Tuesday, October 23, 2012

She is 7!!



How on EARTH did she go from that to this?!?!


I'm not sure how I feel about this! For some reason 7 is hitting me hard. She is so grown up! I am so grateful for the way my life changed forever on this day at 4:46pm in 2005. I wanted to be a mother as long as I could remember and this beautiful girl made that dream come true. I have never met such a sensitive, kind hearted girl in my life. I've never met such a naturally spiritual and tender hearted person either. She is an amazing sister and daughter. I love her so much!!

I had fun yesterday reminiscing with her about the kind of baby she was. She was such a good, sweet baby. I was so blessed to have her as my first experience in mothering!

She is excelling in 1st grade. She loves math, she has yet to come home with a math paper from school with less than 100% on it. And her writing and reading have really taken off this year. She has a wonderful imagination and is turning into quite the artist. 

I really would be lost without my Beth. Happy birthday sweet girl. 
Try to slow down this growing up business please!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ironic

I'm sure it is ironic to post this on a blog. But I need it somewhere to remind me. I do NOT want to follow this recipe.

(To see original go here: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2012/05/07/how-to-miss-a-childhood/)


How to Miss a Childhood

Each minute of every day, we are presented with a choice on how we spend our moments. We can either miss the moments or grasp them. This photo was taken at a time in my life when I was missing the moments and in doing so, I was missing more than life.
By sharing my own painful truths when it comes to the distractions of the modern age, I have gained an unexpected insight. In the 18 months this blog has existed, I have been privy to a new distraction confession every single day.
Up until now, I never knew what to do with this unusual collection of painful admissions from an overly connected society. But today, in a moment of clarity, I knew. And a woman with 35 years experience as a day care provider held the key.
It came as a message in my inbox after the woman read my post “The Children Have Spoken” which included heart-breaking observations from children themselves about their parents’ excessive phone use.
As soon as I read the first sentence of the caregiver’s email, I knew this message was different than any I had ever received. The hairs on my arms stood up as I absorbed each word that came uncomfortably close to home.
It was a voice of heartache, wisdom, and urgency speaking directly to the parents of the 21st century:
“I can recall a time when you were out with your children you were really with them. You engaged in a back and forth dialog even if they were pre-verbal. You said, ‘Look at the bus, see the doggie, etc.’ Now I see you on the phone, pushing your kids on the swings while distracted by your devices. You think you are spending time with them but you are not present really. When I see you pick up your kids at day care while you’re on the phone, it breaks my heart. They hear your adult conversations. What do they overhear? What is the message they receive? I am not important; I am not important.”
In a 100-word paragraph this concerned woman who has cared for babies since 1977 revealed a disturbing recipe … How to Miss a Childhood.
And because I possess hundreds of distraction confessions, including stories from my own former highly distracted life, I have all the damaging ingredients.
All it takes is one child and one phone and this tragic recipe can be yours.
How to Miss a Childhood
*Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority.
*Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand—treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
*Decide the app you’re playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
*Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
*While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
*Go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won’t notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
*Check your phone first thing in the morning … even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
*Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
*Don’t look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an “uh huh” so she thinks you were listening.
*Lose your temper with your child when he “bothers” you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
*Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can’t she see you’re busy?
*Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day—or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
*Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember you did this all the time.
*Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Follow this recipe and you will have:
• Missed opportunities for human connection
• Fewer chances to create beautiful memories
• Lack of connection to the people most precious to you
• Inability to really know your children and them unable to know you
• Overwhelming regret
If you find this recipe difficult to read—if you find that you have tears in your eyes, I thank you, and your child thanks you.
It is not easy to consider the possibility that the distractions of the modern age have taken an undeserved priority over the people who matter in your life. In fact, when I admitted this difficult truth to myself almost two years ago, I experienced an emotional breakdown. However, that breakdown became a breakthrough that propelled me to begin my life-changing “Hands Free” journey.
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to follow the above recipe. Yes, it is the 21st century. Yes, the whole world is online. Yes, the communications for your job are important. Yes, at times you must be readily available. But despite all those factors, you do not have to sacrifice your child’s childhood; nor do you have to sacrifice your life.
May I recommend this recipe instead?
How to Grasp a Childhood:
Look into her eyes when she speaks to you … Your uninterrupted gaze is love to your child.
Take time to be with him—really be with him by giving your full attention … The gift of your total presence is love to your child.
Hold her hand, rub his back, listen to her heart beat, and smooth his hair … Your gentle touch is love to your child.
Greet her like you missed her when she was not in your presence … Seeing your face light up when you see her is love to your child.
Play with him … Your involvement in his activities is love to your child.
Set an example of being distraction-free while driving … Positive role modeling behind the wheel is love (and safety) to your child.
Create a distraction-free daily ritual … Consistently making him a priority each day is love to your child.
Focus and smile at her from the stands, sidelines, or the audience … Seeing the joy on your face as you watch is love to your child.
The recipe for “How to Grasp a Childhood” requires only one thing: You must put down your phone. Whether it is for ten minutes, two hours, or an entire Saturday, beautiful human connection, memory making, and parent-child bonding can occur every single time you let go of distraction to grasp what really matters.
The beautiful, life-changing results of your “Hands Free” action can start today … right now … the moment you put down the phone.
************************************************************
My life changed the day I stopped justifying my highly distracted life and  admitted I was missing precious moments that I would never retrieve. I imagined my daughter standing on the stage of her high school graduation and asked myself: When she is 18 years old, will I wish I had spent more time on my phone/work/social life? Or will I wish I had spent more time investing in her?
The answer was simple.
My hope is that this post inspires one person to become aware of how often he or she uses the phone (or computer) in the presence of a child. Please help spread this critical message by clicking “share.” By falling into the right hands, it could be the best gift ever received.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What we've been up to

