Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keeping Your Eye on What is Important

I have to admit...I really don't know quite where I'm heading with this post but it is one of those nights that I'm just feeling the need to clear my head and refocus.  I've found that usually it is the times that I really listen to my heart and write when I'm feeling this way, some kind of truth comes out and I'm able to clear my head and refocus on what is important. This is for me.  But sometimes, as I've seen in the past with this blog, when I am really writing from my heart and writing to process my thoughts, things come out that others might need to hear too.

This isn't a blog to talk about some trendy topic in the running world or a post intended to inspire mothers with some parenting idea that is relevant to most moms out there.  I'm not here to ask you for your vote or to get you to share your advice on what kind of shirt I should race in on Saturday.  I'm just here to process.

The past few days have been really odd for me.  As far as running goes, I've been feeling spot on!  I've felt excited and optimistic about my marathon on Saturday.  And even though I'm getting a cold and not sleeping the best, I'm still feeling positive and eager to race. But something is missing.  My mind has been elsewhere...

I've been absent as a mom.  Giving only half my attention and wasting the rest of it on things of little importance in the big picture of life. I've been a lousy wife when it comes to being thoughtful and giving my time and attention and I've found myself obsessing and spending way too much time thinking about something so very very silly.  I can't believe I'm even writing about this really because once I snapped out of it tonight and realized just how silly I've been being, I was instantly embarrassed.  But the reason I am sharing and making myself vulnerable to you, is because I can bet that I'm certainly not the only person out there who can
be
a
bit
         OBSESSIVE about things!
even
   when
       the things we are obsessing about
ARE. NOT. IMPORTANT!

Obsessive thinking, dwelling on things or getting caught up or fixated on one thing (tunnel vision) has been something I've found myself struggle with at many times in my life.  Not always. But if I'm not careful, something can start small with me and grow into something
completely
ridiculous!

This can relate to being obsessive about my running, my weight (in my college days), thinking about what others think of me, dwelling on something someone said or replaying a conversation in my head that might have caused me to feel hurt or offended. Even a race that I didn't run well in or a race that I ran well but then thought of all the things I could have done differently. After all of my births, it took me days to stop replaying everything I could have done differently so that my birth experience was more of what I had envisioned or hoped for.

And here I have been obsessing or spending way to much time checking in on a contest that started out serious to me and turned out to be more of a joke
and
nothing more than a website's way to get people to their site by banking on the fact that people naturally want to self promote.
And even after I admitted to myself how silly it really was and how it really didn't mean much more than getting exposure for my blog, I still found myself checking in many times a day and asking my friends and blog followers for their daily votes. Yes, I am referring to this Circle of Moms thing.  But no longer asking for votes or making fun of it and then still asking for votes.  Ha!

Here's the deal.  This contest has been fun.  It has been cool to see how many of my friends have been rallying to support me. It has been cool to receive so many great comments and e-mails from my non-blog friends telling me how they were voting and sharing.  I've also gained many new readers and I've found some new blogs that I enjoy reading and that add to my life. I've enjoyed this part and this makes it worth it.

But what is not worth it is the fact that I've thought more about this silly thing than I'd like to admit.  But I am admitting it because that's what this post is all about...being real and raw and vulnerable.  Instead of mentioning maybe once here and there that I'm in this contest and I'd love your votes, I've found myself thinking about it A LOT!  Even after I realized what a joke it was becoming and how it was really just a glorified extension of a high school popularity contest where the class president isn't necessarily the person who is best for the job but the the person who could get the most votes.  Isn't this true with many things in life.  So, even after I realized the silliness of it and started having fun with it (the Rocks), I still have been finding myself checking in on my votes WAY TOO OFTEN, annoying the heck out of my friends with my hundredth facebook status asking for votes (even if I tried to be more creative about it than just saying "vote"),  and finding myself genuinely annoyed at hearing that there were even more "voting tricks" that I didn't know about.  So Silly, I know!  But I still got sucked in and I'm admitting it to you.  All of this in itself is one thing but what has caused me to just need to process tonight is the fact that because of all this silliness....

