Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Vlog, Brief Book Talk, and Happy Hour Follow-up!

This is really just a follow-up to my last post about creating my own happy hour and sunshine experience despite the gloom here in Portland and lack of babysitters.  Now it is the next day and the computers on on but going right back off in a bit!   Plus the SUNSHINE is out and yes, wait for it.....WE HAVE BLUE SKIES!!

I thought that I'd try out a VLOG for a change. It was last night and after two glasses of can see that in my eyes.  Quick gist of it for those of you that don't want to watch four minutes of Amanda talk to you while just sitting and doing no tricks of any kind:

  1. Here's what happened and didn't happen according to my hot happy hour date plans.  
  2. Born to Run...must read!  Ann Trason is a bad ass!  Inspired by the book.  Keep reading if you can't get into it.  I was the same way.  Inspired my husband to fall in love with running.  He is now officially calling himself a "Runner".  Yes!  Perfect sport to share as a married couple.  
  3. Then just some no make-up, no hot dress, but wine-induced happy hour blah blah blahing.  Some will watch and some won't but whatever. 
  4. Announcement of our race on Monday (very end of video at 3:46 or so).  Not sure exactly why I wasn't telling everyone until now. A mixed-bag of reasons there. Probably mostly because I had to make this decision for myself and I didn't want a ton of naysayers, Opinionated Penelopes (what, who is opinionated Penelope?), and people giving me reasons they they think I might be doing it.  I had to make the best decision for ME.  And I think I did.  It is for fun.  No pressure.  And my husband will be running it with me!  Yep, and not trained specifically.  It was that dang Born To Run book.  I tell you all about it.  

Giveaways to check out if you have not:
1. The ART of Runninghood
The New ART of Runninghood!  Thanks for the great response so far! Makes me so happy!

2.  The Handful Bra Giveaway.  Last weekend to enter and share.

Happy Weekend to you!  What are your plans?


Happy Hour and Making Your Own Sunshine!


Everyone here in Portland seems to be on the grump side. Frumpy, grumpy, grouchy and just stuck in a funk.  At least I am.  I'm convinced it is the constant GREY Cloud looming over our heads day in and day out.  Oh wait, the sun just came out!  Oh, gone again.  And here comes some more rain.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining...just stating the obvious.  We have nothing to complain about.  At least I don't.  Life is good.  No tornados, happy family, we don't need air conditioning, we are not dying in 100 plus degree weather plus humidity.  We're all fine.  I do however think there is some truth to the idea of seasonal depression, and when you live in a place that is gloomy and grey for all of winter and then that gloom moves into spring and now summer, we just start missing the SUNSHINE!  

My husband and I had planned on making an effort to go to happy hour this evening.  A way to leave the house, UNPLUG from our computers or the distraction of them and let the kids play with someone other than us.  We had hoped to find one of the many fun little bars or restaurants in the Pearl District, have a couple drinks and some yummy food and catch up with each other.  Reconnect.  Beat this weather and have some HAPPY hours for happy hour!  

NO such luck.  Babysitters are all enjoying their summer social life.  But I'm determined to create a happy hour for us anyway.  Even if the kids are involved.  Here's my plan for creating my own "HAPPY HOUR" tonight:

  1. Pretend there is some sunshine.  Even if it is too cold or wet to go outside...I will be the Sunshine if I have to.  Sunshine Amanda.  
  2. Take a shower (doesn't usually happen before my husband comes home).
  3. Put some make-up on, do my hair, shave my legs, and put on a summer dress.  
  4. Try to cook.  Nah, order in.  
  5. Have some cold beers or a bottle of wine ready and waiting.  
  6. Put some Ben Harper or Jack Johnson on. 
  7. Turn all computers OFF!!!  Yes, we have more than two.  And Phones off too.  
  8. Make sure the kids are already fed, happy and involved in something fun.  
  9. A clean house.  Okay, this might be stretching clean can it be for longer than an hour with three little kids.  
  10. For the sake of tonight, I have these cards that are fun conversation topics.  Or a book of interesting questions.  This will help to spice up the conversation and keep things new since we won't have the ambiance of all the Portland peeps and the city life to talk about (love people watching in Portland...we have the weirdest people to watch!). 

So the sun may be missing here in Portland and Happy Hour in the Pearl District might not be happening but I'm determined to make the most of it and still make this a wonderful "summer" (using this term lightly) night!

Good news:
The sun does plan on coming for a visit and making things Hot again for the 4th of July, just in time for our fun race coming up.  How nice of the sun.  Wouldn't want us to get cold while running in those short shorts.  Thank you sunshine!  :) 

Hope your day is filled with many happy hours today!  How do you create your own "Happy Hour"  when you can't get away and you're just in a cloud of funk?  How to you "cheer things up" and change the energy?  


