Sorta Silent Saturday

Pathetic long run today. Disappointment. At the very least, I enjoyed what nature offered me this morning.


Also, happy birthday, Grandma. I miss you so much that my heart feels like it will implode sometimes. I like to imagine what things would be like if you were here now…but that hurts a lot, too. Hearts can break from wanting something so much.

So instead, I’m doing my best to smile and celebrate you today. I’m living a life of grand love for my family and friends, because that’s what you did. And I deep cleaned my camper, too, because I could hear your voice telling me it was maybe getting a little filthy.


Fitness Friday: 5 Quotes for When You “Just Can’t” + Free Printables

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve been having trouble with finding motivation lately. Okay, maybe this has been an issue most of my life. I don’t think I’m alone, though. I hear echoes of others who have days or weeks or months or years where they feel their brains or bodies or hearts yelling, “I JUST CAN’T” at them.

And sometimes, it’s okay to allow your brain and your body and your heart to tell you those things.

There are days, though, when I really, really desperately want to be able to do the things I know will make me feel better. Like running. On those days, I often rely on words to light a fire in me. Since I’m a librarian, it also should come as no surprise that I believe words can have a huge impact, whether for good or for evil.

Scenario: Maybe you’re really excited about this new dress you’re wearing today, but then someone says, “That pattern is…interesting.” And maybe it’s an interesting pattern, but the way they said it, what did that mean? Does this even look good on you? It probably looks terrible. What were you even thinking buying it? You don’t look good in anything.

Four words. Four words were all it took to crack your confidence.

Scenario: Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And then your toddler had a meltdown because you didn’t cut the crusts off her toast. The cat threw up and you stepped in it while wearing your favorite pair of socks (that ironically have cute little kittens on them). And your hair just won’t lay right and you smeared your eyeliner right after you put it on and you forgot to pack a lunch and wait, did you even remember to eat breakfast?

Then your kid tugs on your shirt and says, “I love you so much, Mama.”

Six words. Six words stop you in your tracks and melt your heart.

Again, words can have impact in big and little ways that add up.

So when I surround myself with motivation, I find myself feeling better. Here are a few of  my favorite quotes when it comes to running and getting myself moving when I really just can’t.

Clear your mind of can't

Clear your mind of ‘can’t’.

It might sound simple, and in a way, it is. Often, my mind is my biggest enemy. It tells me what it thinks I can and can’t do. And a lot of times, it’s just plain wrong. If I do my best to remove “CAN’T” from my vocabulary, I’m not giving myself the option of giving up. Unless of course I’m saying to my mind, “You CAN’T stop me.”

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You will want to stop. Don’t.

Relating to the last one, I try to make myself believe I am unstoppable. It is so easy to think, “I’m tired! I won’t make it another mile! It’s time to stop.”

Barring injury, illness, or overtraining, don’t let your mind fool you. You can keep going, and you are so much stronger than you even know.

Hard things and impossible things

Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer.

One of the biggest things I struggle with is patience. I am not a patient person, but my body wasn’t built to be a get-fit-quick machine. Very few people have quick results while training or losing weight or getting healthier. If they do have quick results, the results sometimes aren’t long-lasting.

Dimity (from my all time favorite crew: Another Mother Runner) reminds me that the things I feel are hard will take time, but they will be so worth it. And the things I don’t think I can possibly do right now? They’ll take time, too, but I WILL get there.

If you can't fly...MLK Quote

If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Okay, going back to that first quote: remember when I said to eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary? Well, scratch that. Sometimes, there are literally times you cannot do something. You may be putting yourself at risk if you do, or maybe you just deserve some rest.

For me, this quote was particularly relevant during my injury. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t bear weight on my foot. It was excruciating, both physically and mentally. But I knew I had to keep going and moving forward. It was the only way to heal.

However you apply this quote to yourself, make sure you only give yourself the opportunities to move forward in life. Learn from your past and keep going, full steam ahead. Don’t keep looking backward. You’re not going that way.

-It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.--Albus Dumbledore

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

You didn’t think I would let you get away without a little book geekiness in here, did you? Although this quote isn’t directly about running, I have attached it deeply to running and many other parts of my life.

When I make the choice to get out of bed and lace up, that is what is important. My pace doesn’t matter. My mileage doesn’t matter. I need to stop beating myself up for feeling like I’m slow or bad or any other negative descriptor. I made a choice to defeat some sinister negative force, and there’s a little bit of magic in that.