I've been Missing out on what is really IMPORTANT:
The Life Around Me (off the computer)
My Children---eating breakfast with them, reading stories, playing in the yard....(without stopping to check the damn computer every 10 minutes to see "the campaign stats" I know pathetic!  See, I told you I can get obsessive about things.  Reminds we of when I was trying to defeat the game Tetris and I couldn't stop playing it for days! I even dreamed Tetris!  Okay, so I wasn't that bad with this but bad enough that I MISSED OUT!

And thank Goodness I snapped out of it tonight because I've been missing out on really savoring this last week before my marathon and making sure I'm doing all the great mental work to stay focused on what has been important for the past 24 weeks....

This Marathon!

  The truth is, I get into these ruts of obsessive thought often enough to where I need to be aware of it.  For the most part I am and realize that I can think things too far!  So, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this contest doesn't have its perks and isn't a good way to give some of these great blogs some recognition.  In fact, I think there are many great blogs out there on that "List" that deserve your votes.  Not because they are "popular" or because they can beg, plead, and be the most convincing but because they are really GOOD blogs that have some inspirational, motivational, humorous, fun material that you like to read.  What I am saying is that I have taken this too far.  I've thought about it too much and I've let it take over my thinking.  And for this I'm embarrassed.  And happy to admit and process because I'm feeling
Like
MYSELF again!

Four Sleeps until my marathon.  Two sleeps until we leave for the beach house and have a fun family getaway with our close friends!  These things are important.  So Bring That!

I'm not expecting tons of comments on this long and personal ramble.  In fact, I'll probably delete it before the end of the night.  It has already served its purpose and that was to help me process and get control of my thinking and focus on what is IMPORTANT!
Amanda

Oyster Shooters in a Marathon?


Yep, that's right!  At mile 11 and 19 of my marathon on Saturday, I'll be offered oyster shooters from the Oregon Oyster Farms.  In 2009 the oyster eating record was broken when a runner managed to get down 80 of the slippery suckers.  What?!  Is this even good for you?  I think I'll pass on the Oyster shooters but I do have lots of questions about how I will fuel for the Newport Marathon that I will be running next Saturday, June 4th. 


 As many of you know, I've spent the last 23 weeks with my eye on this marathon goal!  Lots of hard work, mental focus, ups and downs and LEARNING so much along the way.  Isn't this cool about life?  That we never stop learning!  And usually the down times in our life...the times we crash the hardest...end up to be blessings in disguise.  This was the case with my hamstring tear back in August.  It was this injury that set me on a path to learning and challenging myself so much more than I ever would have done had I not experienced a serious injury that kept me from running.  This injury knocked me down and forced me to really think about what was important to me. I came out of it realizing that running IS important to me.  And there was so much I didn't know.  So much I wasn't doing that would help me get closer to reaching my potential. It was this injury that has helped me explore new avenues as a writer, be inspired to take on new things and to start writing this blog. This blog has been the source of so much growth for me.  I've not only grown tremendously from having the outlet to express myself through writing in a public forum but I've gained an incredible amount of knowledge about running, racing, gear, fitness, and even motherhood. I've also connected with some Amazing people that I value tremendously!  


The RACE! My Race!  This coming weekend!  I am so excited.  Giddy really.  I had my last mid run of 10 miles on Saturday with the last mile being right around marathon pace.  Things really feel great!  As if the pieces have just come together exactly how I would have hoped.  My body feels good (just nursing a cold..hoping it goes away!), legs feel strong, and my mental state seems to be nestled right in the Amanda Sweet Spot! 


I still have lots of questions and reading to do about the course, packet pick up, how I will fuel for the race, etc.  I've only done 2 marathons and it has been seven years since Boston 2004, my last one. 


My Goal:  To run strong, stay mentally happy and focused and to enjoy the process.  I'm not using a pace band and I won't dwell on being at certain splits.  But I do know a ballpark of where I want my mile splits to be.  My time goal is to run a 3:15.  I believe that I have it in me to run faster but I will also be pleased with a slower time too.  I'm just going to enjoy running the best race that I can run and for once in my life, I don't feel held back by mental barriers!  


Questions For YOU! 
1.  Fuel before during and after.... In my first two marathons I really knew so very little about running and racing.  I took one GU packet with me and used it sparingly throughout the race.  This worked okay but I definitely fell apart at the end.  The last 3-6 miles were HARD and I slowed waaay down. 


