Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making Lemonade...Literally and Figuratively

No, life really hasn't been throwing me lemons.  In fact, life has been pretty darn good.  Busy, but good.  My days have been filled with the normal mixed bag that comes with balancing motherhood with SELFHOOD.  You know, trying to make sure I'm doing all of those things to keep memories magical, make my children feel loved and important, and still make time for AMANDA:  wife, friend, athlete, writer.  Something always has to go when when life gets busy.  Or this is usually the case.  Right now, this happens to be my writing, this blog, and connecting with so many of you.  The truth is, I haven't even felt the pull to write lately.  I've been in a writing drought of sorts.  A dry spell.  Maybe that means that life is just really smooth sailing.  No controversy, deep thoughts/emotions, or life circumstances to make me stop in my tracks and have to process through my writing....Until this morning.

There are few things worse for me than the feeling that comes from rushing out the door in the morning and sending my oldest off to school right in the midst of an argument.  Such an awful feeling knowing that my last words to her were of the nagging, complaining, "harping on", and "you know better" type.  The kind of morning where we were both in tears and where she had to dash off right then or she'd be late. This sucks! And the worst part of it all is knowing that I could have prevented it by getting her up earlier and setting the stage for a more relaxed start.  But instead, I was late getting her up and then expected her seven year old self to get everything together in 15 minutes instead of the usual 35-45 minutes. Really, it was me that set her up for such a crappy morning and now....what am I chewing on??  Yup, that stupid MOTHERHOOD GUILT! The Lemons of Motherhood. 

But I'm choosing to wad this guilt up and throw it in the trash.  It is worthless. Instead, I'm taking these Motherhood Lemons and I'm going to make some Motherhood/Childhood Lemonade with them! Guilt gets us nowhere if we hold on to it.  It is useful for just a tiny bit...just long enough to make us aware of something we can do better NEXT TIME and then move on.  So, this time, instead of wallowing in my guilt and berating myself for all the things I'm NOT doing, I'm going to focus on the things I AM DOING. And that adds up to a lot more than I'd realize if I didn't take the Guilt Glasses off.  I'm starting the day by printing off this list of 100 Ways to be kind to your child.  These are all simple things that we probably do a lot of anyway.  I like having this list up as just a helpful reminder when life gets so busy and I lose sight of the little things that are really the BIG things.

So, I'd Say that since it has been so long since I've written on this blog, I smell some random bullets in the works for this post.  Yes?  You know you love the randomness!  Ha!

  • Making Lemonade  In light of the making lemonade, I thought I'd share this picture from our wedding this weekend.  My girls and I went off to San Antonio for my cousin's wedding.  The night of her wedding was a beautiful full moon and a perfect night to be in Texas!  While the adults ate cupcakes and enjoyed visiting, several of the young kids (my girls the ring leaders) found all the centerpiece lemons on the patio and decided to make lemonade for the bride under the light of the moon.  Instead of scolding them about the huge mess they were making, I sat down and peeled a few lemons for them...all while finding great joy in seeing their child-like excitement in something as simple as squeezing lemon juice.   

  • First Shirley Temples and Feeling Fancy  My girls had their first Shirley Temples at the wedding.  They thought they were the fanciest little kids around.  And apparently, it is necessary to get as many straws as you can possibly get before the bartender yells at you to stop.  

  • Dancing and Making Friends If only all adults weren't a little more like children.  I mean, think about how easy it is for kids to make friends. For the most part (if the kids isn't painfully shy), it requires walking up to another kid and saying "Hey, do you want to be my friend?" and there you have it!  In a matter of minutes, they are tearing it up on the dance floor, making lemonade and sneaking extra cupcakes at the wedding.  Just watching them makes me remember my own "inner child" that isn't so inner.  
  • Coming Home During the 3 to 4 days I was gone, my husband was home with our son.  I expected them to have some down time.  Perhaps they'd do a little yard work and go to the wedding reception they had planned on going to.  But overall, I figured that they would enjoy some dude time with their feet up.  Instead, I came home to a spotless house, freshly landscaped yard and a new deck that my husband and father in law built while we were away (almost finished).  What a STUD!  Thank you Honey!  Lots in store for you.  

