrals to get started … well, and finish. Someone had already won the race by the time we exited our corral. Yeah, that was more than a little demoralizing. The first three miles were hot, humid, and zero breeze. It was also a challenge trying to politely navigate around people to get out of the herd. Not just because of there being so many people, but also because everything was so wet and slippery. I wasn’t willing to blow an ankle or knee on slick pavement, reflector markings, or mud just to get around a group.

So it was nice to finally get to and enter Epcot. 🙂

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Somewhere in “France”. Since the husband is French, we had to stop and take a tribute picture. Hot and sweaty, damp from pouring water over our heads … we still smelled better than the streets of Paris. We took a few shots in the park but didn’t stop for any characters. Why? Well, the characters weren’t any of my “must have” characters. They were nice – Peter Pan & Wendy, Chip and Dale, Football Goofy, Genie … someone else I’m not remembering – but for me they weren’t worth stopping and waiting in a hot sweaty line. Did I mention that the race was hot and sweaty?

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We did it! We finished the race and were very proud of ourselves. And a huge thanks to Jenn, who slowed herself down way beyond her usual pace to keep me company while we ran.

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So while I had some gripes about the experience, they are so very minor compared to the fun I had. I loved the runDisney experience, and I will definitely do it again. I’d love to do one of the half marathons with Will, although he will not be caught dead doing a Princess or Tinkerbell run. (Darn.)

After a nap, the rest of the day was spent in Epcot. I made sure to get some princess pictures there to impress the kids … including this priceless one with Belle! (Thank you, Adrith, for capturing that!)

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And then there were the beloved race character “sponsors” themselves at the Pasta in the Park party. I cherish these since we didn’t have many character pictures in the race itself:

Dopey, I will likely NEVER run your challenge, but I still love you.

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My men Donald and Goofy …

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And of course Mickey and Minnie. We were at the end of the picture-taking time and had a grumpy Cast Member doing the pictures, or I would have asked for them to do the “Hot Dog!” dance with me for Jude. Oh well! Also: I thought how short they were and now I realize I’m even shorter than they are. Wow.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The best part of the experience, though, was coming home to my wide-eyed children, who asked me questions like “Are they real or are they made of air?” (my five year old, about the cartoon characters) and “Did you WIN, Mommy?!” (because in their minds, I did). They were as excited or maybe even more excited than I was. They worked with my mom to make this very special celebration cookie cake, and that means more to me than any collection of medals or pace record.

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And yes, I told them that I did win – that all of us who ran win because we tried hard and we did our best!

Handprint Christmas Tree

I don’t know about you, but my kids are kind of going bananas today. They have the Christmas Eve crazies, the out of school/routine freakies, and the “everyone is coming to visit!” sillies.

We’re dreaming up other things for them to do today — I will resort to plopping them in the jogging stroller if necessary, or simply locking them outside with a snack and water bottle. Just kidding. I won’t lock the door.

BUT. If you have a blank canvas or other suitable medium, do this thing that’s all over Pinterest: the family Christmas tree!
Seth and his handprints

(Btw, I’ve started grabbing packs of these canvases when I’m in Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and they’re on sale or just cheap. Great rainy day activities!)

I’ve seen a lot of the handprint Christmas tree projects on Pinterest, but I decided I wanted it to be a whole family project instead of just the kids. I also decided that we would have a “downswept” tree instead of an “upswept” tree.

Our concept was simple: largest hands on the bottom, smallest hands up top. So Will’s handprints (two pairs) make the bottom tier, my handprints (two pairs) make the next tier, Seth’s the next, Nora’s the next. Now, Nora’s hands are so tiny that we had to do 6 – 8 pairs to get full coverage. I think it was six for the tier above Seth’s, then one more pair for the top point of the tree. Then Jude’s teeny baby hands (okay, fine … one year old hands! ack!) are the star on top.

Nora making handprints

 

After all the green dries, you can go back and add thumb/finger prints in various colors to be ornaments. I’m going to have all of our visiting family add their finger and thumb prints once everyone is here.

A friend asked me if I had any “lessons learned” (can you tell we do lots of project management?!”), so here you go:

  • If you look at Jude’s pictures we stripped him down almost naked! You may actually want to do it with just a diaper on and have a bath ready for the baby to get into … we needed an immediate wash or Jude was going to lick all the paint off his hands! (He made a good effort, as you can see.)
  • Instead of dipping a hand in the paint, we used those foam brushes to do a coating (not too thick, not too thin) on the hand. Go a little bit up the side of the fingers, too.
  • Babies like to curl their hands up around the paint, so Mom ran her finger over his knuckles to get Jude to open his hand, then we quickly laid his hand on the canvas.
  • Quickly press down on the fingers with a slight side-to-side roll to make a full impression.
  • We used acrylic paint. It washes off of hands really well, not so much off clothing. Be sure to immediately wipe and rinse any paint smears on clothes.
  • Take a fine-point permanent marker and write the name of the person next to one of their handprints. That way you’ll really remember whose hand is whose, 20 years from now.

Jude making the star

For the finishing touches to the canvas, we found a 3/4 inch festive ribbon and ran it around the canvas, securing with hot glue. I found out that the glue would bead up and peel off if I did too much at a time, so it was short stretches and quick presses of the ribbon to get it secured. I also began and ended my ribbon at the top since that’s the area least likely to be seen where I have it hanging.

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Merry Christmas!

 

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