*  How many gels do you use in a marathon?  Do you take one before?  I've had people advise me to only take 2 total (one at mile 13 and another at 18) and I've had some say 5 gels.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this. I know that what works for some might not work for others.


2.  WATER.  Do you use a hydration belt, carry a water bottle or get water from the water stops?  My husband insists that I should use a hydration belt but I'm thinking I will be just fine using the water at the aid stations if I am smart about getting enough water from every stop.  


3. Mantras.  Everyone has something different that they tell themselves during a difficult race or even a difficult times in life if you are not an athlete.  What about you?  What is your "mantra" for getting through tough spots in a race or life?  

Like I said, I will pass on the oyster shooters until AFTER the race.  They might be better with a nice cold beer and a medal around my neck!  


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Less than 48 hours of this Circle of Moms business.  Trust me, I'm more excited for it to be over than you are!  After it is over, I never want to hear the words circle or vote with the word moms again! But I still need your votes until 5p.m on June 1st.  We are way too far in to just stop now...even if it is all a bit ridiculous at this point.  
So If you have enjoyed reading Runninghood Please Click Click! 



Last update, Team Runninghood was hoping to slide down this slide.  We made it down the slide!  Now let's keep it that way!


What about you?  Fuel, Mantras, Hydration, Oyster Shots? Vote?
Amanda

Monday, May 30, 2011

Race Update! It's Rockin'!!




Let's get Rocking!  For those of you who missed how this "race" all came about....well, it started with a little creative time with the kids and trying not to take things too seriously. You can check the first full report out at: You Rock! I Rock! We all Rock! Race Report! I'm in way too far to stop now and even if it all is a little ridiculous, hey, I'm no quitter. And it is more fun than anything so don't be a hater!  But June 1st can't come quick enough!  





SUAR is camping out all by herself.  And will be until the end.  She has ordered herself up a nice pizza and some beverages to go along with her luxury couch and bright and shining trophy that she won't be giving up.

At least SUAR is nice enough to share her tunes from her PINK GHETTO BLASTER that she saved from the 80's!  Rock IT BETH!  What are you listening to?

Heather at Run Faster Mommy is sitting pretty in her own campsite.  She's even enjoying a nice milkshake to go along with Beth's shared tunes from the ghetto blaster.  Shake It Heather! You Rock!

Team Runninghood is thinking it is time to slide on down to join the campers!  I love enjoying a good fire and beverage with my feet up.  And the tunes from Beth's Ghetto Blaster are just an extra perk!

Come on Team Runninghood!  Racing With Babes is about to push us off the slide.  Talk about injury!  This would hurt! And I have a marathon coming up this next weekend!  Can't afford injury.  I think it would just be best for you to vote and get me down to safety.  Yes?  

These guys are NOT giving up...they are about to bring out the big guns!

Taking It On doing what she does best!  Taking it On!

Studly Runner is back in this thing.  Go Marcia! She has nice legs too.  In non-rock life!



Go ahead and help Team Runninghood by donating your click at RunninghoodRocks.com! Team Runninghood Thanks YOU!


And don't forget peeps, this is all in the name of
Fun
And 
Creativity! 
Life is serious enough to take things too seriously!  
So Bring It!  With a smile!


See...FUN!

Enough of this nonsense...coming soon...Some Marathon Talk!  The Newport Marathon is in five sleeps (as Jenn says).  I'm still thinking about the idea of Oyster shots that they offer during the race.  Who needs energy Gels when you have Oyster Shots?!


Thanks for your click contributions to RunninghoodRocks.com!  You make me SMILE! Ready, Set...
Click!  Team Runninghood Says....Thank you!  
Amanda

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You Rock! I Rock! We All Rock! Race Report!





How did this pathetic but CREATIVE (gotta give me that) attempt to keep myself in this race to the finish come about? Well, after yesterday's post (which hardly anyone saw because of the time that I posted it), I woke up ready to make the most of this time we have! And sorry if my post made some of you sad...just something heavy on my heart and that I needed to hear at the time.  I truly believe that we write what we need to know.  And your comments on that post were of such value to me! So, this morning I tried to be in the present with my family and make some fun "kid messes" that are oh so popular!