The kids are busy, busy these days. Mostly with school!

I didn't realize how much time 1st grade involves! Beth is gone from 8:45am to 4:00pm. Then she gets a few minutes to play and then its homework, dinner, family time and bed. There is hardly time for play, I feel bad sometimes! Beth is a trooper though. She loves school and is doing great. She has found that she loves math which makes me happy. Her reading and writing has improved by leaps and bounds since school started this year. She makes me very proud! She is also a fantastic helper and great big sister. I adore watching her hang out with Kate. It makes me so happy to see sisters that are also friends. It makes me heart happy.



Kate started preschool in September. She LOVES it. Her favorite part is all the songs they sing. She has always loved music, but now she spends about 80% of her day singing. I love it! It is so adorable. She's pretty good at it too. She has even taught me some songs from school, tune, words and all.  I'm pretty impressed with her music abilities! :) Not that I'm biased.




James is loving Kindergarten too. He does great. Dealing with diabetes at school has been a pain. Its taken a few meetings with the district nurse and James' teacher and even his principle to get it ironed out, but so far things are going well. Luckily he's tough and awesome about dealing with it all. We're thinking about starting him in Karate or Tae Kwon Doe. We'll see if this nervous mama can pull the trigger on that. :)

Ryan stays super busy at work. He is doing a workout program with me too, its fun to do it together.

I stay busy with exercise, carpool, carpool, and carpool. And occasionally cleaning the house when I find the time. :) Its hard to balance it all! I'm working on it...

