Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming Down

It is great to accomplish something.  It is great to run/walk that 5k and beat your best time.  It is great to do so with friends beside you.  It is great.

But it is still awful when you see photos the next day, photos of yourself and you think, "Dear God, am I really THAT big?"

And some of the accomplishment fades.

And the questions of how the hell you make this work return.  How the hell do you, do I, succeed in this.

Because those pictures don't lie.

Shit.  I wish they were lying.

Monday, May 30, 2011

PriorFatPack 5k

Last night the Priorfatpack gathered for a potluck to psych us all up for this morning.  This morning was our 5k.  For some of us it was our first.  For some of us it another 5k in a string of them, but each of us came this morning not only to accomplish something for ourselves but to cheer on others too.

It is funny, I walked more of this 5k than I did on my 5k last year but I finished in a faster time.  Somewhere around 56 minutes (final times are posted yet).  If it is under 56:33 it is a personal best, and I'm not even subtracting for the time it took to get to the actual start line since I was in the back of the racing group.

I'm not going to lie.  It is still SO hard for me to do.  Over and over again I wanted to quit.  Or at least stop and rest, but I didn't.  I didn't run too much, my legs just felt too heavy to do a lot but I kept up my walking pace the whole time.  I must have as I averaged about an 18 minute mile.

But what made this special for me, besides being the second one I've ever done, was that I was with people who support me and each other in their journey.  Being healthy, losing weight, running a race is so challenging, but here we were a whole group of people inspiring one another to push further.  These people are becoming true true friends and they keep me wanting to improve myself.  I may never be a "runner" but in part thanks to them I am definitely a "5k-er"

I'll post more pictures and some official times later this week.  Right now the shower and possibly a nap are calling to me (hopefully the toddler will nap for a LONG time!)  And in case I don't say it enough, thank YOU for all the support you've given me here blogland.  It keeps me going when I want to quit.

This just in:  My official time was 55:48, minus whatever time it took me to cross the actual starting line at the beginning.  A new personal best and a nice benchmark for my 5k at St. Olaf on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Project Flower Bomb

When I was a kid I was terrified of tornadoes.  Phobic.  I didn't want to leave the house on windy days.  I certainly didn't want to leave if there was a tornado watch in place.  I remember babysitting once and freaking the kids out because there was a storm watch and I wouldn't let them play outside (not my finest moment).  Luckily for me my parents pretty much forced me to live a normal life around storms and didn't give in to my fears.  And after a few scary storms of not-dying and going to college and growing up I slowly started to grow out of this.  Nevertheless, I take storms seriously I just don't panic any more.

Another thing that helped...I went and married a fellow whose town had been hit by a tornado.  Hubby was a junior in High School when the tornado hit St. Peter.  He and most of the family were gone a concert.  His 6 yr old sister was home with a sitter.  In that tornado there was a lot of damage, one child was killed, and the town has never been quite the same.  And after 11 years with my husband I know those stories and I know how people start to deal with the destruction of a tornado as time passes.

So last Sunday night as I watched the news unfold about a tornado in North Minneapolis I knew I wanted to help.  Even more so since I knew several people affected directly by the tornado...including Jen, the PriorFatGirl herself.  But it felt like so little.  My resources are few.  My time is busy.  Also since Mr. Goat hurt his foot my schedule has been even more busy.

But my friend, Amelia Sprout, had a great idea.  And I jumped in with her and Jen on twitter and idea was born.  Jen lost all her flowers in the storm, planted in honor of her mother on Mother's day and it seemed like a simple thing to replace them for her and help cheer her up in this situation.  And so we thought, if a few flowers can help someone feel better then a LOT of flowers can help a LOT of people feel better.  And so I'm proud to support Project Flower Bomb.   (I stole the details directly from Jen's blog because she laid them out so well).