It started with a little sidewalk painting and then we decided to do a little rock art.  We thought it would be fun to make some pet rocks.  Started out like this:





And then the competitive side of me starting thinking about how this whole Circle of Moms thing has all gotten a little silly but FUN!  I know it really isn't even about the individual blogs anymore but really about how everybody is WORKIN' IT!  This means begging, annoying, cheering, convincing and persuading all our friends and family for votes.  I'm sure they, and you, are all ready to tell Circle of Moms where they can shove it.  But stick with me. This is a race of sorts...most of you should "get" that concept. The competitor in me, the part of Runninghood that represents being the best you you can be and never giving up, the part of me that hates to lose but loves to win....this part is taking over my brain.  Ha!  It really is an online video game now.  So that is where this idea came from (and my kids enjoyed it as much as me so it was a win win win playing/creating experience):



The Current Line Up for Top 11 (When I did this).  Sorry SUAR, your flag is messed up.

The Leading Pack.  The Front Runners.  The Big Rollers.  

Fighting for mid-pack!  

Don't forget the underdogs that started WAY later than some of these  leaders!  Days later really.  Smaller in followers but fierce in nature.!  

Remember, these photos are proofs and not for distribution.  You can purchase your race photos at RunninghoodRocks.com
This race report was brought to you by RunninghoodRocks.com.  I'll be giving you a rock by rock update as the competition heats up! (not really, don't worry).  For now, I'm off on my 13 mile run a little late.  Last mid to long run until the big marathon day!  


Remember, YOU ROCK! I ROCK!  WE ALL ROCK!  But Vote RunninghoodROCKS!


To be continued......


Amanda

Friday, May 27, 2011

This Time is Ours! What Will You Make of It Before Life Grows Up Around Us?

Since this is still partly a Motherhood Blog, I thought today would be a good time to share some of my recent motherhood reflections.  It is so easy for me to get wrapped up with daily life and lose myself in things that are not really that important.  I get buried in my to-do list, 
errands to run
 lunches to make
fights to break up
workouts I want to fit in
self-care (yes, moms, we are allowed some self-care time!)
responding to e-mail
writing


This list goes on. And on.  And on.  And really, it will never end. NEVER!  The house will never be perfect, the dishes won't all be done, I'll never have responded to all your e-mails and comments, my stack of books won't disappear and read themselves.


  But what will happen is:


My KIDS Will Grow up!  
They won't be children forever,
    Their child-like wonder and mischievous grins will fade.  
They won't always have dirty little fingers and toes that leave a trail throughout the house.
My almost two year old won't always find such simple joy in just standing on the toilet to reach the sink. Experiencing such fascination with just turning the water on and dumping it from one cup to the next.  And on the floor.
I won't always have this mess to clean up.  Wet towels in clumps on the floor, sopping up the dripping mess of fun for one curious boy....who is learning. 


The tug at my leg with the request to read 
     "one more story mommy!" 
will eventually fade away.  


The magic of the jewel fairy won't always be alive and they will have figured out that the jewels that once held so much power and opened a door into their deepest imagination...
    were really just a dollar bag of decorative rocks from the local craft store.  



They won't always believe that fairies really live in the home they built just for them.




Watching movies in a cardboard fairy house in the living room will someday 
be
"Not Cool" 
and they will be asking for money and a ride to the movie theater with their BFFs.  




The little green shoes.
Ah, the little green shoes,
will be put away in a box and a story of "remember when..."


I won't always have muddy hands to wipe down after a good dig in the back yard, pet "roly poly" bugs living in my kitchen with a slice of potato to eat. 


There won't always be glitter around the house and little feet to walk through it.






The house won't always be buzzing with playful screams and kids flying down the hallway trying to capture each other.  
Even the tantrums, the fights, the "that's not fairs" and "whys"
    that are learning opportunities 
For all of us...
They will be no more.   


I may not have my life in complete order.  I may feel crazy most days and think I'm losing my mind.  It might be days on end before I shave my legs or put make up or go out of the house without a hat.  My bathroom counter might always be covered in little girl hair accessories, make up, lotion, cleaning supplies and toothpaste and I may never have the trail of hair ties fully picked up from the floors. I may never master the art of having dinner planned, prepared and ready for my family so I don't call my husband and have him order Thai for the 3rd time in one month. I will always have something else that I could do. 