New blog

Ok, so I've been a slacker, but I've decided to rededicate myself to posting about the kids. They are growing too fast and I don't want to miss it! So to help me with that I also started a new blog for my fitness related topics. I feel like i've been taking too much from my family blog to talk about myself. :) So if you are interested in my fitness journey and my motivation etc. Follow me there! http://fitandfabdiane.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Morning Epiphany

I got up to workout this morning, like I do most mornings. It was tough. Really tough. I just couldn't do everything I wanted to, my legs felt like led, my lungs weren't cooperating, it just wasn't fun. In the middle of my workout I was having a little pity party in my head. I've been working really really hard for about 9 months, and its still SO HARD! I know that's kind of funny to say, since I know that if it wasn't hard it wouldn't be worth it, but still in the middle of it today, I just wanted it to feel easy after all the work i've put in! Just then the song  "The Climb"came on on my ipod, a song i've heard a million times, but today it struck me to the core (Don't make fun of me for having Miley Cyrus on my ipod!). Here are some of the lyrics:
I can almost see itThat dream I am dreamingBut there's a voice inside my head saying"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm takingEvery move I make feelsLost with no directionMy faith is shaking
But I gotta keep tryingGotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be a uphill battleSometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb
The struggles I'm facingThe chances I'm takingSometimes might knock me downBut no, I'm not breaking
I may not know itBut these are the moments thatI'm gonna remember most, yeahJust gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strongJust keep pushing on
I almost immediately teared up. That is exactly what my life is like. Its what everyone's life is like! Life is never going to be easy. Whether its exercise or motherhood or life in general. Its not meant to be easy! Its meant to be a test, a battle, a mountain climb! Sometimes the road is rocky and steep, sometimes its flat with beautiful vistas, sometimes its a downhill fun ride, buts its something you have to keep pushing through, you can't just coast, ever. I sure wish we could sometimes, but that's not what life is for. So, I finished my workout. I'm gonna keep pushing and trying in all those areas of my life where I struggle and wish it could just feel easy, because I want to improve! I want to be a better stronger person in all areas of my life and that's what its going to take. Work. And the work is worth it, the work is what changes us. It's all about the climb!

I hope this isn't too cheesy, but it sure hit a chord with me today and maybe it will with someone else too. :)



Saturday, August 18, 2012

30 Years!

How is it possible that I have been alive for 30 years? I still feel like a kid. Seriously. Sometimes I wonder if I should feel like a grown up yet. Don't get me wrong, I have PLENTY of grown up moments- bills, insurance, mortgage, kids, health issues, cleaning... Sometimes being a grown up isn't very fun. But on a day to day basis, I still feel like a teenager. I'm just kicking along, enjoying life, trying to find the fun wherever its hiding, trying to make friends, and keep friends and be liked. You know?

What a year its been! I feel like I've taken life by the horns this year. I finally took control, stopped complaining, stopped making excuses and just got stuff done. Not that i've been perfect, far from it, but I feel like I made big progress. I'm so proud of myself for being able to say that! The last few years on my birthday I've looked back at my goals with a lot of disappointment, I always felt like I failed. NOT THIS TIME!

A few things I accomplished since this time last year:

-I have lost about 26 pounds.
-I competed in 2 triathlons, besting my previous personal best by about 25 minutes.
-I ran several 5k's without walking.
-I bought a road bike and have peddled it approximately 350 miles in the last 4 months.
-I swam approximately 70 miles.

Obviously those are all from one area of my life, but I feel like taking control of my body, and learning to take care of myself has made me a better person all around. I'm being a better mother, a better wife and a better me. I'm still far from perfection, but I'm happy to be happy and moving forward finally. Ryan and I also made huge improvements to how we track our finances, that has helped us tremendously. We also started a new thing to help us keep our house in better order, and that is helping me a ton too.

I've really been looking forward to turning 30. I feel like its a new beginning. A new decade! I'm looking forward to experiencing my family in this next stage of our lives. My kids are getting older and more independent. I love seeing them grow into their personalities, I can't wait to see how they keep evolving. In just a short few years all of my kids will be in school and I'll have some spare time, imagine that! I'm also looking forward to what I can become. I've experienced just a taste of what i'm capable of and I love it! I want to keep pushing myself to be better and stronger. I have big goals for the future and I'm seriously looking forward to knocking them down one at a time. No more fear! No more doubting myself! Bring it on 30's, i'm ready for you!