What: Project Flower Bomb…a way to bring together the local (and not-local) blogging community by spreading flowerous cheer to the north Minneapolis community recently devastated by tornadoes.  Please join us in planting some beautiful flowers on Sunday and then, passing them out to those in North Minneapolis who could use a little sunshine.
Date: Sunday, May 29th
Time: 2-5pm
Location: North Minneapolis – RSVP for address
RSVP: ameliasprout@gmail.com by 5pm Friday, May 25th
{For those who plan on coming, please bring your own gardening gloves/trowels (if you have them) and be prepared to get down and dirty!}

Supplies needed
We are in need of the following supplies…
  • planting dirt
  • pre-started flowers
  • new, unused pots of smallish size
We are looking for anyone who has any connections to local nurseries who would be willing to donate any supplies. Please contact me at jen@priorfatgirl.com if you have any connections.

Unable to donate your time?
For those who are unable to help plant on Sunday but still want to help, small monetary donations ($5, $10 or $20) can be sent via paypal to jen@priorfatgirl.com {please put PROJECT FLOWER BOMB in the notes.} Any monies not used will be donated to the Red Cross to help in general tornado disaster relief.
Will you help?  Yes it is a small thing but it is not insignificant.  And I hope that if our donations are sufficient we could even help with replacing trees sometime in the future.   Thanks and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A lot to work with

Sometimes the tasks ahead of me seem insurmountable.  They seem like "walking through Mordor to throw a ring in Mt Doom" difficult. Or "find all the horcruxes before Voldemort kills you and everyone you love" challenging.  It seems that way, but it is not.  I build things up and place the path of accomplishments so high that it is no wonder they seem impossible to me.

In my mind I'm not really losing weight unless I do it Biggest Loser style - fast, single-mindedly, and, did I mention, fast.  And if after a week of extreme efforts that yield me a 1 or a 2 lb weight loss, I throw up my hands and say that I'm incapable of this.  And go back to the ice cream.

I've done this for as long as I can imagine - setting up a task in front of me in such a way that perfection is impossible. And I am still surprised and frustrated when I fail.  Every.single.time.

Last Friday I bit the bullet and decided to push and do a 5k at the gym to prove that I could before the actual #priorfatpack 5k on Memorial day (6 days, yikes).  I worked out HARD.  I pushed and ran for longer stretches than I ever have (2 min, but it is a long stretch for me).  I beat my previous time coming in with a walking/running time of 56:33min.  Elated I posted it on Facebook and twitter and people were so nice about.  They cheered me on.

But after the elation wore off and the exhaustion crept in so did the voice.  The one that tells me that 56:33 is such a pathetic time and people can walk the whole thing faster than that.  The voice that says it isn't enough.  The voice that compares me to others.

I am still proud of Friday.  I have to be because it was huge - mentally and physically for me.  But I am fearful of never shaking this idea that my best is so much less than other peoples.

But this morning as I was reading a blog post a phrase stuck out at me, and it stuck out enough for me to choose blogging over my lunch hour:

I have a lot to work on, but I have a lot to work with.

This is what I have to remember each day.  Not the comparisons to others, but that I have so much within myself and surrounding me that I have plenty with which to succeed.

So I started a list of what I have to work with.  Here is the start of it:
  • I am smart.  If I want to figure something out, I can.
  • I am stubborn.  Oh so stubborn.
  • I am loving and learning to love myself.
  • I am faithful. I believe that God is there and has given me enough to be perfectly me.  Not perfect.  But perfectly me.
  • I am strong. So much so that sometimes it surprises me.
  • I am loyal.  I will give to others freely, now I must translate it to self-loyalty.
  • I like to know things.  
  • I like to learn things. 
  • I like to challenge myself.
  • I will try new things.
  • I am willing to reach out when struggling.
  • I have so much to motivate me - friends, family, little goat.
  • I have a flexible job and can find a way to make time for becoming healthy.
  • I am silly.
  • I am flexible and open to change.
  • I like vegetables.
  • I like to help others.
  • I bounce back from dark places.
  • I have a family and friends who support me in all I do.
  • I have enough security to feel safe, but not so much that I feel complacent.
There will be more as I think of them but this is a start.  Yes.  There is a long way to go.  I have so much to work on.  But I have so much to work with too.  Perfection is no longer my goal.  Failing does not mean I am a failure.  Instead I seek to be perfectly me and that means fighting each day to be healthier than I was yesterday.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Nothing I'm about to talk about even compares to the clean up efforts going on in NE Minneapolis because of tornadoes, nor can it even touch the tragic loss of life in Joplin from last night. But they are our bumps and very real. Nevertheless, I am thankful and grateful for what I have. That doesn't change.