But what I do have...
   only if I'm lucky 
And remember to notice it while it is still here,
    Is an opportunity to truly embrace this time with my children.  
These fleeting moments.
Precious.
Only once and no "re-dos"!  
This time is mine to make it as magical and memorable as I possibly can!  
This
This time
   and what I choose to do with it,
Is what is Important!  Not all the other stuff that will still be there when THEY aren't.  





What is something in your life that you want to embrace a little more fully today and the days to come?  Something that won't always be there.  


Amanda

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Minute I Heard My First Love Story, I Started Looking For You....

From a Journal Entry on 6-22-00:
"Waylon, I knew I loved you before I met you.  
'The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind I was.  Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.  They're in each other all along.' --Rumi

I feel like I've met the man I'm going to marry.  I know this sounds drastic but I'm in love with the guy next door and I don't know where this all came from...."



Eleven years ago today, on May 25, 2000, I arrived in Oregon after a long drive west from Colorado.  It was just me and my few belongings packed in the back of my toyota Corolla and I was ready for something new!  I only knew one person, didn't have a clue what I would do for a summer job, and I didn't really even know where I would be sleeping.  I just knew that I was ready to take a big chance in life and go somewhere I'd never been before in my 21 years of living.  It was this day in May that the first person I met was the man that would become the love of my life, father of my children, and  best friend anyone could ever hope for.  This day is etched in my memory as what seemed to be the first day of the rest of my life.  It was a day that changed everything and began a love story that I enjoy telling more than any other story.  

It was truly
           serendipity
                       fate
           destiny
The perfect coming together of all life's circumstances! 

I've been thinking all day about the best way to go about telling my love story.  There are so many things that lead up to the day we met and the summer we fell in love. This story really could be a book in itself.   So many stories from our lives that played a part in making our love story what it is.  It is almost as if my whole life had something to do with leading me to Waylon.  The big things and the small things.  From how we were both named after the same person (Waylon Jennings)  to the social security check that came in the mail in 1999 that allowed me to buy the car that would take me to him.  A trip I never would have been able to take otherwise.  



 This is the journal that was started in the fall of 1999 and goes to December of 2000.  It has snippets and moments from my life that led up to meeting Waylon,  the first time I met him, the first run we went on together on the day after we met,  when I told him that my dream was to be a mother, when we told each other "I love you" for the first time even before our first kiss, how we found out about our namesakes and what that meant to us, the moment I called my mom and told her that "I'd met the man I would marry" even before I'd kissed him, the struggles that followed after I returned to college without him, keeping our long distance relationship alive when we were still so new in our love (him in Oregon and me in Iowa and then New Zealand to teach),  and it ends with me finally realizing that all the hard work and emotional struggles it took to keep our relationship from dying those first few fragile months was worth every second. 

This journal is a story of fresh starts, new beginnings, and making something beautiful out of life even when it involves fighting some big mental battles within myself.  I began this journal shortly after my 21st birthday in November of 1999.  The first sentence of this journal after I wrote the words to Psalm 139 are:
"Today is a new day to start Fresh.  I am feeling determined to make this day a beautiful one...."

The journal ends with an entry on December 14, 2000 with a feeling of hope and belief that Life would be great despite the rough semester I had after returning to school without Waylon and losing myself a little in the process:
"....thank you life for giving me back a piece of child-like wonder.  I walked home in the freezing cold last night.  Snow-lined streets, open Iowa sky, stray dogs looking for company, Christmas lights strung out over a deserted college town.  Silence filled the air and a gust of happiness and meaning and God's love flew in as I skipped child-like down the cobble stoned street, not even aware of the burning on my skin from the cold.  It is still there Amanda.  Just needs to be discovered!" 

The reason I'm sharing parts of this journal with you is because this isn't just a journal.  It isn't just any old journal.  This journal holds the stories that are all the beginning of our love story.  This journal is filled with first love notes from Waylon, flowers from the fields we had long conversations in, and so much more.  It is one of my favorite treasures!
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where to begin............  Ah, I guess I really have to back this story up to the summer of 1999 where I received a rather large check in the mail.....