Some goals for the coming year:
-Compete in 2-3 more triathlons and improve my times.
-Run a couple more 5k's.
-Run a 10k.
-Feel like a runner! :)
-Create my best body.
-Find my spiritual center.
-Revel in the joy of life and motherhood.


Just for some photo proof of my progress, here are a few pictures taken last Summer:




And recent photos:



(Pictures courtesy of my awesome friend Amy Beardshall! More to come!)



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Larson Cup 2012


Yesterday was the annual Larson Cup Triathlon. I was so nervous! I had so many expectations of myself, and I was really hoping to impress my family with how much I had improved, so I was really hoping I wouldn't disappoint myself! It was such a fun event. My friend TR Brooks and his wife Ari and a couple of their friends joined us. It was really fun to catch up, and they thought it was such a great event.

It started as usual with the annual pasta pig out on Friday night. Its always so fun to see all of the family get together and get reacquainted. And of course its fun to eat pasta and bread with no guilt. :) We went to my parents house after to spend the night, it was a packed house with Dion, Summer and their 3 kids, plus me and my 4 friends, but it was fun. Ryan didn't come along this time, we knew the house was going to be crowded, and Kate isn't a great sleeper when we are away from home, and we didn't want her keeping everyone awake, so he stayed home with the kids. I missed them, but I have to admit 24 hours away from home did me some good. :)

I didn't sleep great, too many nerves! I woke up at 4am ready to just get the show on the road. Haha. Luckily I did fall asleep again for a little bit, but I got up at 6 and got ready, ate breakfast, and triple checked my triathlon bag to make sure I didn't forget anything important. We left for the tri at around 7:30. Once we were there my nerves ramped up a few more notches. I got my transition set up, then sat around and watched the kids races. I turned on my heart rate monitor a few times just to see if it was as high as I felt, and it was! A few times it got up in the 130's while I was just sitting there!

Finally it was time for the race to start. I got in the pool, I was sharing a lane with TR and hoping I could live up to the hype of how fast of a swimmer I was! We started off, I didn't feel fantastic, and TR quickly got in front of me, and I was NOT ok with that! :) I tried to just hold my pace and hoped he couldn't hold his, and that was the case, after a couple laps he lagged behind me a little and I was able to hold strong to the lead, I beat him out of the pool by 13 seconds, phew!

I ran out to the transition and got out pretty quick, although TR did beat me onto the bike course. My heart was still racing from the fast swim and the ride started with an immediate climb. That was NOT easy. I was sucking air trying to make it to the top of the climb, which was thankfully followed by about a 2 mile downhill where I could finally recover a little, then a slight climb/flat. Then we repeated that loop 2 more times, each time the big climb was very difficult for me, but I made up a lot of time by really pushing on the downhills. I made it a full loop before Anthony (our resident triathlon expert and winner by miles every year) passed me, I was pretty happy about that! There was one more smaller loop at the end, and that went well, so I finished strong on the bike. I transitioned quickly again and got out of the run. So far in the race I had yet to see another female individual participant. I was really excited knowing I was in the lead. Delos passed me at one point and told me I was a long way in the lead in the female race. That was pretty excited! Unfortunately I knew that the run is my weakest event, and that if I was going to lose my lead, it would be there. And sure enough, about a 1/2 mile into the run or so Emma (a 14-year-old) passed me. Bummer! :) The run was difficult. I was very tired, the first half of it was up hill, and I just plain suck at running, I had to walk a lot. I picked up my pace on the second half when it headed back down the hill and made up some time, but the race finished with another steeper climb, and then back down that hill, going up was brutal, I was able to run at a good pace down to the finish line for a finishing time of 1:34:36. I was very happy with that, especially considering how badly the run went. My goal for the race had been 1:35, so I was thrilled to have beaten that. My breakdown was something like 8:20 swim, 48 minute bike, 37 minute run (those are including transition times).