And yet for a Monday, today has felt especially bumpy. It started last night when Mr. Goat started complaining about his foot. It was stiff and sore, but we walked to the playground after all the rain with little goat anyway. After toddler bedtime and some dumb Sunday night TV however Mr. Goat could hardly walk. (He'd been icing it that night too).

This morning it was the same, if not worse and there was a swollen spot on the top of his foot. He couldn't shower, or really walk or stand. And so it was to the doctor that we went. I dropped off the toddler and we went up to urgent care for x-rays.

It isn't broken, or maybe isn't? The Radiologist found some spot that looked like a previous fracture that maybe hadn't healed properly near where the foot hurt. But broken or not, Mr. Goat got a boot, crutches and an appointment with an orthopedic Dr. on Wed. Oh, and he's not allowed to drive (and frankly with the pain in his right foot he couldn't).

I dropped him off at work and finally got into the office myself. There was definitely a highlight of the day as my committee sent my some BEAUTIFUL flowers to celebrate the end of the school year. It was such a nice gesture...and seriously they are lovely. See?

But that was the main highlight of the day (the other - dinner and ice cream with my boys...can't beat that)

I had to leave early to get both boys on time and naturally the moment I walked into daycare I was greeted by the tear-streaked face of my toddler with a giant scrap/goose egg on his head.  He and a big wheel met a bitter fate in the driveway mere moments before my arrival.  He was fine, it was not serious and Little goat was fine.

And Mr. Goat is fine too, or will be.  They are fine, but it was the sort of Monday where you throw up your hands and say "fine, we can handle, but I'm certainly going to bed early"

I'm curious what Mr. Goat's Wednesday appointment will bring.  3 days of being the chauffeur, primary toddler wrangler, chef, while trying to do my normal work and housework sounds a bit overwhelming but I know that it will be fine.  It is just a speed bump.  But I feel like I'm bottoming out on it just a little.

And yet, our house is standing.  Our family is safe.  Our problems small.  So to bed, and to sleep and tomorrow is another day.

I'm not sure this post flows well but I am tired and too tired to edit this second.  So you get what you get :)  Oh, and I don't need to tell you but please pray for the people of Minneapolis and Joplin affected by the Tornadoes.  That is so much worse than my petty complaints.

Friday, May 20, 2011

11 years ago

Eleven years ago today
I was suddenly bold
and brave
and daring

Asking a freshman
with a curly pony tail
and a tuba
and a voice from God
to come with friends
to a concert

and he said yes.

and later
when the friends were gone
he remained
talking into the night

I was shocked at his innocence
he'd never seen the Princess Bride
something to be remedied

and in the midst of
a kissing book read
a kissing movie running
my story became a kissing story too

and my life has never been the same.

11 years ago
a boy
and a girl
and a story began

and continues today.
no longer so young
but still a kissing story.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I don't think this is what they mean by 80/20

So there is this concept in healthy eating/living.  Be diligent and healthy 80% of the time and then be willing to splurge on 20%.  That isn't to say you should throw it all away but just that you should give yourself permission to still eat some of the things you love.