A Divine Gift
I've mentioned before that my dad died when I was four.  Social Security checks were sent to my mom and step-dad every month to help support my brothers and me until we turned 18.  When I came home from college during the summer of 1999, I remember feeling stressed out, depressed, and overwhelmed with life as was usual for me back then.  I was working hard to make enough money to help pay for college and I was continuing to train hard in preparation for cross country season in the fall.  I was spending that summer living with my coach from high school and his wife and daughter.  I would come home from time to time to check my mail and say hello to my family and it was on one of my trips home that I found one of the most important and life-changing pieces of mail!  Apparently, all those years since my dad died, the Social Security Administration had been making a mistake and not paying enough money every month.  Since I was over 18 years old, they mailed a check directly to ME  that covered the money they had mistakenly left out all along.  The check was for $19,000!  It not only helped me pay for college, start a savings account , have an opportunity to go to New Zealand to teach and allow me to travel but I was able to buy a car.  

The car that eventually was my ticket to Oregon.  To meet the man of my dreams!  I don't think of this as a mistake at all.  I think of this as a gift from my Dad from up above.  It was almost as if all along, he knew that I would need this.  As if he was saving it up for me every month and waiting to give it to me when he knew I'd want it most.  I cried that day that opened that check (well, really, who am I kidding?! I cried most days then. Ha!) and I truly believe that I shared a moment with my dad.  

Something New!
It was that fall after I received my "dad gift" or Social Security check that I was still the most unhappy and confused about my life. That was when this journal above was started.  I knew that I wanted to make some BIG changes in my life and I was ready to take charge of my happiness and make life what I wanted it to be.  I told myself that the following summer of 2000 I would go somewhere I had never been before.  I would take a chance and start fresh.  I didn't care if I knew anyone or if I had a job yet but I knew something big, something new, something REALLY IMPORTANT was about to come my way and I was ready for it.  I also felt the freedom to be able to take a leap like this because of the check I had received.  I had a car that I felt safe traveling in (still have it) and I had enough of a savings account to make me feel like I could take care of myself if I didn't find a job right away.  I had just turned 21 and I began making plans for what would become the summer of my life!  

Drive West Young Woman!
One thing led to another and I happened to call a friend that I hadn't talked to for years.  A friend that is now my best friend and soul sister! A friend that came into my life for a powerful reason.  My dear Jenny!  I told her how I was looking for something new.  How I was ready to make a huge change for the coming summer and finally have a little fun and adventure in my life before my college years were washed up and I spent the whole time worrying it away.  She encouraged me to come to Oregon after I shared with her that my plans to go live in Arizona (my first plan) didn't look like they were going to work out.  Oregon?  Why not!  

So that summer I packed up my Corolla, borrowed a map and drove west without even a look back!  I can't quite explain the feeling that filled me so completely as I was driving through the mountains and plains of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and finally Oregon!  I had never felt what I was feeling during that drive.  I felt as if I was living my life, really living it fully ALIVE for the first time ever!  I had no fear, no worry, no confusion or stress.  I was flying free!  I had never felt such a powerful presence of the "this is meant to be" feeling and I knew something big was just on the horizon.  

Here is the card I saved from the Super 8 I stopped in on my trip out.  And here is the journal entry I wrote the following morning before I hit the road to drive into Corvallis, Oregon:



" I'm about to head out and drive into Corvallis.  I'm so full of excitement and PEACE right now.  I feel so free!  I'm not going to set any specific goals for the summer except to just have fun, educate myself, and discover the HECK out of life!  Here's to not putting limits on yourself!"

To Be Continued......

 This story still has so much more to it that I don't possibly have time for right now.....SO MUCH! Such a beautiful story...a story I will continue some day.  So many parts of it that make it what it is and have to be included.....my first meeting of his parents and finding out that we were both named after Waylon Jennings (He is Waylon and I was named Amanda after the song "Amanda" by Waylon Jennings), telling each other we loved one another before we even kissed,  telling the world we were in love and "looking dumb" doing it, calling my mom and friends and telling them I'd met the man I would marry with so much certainty (we hadn't even kissed yet, let alone known each other for longer than a month), having to break up with a boyfriend and break his heart, and then making my new relationship work even though I would return to Iowa and later on to New Zealand before we could live near each other.  We even had to make it through my first year of teaching when he still had a year of college.  It wasn't easy and it wasn't all roses but we made it!  And all the pieces came together for a wedding that was perfectly wonderful...all those serendipitous moments coming together!  Even his dad singing the song that I was named after (written by Waylon Jennings). Now I can honestly say that I'm happier than I ever imagined I would be!  I can truly say that I'm married to my best friend, the love of my life, my soul mate and the father I always dreamed of for my children!  