Plus, Dumbledore quotes never get old.


As a special treat, please feel free to download the PDF versions of the images above. I made these as pretty little reminders for myself, but I’d love to share them if you feel like you could pull them out on a rough day.

Download “Clear your mind of can’t.”
Download “You will want to stop. Don’t.”
Download “Hard things…Impossible things…”
Download “If you can’t fly, run…”
Download “It is our choices…”


So what are your thoughts, my friends? What helps you to lace up when you don’t want to? How do you defeat the “I can’t” trolls? Please feel free to share a tip or a favorite quote below. You know I can’t get enough of those good ol’ words!

SHOP

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Mama Monday: 5 Picture Books for Belly Laughs

Oh, hello there! How was your weekend? Did you rest? Did you party? Did you have at least a little fun? I hope your answers are: yes, yes, and A LOT.

This past weekend was hubby’s and my 7th wedding anniversary. Has it really been 7 years already? Seems like yesterday and eons ago all at the same time. I don’t know how that works.

We celebrated by running the Fifteen’s 5k in Minneapolis. I highly recommend this race! It is so well-organized and for a great cause. The hills are a doozy at times, but I had a good guy encouraging me the whole way. I’ll write a more detailed review later this week, but for now…just get it on your calendar as soon as you can! (The date ranges from the last Sunday in July to the first Sunday in August from what I’ve seen so far.)

Onto today’s Mama Monday topic! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about quality time with my Lula. There’s nothing I wish for more than to spend MUCH more time with her than I do. Being a working mom presents its own challenges, and I struggle with so much mom guilt for being a full-time librarian. Lula has a wonderful daycare provider, and I know she needs the social interaction with kids. That doesn’t stop me from wishing I could be with her more often, though.

The time I spend with her is important to me. I have been working on certain things that interfere with my time with her, like aimlessly surfing or playing games on my phone. I am trying my hardest to enjoy the time we do have together. And what better way to spend our time together than laughing?

One way she and I connect is through books, and she LOVES a funny book. Here are five of our very favorites I recommend you check out from your local library.

  1. The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak

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    My BFF gave me this book for a Christmas gift a few years ago. The first time I read the title to Lula earlier this year, she immediately said, “I don’t want a book with no pictures!” It only took two pages before she was hooked and begging for it again and again and again. Because…every single thing the page says? The reader HAS to read it out loud. Even if it means you turn into a singing robot monkey. Or…BLORK.

    Be ready for lots of giggles with this one. Especially if you’ve already read it a few times and your kiddo knows what’s coming. Even if they don’t know how to read, they’ll barely be able to contain themselves as they wait for you to say the words, “A HIPPO NAMED BOO-BOO BUTT.”

  2. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

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    There’s something so charming about listening to your preschooler respond to a book as though they were actually talking with the characters in it. To know that you can help them travel into a world where they can actually talk to their silly pal, Pigeon? Too cute.

    In this book, the busdriver explicitly instructs you to NOT let the pigeon drive the bus. Pigeon has other ideas and is ready to do/say ANYTHING to get his way. Lula laughs but remains steadfast in saying, “NO, Pigeon! No way!” when he argues with her.

    Pigeon has lots more adventures after this first one, so I recommend any Pigeon books you can find. In fact, I recommend any Mo Willems title that exists. He is just excellent.

  3. Toot by Leslie Patricelli

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    By the age of 3, many preschoolers believe there aren’t many things funnier than a good ol’ fashioned fart. Leslie Patricelli realized this and made it into a whole board book starring her beloved character, the baby. All of the baby books are entertaining, but none of them elicit giggles quite like this one.

    There’s not much more I have to say for this one. Just be ready to make lots of different bodily function noises. And you might just get the giggles, too.

  4. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton

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    Sandra Boynton is another well-known name in our household. Her anthropomorphic critters are a little quirky and a whole lot of fun. With this particular book, Lula loves it because it gives her a chance to read to me.

    The premise is simple. Four critters wear variously colored pieces of clothing. Everything is fine until you get to turkey. Turkey doesn’t seem to know exactly how to wear clothing. For example, he wears his pants on his arms and his coat on his beak. Ooops!