It is a great idea in concept, but I'm pretty sure that you are supposed to do 80% of your weekly meals healthy, rather than be healthy for 80% of the day.  The healthy for 80% of the day seems to be the route I've been taking though.  I can (sort of) eat healthily throughout the day.  3 meals, try to keep portions down, not too much fat.  I've been doing better about not eating out and choosing healthier options when I do.  All progress.


Come about 9pm I suddenly lose all control and find myself knee deep in ice cream, chips, popcorn and a variety of other "not on the diet and certainly not at that point at night" foods.  Worse, i do a lot of the shopping so that I am the one BRINGING THE FOOD IN THE HOUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE.  And it is getting to be a habit.  I think about the ice cream waiting at the end of the day.

This has to change, especially if I am going to make real progress.  The problem is that I cannot say with certainty that I can't eat past 9pm.  Sometimes that is when I get home and have a chance to eat dinner, but even with that the late night snacking has to stop.

And it isn't even a food as comfort thing, because honestly I have never been happier.  Instead it seems like celebratory food - a "life is great, have cake" mentality.  It is a great place to be, but it is a dangerous one too for me.

So no more 80/20 day by day.  I can't afford to triple my daily calories thanks to an hour of binging.  I need to reign it in - sugar and salt cravings alike.  But how?  I need some tools folks, and accountabilty and when I need those things I turn to my blog.  So how do I break this cycle and get on track.

I haven't eaten tonight (though it was a big dinner) but I feel the urge to go upstairs and rummage.  But I'm here instead, asking for your help.  What can I do?  Are their healthy snack options?  Is there a grocery store police that I can hire to guard me?  Timed locks on the freezer?  It needs to stop.  Tonight.

I want to succeed in this.  Why is this so hard?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Random Tuesday Thoughts

* Little goat has a cold and stayed home today.  We went to urgent care last night to get a steroid (and an antibiotic for his forming ear infection) as his asthma wasn't quite controlled but now he's bounced back super quickly, which is good.  I'm not happy that the asthma is a continuing issue for him but I am very happy that we are closer to controlling it.

* His cold was such that he was feeling much better after each nebulizer treatment so we went for a walk this afternoon in the stroller.  We walked 2.10 miles and even stopped at the playground, so he must have been feeling much better.  (And I got a workout of sorts in, so it was a win)  I think we'll head back to daycare tomorrow.

* I was in the office for a half day as it was my supervising pastors last day and there was a lunch.  I cried.  She has helped me heal a lot from all of the crud of my old congregation and has really brought me back to a place where I enjoy and feel called to ministry.  Such a gift and I will miss her a lot.  I'm glad there are still lots of other awesome people on staff at my current church.  I am very blessed.

* I really want to go see the movie Bridesmaids.  I think it might be worth springing for a sitter so Mr. Goat and I can have a date.  Now if only we could find a date that we are both free!

* Question #1 on my mind today: Would you ever consider a vacation without your child?  I'm thinking yes, even though I'd miss him every second.  But am curious about your thoughts.

* Question #2 on my mind today:  What is your favorite low cost summer activity for kids - parks, splash pads, parades, etc?  I'm particularly interested in those of you who live in the Twin Cities.

* My 5k is in less that two weeks.  I am in no way ready, at least not where I'd like to be, but I'll go out and give it my best.  And I'll be beside some amazing people from the #priorfatpack.

* Mr. Goat has a vendetta against the dandelions in our yard.  I just think they are cheerful.

* It looks like we are a go for a family vacation this August.  I am thrilled because it means 1. a beach. 2. a beach with the extended Goat family. 3. which means that we aren't the only ones watching the toddler so I might actually get to sneak away and read a book by myself on the beaches of North Carolina.

* I need a game night.  Or a bridge night.  My strategic brain is numbing and it needs some exercise.

* RIP Harmon Killebrew

* It was so beautiful out today.  When the sun finally appears in the spring it really is glorious.

