Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tourists in our own town!

I always thought Bear World was just some tourist trap on the highway to catch all of the traffic to and from Yellowstone. But when the phone rang at 7:30 on Saturday morning & Jesse asked if we wanted to go to Bear World with them I figured why not? I've never been and Gideon might enjoy it. So we joined Jesse, Kelly & Skye Saturday and played tourists in our own town for a few hours. It was more fun than I thought it would be. I was surprised at how much wildlife we actually saw and how much there was to do there. I was going to label each photo with the animals to look for in it, but that proved to be too much work. You'll just have to figure it out on your own.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Moment of Truth

So I know I've taken a few pictures in the last week that I never did get around to posting. Life has just been super crazy for us lately. I'll post pictures again soon, but for right now, you're all subjected to another one of my famous rants. Just because I can. Stop reading now if a lot of words intimidate you.

I had a moment of truth recently that really made me think. And it's inspired me to take on a total life makeover. Do you ever reach a point where you wake up and feel like you're Rip Van Winkle and you've been asleep for twenty years (or so.) I had one of those moments. And it's pretty scary. Let me explain.

My birthday was good, if a little quieter than usual. I guess I'm getting to that age where birthdays aren't really as big a deal as they used to be. I got thinking about that and it made me kind of sad. Somehow it made me realize that in my life I've really been on autopilot recently. I'm tempted to say the last two years but it goes back further than that. I won't get into all of my emotional inner-turmoil about the realizations that I've made. Suffice it to say I'm going to making a few changes.

Some of them drastic. Some of them not so much. All of them motivated by one desire: To have the life that I always dreamed about as a kid.

You know when you're little and you tell people that you want to be a teacher or a doctor or an astronaut. (Seriously, at that age whoever said that they wanted to be an accountant or a clerk or in my case, a project manager?)

My dream was two parts really. But I always saw them as connected somehow. From the time I was little I wanted to be an author. As young as 8 & 9 years old I was always writing stories, plays & novels. I just knew that's what I wanted to do. And it never occurred to me that I couldn't or wouldn't. The other thing was that I loved to be onstage and performing. I remember in my 3rd grade play I desperately wanted the part of the chicken. It was a small part, but for some reason that's what I wanted. It was the only part I auditioned for. I practiced and practiced and was thrilled when I landed it. (I sincerely hope that there aren't any pictures of me in that hideous costume still floating around. That would be mortifying.) When I was 13 I was really introduced to serious theatre by a Scottish drama teacher who was brave enough to believe that 7th & 8th graders could handle Shakespeare. (Yep, my first serious role was Maria in Twelfth Night. Again, not the starring role, but the only one I wanted and auditioned for.)

At such a young age I always pictured myself raising a family while acting part time and writing on the side. I could see it. Mother, Wife, Author, Actress. Loving every minute of it!

But somehow those dreams got lost. In high school I guess, when people frequently told me that it's nearly impossible to support yourself as an actor and that most authors had to have a real job because writing didn't pay the bills. So I gave up on those dreams. After all, that was the responsible thing to do right? Go to college and get a real job.

Well now I say, to hell with being responsible. I spent years as a project manager, working 8-5 and what did that get me? A lay-off once the real-estate and housing market took a nosedive and a credential (Certified Associate in Project Management from the Project Management Institute) that few companies recognize or care about.

It's time to do what I really want to do. In a way I've got part of it. I am a mom & a wife which I love more than anything else. But I just can't help feeling that I could be doing more. And perhaps should be doing more. God has given me gifts and talents and abilities I'm not really using right now. It's time to put those to work. For Him and for me & my family.

So I'm doing it. I'm dusting off the keyboard and notebooks and picking up my unfinished masterpieces. Why can't I be a published author? Lots of people are. Why not me? And I'm going on an audition for the first time in over a decade. Next month I'll be going for one of my dream roles, Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde's the Importance of Being Earnest.

I may recieve nothing but rejection letters as an author and there's a good chance I won't get cast in any show, but at least I'll know that I tried. That I went out and did the things I was passionate about. Instead of waiting around watching life passing me by, trying to console the nagging restlessness in my gut by calling it "responsibility."

I said at the beginning this was a total life makeover. It's not just going out and chasing my own childhood dreams, I really am taking on my whole life. Travis and I had previously started tackling our financial situation. (Thank you Dave Ramsey. For those still mired in debt and blaming your current situation on a down economy, read "The Total Money Makeover." It's amazing!) And you all know that I had previously set some pretty high health and fitness goals (run a half marathon next year and a full 26.2 in 2011. Perhaps a triathalon after that.) Those goals are still there and I feel better than ever about them.

What I'm trying to say is that for the first time in years I'm actually excited by my own life. Instead of "waiting" for something to happen, or "hoping" that "someday" things will turn around for us, I'm actually making things happen. And it feels amazing! I'm finding myself with an expanded capacity to do more in a day than I ever thought possible. (And I thought I was busy as project manager. HA!)

I guess the whole point is that I've finally woken up. After nearly two decades of sleepwalking through my life I'm done with doing what society deems as the "responsible" thing. It's time to start doing my own thing! Call me crazy, call me stupid, I don't care. Better yet call me & we'll do lunch and talk all about it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hooray for Presents from Daddy!

Almost as Much Fun as Mine

So yesterday I threw a baby shower for my friend Sara whose first child is due next month. I had nearly as much fun throwing this shower as I had being the one on the recieving end. It really was a great time and we had an excellent turn out.

