Friday Favorite….road trip edition

My family and I are currently on a big road trip vacation. Because of this we are seeing many cool and exciting things. Since we have two little guys, we try to stop often, to at least walk around…but at best, check out new sites. Here are some of the fun things we have seen so far.

Corner of Texas: Don’t blink or you will miss it! So coming up from a tiny little back road highway in New Mexico (the 412) you will go through Texas and then into Oklahoma. There are signs to tell you this, as well. But the thing is, you are literally in Texas for hmmmm, maybe 10 seconds. “Welcome to Texas, You Are Now Leaving Texas, Welcome to Oklahoma”…..boom boom boom. It was pretty funny. After a long day of driving, we needed it.

Dodge City, Kansas: What a fun little town. Lots to see and do. Dodge City is known for its history as a wild west frontier land (think Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson). The Boot Hill Museum was fun. We got to tour the town that once entertained and housed many historical wild west men and women. The town itself is actually a recreation from the original, after a devastating fire had wiped it out decades ago. We walked around having drinks in the salon (they serve beer, wine as well as coffee and hot chocolate), we locked ourselves up in the jail, toured the real Boot Hill Cemetery and picked up some souveniers at the gift shop.

But the highlight was the Boot Hill Bed and Breakfast we stayed at. Considering we drove in around midnight and the owner, Kirt, was there to greet us, take us on a tour of the home and provide us with cookies and drinks….we were happy campers. We stayed in the Miss Kitty Room. It’s a two bed room, with an attached deck on the 2nd floor. The beds were very comfy, the bathroom was nice and big and the cookies were amazing.

The next morning Enid (the other owner) made us one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. A fabulously decorated table was waiting on us with fresh juice, coffee, amazing pastries and fruit. Then she started serving us as much as we liked of eggs, bacon and potatoes. I do NOT want to just glaze over the pastries though. They were freaking fantastic. I think there was about 4 different types, our family favorite was the cherry filled.

Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library: In Abilene, Kansas we knew we had to go to the Eisenhower Museum. Our oldest kiddo is a huge military history buff, whose wheel house is anything WWII. We toured the beautiful museum, enjoyed the library, paid our respects at the Place of Meditation which is where Ike, Mamie and their first born son were laid to rest. We stopped by the gift shop and got some great stuff on the way out.

Holyrood: Driving out of Abilene on tiny little side roads. Everything is good until you start to panic about where you will be able to get gas….and it’s noon, we are getting hungry. We pulled in to this tiny town, Holyrood around 12:30. There was one gas station and it served lunch. We walked in and man, we were quite the spectacle. Pretty much the whole town was there for lunch. Big burly men in working clothes eating burgers, sandwiches and fries. We decided to order. I played it safe with a grilled chicken wrap, the youngest ordered a grilled cheese….but then my adventurous two. My husband ordered a taco burger and my oldest a fried bologna sandwich. We took our food to go, my husband quickly realized his burger could not be consumed while driving….as the consistency was more sloppy joe with taco seasoning, but good! We enjoyed our food and the break in the day!

**Until next road trip edition. 🙂

XOXO,

Car

Be Epic

You all know that I am going through changes in my life. Trying to find me again. The me, outside of “mommy, wife, friend.”

One of the things I started taking on was my workouts.

I have always been athletic, but as I grow older and (ahem) rounder…getting out and doing things that once fascinated me, have proven to be more difficult.

But recently after joining my new gym, which has continued pushing me past what I thought my body could handle. I started signing up for some little 5ks and 10ks.

Then my friends started pushing me past that.

I signed up for the Spartan race months ago and due to pneumonia, was not able to do it. I was totally devastated.

Later I signed up for the Epic race, which is very similar to Spartan (in that it is an intense obstacle race…but more subdued).

Last week I ran it.

Seriously you guys. I had a blast!

It was hard as hell at points, but so much fun. I was doing things that you never get to do in everyday life….well all at once.

The race itself is less than 2 miles, but in that 2 miles there are more than 25 obstacles you have to overcome.

The race starts off with your group running around the entire track with flags attached to a huge pvc pipe (the bounce on that sucker was crazy). Then from there…well too many obstacles to list, so how about my favorites and my….not so favorites?

Favorites

-The Walls. Ok, this was a love hate. It reminded me of my youth. Just running and jumping or climbing over a fence to go where you want to go. But holy cow. Sometimes getting this tush actually over that wall, was a bit harder than I remembered. I have bruises along my torso where I was throwing myself against the wall to get over.

– The Inflatable Battle Course. Um, yes please. It’s like all those fun inflatables our kids get to play on at birthday parties….on steroids. So much fun!!