* Sometimes it baffles me how I've made very good friends with the help of the internet and social media.  It seems strange except that it is so true.  I am very grateful for it and the people I've met.  Thanks friends.  I less than 3 you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Introverted Mom

It is no surprise to anyone that I am an introvert.  I can do very well in one-on-one conversations, particularly if you are already an acquaintance, but most of the time being around people is just exhausting to me.  I can do it and have fun doing it, but afterward I just need a nap and a chance to recharge.

Being an introvert didn't do much when I had an infant.  Their interactions are not so mental mostly.  I could be alone with my thoughts while cuddling a sleeping child.  Oh sure, I was physically exhausted but it wasn't a social interaction exhaustion.

But as little goat grows I realize that toddlers are not as introvert friendly.  Toddlerhood is something that demands attention, and is verbal enough to call for it frequently (and frankly if it gets too quiet then you best track down your toddler stat because trouble is afoot).  In fact, this clip is pretty much verbatim of life with a toddler some days.

It is wonderful, it really is, but it is easy to get stretched thin.  So Friday was a wonderful day for me - I actually had a day off where I didn't have plans, appointments or have to go into work anyway.  Little goat still went to day care and I had a gray drizzly day to myself.

First I went back to bed for an hour.  Then I read for another hour.  Then I headed out to the gym and had a long workout, just me and HGTV.  Then lunch - Subway and my book again.  Finally a pedicure with a gift card I had.  And I didn't chat with the nail tech, I just read my book and recharged.  I didn't  go on twitter, or the blogs, or the computer all day.  Finally, I finished my book and an ice cream sundae and finally went to pick up little goat.

By the time I did I felt full and happy and ready to dive into being mom, wife, Children's Ministry director, friend, and all of those things again full time.

And you know what, even though we had a busy and fairly social weekend it is now Monday and I am still smiling.  Which just goes to show that you can't really change who you are, but you can know enough about yourself to give you the emotional full necessary to be the best you can be.  It means caring for yourself to give you the tools to succeed.  And for me, that means the occasional day, afternoon, or hour where I don't have to talk to anyone but myself.

What does self care look like to you and how will you plan for some in your week this week?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Out of Phase

There is this thing that happens in sci fi - something happens to the protagonist (time travel, evil alien host, parallel universe, transporter accident, what have you...) and they end up out of phase.  Either they seem to be jumping in and out of time, or fading in and out of space, or they are trapped somehow watching others blindly hurtling toward uncertain doom.

I feel out of phase right now, like my electrons are flying away and I'm not entirely solid.  I feel like I am watching myself making the same bad choices that I always make - excuses and bad foods, and I am trapped behind plate glass trying to pound some sense into my pod person body but unable to be heard.

But I am out of sync - out of sync with work, and family and my body and my diet.  Just off.  Even today was the first day since Friday was the first day I felt somewhat towards normal.  And I know that the schedule plays a roll, and so does my allergies, and the back pain stuff and various others pieces.  But I want to escape and come back in phase.  I just don't know how yet.  The only moments I've felt the most me right now was been my cuddles with little goat at bedtime.  The weight of him anchors me and keeps me from flying away and flying apart.

So I am blogging my plate glass poundings tonight in hopes that tomorrow I will wake up and feel normal again and ready to move forward on all of the dreams, goals and aspirations I am harboring.  And if not, then I'll move forward trying to reach them even though I am out of phase. 

Still if anyone has a sci fi solution to this unmoored feeling I've got I'm totally open to it.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

For Mother's Day

“Wha’da?” A fish. “Wha’da?” A Wheel. “Wha’da?” Dirt. As my soon-to-be two year old explores the world “Wha’da?” has been his refrain.  His language is rudimentary but his fascination is sincere.  Every object in the world is there to be studied and explored.  Buttons to be pushed, light switches to be flicked, balls to be thrown.  He stands (and runs and twirls) in awe of the world around him and glories in it.  And I stand back and watch answering his refrain with verses of clarification.

