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3 Oct

Who taught you makeup, fashion and overall “beauty” tricks? Sure, I had plenty of motherly and sisterly guidance in the form of taking care of myself and style but what I secretly obsessed and studied were my sis’ Cosmo mags. Photo linked from Bellazon.com and Pinterest

When I was 10-14 years old, my sister was 18-22. I remember absorbing every page — from the perfume ads to those relationship-solving quizzes. I most loved the makeup and fashion tips with featured products. I soaked up every word of these magazines like a soap opera and couldn’t wait for the next one. 

Not that I ever attempted the tricks though. None of it seemed like real life to me. It was a sensual and extraordinary fantasy world where I would live on the weekends when I visited daddy and sis. Kind of like the TV Guide or J.C.Penney catalog at grandma’s. Marking the shows like 90210 and New Kids on the Block appearances I didn’t want to miss and the toys and clothes I desperately needed. A wish list and a plan, charted out with blue-inked circles and stars. 

This memory got me to thinking about what our kids have that mirrors this. Sure, magazines like those still exist but my kids don’t see them. They do spy an occasional People or Us Weekly though. I’d imagine they feel the same land of pretend when they flip through one. Right after they leave the land of Minecraft, that is. 

Ah, young minds. Such a maze with so many maps to explore. Cosmo didn’t prepare me for this. (I did learn how to entertain sleepover buddies with great romance stories about winning over the hot lifeguard named Jordan or Donnie though.)

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What’s Your Dream?

23 Sep

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I don’t consider myself much of a dreamer but I’ve been hearing the man in Pretty Woman asking that question more and more in my head. It seems I don’t know how to answer it though. 

I’ve been throwing ideas at it. Not short on those. 

  • Beach rental investment properties
  • Mountain rental investment properties
  • Landscaping ideas 
  • Home renovation ideas
  • Self renovation ideas that include a complete body cleanse and better sleep habits — and more stretching
  • That one book idea I have
  • Volunteer compulsions
  • Donation compulsions
  • Adult volleyball
  • Reading more
  • Travel budget plans
  • Debt free budget plans 

Anyway. Lots of ideas. 

I’ve decided to get busy on that book one. I’m going to try to kill two birds by writing each time I feel like late night snacking. This novel and self renovation will be accomplished in no time. 

I plan to start tomorrow. (It’s ok to laugh. Stand up comedian is another dream I have.)

Papa Talk

23 Mar

“We talked for 41 minutes!” A happy Nia processed in her brain as she looked at her phone after hanging up with her Papa.

She couldn’t wait to call him that night. She wanted to talk to him about what she learned in class about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She knew Papa is better than google or any book she could read when it comes to history. Forget about playing a game with trivia with him, unless he’s on your team.

I know she will always treasure their talks. I think he will too. After their history lesson, he sent me a text. “Thanks for letting Nia call. Were you trying to get her sleepy by talking to me?” Silly, smart Papa.

Papa

A Perfect Season

6 Nov
Dad & Champ

Dad & Champ

He’s only 7 years old. His teammates match him in age, plus or minus a year. They love their bubble gum and eye black and to proudly (and loudly) cheer for their next batter from the dugout. They range in size from tiny to tall but equal each other with their love of the game.

It was their heart, teamwork and desire to make the “awesome out or hit” that set the stage for these young baseball players to do something extraordinary.

A perfect season — 11-0. That’s not all though. They carried that through to the post season tournament where they earned their champion title, going 4-0.

I tried not to think too much of it. It’s coach pitch and fall ball, I told myself. They are playing against other small ones still learning the game, like them. But then I realized, this may never happen again. What’s to come when Nate is in kid pitch? Will he still love it like he does now? Will he meet the others in skill and be able to hold a spot on the field with them? This is something to treasure and it’s not just about all the W’s. It’s about how the boys got along and worked together. The families who united to support the coaches and the team. It was a positive, pleasant season — truly perfect.