 Finishing up the bike ride

Off on the run!

I did a triathlon in May (Women of Steel) and finished in 1:33:57, but it had a shorted swim and a slightly shorter run, so I'm happy. :) I did not feel at my peak, I learned a few things I need to work on, running, obviously, learning how to hydrate properly during a race (I think I was severely dehydrated by the end), and working on being more positive as I race, I was a little hard on myself throughout, which I'm sure didn't help me. But overall, it was a great experience. My family was proud of how far i've come, and so was I. I'm gonna claim that belt next year!! Lots of people took pictures at the event, so I'll add some if anyone sends some to me. :)

 (Why do I always look creepy in pictures I take of myself?)

Oh, and I have to mention that TR ended up beating Anthony! A first in Larson Cup history. He finished in just over 1:10. I was highly impressed.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Exercise Week

Just in case anyone was curious, I thought I would post what my current exercise schedule looks like. Its always a work in progress. I met with a Triathlon coach yesterday and she made some suggestions, so I will be changing things up a bit, but for now this has been my schedule for the last several weeks.

Monday- Run or Bike Ride
               Weights (usually chest and triceps)

Tuesday- Swimming at a Master's Class

Wednesday- Run or Bike Ride
                     Weights (Back and Biceps)

Thursday- Swimming at a Master's Class

Friday- Run
             Weights (Shoulders and Abs)

Saturday- Some combination of Triathlon training, I try to get at least 2 of the sports in, sometimes I get all 3. If I'm short on time its just a swim or run.

I have not been incorporating cycling as often as I should, so I will be upping that, and I might have to cut down a little on swimming to make time for it. But swimming is my favorite, so that's hard for me to do. :) I've also been battling a few running injuries, so for the next week or two all of my runs will be elliptical instead to help me heal faster. I also walk Beth to school nearly every day, which is 1.5 miles round trip.

How do I do it? I stopped making excuses. I lay everything out the night before, my clothes, shoes, breakfast, water bottle etc. and when my alarm goes off, I just get up. No excuses. I've had to make the alarm earlier a little bit at a time to fit in all in, but I just get it done. It isn't always as long or intense, but I just go. I will occasionally take an extra rest day if I feel my body is telling me too, and I took a few days off last week while I was sick, but otherwise, I just go! I stopped telling myself I can't do things and I just do my best, whatever that is on a given day. And I recruit friends along the way to keep me accountable and given me an extra layer of protection from excuses. :) It feels great to believe in myself. I still have a lot of days where I am too hard on myself and frustrated with my progress, but I know I'm getting there, one day at a time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exercise!


 I'm getting skinnier! Haha. I've been a workout fiend for the past 6 months and its starting to pay off. hallelujah! It feels like its two steps forward, one step back, but I know I am so much healthier and happier than I was those 6 months ago. Hooray! I still have about 15 pounds and a lot of toning to go to my goal weight, but I actually got to my goal size already! Woot! Now I can have a new even smaller goal. :)

 I joined a Triathlon team through my local rec center, as well as a few other groups of people trying to get in shape, and it has been the best thing ever! I have all of these amazing athletes surrounding me and motivating me every step of the way, and it has really kept me going. I finally achieved the goal i've had for 2 years now of being able to run a 5k without walking, I did a 40 mile organized women's bike ride, and I have already completed a triathlon this year!

Ready to ride!

Finish line of the Goldilocks Bike Ride


Some of my goofy teammates at the Women of Steel Triathlon

Finisher! I got a huge personal record time and was so proud of myself!