And then one night, past our bedtime, hand in hand we walk through the church parking lot.  It is cold and winter and the wind rushes past my ears reminding me of my forgotten hat.  As we walk, crunching on snow and ice, I look down concentrating on not slipping and falling.  We shuffle along, at toddler pace, heading to the car.

And then he stops and straining with undisguised glee points with his free hand to the sky.

So I stop to, in the parking lot, in the cold and turn my head from the ice covered asphalt to the sky above.  That, sweet child, is the moon.

“Ooooon,” he whispers in delight taking in the shine above.  And I stop too, transfixed by the light of the moon in my son’s eyes, and I marvel at how easy it is to miss the beauty around us.   

And then the moment passes and we rush to the car to get warm.  But as I strap him in I give him an extra kiss for the reminder that the world is bigger and smaller than I always see.

That night after bedtime kisses and bedtime prayers, I remember the moon.  I see my 8 year old self studying it intently through her homemade telescope, counting its craters.  I remember the late-night camping adventure in the backyard with my mother waiting for a lunar eclipse.  I almost fell asleep in sleeping bag waiting for the moon to be transformed, dozing in and out under the stars until my mother whispered, “It’s starting.”

And the shadow crossed over the face of the moon, slowly but with purpose and I watched, craning my neck as if to take in more of the sky than was possible.  And for an instant the sky was dark, and the world was quiet as we moved through space together, except for the crickets who didn’t seem to know what powerful things were happening to the planet and in the mind of a 8 year old girl.  

As the moon was reborn from behind the shadow, so too she awoke to the largeness and smallness of the world.  The earth, and moon, and all stars were dancing together and she wanted to dance too.  And mother and daughter laughed their way inside, humming the Star Trek theme, giggling in the giddiness of sharing that moment with the moon: a geek coming into her own.

I’m brought back to earth by a whimper in the nursery.  As I quiet him back to sleep I look down at my own littlest geek, from a proud lineage of geeks.  As he settles back into his dreams, I look out his window to gaze at the moon and wonder how my whole universe could fit so easily in a crib.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

20 Questions

It is time for another 20 questions post.  I love these and I hope you do too.  As always you can answer all or one of the questions in the comments.  These are questions on my mind right now - definitely no theme today.  Just random questions about what is on my mind.

1.  Used strollers - is there anything to look for that could be damaged or not have aged well or are they pretty durable?

2.  Anyone have a BOB Revolution Single Stroller they want to sell me?

3.  How do you vary your workouts so that you keep pushing yourself further?

4.  How often do you weigh yourself?

5.  Do you have any favorite Mother's Day traditions?

6.  What time do you get up in the morning?

7.  What time do you go to bed at night?

8.  I have to go shopping for new jeans - do you have a favorite pair of jeans? (especially plus size folks out there)

9.  When did your child move to a big-kid bed?  Also, if they seem fine in the crib how long can I legitimately keep him in there?

10.  At what age do you start being more lax about routine and schedule with your kid, particularly around special events, family things and holidays?

11.  Are all types of wood safe to burn?  I pruned some unidentifiable to me wood from our mess of a side bed last night - should I burn it or take it to the yard waste place?

12.  How do you harvest Rhubarb?

13.  Anyone have a favorite Rhubarb recipe to share?

14.  How often do you get a pedicure?

15.  What is your favorite thing to grill in the summer?

16.  What is one food you can substitute a low fat or low calorie version for and not notice?

17.  How often do you go grocery shopping?  Do you have a specific list/meal plan?

18.  When did you start swimming lessons with your child?

19.  Does central air need some sort of cleaning/ dewinterizing ever?

20.  If you have a garden what are your favorite veggies to plant?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mother's Day Book Review and Giveaway

I am a reader.  I love a good story, they suck you in and make you think about the world in a different way.  But good stories don't have to be fiction, some of the very best stories are our own stories.  These are the stories of our past and they shape how we come to understand the future.