Reading my long vows that I wrote for our wedding.  Best Friend Jenny next to me.   






Thanks to those of you who read my story and let me share the beginnings of it all.  

Amanda

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Current Books in the "Book Stack"! What's On Your Reading List?

I still remember the first time I drove myself to the bookstore to buy a self-help parenting book.  It was about 8:00 p.m and I was pregnant with my second child.  My oldest and only daughter at the time was almost two.  I don't remember the exact series of events but they involved a 
Battle 
of 
the 
WILLS!
 Twenty-nine year old Me against 20 month old Her.  
She had my number.  
                             And we both knew it.  
She looked me in the eyes and deliberately and willfully threw a glass vase down to the ground to shatter into millions of pieces.  Non-reactive parenting?  What was that?! Because at that moment, she had me reacting all over the place.  Screaming and yelling and acting like...well, the two year old.  She certainly wasn't celebrating her win.  Instead, she looked rather scared shitless.  We were both an emotional mess.  My husband stepped in and sent me to my room to BREATHE and count to 500.  It was at that moment that I was seeing myself react just the way I knew I DID NOT want to be as a parent, that I knew I needed to have a plan so that it wouldn't happen again.  I was going to be in control of this parenting thing!  
Here's the book I bought that night:

From the small amounts of the book that I've read, it really is an excellent book!  I just pulled it off my shelf a few minutes ago and after a thumb through, I'm going to finish reading it.  I even found the notes that I had started taking while reading it.  I love rereading my notes because I end up learning all over again!  Great reminders:

  • Calm my own anxiety, refusing to transfer it over to my children and make the situation worse.  (Gosh, I really needed to reread this one!)
  • In order to be in charge, I need to bring myself under control!
  • Emotional Reactivity doesn't just make things worse; it actually helps produce the very results we're reacting against. 
  • My goals: really notice and comment on the good good things they are doing and Tap deep for my reservoir of calm.

I'm really glad I found this book again and that I kept some of my notes in the book! Hoping to pick it back up again over the next few weeks!


Stacks and Stacks of Books


If any of you are like me, you might have a long list, or in my case, a big stack of books that you are "READING".  Really this means that I've started them all but not getting finished with any of them.  One of my new goals is to really make time for finishing some of the books I've been dappling in or thumbing through with a non-committal agenda.  Especially my parenting book!  Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is fun to have books just scattered around to pick up when the moment strikes me.  Reading small snippets here and there...little nuggets of wisdom to think about throughout the day.  This works well with non-fiction.  


Here are just some of the books you might find by my bedside or in a stack by the couch right now:



Flow in Sports is one that Meg from Meg Runs highly recommended.  So I ordered it.  Grace Based Parenting...Loving it!!

This one was sent to me in the mail as a "just because" gift from a blog friend.  Love it!

A book I saw in a friend's bathroom and said it sounded interesting.  She loaned it to me.  Thanks Cathy!


I hear great things about this and as an educator and mother of a boy, this one is definitely one I will get to!
Oh, and don't let me make you think that I don't enjoy a good fictional book!  In fact, I have book club tonight.  We read all sorts of things ranging from heavy historical fiction to humorous fiction, and yes, I do indulge in the occasional mindless but enjoyable "chick lit" book.  The one we just read for book club is this one below.  Yeah, don't judge! Ha!  Emily Giffin is actually a pretty good author and she nails the chick lit!  



Now, as I finish icing my calf, I'm off to pick up one of these and stick with it! With the help of my foam roller, compression socks, good stretching, and a go get 'em attitude, my calf served me well this morning.  I felt strong on my treadmill workout...short and sweet.  And this gym childcare?!  Score!  My kids love it, I love it, AND I don't have to wait until 7 p.m to get my run on!


What is on your reading list?  Or what books are in your "reading stack"?  Please share!  I love to know this kind of thing.  I might be adding some of your books to my list or stack!