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The New Finding Art in Every Day "Sticklete" Art...Inspired By You, You and YOU! Giveaway!

Baby Jogger Momma
© Copyright Cher Odum 

Funky Barefoot Runner
© Copyright Cher Odum 

Quality Time by Cher Odum
Art is personal. If you're like me, you like color, funky style, things that are bright, more abstract, less realistic and images that evoke energy and passion.  My living room walls are yellow and red and the art throughout my house is full of color, shapes, symbolism and vibrant energy!

Many of you might be thinking that this kind of art sounds awful and you might enjoy filling your walls with more landscapes or realistic art. Or maybe you're a person that finds peace in having your walls bare and making YOUR art the art of simplicity.  Whatever your style, we are all different but I'm willing to bet that there are others out there that enjoy my same tastes.  Maybe not you or you but somebody!  Tis the joy of ART!

I know that I've mentioned before that my favorite artist happens to be my mom, artist Cher Odum.  And not just because she is my mother but because I absolutely LOVE what she creates.  Her work is so full of meaning and passion and every piece she creates seems to inspire, energize, or move me in some way.   Her work is all so different and ranges from pieces that celebrate women and life to pieces that represent nature or show the many faces of the human spirit.  Just a few of my favorites:

Water Goddess
© Copyright Cher Odum 

Mother and Child
© Copyright Cher Odum 

© Copyright Cher Odum 

Simple Pleasures
© Copyright Cher Odum 

Ballet Slippers
© Copyright Cher Odum 

This is a piece she was hired to do for a family in Idaho. 
Many of these paintings and the paintings that some of you have seen on her Fine Art America Site are in the Dragonfire Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  The gallery owners recently asked my mom to create some smaller art pieces to sell along with the larger and more expensive pieces.  This helps for customers who can't afford or are not ready to buy a larger original work to still have the opportunity to buy a smaller original painting that isn't a print.  She began creating 3"x 5" paintings that fit inside a 5"x7" matted card.  A perfect gift for someone else or a smaller piece of art to frame for oneself!

At the same time that Cher was starting to create these smaller paintings for the gallery, she was inspired to create a series of art based on the community she sees through Runninghood.  You.  The runners, the athletes, the mothers, and so many of you that are living a life of passion, purpose and intention. The Sticklete line was created especially from her inspiration from all of us.  She was inspired by the passion and joy that so many of us bring to our sport. By the vibrant energy that comes from a runner after a race or a long run where they connect with all the colors of their world and come home feeling alive and ready to LIVE passionately.  She was inspired by the voice of so many of you on this blog.  Your joyful words about running, cycling, swimming...doing what YOU LOVE to do.  She was also inspired by so many of you who are mothers and still taking part in setting goals for a healthy lifestyle, making your dreams come true, and being a positive example to your family.

You can see Cher's first paintings in this series at our Finding Art in Every Day site but here are just a few:

Summer Days by Cher Odum

Let's Race
© Copyright Cher Odum 

Baby Jogger Momma
© Copyright Cher Odum 

© Copyright Cher Odum 
You've Got This!
© Copyright Cher Odum 

I have to admit that I was a bit sad to see some of these paintings go to the gallery since I want them all for myself.  I had visions of a framed art cluster of these paintings on my wall but I know that there will be more and she is just getting started.  Each new painting takes on a different life and something new is added.  IN fact, her first barefoot runner is my favorite of all them so far.  I can't wait to see what creations she comes up with in the coming weeks....She's already got sketches for more cyclists, swimmers, surfers, and runners.

As I already mentioned, we know that tastes in art are so different!  What one person loves and finds a connection with is of no interest to another.  However, this is art that I absolutely LOVE and so I'm investing myself in getting the word out.  All of Cher's art is meaningful in some way.

Some characteristics I love:
*  bright colors
*  energizing images
*  symbolic meaning to most of her paintings
*  feeling/mood
*  funky style
*  celebration of life
* unique and original

There have been so many times that I've wanted to send a gift or a card to one of you to wish you "good luck" or "congratulations" or  as "just because..".  I've searched for running cards or athlete cards that go along with my style and tastes but really have not found much.  I've found many businesses that make funky and fun jewelry for the triathlete...even clothing lines but very little ART!  I'm thrilled to see Cher finally combine her colorful, funky, and playful style with her inspiration from the Runninghood community.

To start growing this new line of art for the athlete and others, we thought a giveaway might be in order.  She is still in the process of creating and getting this line started so we will be sure to update you with new images as she creates them! We are also interested in hearing your ideas for new images as well.