With this in mind I jumped at the chance to review Mom: A celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps edited by Dave Isay.  Maybe you have heard of StoryCorps before as they are featured on NPR's Morning Edition.
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.
Pretty cool huh?  So I was very curious about a book on Moms pulled from these 30,000 interviews.   The book jacket highlighted why this felt like such an interesting topic to me.  Here is what it says about the book:
Through conversations between parents and children, husbands and wives, siblings and friends, the life of the American mother unfolds. In stories that take us from the woods of New Hampshire to urban Detroit and beyond, we meet mothers and children from all walks of life-an immigrant mother instilling in her children the importance of education, adult children caring for an elderly parent, a woman remembering the sound of her mother's laugh, and mothers and children of all ages learning to grow into new roles over time. Visiting families in moments of profound joy and sadness, courage and despair, struggle and triumph, we learn new truths about that most primal and sacred of bonds-the relationship between mother and child.

With this vital contribution to the American storybook, StoryCorps has created a tribute to mothers that honors the wealth of our national experience. An appreciation of the wisdom and generosity passed between mothers and children, this generation to the next, Mom offers powerful lessons in the meaning of family and the expansiveness of the human heart.
And so I began to read.  The vignettes in the stories are short so they are quickly read, but they are also quickly read for the stories they contain.  Within its pages are real people telling real stories of their mothers.  There is sadness and grief, there is joy and laughter.  In many ways it has the impact of the very best Chicken Soup books but without the feeling of being emotionally contrived.  These are real stories of real moms and they touched me.

They were stories of overcoming obstacles, of adoption, of birth, of death.  They were also very diverse stories ranging in ages, race, ethnic and religious upbringings, and even sexual orientation. They were living stories of moms and I cried more than once while reading these pages.  But when I finished I was filled with a lightness that comes from knowing someone else's story, that and a desire to interview everyone I knew for StoryCorps in order to hear their own story.

Our stories hold us together - as a nation, as a family, as a people.  And the stories of Mom speak to the very heart of who we are, as most often, our mother's are one of the biggest influences in our lives.  I really enjoyed Mom: A celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps and was glad that I took part in this review from TLC Book Tours.

And best of all, if the book sounds interesting to you, you can win a free copy! Entering is easy.
1. Leave a comment telling me one story about your mother. Please include your email.
2. Open to US and Canada.
3. Giveaway ends May 11, 2011 at 9pm.

For an extra entry you can also follow my blog, just leave an additional comment saying that you do follow.

I recieved a free copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  TLC Book Tours is also providing the book for the giveaway as well.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

One small step...

So last week I did my workout outside for the first time.  It felt good but strange too.  That same day I went up metro a ways and borrowed a BOB Jogging stroller too, with the intentions of trying it out with little goat.  And then it got cold, and rainy, and it may or may not have snowed a bit (in MAY) (I'm in denial).

But today the sun was shining all day and I knew it was time to put on my big girl shoes and try it out.  My fears were there.  What if he through a fit halfway out and we had to fight the whole way back?  What if he needed a diaper? (I realized 10 minutes in that I hadn't brought any baby supplies - oops).  But after dinner I changed into my workout wear, strapped little goat in the BOB, and took off down the neighborhood.

I quickly realized several things:

1. The BOB is an awesome stroller in general.  It has a high stance and a long stride.  And it is comfortable for little goat.  Score.

2.  I am not yet an accomplished enough runner to jog with a stroller.  I attempted it several times but my arms felt too short to get my stride where I wanted it and still be able to hold onto the stroller.  I'm not sure if I was doing something wrong, or I just have short legs and arms, but running with it was way awkward and it made it hard to focus on my run.  So my walk/run turned into a walk.