My goals don't stop here. I have my family triathlon coming up in just a few weeks (i'm getting very excited!!), then I just signed up to do my first century bike ride in September! I'm totally scared, but I know I can do it with enough dedication! I also plan to work towards completing a 10k this year. I've battled a few injuries that make running tricky for me, so i will take that goal carefully and make sure not to hurt myself, that may have to wait until next year, but I'll get there! It feels good to believe in myself and to know that I can do hard things! I've come a looooong way so far, and I'm not done yet. I'll probably be updating more with my goals and achievements to help me have a record of how far i've come so I can stay motivated. :)

Family Pictures 2012

Ok, so I basically stopped blogging. whoops. Darn facebook. Anyway, I've been meaning to post some of our recent family pictures for a while for you all (like anyone reads this) to enjoy! They turned out so cute! The best part was they were FREE! I got a session with an awesome photographer, Kelli Bramble. Fun times. I can't believe how grown up all of my kids look, I am officially getting old and its weird. I love watching them grow though. 







Friday, March 2, 2012

Bad Mom Moment

I just had one of those moments. You know, the moments where you realize you have become the worst version of yourself. I'm not usually that bad. I have more of a temper with my kids than I ever thought I would, but lately I've been doing better. I've been making an effort to interact with my kids more, because I realize they are better behaved when I do. And I've been exercising a lot, which helps my mood and helps me take out my aggression. But today was bad. Kate was throwing the worst tantrum she has ever thrown, so of course that already had me on edge. Ryan put her in her room and I went searching for a binky to help calm her down. I couldn't find one! So I was more upset. I went in Beth's room to look for it, and it was a disaster, strike 3 I was almost nuclear at this point. Then I see Beth walk out of the bathroom without flushing, something we've been working on with Beth and James for months now. And that just sent me over the edge. I screamed at poor Beth, who wasn't even the instigator in all the terror. Then I finally found a binky and went to give it to Kate, only to have her scream in my face and throw it and everything else she could reach at me. At that point, I slammed her door and came down stairs and started viciously throwing laundry in baskets and toys in drawers. Ryan finally went upstairs to deal with Kate and sent me to my room to cool down, and then I sobbed. I'm not sure I've ever cried that hard in my whole life. Body wracking sobs. I prayed while I was crying. I don't want to be like this. Ever. I should be able to handle a 2-year-olds tantrums. So, as unpleasant of a moment as that was, everyone has to have a rock bottom moment sometimes. Time to start over and do better this time. I had a nice long talk/cry with Beth and apologized for my behavior, luckily she forgives me. Kate has finally settled down and is going to sleep for her nap. A few more deep breaths and we might make it through this day. I will be a better person now. I have to. My kids deserve much better.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shout Hooray!!


Okay, that was a serious blog hiatus that I didn't mean to take, heavens I didn't even post about Christmas! But I'm back!



Today Kate turns 2! I can't even believe it. I am so in denial. But this stage, so far, for her has been pretty fun. She is non-stop talker now and man, does this girl have opinions!! I have never met a child her age with so many opinions. I like seeing her fiery spirit though, when its not making me insane. ;)

She is running around this morning with her birthday balloons saying "Birfday, Kate!" and "2, 3!" and singing "Birfday to you" and "Once there was a snowman". Haha, apparently she want to mix it up and not just sing "Happy Birthday" all day.

I love her so much. She was born to be my trial I think, but she has also taught me more about myself and life than I thought a small child could do. My life would not have been complete without her. I wish she didn't have to grow up because I just love her the way she is right now, but I look forward to seeing the kid she becomes.

My favorite things she says at the moment:

Kate, name. (She is obsessed with her name, and everyone else's at the moment)
love you
no way! (okay, I don't usually love this, but its cute when its not infuriating)
hold you
self! (as in, I did it myself!)
Bacon (That is her way of saying "Backyardigans" which is her obsession at the moment)
stories
woohoo!
hey you
Bef (Beth)
Japes (James)
Dad (She recently switched from saying Daddy)
hug
tiss (kiss)

I also love it when she counts and tries to identify letters. She is not good at either one, but she loves to be like her siblings and is getting better at it. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11! So cute. Happy Birthday Katiebug!

I promise I will post more about our festivities later.