The Finding Art in Everyday "Sticklete Art" Giveaway
This giveaway will be for either:

  1. A set of 6 Cards (art prints/not original paintings).  You will be able to choose what print you want for your card set. Prints will be 4x6 prints on a card.   
  2. One original 3"x5" (matted in 5"x7" size) Runninghood Art painting that will be matted and in the form of a card (use of it as a card is optional...this is meant to be a piece of art for framing more than just a typical card). It will either be ready to frame for yourself or give to someone that would enjoy a piece of original art. If the image you want has already been sold or taken to the gallery then you can order one to be made especially for you....this option might be the best one!   

Here's how to enter and help spread the word about the Finding Art in Every Day site and "Sticklete" Art.  Please Leave a comment telling me what you did to enter.  

  1. "Like" Finding Art in Every Day on Facebook and leave a comment there saying what your favorite painting is so far OR telling us what you'd like to see a painting runner in mountains, group of running mamas, running mama in a skirt, husband and wife running together, Mama with baby stroller, Runner with a quote, Triathlete painting, the swimmer, dancer, etc.  
  2. Be a Runninghood reader/follower.
  3. Subscribe to Finding Art in Every Day
Optional/Extra credit (one entry each):
  1. Share this giveaway with your friends, readers, family, etc.  In whatever way you share...twitter, facebook, blog, e-mail and let me know you did.
We will announce a winner on July 29th, 2011!

Thanks for helping us spread the word even if this style isn't your style!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

With Sickness Comes Reflection....

Some randomness here.  Many thoughts running through this head of mine but nothing coherent.  I do know that after the past 24 hours of having the flu and seeing my kids so sick, I value my health so much more.  I think sometimes being this sick for a day or two can really help to make life seem so much richer once it is all over. Our life has just kind of been on hold around this sick house. I would be so embarrassed if someone walked in my house right now....
Piles of laundry,
Sheets being washed and rewashed due to being thrown up on again and again,
Bowls next to the couch, beds, and any other place that we've all been lying around.
Everything has just gone to crap and nobody has the energy to clean it up.
The only one feeling frisky and full of energy is the little 2 year old boy running around! 

  • Blog Reflections. Reading so much about this Blogger Conference in Boulder this past weekend has really led me to start reflecting on my own blog.  So much to learn if I really want my blog to lead to something more down the road.  I've only been blogging for about 8 or 9 months now but I'm ready to take some steps that will allow me to get connected with more writing opportunities and any other networking opportunities that might lead to the next step for me.  
  • Getting back in touch with my Passions! Even if it doesn't involve my blog, I'm ready for something.  Not sure what this "something" is but I find myself missing the passion and joy that was  "buzzin" in my daily life when I was teaching.  My house is filled with books about literacy instruction, helping to "grow" readers and writers, developing reading and writing skills, etc. ....this is a HUGE passion of mine.  Not just teaching but connecting with kids and being an influence in their life.  Helping kids live a writerly life and truly find their voice as a writer and discover the joy of reading.  I miss this.  Greatly.  Not quite ready to return to the classroom but I am ready to be a part of something so big again.  Where I know that I am making a difference. 
  • Motherhood: On the mother front, I'm challenging myself to bring back some of the creative exploration activities that we used to do daily.  I'm bring my art easel back out (even if it does mean keeping it in the dining room), getting theme based books from the library where we can "study" things we are interested in, encouraging messes and questioning the things around us, etc.  I have the rest of my life to have a neat and tidy house but I only have so many more years where I'm setting up an environment in my home where my kids are free to create, explore, try out new ideas, and learn through art and science.  Not sure what this will mean for our summer but I've definitely lost a lot of this side as a mother since being home. 
  • Running.  I've been feeling really strong with my running lately.  A sub 8 min pace for base pace runs has been feeling right on again and my legs feel fresh and ready get back into things again.  However, having a kidney infection and now this flu has really knocked me on my ass a few times and I'm realizing that it has taken a lot out of me...more than I realized.  At this point, I'm trying to rehydrate, get some good foods down my pie hole and focus on positive thoughts and gratitude. 
  • And finally...Gratitude.  I'm convinced that a huge part of living a life of intention and experiencing more of the "good stuff" is through a focus on gratitude and embracing a spirit of being thankful for what we DO have going for us.  Even the things that might feel like a bad thing in our life can be blessings in disguise...things that are difficult and painful but that lead to growth and the ability to appreciate things we might not have noticed before.  So, I'll end this with a short list of things I'm grateful for: 
*  The forced break that being sick brings.  Even though being sick is NO FUN, it does tend to give me a much needed time to "be still" and just slow down.  
My patient and loving husband who has been home to take care of us today.  Although he has been working from home, he has still be there to pick up the slack, clean up the puke, rub our backs, etc.  
*  My children are getting their appetites back!  And their spunky little personalities.  They've only been sick for 24 hours and I already miss their energy.   
*  Health!  When you're sick for a few days, man oh man, you appreciate health so much more!  
*  Opportunities for growth and the parts of life that keep us wanting more.  The aspect of life that keeps us feeling inspired and dreaming big.  When this "fire" comes and the ideas are flowing, it makes me feel so ALIVE and capable of anything.  Anything.  This is a cool feeling.  