  • Healthy Love Life  No, this healthy love life isn't because of the deck.  However, things like this do go a long way into making a strong relationship.  The act of doing these things for each other and putting effort into things for each other really does go a long way.  This will all be in another blog post soon but recently (really always), I've been thinking a lot about the things that go into keeping a marriage and love life with our partners SPICED up and THRIVING!  This is just as important to me as keeping my motherhood and athlete aspects of my life STRONG.  Just as is the case with anything we do really well, it takes work.  But work doesn't have to be hard...it is a fun work to keep my marriage awesome.  Like I said, another blog post but in addition to keeping ourselves healthy/fit, doing the little extras that make the other happy, etc., one of the things that I've worked hard to make a regular part of our love life is to have a regular date night.  This might just mean putting the kids to be early and watching Modern Family together.  But sometimes it means finding a sitter and going "OUT". 

  • Book Club  About four years ago, I joined a group of women and became part of their book club.  Over the years, I've read a lot of books that I might not have otherwise picked up.  We have all had our ups and downs as a group and we've gone through different phases, but in the end, we've grown together and bonded over books and girl time.  Sometimes we don't all read a book and sometimes the book that was chosen ends up being all the rage.  Every month we take turns deciding on a book and the rest of the group usually goes along with it.  This month was at my house and we had my husband to grill for us before he took off with the kids.  

Note:  This is funny to us. He is playfully wearing his "Smoldering Look" on purpose and not taking himself seriously...simply for our amusement

  • Tree Season  When it isn't raining in Portland (rare), the kids have found refuge in the backyard trees.  They love to climb and apparently, my husband doesn't mind climbing with them.  This is where I found them all when I called them for dinner the other night.  

  • Nuun Giveaway  Yes, I have some Nuun goodies to give away soon. Stay tuned.

  • Running Running Running  For those of you that are curious, YES I am still running.  Yes, I am planning on running another marathon.  And Yes, I am healthy.  Having a coach has been one of the greatest things ever.  I really like my coach and I look forward to our daily communication.  Even though he is clear across the country,  he's become a good friend and I've learned a TON from him.  He has definitely been cautious in that he doesn't want me doing too much too soon and for this I am thankful.  He is the opposite of pushing me too hard.  In fact, he told me to take the last 3 or 4 days off after a harder beginning to last week.  This is perhaps the best thing that ever happened to my running. I'm running slower paces in my daily runs and workouts but I'm confident in what he has planned for me. Trusting in someone can be hard at times but OH SO FREEING! If it were just myself like it used to be, I would have felt guilt in taking 3 days off and would have ended up doing too much during a travel weekend where I am already stressed and tired traveling with kids on my own.  Instead, I was free to relax and trust that someone else has my best interests in mind.  As far as my next marathon (July 4th), my coach is training me off of my Boston base to run a BQ time.  I'm not training for a PR or to break huge records.  I just want to option of going to Boston next year if I decide that I want to.  And I'm not going to be overconfident in what it takes to do that just because I've done it four times before.  Boston was a humbling experience for me to say the least.  However, I'm still confident.  Today's workout is a 10 mile progression run with the last 3 miles at a comfortable 7:40-7:45 pace.  Unfortunately, most of my runs still require me to be on the treadmill.  But this is the nature of training and mothering.  :)  I'm okay with this.   
Speaking of "mothering", time to end this long MOTHER of a post.  

Happy Tuesday!



  1. Its great you are thinking about how to keep relationships working well. Its soo important.

    Looks like things are going well for you yes.

    Glad you are enjoying having a coach. It's kind of like having a running parent...

  2. What a beautiful life you have. I also treasure my group of book club women and our time together.

    I feel like every judge in the dependency system should hand out that list of ways to be kind to a child. So many of the kids in the system have no idea what kindness even is because they've never receieved it. You are such a wonderful mother and your children are just plain beautiful.

    There are so many lessons we can learn from children...

  3. What a great post on so many levels! You do an incredible job balancing your very busy life and I think you are amazing and inspiring :-)

  4. OMG, thanks so much! I've been feeling very guilty the whole morning. Everyone woke up late today and my kids didn't have enough time to get ready for schools. I was feeling really bad about this until I read your post. Thanks for the "100 ways .." link too. Happy running!!

    Oh btw, talking about lemons, my 6 year old is obsessed with a movie called Lemonade Mouth. Maybe your daughter will like it too :)

  5. You are an amazing mother. Your family is so special!!! I want one of those someday...

    1. Thank you! You will have one or all of these. ;) xo

  6. Oh, there is always trouble when I wake my son up too late. No matter how mad we are with each other we always give an H&K (hug and kiss) though. It's rule! Even when he tells me I won't love you today. Ha!
    Great job balancing things. And Waylon's got talent! That deck is super! Yay for running and for a special coach!