    It’s easy for Lula to “read” to me by identifying the color and piece of clothing each animal is wearing. And she thinks it’s HILARIOUS to say “Ooops” each time she sees the turkey. She looks up at me to make sure I’m laughing, too. And I am, just from seeing her delight in reading to Mama. Simple text that still manages to be incredibly engaging for preschoolers.

  5. Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown

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    Our copy of this book is so well-worn and loved that I’m considering replacing it. Even though it is a board book, I can’t imagine not reading it frequently to Lula, even as she gets older. It has been a favorite of hers since she could form opinions.

    Although it isn’t intentionally super funny, it has an amazing beat to it as the title suggests. She loves the beat and the words and the dancing farm animals. And I actually have fun trying to rap the words. So it garnered some bonus mama points.

    There’s also the opportunity to read the words really fast toward the end, and that leaves Lula laughing long after the book is done.

It was SO hard to choose 5 books! Because we love a million more of them.

What are you favorite picture books to read with your kiddos?

SHOP

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Wildcard Wednesday: 3 Basic Grocery Planning Tips + FREE Printable

I’ve touched a bit in the past about my love for organization, planning, and all things being-ahead-of-the-game. Mostly because I’m usually far, far from ahead. And you know what? Being behind is a really crummy feeling. I’m not good at flying by the seat of my yoga pants. I realized a while ago that I need to set myself up for success. That’s where my grocery list has become a life-saver.

Today, I want to give you my favorite three tips for staying on top of my grocery list. And if you make it to the end, I’ll even have a little printable gifty.

  1. Schedule time to meal plan and make your grocery list.
    To save a lot of time, you have to spend a little time dedicated to your meals for the week. For me, this works best on Sunday afternoons. I have an arsenal of quick, easy family recipes through Pinterest, my Google Drive, and my old-fashioned recipe box at home. I sit down, browse for a few minutes, and pick a few meals for the week. Not more than a few, though. One night is for leftovers, and the weekend is usually hubby’s realm.
  2. Plan all week. All the time.
    This might be counterintuitive to what I wrote above, but hear me out. Have a “list in progress” all the time. And set yourself up for success by pre-dividing the list into specific food/product categories.

    The way I accomplish this is through a couple of inexpensive items. I bought a frame at the dollar store. It’s not super high-quality, but it gets the job done. If you invest a little in a frame, it’ll likely last just about forever.

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    I also bought a few fine-tipped dry-erase markers. Inside the frame, I have a template list I typed up quite some time ago. (Can you see “diapers” is still on that? We haven’t purchased diapers for quite a while.) It is divided by categories, and then I have lists of common pantry/fridge staples. These are foods that I purchase often for recipes or otherwise. With a checkbox next to each item, I can easily mark an item when we need it. I also have blank lines at the end of the list, so I can fill in any random items I may need. Then, when I get to my Sunday planning time, it makes it super easy to…

  3. Get into the grocery store. Grab only what you need. Get out.
    When I have an easy-to-follow list of the items I need, it makes it simple to avoid impulse purchases, stay within budget, and buy mostly healthy foods. I personally feel less tempted to browse and think, “Oh, that Brownie Brittle looks so good…one package can’t hurt. Oooh, wait, look at those Bunny Grahams. Those look good, too.”

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    After checkmarking all my items, a la tip number 2, I simply add them to my condensed list for the store. This list is also…can you guess?…DIVIDED into categories! I bet you’re shocked.

    Again, this makes it easy to head to a certain section of the store, grab each item, cross ’em off, and BAM. No running back and forth across the store to grab those things you forget, and you’re in the checkout line just in time for your kiddo to ask “Can I get a cookie?” for the eight millionth time.

These all may sound like simple things, but sometimes simple things are the most efficient. And I’m a sucker for efficiency.

On a related note, I’ve been playing around with creating my own printables lately, and I decided to share one for the very first time. Go here to download a simple grocery list that will *hopefully* save you a little bit of time! If nothing else, it’s kinda fun colors and patterns and fonts. So there’s that. I’m still working on my skillz. (Let me know if the link isn’t working. Like I said, I’m new at this!)

All righty then. That’s just a brief wrap-up of how I make my grocery list. Do you have any special tips from your own meal-planning or list-making? Let me know in the comments!

Please also let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my other “lists.” I’m always down to share tips from an organizational maniac. After all, the more time I save at home, the more time I can spend playing Candy Crush running.