Watching Nate and those boys out there is something I’ll never forget. Some of the plays I saw Nate pull off on that dirt made me shake my head in disbelief. There was one game this season where he dove for a grounder then quickly spun around and popped up like an older player to make a fast throw from near Second to First for an out. How did he do that?! Will he be able to do it again? And again?

I can only hope because I’m quite addicted to seeing him in his element with his teammates. Sure, all the practices and games can be a big time commitment and challenge for us, but as long as he wants to keep playing, I’ll keep following his lead. He’s led himself (and his family) this far with it and we’ve made such good friends and have had a blast.

Until next season, thanks for these memories, #26 and those wonderful Red Buccaneers.

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 13.1

2 Nov

Running one half marathon was surprising enough to me. First of all, I can’t believe I’d set out to do it in the first place. The fact that I actually liked it and wanted to do it again is the kicker.

I did need plenty of time to make sure I was mentally and physically ready though. You know, like a year to know I was going to do that thing that requires dedication and time to training and the test to my willpower. My first half — the Savannah Rock-n-Roll — happened because Ginger made it look so fun. (That’s right. I’m totally blaming you.) I ran it and felt incredible at the end, like I had more to give. I felt like I held back on my pace because of the fear of the unknown since I hadn’t yet run a full 13.1. Training never got me to that distance. I knew that I wanted to try again as soon as I crossed that first finish line.

During the months in between those two distances, Ginger (yep, her fault again) asked if I’d be interested in a half marathon mountain trail race. We discussed how it would be different from our street miles and we should plan on taking it as easy as we could. (There was a 4-hour time limit to finish so we knew we needed to beat that at least.) It was very different so it’s tough for me to put it in my 13.1 group. I did earn those miles though — at times, painfully — so I will claim it. After that run, it was supposed to be smooth training until my second Rock-n-Roll. But then, I started seeing tempting Facebook posts for the AthHalf. Andrew was going to run in it for the third time because he loves it and Uncle Anthony said he could watch the kids so I thought, why not?

I’m so glad I did. Not only was the route and sight-seeing in Athens great, I felt strong and at 2:18 I finished 13 minutes faster than my first half. I also marked my 1,000th mile in that race. In fact, when I looked at Runkeeper after the race, my overall total said I finished on mile 1,000.

20131102-085259.jpg

AthHalf 2013

I’ve since added to that with my runs leading up to the Rock-n-Roll this weekend. I thought about running to beat my AthHalf time but I just want to take this one in without any pressure on myself. Maybe next year …

(Not Nearly) Afternoon Delight

2 Oct

I paid to suffer and that’s not the worst of it. I would do it again.

Let me explain.

When I first told Ginger I would enjoy a family camping weekend at FD Roosevelt State Park that ended with a 13.1 mile trail run called The North Face Endurance Challenge, I don’t think I really processed the words “endurance challenge” and the race’s location of Pine MOUNTAIN. Sure, I said. Sounds fun, I said. Because it did. I love hanging out on a run with my bud. We explore, we have great talks and we feel awesome after conquering a distance and crushing some calories.

It sounded like carefree fun all the way up until she emailed that her Achilles was hurting and a specialist told her no way to running – especially no MOUNTAIN trails. First and always, I was worried about her. I know how much she enjoys her runs. They are a part of her. How will she feel not running? I just wanted her to heal so she could run again soon. In the midst of my worry though, I began to realize – I’m not going to have my buddy with me on this frolic through the woods. She suggested maybe Andrew could come with me and run my pace. He’s also a wonderful running pal and a great motivator. Of course, he agreed so it was all set – and then it all hit my ignorance.

Pre-race Pose

Endurance

This event is called an endurance challenge for a reason. It is nothing like the trail I run at Fort Yargo. There parts of it that feel like only goats should be on it – cliff side, rock covered inches of footing. Muddy rocks that serve as bridges to get you across stream after stream. Fallen trees that block narrow paths. The roots of those trees, or possibly rocks, stole my feet from me and sent me down – hard – twice.

Rocks-n-Stuff

That rock slate IS the trail.