  7. "...requires walking up to another kid and saying "Hey, do you want to be my friend?" There is an adult version of that. It's called FACEBOOK. LOL

    I sincerely DO wish it were that easy. It's so hard to make new connections as an adult. I feel like it's even harder being a young childless adult. We've TRIED to invite people over and tried to get people to go out or take trips with us, but no one ever can because their kid has a sleepover or a ballgame or they can't find a sitter...

    I love your attitude toward your love life. :) We try to keep the same one, including the regular date night. Our date last weekend? Pizza, beer, and darts--all at home!

    1. Oh no, on facebook you have the ignore option...so easy to choose that route. ;) I wish it were that easy too. it can be though. Just takes one person to break the ice and remind us all that we are all human and in this together. Usually people let their guard down if they know you are REAL. Thanks for the comment Pam.

  8. Like this post! Summertime really brings out the "how can I be a better mother?" thoughts. And a lot of days where we wish we could have a do-over. And a lot of days where we let the mess be and enjoy the kiddos Glad things are going well! Enjoy the lemonade!

    1. Summertime??? OH we are far from summer here in Oregon. Ha! ;)

  9. I love "working" on my marriage too! My husband is my best friend, and doing things to make him happy makes me happy.

    I'm glad the coach is working out. I might want to hire one, too, once this PT saga is resolved.

    For what it's worth, I don't get mommy guilt too often--our culture has gotten to the point of making moms walk on eggshells, and I just decided...to refuse to do it. We are NOT responsible for all the neuroses our kids might develop (that's an unfair burden to put on anyone, mothers included--maybe mothers especially). We ARE responsible for making our kids self-sufficient and responsible, and that means legitimate conflict will happen sometimes. On the occasions when I DO feel guilty about something in my interactions with my kids, I try to use it the way you describe, as something to learn from. Having kids has definitely given me a better sense of humor, too, that's for sure! :^)

  10. You guys are so frickin cute. Even childless as we are, David and I have to "work" on our marriage, too - there is just so much that gets in the way and takes up time. I warn him to watch out for "roommate mode" - when we get so busy we treat each other like roommates: "Did you take out the trash?" "Who drank the last of the milk?" "I'm going to be late tonight, don't wait up" - etc. One thing we always do is text during the day. David sends me a love note text every single day and he gets one back! He hasn't skipped a day since we got unlimited texts way back when!

  11. Ahh!! So good to sit down and read an Amanda post!! Even without my blog, I'll always keep yours bookmarked for good stuff like this:)

    Love the multiple straws-ha! Love all your pics! Even smoldering Waylon:)

    I also like the motherhood comment above *Terzah:) I agree.

    So cool you found your coach. Just a good match for you as a runner and as a person. He seems to "get" what you need and believes he can work effectively with this!!! SO FREEING-yes!! Great outlook for the marathon! Excited to get my phonecall when it's over. Sad, I won't hear stories of shining happy people holding hands this time though-ha ha! Love you:)

    Waylon-love the deck!! Yes, SO much to be said about doing things for each other and putting effort into things for each other. On that note...

  12. That picture with the Shirley Temple is PRICELESS!

  13. It's so nice that you got to go away with your girls. They're going to remember that wedding trip for the rest of their lives. I love that they made lemonade with the decorations - only kids would ever think to do that.

  14. Great post, what books have you been reading for book club. We are always looking for new ideas. I think date night is important even when you don't have kiddos. It's so easy to get caught up in work and life that you forget about doing things with just your husband. We plan date nights too.

  15. Nice to hear the updates! I hear you on the motherhood-guilt thing. And it's so important to remember to keep marriage fresh! Our goal has been one date night a month since becoming parents, and we're doing well with it these last few months... heading out again tonight! :)

  16. Date nights are so important! We neglected havinng one regularly, well, for lack of having a good sitter around. Lately the grandparents have been stepping up and taking the kids overnight. It's like a mini-vacay.

  17. I am glad your running is going well! Its great that you have a coach, because, like you said, it's NICE to have someone else do all the figuring out for you!

    Also, I love that tree photo. That's fun! I want to go climb a tree now!

  18. look at that little diva! too cute :) i remember feeling sooo cool when i had my first shirley temple (never got to have them much).