SHOP

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Mama Monday: Why You NEED to Go to the Minnesota Children’s Museum

So I promised I’d be back, didn’t I? And look! Here I am. I’m coming off a 1-week trip that took us from southern MN to Duluth, then up to International Falls and on a houseboat for 4 days, then to the Mille Lacs area, then back home, then to the camper, then to St. Paul. And finally back HOME. If you’re not local, I can tell you that the three of us did about…16 hours of driving? I can’t even keep track.

It was a jam-packed trip that left me needing another vacation, even though I slept quite a bit! But we made fantastic memories, and I’m so grateful my in-laws gave us this gift of time together in a beautiful part of the world.

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I’ve had some time now to do some planning and re-organizing of many aspects of my life and training and blog and just general well-being. So with that, today begins the first “Mama Monday” post. In these posts, I’ll try to share general insights on parenting life from my own perspective. They may be tips. They may be places to go or things to do or things I’ve purchased that I fully believe are worth the buy. It could just be a general rave/rant about something I’m dealing with as a mom. It could be running/fitness-related, but a lot of it probably won’t be.

Today is a special one to kick it off, though. Over the weekend, we visited the Minnesota Children’s Museum, which recently underwent a HUGE renovation. I didn’t recognize nearly anything from our prior visit there!

The museum “is dedicated to providing children with a fun, hands-on and stimulating environment to explore and discover. The Museum helps to instill a lifelong love of learning by nurturing the real-world skills children need to become engaged citizens in the future.” And goodness, do they do it well. LJ has a fast-growing brain, as do most kiddos, and sometimes it’s hard to find things to stimulate her imagination and learning. I’m so glad we have MCM within an hour of our house. It’s not far away, and it makes it easy to jet up there and PLAY!

When we arrived today, we hit right at lunchtime. So our first stop after the box office was for a little nosh. They had great options, especially for those crunchy plant eaters like us. We are lacto-ovo vegetarian, and we found a great selection.

I chose the vegan boost salad, because I’ve been feeling bogged down with all the “junk” I’ve been eating. It was a good amount to get a taste of all the tasty veggies and add-ins, but it wasn’t too much. LJ chose the kitty-cat pizza, hubby had the mac & cheese, and we split a donut between the 3 of us for dessert. (I guess that’s my idea of healthy eating? I mean, who can turn down a donut?)

After lunch, we made our plan of attack. We’d start on the top floor and work our way down to the other two. The first zone we went in was the “Our World” exhibit sponsored by Best Buy. It is a play area that looks like a little city, complete with a pretend post office, fire station, food stands, and hardware store. LJ walked in and yelled, “Look! It’s just like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood!”

She had a blast putting on a fire fighter jacket and going in the “truck,” playing a postal worker by moving boxes along a conveyor belt and then dropping them down the mail chute to the first floor, and creating her own digital road signs in the hardware store. I know we could have spent so much more time in that space, but we knew we had a lot of ground to cover!

We visited Tip Top Terrace next. It is a rooftop eco-area with so many fun things to do and see. You can make music, do your own bird calling, “paint” with water (a surprisingly HUGE hit with LJ), and visit their see/smell/touch garden. LJ loved feeling the plant called “Lamb’s Ears” and smelling the basil.

Again, we could have spent much more time there, but time was a wastin’.

The current traveling exhibit at MCM is Ball-o-Rama. It reminded me that so many scientific concepts and forces are things we take for granted. Gravity. Acceleration. Momentum. We, as adults, don’t remember learning about these things, and it’s fun to watch the wheels turn in my own child’s head as she realizes new concepts about our world.

The hands-on interaction in this one was very fun! Who knew you could learn so much with a few simple golf balls? She may not remember the big words like acceleration or friction, but she’ll sure remember standing at the top of the staircase and sending golf balls down the roller coaster. She’ll remember bouncing a big rubber ball off an orange “bounce pad.” (Orange is her favorite color after all.) It’s setting the stage for a solid education. And did I mention: fun?

There is a studio area for creating and experimenting with materials. We didn’t make it to those this time, but I fully intend on hitting those up next visit.

Our next stop was Imaginopolis! It contained so many different “fantastical” objects that would allow LJ to be the star in her own story. I think it was a little overwhelming for her, because it was so open-ended. Everything was up to her to make up or create, which is wonderful, but we all needed a little “pushing along.”