I did all the food and decorations. (Not that there was much in the way of decorations, I went really minimalist on this shower. And Skye, the punch was divine! Thanks!)

My petit fours didn't turn out quite as beautiful as I would have hoped, but oh well.

My friend Natalie who co-hosted the shower made the diaper cake! It turned out so cute!

We had a great turn out and Sara got tons of cute stuff! Now her baby boy just can't get here fast enough!

Love you girl!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So Thoughtful!

Well he may be 9000 miles away, but at least he didn't forget my birthday! Trav's package containing my birthday present arrived today.

I was surprised to find this beautiful tea set! (Yes, there are six cups, but the minute I opened the box, the munchkin grabbed one of the cups and ran off with it, so my mom had to chase him down. Luckily she caught him and the set is still undamaged.)

But of course, he had to try it out!

And a Pirate T-shirt which is cute.

Naturally daddy didn't forget his boy, either. There was a toy plane and some t-shirts for munchkin. All in all an impressive haul. And my birthday's still a week away. Thank you, sweetheart for being so thoughtful!

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Monday, September 7, 2009

When he's helping, he's happy!

And trust me, he wants to help with EVERYTHING!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Born to Run

I learned a secret today. One that absolutely blew my mind. Humans are born to run. Not only are we born and built to run, but we were built to run the longest distance of any animal in creation. Sure, many animals can run faster than we can, but they can't run the distances humans are capable of. The way their bodies are built makes it physically impossible for them. Cool huh? Which is why frequently in races of 50 miles or more, men will actually beat horses! (Don't believe me? I'm about to tell you where to find the facts.)

There are very few books that I consider to be life changing. Very few. There are books that I enjoy, books that evoke emotion, books that make me reconsider the way I had always thought about something and even books that make me want to do things differently. This book did all of that!

For all of you non-runners, please don't stop here!

This book is not just for runners. It's a fascinating look at our bodies and how they work and how they fit in with the rest of creation. But even though it's stuffed full of research and statistics that are jaw-dropping, it doesn't read like a dry, clinical study. It reads like a novel. I read this in one day because it's engaging, humorous and at times even suspenseful. My heart pounded through the last two chapters and I even cried a little at the end. I literally could not put it down.

Before my foot surgery you all know, I was "running" again. (I say "running" because after finishing this book what I was doing wasn't running.) I was slogging my way through 2 and 3 mile runs or an hour of speed work 5-6 times a week. Always dreading it beforehand, hating it during, and feeling relief when it was over. I hated running. I said it everyday. Running was sheer drudgery. But how else was I going to lose weight, get in shape and prove to myself that I wasn't just some suburban mom who "let herself go" once she had kids?

When I crossed the finish line at my first 5K, I was disappointed. Actually disgusted would be a better word. There was no moment of elation or feeling of accomplishment. I wandered around, pasting on a fake smile for my friends, while secretly wanting to cry. I instinctively felt like I could do better. Or do more. Or something. Even though I was dead on my feet, I had hated the run, I felt pushed to the brink, I was still upset because I felt it wasn't enough. So for the next three weeks, I upped my training regimen, paid closer attention to my re-fueling habits, and forced myself into more speedwork. At the next race I shaved two minutes off my time. Better? Yes. But I wasn't there yet. Already in my head I was concocting a plan. A plan to run a 10K in six months. And then a half-marathon. And shortly after that, a full 26.2 mile marathon.

I couldn't figure out where this desire came from. I hated running. I truly didn't enjoy it. I only made it through runs by cranking up the tunes and picturing all the cute clothes I would buy when I was finally "skinny" again.

Now I understand. We're hard wired to run. That's what the human body was designed for. So our complaints of "I can't run because..." "I get shin splints"... "It's too hard on my knees...." or simply "I hate to run" don't matter. Our bodies desire it, even if our brains are saying we don't. (And don't get me started on all the "Running is too hard on the body, try cycling or swimming instead..." propaganda. I'm not saying those aren't great exercise. the book, then you'll get it.) Truth is my body wanted to run, so I grudgingly did it. But I hated it because I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. (I already listed those reasons.)

Perhaps this rambling has gone on too long and you've all stopped reading long ago. So I'll just finish with one final thought.

I'm sitting here five and half weeks out of surgery and to be honest the next three weeks cannot go quickly enough. For the first time ever, I can't wait to run. I want to go out there and just take off and keep going. Just for the sheer joy of letting my body do what it was actually designed to do. Who cares about losing weight or proving to someone I'm tough? I honestly just want to run.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

He Thinks He's One of the Big Kids

So we had a church picnic Saturday night at the park. And the munchkin had a total blast, (of course!) But what I thought was so funny, is that he wasn't running and playing with the little kids his own age. He was running and playing with the teenagers. He got several of them to take him on the playground. And then they let him play frisbee with them. Seriously, this kid is 17 months going on 14 years old I think!

My Sweet Ride!

So today is five weeks since my surgery. I'm getting around so much better these days. No crutches, although I'm still in the boot (but not for much longer.) Really the most irritating part of the whole thing has been not being able to drive. I hate having to depend on someone else to chauffer me around. Fortunately, I've had mom's scooter, so there was at least a measure of independence.

The munchkin loves going for rides on this thing! He likes to "drive" whenever possible. We can't go far, but at least it gets us to church and the in-laws and the park. Those are the important things anyway.