3.  But that is ok because I got out there and walked with my son.  We went for 44 minutes for 2.29 miles, which isn't a horrible pace all things considered.  (I actually walk faster outdoors than I do on the treadmill naturally).  And for a treat we stopped for half an hour at the playground down the road from our house at the end of the walk.  He had fun, I had fun, and I conquered my fears.

There was a lot I liked about being able to workout with the toddler in tow.  I might have walked longer but he definitely indicated that his patience was wearing out, but since it took nearly 35 minutes for that to happen I think it is still a win.  And I felt a little bit like supermom.  I was exercising, setting a good example for my son, and he was outside and enjoying the beautiful weather.  Go us!

Now if only a BOB weren't so expensive I would better be able to consider the investment for our exercising together, but they are expensive!  So if there are any patrons out there who want to get us one.... Hint Hint?... No?  Ok, so moving on.

Since I realized I can't really run I'll have to try walking with little goat in our stroller, but I'm not sure how well that will go.  But I learned a lot and conquered another exercise fear of mine.  And now the baby is in bed and Glee is calling.  And I have earned every second of it tonight.


Congratulations to Ali from A Serendipitious Life on winning the Future PriorFatGirl Mom Edition.  I know that she will do a wonderful job!

And for all those who are visiting from PriorFatGirl, welcome and thank you for your support.  My journey is far from over but I will keep on going one day at a time.  If you want to follow along I would love to have you join me.  You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you to everyone who voted.  It means so much!


Monday, May 02, 2011

In which I attempt to explain myself...

Last night as news was breaking I put this up on facebook:
Am I the only one a little saddened by the death cheering going on here on facebook? Another death in a senseless war, even if it is a crazy extremist.
And something similar up on twitter too.  Now it led to much discussion in both places.  Some people agreed with me, some vehemently did not, and that is fine.  I suppose it is no surprise that those most in agreement with me are the liberal Lutheran church friends and pastors I have.  We are a diverse country of diverse opinions but I am entitled to my own as well.  And I admit that the primary feelings I have felt since the news of Osama Bin Laden's death last night has been unease and conflictedness.

So I thought I would lay out what thoughts are going on in my head, bullet point style, as a matter of my own processing of the events and perhaps in some explanation about where I am coming from.
  • I am NOT sad that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  I believe he orchestrated unspeakable acts of violence, hatred and war upon our nation and deserved to come to justice.
  • I would have preferred he be captured alive, tried, and then a sentence be passed on him.  It may be that he resisted (I would have no surprises about that) so that any attempt at capturing him alive was impossible.
  • I DO support our military, those people who serve our country and do very difficult, dangerous and life-threatening things everyday to make our country a better place.  I am aware that today their job might even be a little more difficult for fear of retaliation.
  • I DO support President Obama ordering the mission to get Osama after the intelligence proved reliable.
  • I AM sad that the world has come to this - this being everything from 9/11 and terrorism to hate and celebration of death, even death that seems warranted in our understanding of justice.  Osama was a big part of this, committing truly inhumane acts, but I cannot cheer his death.  In my mind, it is another death on a list of "how did the world come to this?"
  • I mourn with the families of the victims of 9/11 and sure that there are many conflicted emotions that last night brought up for them.
  • I hope that the violence of last night can be transformed into a celebration of hope and peace as President Obama said.  I hope this is the end, but I fear it is not.  My son is to young to know what happened in the world last night, and my prayer is that by the time he is old enough to know about it that the world will be a safer, more peaceful place.
Last night was a victory for America, that's true.  It was a successful military mission, without losing an American life, that eliminated one of the key threats to American security.  BUT, are we any closer to peace today?  And will our boasting, and gloating and raucous celebration in Osama's death bring us any closer to peace?

I for one, think not yet.  So I pray for peace.  I pray for the victims of 9/11.  I pray for our military.  I pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters, in this country and abroad.  I pray that this an end and not another beginning.  Last night, and today, my prayer remains that God may bless not only America but the whole World with peace.