Luckily, the MCM staff is wonderful and we constantly saw them interacting with kids and adults throughout all the exhibits. A staffer came in, sat right down, and helped LJ to create her own story using the objects. It was helpful for me to learn how to let her take the reigns for imagination! She can create way better stories than I can, and she doesn’t usually need my guidance once she gets started!

Next was Creativity Jam! Our stop there was pretty brief, but they had many found materials and other items to…well…create! After years of me telling LJ she can’t put stickers on the walls and floor and household objects, that’s exactly what she got to do in one area. They have a free-standing structure kids can decorate with stickers. There’s a piano in there that’s COVERED. I think I probably had more fun than she did in this area.

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Don’t think MCM has forgotten their littlest friends! They still have a play area for kids 3 and under called “Sprouts.” We went in there for a few minutes to enjoy the squishy floors and climbing structure, but we quickly decided 3 1/2 might be a little old for this section. Our kiddo is so go-go-go, and she’s tall for her age. We mostly worried about her knocking over other littles. Still a great area!

We headed to the slightly larger (try 4 stories) play structure called “The Scramble.” Make sure you bring your socks when you come! No bare feet or shoes in this wild climbing adventure. It has two climbing towers, a spiral slide, a climbing rope, and a netted catwalk at the top. It freaked this height-phobic mama out big time, but my small fry is fearless. She quickly figured out how to scale the climbing towers with Dad, and she couldn’t stop going down the slide. She scares me, but she had so much fun!

The first time she went up one of the climbing towers, she told her dad (who was standing on the stairway outside the tower), “I can’t do this!” He talked her through it, and she made it part-way up. There are small exit holes for children at various points, which is nice if it gets to be too much for them.

The second time she scaled the tower, she again began to waver a bit. After a beat, she reassured herself, “I CAN do this” and proceeded to make it all the way up the whole thing! It instilled confidence in her and made her believe in herself.

Me? I was just dandy staying at the bottom.

After we practically pulled her off of The Scramble, we brought her over to the Super Awesome Adventures area. There was a lot to do here, and there were a lot of people, so we didn’t spend a super long time. She did have fun playing around with the green screen (which also has a climbing wall!), balancing on a beam and some balance boards, and sliding down a carpeted “skate park.”

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We spent some time in the 3M Forces at Play gallery, and again: so much to do! Between bubbles, launching ping pong balls with air streams, and washing a silly car, I can’t believe we got out of there. LJ was fascinated with the fact that she could scrub the car doors with soap and use a hose to wash it…inside! There was also an interactive water wall, which she’s only ever seen in a Daniel Tiger app she plays. She liked having a real-life one at her whim!

It didn’t seem like many people knew about “The Backyard” that you find by going through a door in the Forces at Play area, but it was way cute! Big tires and tubes to play in, a gathering area under a big umbrella (yeah, I took advantage of that), a human-sized birds nest, flower boxes, and earth-related activity stations. LJ currently is curating a collection of rocks; we don’t know why. What I do know is that she had fun looking at all different types of rocks under a magnifying glass. We talked about how they were alike and different, what they felt like, and what they looked like.

After that, we decided it was time to head home. Learning is exhausting. And that leads me to probably the best parental benefit of MCM: (Besides the fact that it’s FUN, hands-on, play-learning for your kid, of course.)

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Nap time was within a few minutes of leaving the parking structure. Thumbs up!

So this may seem like a giant photo op post for my kid, but I promise that’s not my intention. What I want you to look at is this: in nearly every single picture, she is smiling. She is engaged. She is interacting with things she’s never seen or touched or used before. She is learning and growing and making big memories.

She is playing.

So if you are able to make it to the Twin Cities area, I highly recommend visiting the Minnesota Children’s Museum. They also have a Rochester, MN location that I’m sure we’ll be taking advantage of soon. Both are worth the effort to get there, and I’m so glad we have this opportunity so close!

Did you hang with me ’til the end, chickadees? If so, bravo! That was a big post. But I hope you enjoyed it and remember how important playing is for kids. Playing is learning. So go out now, and find a new way to play and have fun!

Until next time!

SHOP

***Disclosure: Hubby is part of the “play advocate” program for MCM. As such, we received a membership in exchange for him meeting certain social media posting/promotion requirements. Me? I’m not an official program member, but I sure do love the place! This post would be coming to you even if we weren’t part of this program.
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A Happy Place

Sometimes, I go days and weeks without blogging. Sometimes, I check out for days or weeks or months. That’s just a reality of who I am. That’s the reality of living with a mental illness. Even when you’re managing it, sometimes you’re just not “managing.”