The first collision with the ground happened within mile one and I landed like a tree. The crash knocked the wind out of me and I had to jump off to the course for a minute to decide if I remembered what my name was. Luckily, I did and kept moving forward, only to fall again around mile five. Big props to my right shoulder for taking the brunt of that body toss. Ow. I was so proud when the first aid person at the water station asked me, “Ma’am, do you need your shoulder treated?” To me, it really showed what we were enduring. The whole-body soreness days after the event helped remind us of that too though …

Shoulder Boo-Boo

Challenge

I must have said “you’ve got to be kidding” or “this is ridiculous” or “choice cuss word” at least 10 times each mile. Once we started, the challenge was to finish. The challenge was to not lose my mind. The challenge was to not damage my skull that protects that mind. The challenge was to not stop climbing the hills and to stand tall to conquer them like Andrew kept reminding me to do. At one point toward the end, I began telling myself to keep my knees and feet up, pay attention and don’t get lazy. A lot of it was out loud. So was my rendition of “Funky Town” and Andrew’s duet of “Afternoon Delight” with me. (It was prompted by Anchorman quotes after I started saying things like “I love tree. I love plant. This trail was a bad idea.”)

The fun singing didn’t last long though because sure enough, we soon had to scale a hill.

Straight up.

Mountain

Being that this was a mountain trail, it was rare to have a nice stretch for a steady running pace. I don’t know how people finished this and more (some traveled 50 miles!) with such a fast time. They are incredible. It seemed to me that just when I would start to feel like a kid running through the forest (and I actually did at one point and shouted it out through breaths to the trees and Andrew), we would encounter an obstacle from nature. You know, like a mountain. Climbing a mountain wasn’t on my bucket list but I can go ahead and pencil it in just to draw the line through it. Dang.

See all the people at the top of the hill?

Gorgeous Mountain View from a Ledge

Elevation says wha?

Finished

13.1 miles equated to 3 hours and 33 minutes of adventure for Andrew and me. I know he could’ve finished at about 2 and a half had he ventured it at his pace. He didn’t once complain or make me feel bad. He carried my sunglasses and helped me up when I fell. He kept encouraging me with pep talks and coaching me with guidance to make it through.

“You’re doing great, lady.”
“Stand up tall to get deep breaths.”
“Slow it down some, your adrenaline is tricking you right now.”
“We’re married.” (That one came after I made a goofy pose when I saw a photographer on the course. He actually claimed me!)

I’m so grateful to him for his friendship and selflessness. He even stopped to give directions to hikers along our course. He laughed at my jokes along the way and when I asked him if I earned major cool points for my falls he replied, “Not for the falls but because you got back up and kept going.”

So, would I endure it again?

No. I would enjoy it again.

Ginger's Finish Line Photo

Ginger’s Finish Line Photo

I wasn’t sore yet.

Her Latest Happy Thing

30 Sep

It all started this summer when Nate and Nia began playing wiffle ball in our driveway. Nia became interested in the sport that she’s watched her brother play season after season.

Driveway Ball

Driveway Ball

“Can I have a softball glove?” she soon asked us. Yearnings for a bat, helmet and bat bag followed next. Before we made the purchases though – we needed to know – was she going to use all this gear to play on a softball team? Or just when we go to the field as a family to play? Without hesitation, she said yes, she wanted to be on a team.

Since we were purchasing all that gear, we told her she needed to give it at least a season. Now that the season has started, it seems the gear will be used for a few more. Softball is the new “happy thing” she tells me before falling asleep most nights. She loves it. Even after a loss or a strikeout, she happily chants the dugout cheers (even hours/days after the game) and has even started teaching them to Nate.

I’m so proud of her for trying something new that’s challenging for her. She’s doing great but this isn’t coming as easily for her like many other things have. Doing well in school hasn’t been a worry at all yet. Getting along with others is going swimmingly. She feels confident during dancing and I think she really rocks at clogging. Softball is something that’s requiring her to practice hard, overcome disappointments, and understand what it’s like to be a part of a team.

I love this for her and can’t wait to watch her growing moments on the field.

Our Ball Players

Our Ball Players

Hot Pink on the Field

Ready for a Play

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