-Lumberjack Challenge. I think this was a favorite just because it was in the beginning, when I had energy. But there was something satisfying about pushing this gigantic pole up and over and hearing it clang again and again. Even if you had to do it 15 times.

-Weighted Russian Twists. It was nice to sit for a moment. lol

NOT My Favorites

-Atlas Stone. 2nd obstacle of the course and ouch. Even the lightest stone was a beast. Hefting this sucker up and then over your shoulder 15 times tired out my muscles really well.

-Archery. This surprised me, since I normally like stuff, like this. But, by the time I got to it, my arms were like jello. I could barely pull that bow-string back!

-Rope Climb. Obviously this is an area I need to focus on this year. It was a catastrophe.

-Barrel Run. Last item on the race. Which I’m sure was part of the problem…I was spent. But the weighted barrel on your neck….it freaking hurt. It was so uncomfortable. I kept wanting to find a new place to put it…which wasn’t allowed.

All in all. I will definitely sign up again. After the race my friends called me to let me know that I was in 10th place for women in my age group….which was pretty cool. I wasn’t trying to go fast, I was just trying to complete it.

 

Email Hell

There might not be anything more frightening than getting a notification in your email box that you have hit your maximum GB limit. You may not receive any further emails or send any out.

My life pretty much revolves around emails and social media. Cutting one of these, is like cutting off an arm.

In a cold sweat I start deleting. Deleting everything I can.

Downloading pictures from years ago, that I should have already done. Then deleting more and more.

I notice my GB percentage isn’t moving. So now at the verge of tears I start looking at my Drafts, Promotions and Social Folders.

OMG, so much crap!!

I mean in my promotions folder alone I had 10,000 emails. Yes, I know, I know. This is freaking embarrassing. But obviously I never thought the day would come where I would have to actually look at this stuff! I mean, who really looks at junk emails?

Delete…..done. My GB percentage has only now moved down half a percent.

I’m screwed.

Can I just start a new email?

Hmmm, what would I call it.

No! No you can’t start a new email, you have way too many business cards with THIS email. Get back to work!

I call my husband, panicked. What do I do? Its not moving!

He tells me to empty my trash.

Ahhhhhhhhh, I need to empty it? It’s already been placed in the freaking trash…you have to empty it too?

Done.

5 minutes later (oh yes it took 5 minutes) 12,958 emails have been dumped.

I can breath again. The color is coming back to my face.

My New Years Resolution this coming year. Emails must be deleted after you read them or even after you glance and decide that you don’t want to deal with them.

Freaking delete!

My Mom

Today would have been my moms 62nd birthday.

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since she left this earth.

My mom was a great and amazing mom, for a solid 14 years of my life. Then around that time addiction took over.

My mom was an alcoholic.

This is extremely intense for me to write. It’s hard to admit the faults in someone after they pass. It almost feels like I’m shaming her. But it’s my truth. I was raised to believe that if you tell your truth, then you can’t truly be faulted for it. I hate the thought of hurting my mom, her family or her friends (which is not my intention, and the fear of this is why it’s been so hard to write). But at the same time, this is a big part of me. This is something that really made me… me.

When I was about 14, my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she started slipping pretty fast. I remember for a time her memory issues would go in and out…but then I remember the day that Grandma couldn’t remember who my sister was, or my cousin.

This process was obviously really hard on her children and husband. During this time my mom started drinking, too much. I have always connected the two situations. Even at the age of 14.

Things started slow with my mom. She had always been a “cheap date,” according to my dad. If they would go out to social events she would often times get very drunk, very fast.

At some point the drinking started becoming a nightly thing. Wine was her vice, then later she stopped drinking wine all together and stuck to vodka.

My little family at this time (mom, dad, sister and myself) started getting lost. On the outside everything looked great. But inside we were just dealing with one disaster after another.

Later as an adult, friends would come to me, shocked and surprised to find out my parents were divorcing (this was my Freshman year of college). They had always looked at us as the “perfect family.” Something they had wished, they had.

This was not done intentionally. We didn’t cover anything up for the sake of perfection. We were just living and then cleaning up, and then living and then cleaning up. It was all we knew. It was exhausting.