This time, I wasn’t particularly sad. It wasn’t a dark-dark-dark time. No, it was just…nothingness. I couldn’t get a grip on my day-to-day operations, and it made blogging seem like a mountain I just didn’t have the energy or equipment to climb. Insurmountable. So I took it easy on myself, and I worked to forgive myself for this and several other things I sacrificed for a few weeks. I celebrated lots of days without pressuring myself to do more than I was capable of.

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Today, I feel a little better. There’s that little spark of warmth in my gut telling me that brighter and stronger times are coming. Which is good. Because the days are soaring past, and I’m watching the calendar get closer to my two big races (1 & 2) of fall. I have a solid training plan set before me. I will move forward.

This morning’s run was humid, but that’s not atypical for this time of year. Still, it leaves me feeling pretty sweaty and gucky afterward. Even after a shower to cool off, I still sweat. And by the time I quit sweating, it’s time to go outside so I can climb in my stuffy car and start sweating again and go to work. Vicious cycle.

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Sweaty selfie. This iPhone camera was kind to me. I swear, I was drenched. 

This past weekend was spent in Duluth, which I have officially deemed my “happy place.” It’s a city I adore on a big ol’ lake I can’t ever stop staring at. Again this year, I failed to get a shoreline run in, but relaxation and sleeping in trumped it. No regrets. (Not many, at least.)

Other than that, life has been filled with the day-to-day minutia of summer. Two weeks from now, we will be with family on a houseboating trip. And then it’s August already. I know a lot of people ask the question, “Where does the time go?” But srsly.

I don’t have much of substance to leave you with. For my bookclub, though, we did read one of my favorite books in the history of the universe. And although I love it for the big, soul-warming laughs it gives me, I also have many quotes about mental health and mental illness underlined, starred, and dog-eared in my copy. I’ll leave you with one that stands out to me every time I read or listen to it (yes, I own the digital audiobook, too).

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”

-Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Wishing you light.

SHOP

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WCT

I am slightly early for WCW, but I’ve been meaning to share this article for a while now. No time like the present! I’ve written about Mirna before, and I will likely be writing about her again. (She has a book coming out this fall, and you can be darn sure I already pre-ordered that puppy.) She just has such fabulous perspective and beautiful thoughts that I need to hear most every day. I need some sort of app on my phone where I press a button, and Mirna gives me some sort of sage advice or cheery pick-me-up. Can someone work on that?

But I say that, if you run and it is an important part of your life or fitness regime, be proud and share your success with others. You never know who is watching. Your child, your relatives, your coworkers…they might be the ones that need to witness that strength, focus and energy emanating from you so that, maybe one day, they can try running themselves.

This is something I need to keep in mind when I’m at my lowest. Because if I can’t muster the gumption to get moving for myself, I can certainly picture my kiddo playing dress-up with my running shoes so she can “be like Mommy.” I can remember that others in my life struggle, too, and I want them to believe there’s a reason to get up and get going, whether they are running or participating in another activity that makes them happy.

Speaking of getting going, yesterday officially kicked off my TLAM 13.1 Run/Walk plan!

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Trying to get more comfortable with this “sweaty selfie” thang

Although I’ve done these plans in the past and had to bow out (due to no fault of the plans, might I add…it was always injury or illness causing me to de-rail), I’m feeling really good at the start of this one. I feel like I’ve had time to recover, wallow, re-group, fall apart again, and heal. I feel organized and stronger mentally than I did at the start of my last attempt. This is going to be good.

The flowers are a bloomin’ in our yard as of late. And they provide a lovely “welcome home” to me when I finish a run.

I have no green thumb of which to speak, but the former occupants did a beautiful job of landscaping. Lucky us.

Also. I think you already know this, but I find my bear-dog adorable, albeit stinky. And I think she’s hilarious when she gets a treat. So I tried to capture the magical moment. I hope you appreciate it as much as I do. (Maybe not that much. Maybe it won’t be your phone background and maybe you won’t giggle every time you turn on your phone. But you could do that if you wanted.)