Amanda

Monday, May 23, 2011

Calf Dance Please and Giveaway WINNERS!

Thanks for your feedback about the sports massage.  I'm going in for one this Friday (a week before my marathon) with the same guy that gave me my massage this last Friday.   The good news is that my marathon pace run on Saturday was the day after this last massage and it didn't seem to affect my ability to run hard.  In fact, I felt awesome and surprised myself! Until I stopped and then my right calf starting having some trouble.  This is another reason why I think it will be really good for me to get a "tune up" massage as I like to think of it. I'm glad many of you suggested getting it a little further away from race day just to be safe.  




Please Do a Happy Calf Dance!
Speaking of my calves, my right calf is SO tight!  Not sure what I can do besides rolling, stretching and icing but on mile 5 of my 8 tonight, I had to stop and walk.  My calf pretty much said NO MORE.  It just wasn't having any of it.  This makes me a little concerned for my speed workout tomorrow because of how it feels right now.  This was the same calf that I was having problems with during my marathon training in August before I tore my hammy and when it got to this point I just couldn't run.  I had to wait a few days until it settled down. I hope hope hope it just sticks with me until after the marathon!  So, PLEASE do the happy calf dance, send some good energy my way, pray, skip, dance, sing, vote for me...whatever you do to "well wish" someone.  Only 12 more days calf!  
For now...
Icing
        Stretching
                   Rolling 
Drinking my Glutamine Fortified Recovery Drinks after working out!
Adjustment and Massage...my "Tune Up" for this body of mine.  
                                Thinking positive!
Deep breathing when I find myself feeling overwhelmed as a mother (more than often these days)!  


The Winners!
I randomly chose the winners for the Rocco DiSpirito Diet Cookbook and I'm excited to announce that they are:


Mallory from Sit for your job.  Run for your life. 


And 


Lisa J from Because I can

Congrats girls! Please send me your addresses ASAP!  You can find my e-mail on my side bar in the "about me" section. I hope you get around to going by to say hello Mallory and Lisa because they are both awesome and I've enjoyed getting to know them.  


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thinking and praying for the people in Joplin tonight who were killed in the tornado.  Makes me so sad.  And so thankful for my own safety.  Life can be taken from us at any time.  Holding my kids a little tighter tonight when I kiss them good night.  



Amanda

Breaking The Rules because I Need Your Advice

I'm breaking the rules big time today.  What rules? My rules.  I told myself that today I would leave the computer off all morning and not get on it until my son takes a nap around 2.  Yep.  I've already fallen off the computer-ban wagon like 10 times.  Kind of feel like I'm losing my mind today.  Seriously...kids disagreeing with each other over every. single. thing this morning. My son has been climbing the cupboards whenever I turn my back because he wants more like a HANDFUL of his gummy vitamins instead of the allotted dosage of only 2.  Oh, and as soon as I call the chiropractic clinic to ask them for some available times, my kids start screaming and get into an all-out brawl over my son running down the hall with my daughter's current portrait masterpiece that he is about to add the finishing touches to! Might I add that he is wearing his new size 2T boxer briefs and green rubber froggy boots so it makes the whole thing just that much more entertaining.  Oh, and he was carrying a purse and a play cell phone.  Here is kind of what he looked like:




Okay, here's the real reason I'm posting.  Any of you out there get sports massages before a race?  I've heard that you should schedule the sports massage 3 days to 1 week before the Big Race.  My race is next Saturday.  Do you think that a heavy hour long massage on Wednesday night is too close to race day?  I'm sure I've OVER thinking things but I just really want things to come together as perfectly as they can. Don't we all?  I want to make sure I'm ready to ROCK it on Saturday morning and that all the pieces just come together.  


1.  I'll be announcing the winners of the cookbook sometime soon!  
2.  Please share any info or advice you have on this massage thing.  Would it be better to schedule it one week before instead of 2.5 days before???  
3. Oh, and guess what?  I'm only about 1,000 (one THOUSAND) votes from being in first place in this Circle of Moms thing.  1,000.  Fun stuff here.  Thanks for your votes.  You can vote HERE.   PLEASE and THANK YOU!! It seriously only takes 2 seconds.  

Amanda