Several years after my parents divorced and after my husband and I had our first child, my mom got very sick. I remember her calling me crying. She was bleeding a lot and couldn’t remember why. I drove to her house with my 3 month old baby and had to physically force her to the car, to take her to the emergency room. She was scared, but did not want to go to a doctor at all. We waited in the emergency room for hours and hours. 5 to be exact. When they finally called us back, they did a ton of blood work on my mom. The doctor came in the room and asked to speak to me separately. He asked me what was going on. He said her blood alcohol levels were extremely high and he wanted to know if he needed to do some tests on her liver. He truly knew the answer before I even confirmed. When the results came back that her liver was beginning to shut down and that the only way she would survive is if she detoxed now and quit drinking….my mom was pissed. She would not have any of this. She didn’t want to stop. At this point I remember my Grandpa walking in the room. He looked at her and said, “this can’t be an option, the doctor said if you don’t stop, you will have a month to live.” She looked shocked, but still wasn’t having any of it. At this point I was over it. The years of clean up and confusion, the anger. I told her if she didn’t do this, she would never see her new grandson again. That I refused to allow him to be hurt by her. She was mad, but agreed and they carted her upstairs and she stayed there for roughly a week, detoxing.

After this my mom lived in a sober living home. She was there for a year and half. She changed back to the mom I had before. She was loving to her grandson, she was proud of my sister and I, for our accomplishments…. she was our mom. A real mom again. Even if she lived with 20 other women in this big crazy house in North Park. When it was time for her to move on, she ended up moving in with another sober roommate. She got a job and started living. She was lonely often, but hid it well.

Then, I lost Taylor (story of my pregnancy loss). Everything started slowly happening again. Those close to her immediately knew something was up. But she always had a great excuse, to throw us for a loop. This went on for almost a year. I was pregnant for my third time now and I remember calling her directly after my amniocentesis, letting her know that we were having a boy and he was strong and healthy. I actually was calling her as we were just setting off for a road trip, to visit friends and family. She was relieved and excited to know that her new grandson was doing great. We said our “I love you’s”.

That was the last time I ever spoke to my mom.

The final couple days remaining of our trip, I received a phone call from the Coroner. My moms roommate had found my mother dead in their apartment. She was gone. I never got to say good bye. The fact that I was in Texas at the moment, also made it so I never got to see her body. I was in a constant battle of doubt. How can you just put your faith in to some stranger, that your mom really was gone?

It literally is still something that haunts me. I know she has passed, I had her ashes for awhile to prove it…. but there is still that feeling. Then on days like this, her 62nd birthday, I almost picture her walking through the front door, with some elaborate story about where she has been for the last 7 years. We will laugh, cry, hug and be then be okay.

I know this isn’t really going to happen. I pray one day I can finally just feel closure, but until then, this is my truth.

My mom and I

 

Mommy Guilt

Guilt. Man I am a pro at guilt. I also know most mommies around me are pretty dang good at this too.

Why is it that sometimes no matter how hard we try on something….an ugly, yucky feeling starts lurking in the corner? The thought of how much more COULD you have done, creeps in.

Though I am an expert at mommy guilt, I am going to work harder to push that aside.

It pops up at very unsuspecting times though.

For an hour this past weekend I locked myself in my bedroom wrapping presents. I was enjoying a glass of wine, loving the re-runs of Gilmore Girls and wrap, wrap, wrapping. I was putting the tag on the last gift when boom, I was hit with a cruddy feeling.

What have your kids been doing this whole hour? Why are you taking such pleasure in this “you” time? You should be doing this when they are asleep, and enjoying them while you can!

The truth is, they were having a blast. The dining room clutter was proof of this. They had every battle ship out they could find, they were building forts with their Lincoln Logs and army men were everywhere. My husband was putting Christmas lights up on the house. He was accessible if they needed anything. It truly was fine.

I think us mommies have to pull together on this one.

Next time you see a friend doing her all, but getting down on herself about the dishes still sitting in the sink, the laundry pile growing or the fact that the kids haven’t showered in two days. You take that lady, hold her tight and tell her “No way girl, I’m not allowing this. You ARE enough. You ARE strong and you ARE doing your all.”

Pushing aside guilt, one hug at a time.

Elf on the Shelf (the lazy mom/dads guide)

Look, I actually love Elf on the Shelf. It keeps the magic alive (my 10 year old bolts out of bed every morning looking for where he has landed). My kids talk to the Elf (and Christmas Bear….we have two magical guys floating around our home) about problems at school, Christmas gift wishes and just to say hi.

It’s also amaziiiiiiing in the fact that its an extra set of “eyes” in my home. This morning I walked in to the kitchen hearing my oldest tell his little brother, ” We need to stop fighting. Elf is sitting right there, watching us.” Yes!!!!

But, truth be told….it’s a job to remember to move the elf every night (set a timer on your calendar, like I do), or to have any energy whats-so-ever to think of a creative place to put him. So don’t. Let me be your guide. Warning, I think creativity in this area is awesome….I am just not one of those people.