This week has also provided a slight reprieve from the usual morning hustle and bustle. Our wonderful daycare provider is taking a well-deserved family vacation. We easily found care for LJ between hubby, me, and my step-mother (AKA LJ’s favorite person in the world!). Her nina (a nickname LJ began calling her at a young age) is bearing the bulk of the days, and they are having fabulous adventures together. Me? I don’t have to worry about corralling LJ and getting her out the door for a few days. It doesn’t sound like a luxury, but oh, it is fantastic.

AND! They came to visit me at the library and brought me some treats. They enjoyed storytime together, and it was nice to see my baby mid-day.

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And now? I have some PiYo workouts to catch up on, a house to clean (psh…probably not happening), and some sleep to get (psh to this, too).

SHOP

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The Sound of Silence

I’m aware I’ve been quieter than usual. Which is really quiet, because I’ve been pretty absent from here lately. My brain has been a completely different story, though. I kinda wish my brain would shut up, because it’s really good at blabbing and chatting and screaming at me until I think, “Brain, I’m mad. Be quiet.” And Brain is all, “MAKE ME.” And then I sigh and try to find various ways to make it shut up. They don’t usually work. If they do work, they’re self-destructive.

But Brain is happier when I’m staying organized and on track and mindful of my thoughts/feelings/habits. That has been my goal these last few weeks. Re-organizing. Committing to meeting my goals and making plans for how I will get there.

My weekly plan comes out in Bullet Journal form, and I like it. It looks like a lot of work to some people, but for me, the work is soothing. I enjoy having some time to just mindlessly draw lines and dots, time where I’m just following my own template to make my days better and more structured. I need structure, and I guess this is just a visual representation of it all.

Last week, I finished Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. It was such a moving account of mental illness and all the ways it can rock you in your heart and guts and brain. Some things were so well-described that I physically began reacting to them and feeling old feelings. Probably not super helpful for someone currently going through tough times with anxiety/depression and wanting to avoid triggers. I think it would be fantastic for someone trying to understand, though. It has a hopeful message, and we all need that.

Now I’m working on This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, and I’m hooked. Lots of good stuff sitting in my TBR pile right now, too. Eeek. Never enough hours in the day for books.

Other than that, I’m just working hard to get myself back on that proverbial horse again. This morning’s run was super-humid, which I should probably force myself to adjust to. But I don’t like humidity at all, and it just feels like a punishment when you make the effort to wake at 5:00 AM only to be hit in the face with bathwater when you go outside.

The flowers blooming in our yard, though, provided a pretty end to a very sweaty run.

Here’s to a not-too-sweaty, happy week for all of us!

SHOP

 

 

 

 

P.S. Obligatory goofy kid/goofy dog pictures.

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Ballerinas and Catsby and Wine-infused Coffee

And we meet again. On a Friday. Yay! Long weekend. Woo! Party time. Yeah!

Okay, that’s out of the way. This week was significantly less eventful on my end, and darnit, I like it that way. I still feel like I’m recovering from last week’s hustle and bustle.

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My baby had her first dance recitals this weekend. I was on stage with her (it was a “You & Me” class for caregivers and children, and though my role was minimal, I was still absolutely drained by the end of the weekend.

She did well, though. She smiled. She listened to me onstage (backstage was a different story). I guess that’s what matters. She loves to dance, and I think she’s going to be very good at it.

Other than that, the week has contained minimal excitement or activity. I’m re-framing my goals right now and really taking into consideration the things I need to do to achieve them.

Web-flavored Goodness

  • Sad news coming out of the running community. Gabe Proctor, a former NCAA champion, died by suicide last week. Nobody, regardless of their successes or kind heart or circumstances, is immune to depression and mental health issues. My thoughts have been with his family and friends.
  • I think I’ve referenced Mirna before in my blog. If I haven’t, I should have. Because this article made me say, “YUS, GIRL,” out loud as I was reading it.

“Lastly, I am beautiful. The entire running community is beautiful. And we determine that. Not you.”

  • Wine is good for you. We keep hearing this. So let’s skip the chit-chat, and I’ll break out the corkscrew. (Obligatory: moderation, people. Practice moderation.) (And sidenote, that article opened my eyes to the fact that there is now wine-infused coffee. This really blurs the structure of my day.)
  • One of my favorite cities on this planet held a memorial 5k. For a cat. Named Catsby. If it wasn’t dance recital weekend, I may have considered attending.
  • Yes. That’s all.

H’okay! I hope your long weekend is relaxing and fun and productive/unproductive (depending on what you want it to be) and filled with sparkles and rainbows and love. See you next week!

SHOP

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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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