The everyday…I’m tired Elf ideas:

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-Put Elf on a shelf

-Put Elf in the tree

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-Put Elf on a different shelf, maybe high fiving a nearby stuffed animal or Christmas decoration.

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-Put Elf in the stocking, head just barely peeking out

-Put Elf on another shelf, with a lollipop in his hand

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-Dangle Elf from chandelier

-Put Elf inside the cookie jar

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-Put Elf on a boat

For those days you had an extra coffee in the afternoon and feel a bit creative:

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-Elf standing in a corner with his hands up. Nutcracker army surrounding him.

-Elf sitting in refrigerator with washcloth wrapped around him like a blanket

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-Elf climbing in to a box of cereal, bits of cereal on counter

-Place a straw in the maple syrup and situate the Elf to look like he is drinking from it.

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-Elf on the Christmas Tree, with arms wrapped around your tree topper angel (piggy back ride)

+check it out, I just gave you 12 ideas! Now just keep rotating through the “Im tired” ideas a couple times and you made it! Mission complete!

 

 

My Main Man

Our life right now pretty much consists of sports.

Growing up very athletic, I really don’t have a problem with this. It’s kind of what I know.

I’m okay throwing on some jeans and a ragged t-shirt and getting my feet dirty (because I live in flip flops) in either baseball dirt, or soccer wet grass.

My husband though did not grow up like this. He didn’t do many sports.

When our babies first started playing sports, I was left solo often to deal with it. He didn’t have an interest in it, there wasn’t a comfort level there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Though my husband didn’t get a lot of opportunities to play sports as a kid, he is very very athletic. He is a natural in so many arenas.

But, nonetheless….his heart just wasn’t in it.

So we fought.

It would drive me insane. I didn’t understand how we could be so different in this. To me our kids playing a sport was never an option. I don’t care what the sport is, but you will pick one and we are going for it.

For him it was, just let them be kids. Let them goof around at home and at the park.

We absolutely did not see eye to eye.

Here’s the thing though. As our boys have gotten older and really starting to truly enjoy and get a bit obsessive about their particular sport, my husband has changed.

He stopped fighting me about having to take a kid to practice. He stopped hating going to games. He actually became the perfect rock for us all in this crazy sports world.

Momma is competitive. I always have been. If you are going to do it, try your 100%… that’s all I ask. You don’t have to be the best, but you better be giving it your all. Because of that, I can get um…..vocal? Excited? Emotional…. yeah let’s say that, during games.

He has become the buffer.

I don’t have any clue when this shift occurred, but as I think about it now, damn it’s a wonderful thing. My oldest plays goalie for his competitive soccer team. Do you know how intense that is to watch….for an “emotional momma?” But my husband standing up and walking down the soccer field line to shout words of encouragement to our oldest or to remind him of certain things. All those things I am restraining myself from doing or grumbling under my breath…because I won’t do it as nicely….it’s amazing.

This man, he is my bestfriend. We have always been close in so many ways….but this sports gap sucked. It’s no longer an issue though. He is in it. He wants to be more for our boys. He wants to be the best dad he can. He wants to look back at his life as an old(er) man and think, yeah I did what I could.

THAT is amazing. THAT is admirable. THAT is a great dad. THAT is my man.

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Friday Favorites (it’s back)

Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker

Ok, so I use to be a very lax coffee drinker. The crappy little coffee pot I bought in college went with me from home to home, for way too long.

My husband and I eventually bought a Keurig. We thought we were happy with it. But honestly, we didn’t love the taste, we liked the convenience. Once one Keurig broke down and we bought the next and then THAT one broke down, I started investigating it (yeah later than I should, and not like me). Those suckers are filling up our landfills, have you checked that out? Plus, even though we bought the biodegradable cups, I still felt wasteful.

Now enters my most favorite machine, in the whole wide world. The Grind and Brew. It was pricier than I had expected, but once I added up the grinder, the coffee maker and the timer separately, it was a good deal. Plus I got it on sale through Amazon (which right now it’s on sale again….just so you know).

There is not a day that goes by that we don’t make a cup of coffee (or 4). I hardly ever go to any of the chain places anymore. This is because I am usually disappointed in the taste. I feel like, my home cup is way better! We also go out of our way to buy good, fresh beans. But I think that’s why this coffee is so amazing. It’s as fresh as you can get!! Literally the beans grind right before the hot water starts pouring over it! How can you get it better than that?

If you are looking for an upgrade and would like to treat yourself to something amazing. Look in to this coffee maker!

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