  1. Jill asked a good question earlier and I'd like to hear some of your answers too...Why do you blog?  Do you want your blog to lead to other opportunities, do you do it just for sharing your life with friends and family, a way to reflect on your training, connecting with other moms, athletes, writers....what is your purpose for having a blog?  
  2. I'd love to hear a few things that you would put on a gratitude list for today.  What are some things (big or small) that you are grateful for?  
  3. Twitter....I just signed up for a twitter account for Runninghood.  I don't have a CLUE what I'm doing or what even makes it different from facebook.  Tutorials are welcome.  


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunshine, Long Run on an Island, Photography, and ART!

Beautiful Oregon morning!  
Blue Skies,
French doors open,
Kids playing happily in the backyard while we have our morning coffee!
Happy 2nd Birthday yesterday to this little guy:

All That Jazz Photography
Going on a 10-11 mile run with my husband (no kids) on Sauvie Island here in Portland.  
Feeling strong! 
Fresh legs,
Healthy Body,
Ready for another race really soon!

Excited to share lots of things in a post soon.  Products, another giveaway, my Zensah racerback tank review....
two of my very favorite artists, 
a Photographer
a Painter!  

When Talent and Passion come together, it is a beautiful thing!  These two artists are obviously gifted at what they do and it makes me so happy to see how much passion they bring to their work.  I'll write more about them later but in the meantime....

My favorite local artist just came out with some new work that I LOVE. The cool thing about art is that what resonates with one person might not make the slightest impression on another.  But this artist always creates works that "speak" to me!  Her bright colors, funky movement and shape, the meaning behind every painting....just makes me feel
happy and alive!

Here is just a taste of some her new funky runners:

Cher Odum Art

And my Photographer Jen at All That Jazz Photography....
I can't wait to sing her praises!  Seriously a gifted and passionate person.  I admire her so much for being true to herself and doing what she loves and obviously has a gift for.  The art that she creates (her photography) is authentic and joyful.  She truly connects with my kids every time and she is able to capture a true picture of them and not just a fake sit and pose type pictures.  She gets them doing what they do best....playing, bugging each other, smiling, picking their noses, laughing, and loving life!  Love you All That Jazz!  

Here are just a few of her shots from yesterday:

Happy Sunday!  Any fun adventures this weekend?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Handful Bra Giveaway!

It's Friday!  The sun is shining (finally)!  And I have a fantastic giveaway to kick off the last weekend in June! Yes, that's right Runninghood friends, I'm finally able to share one of my favorite things with one of YOU!  If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know how much I love my Handful Bra.  I've mentioned my love affair with this seemingly "made for me" item many times.  And now I'm so excited to share one with you!

After having three kids, nursing all of them, and then getting serious about running again, I realized just how unflattering and nonexistent my boobs had become.  My perfect B cups were now something that resembled deflated balloons or wilted bananas. Not that I should care, but putting on my tight sports bras and racing tanks left me feeling more like a 12 year old girl instead of the 32 year old woman that I am.  I always wished that they made a sports bra for women like myself who still wanted the perfect function of a great product but also wouldn't mind a little help looking good while they "perform".  And then I found it...finally!  I was getting some new shoes in Portland Running Company after my chiropractic adjustment and there she Handful Bra!  We've been together ever since.  I don't just wear my Handful bras for running and exercise.  I wear them with everyday clothes as well. In fact, I went to the pool with a friend this week and I wore my black Handful bra instead of my normal Nike swim top.  What's also so neat is that the Handful bra was designed by a fellow runner!

Some Handful Basics and Random Tidbits
  • The Handful comes in several colors: black, pink, cocoa, white, and nude.  
  • It comes with a mesh bag so that you can wash it and the pads separately and safely.  
  • I use my mesh bag for other things has become my favorite little bag to take with me on race day to put my Garmin, Fuel, phone, etc. in.  
  • You can wear your Handful with or without the removable pads.  This is great for those of you that don't always need or want extra padding. For me, this isn't really the case.  
  • The Handful bra can be worn for everything.  It is stylish so it is great for yoga, a swim top, wearing under tanks, running and exercise.  
  • I often find myself choosing my Handful bra instead of my Victoria Secret's miracle bra that I spent so much money on.  
  • It is comfortable! Even to race in. 
  • Perfect for all you A and B cups out there that just want a little oomph!

Want one?!  Here's what to do (leave a comment for each one telling me that you did and if you can't comment on here for some reason, then you can comment once for all of these on my Runninghood Facebook page letting me know you did these things):
  1. Tell me why you want one (even if it is for a friend).
  2. Go "like" Handful on Facebook, tell them how great their bra is and let them know that Runninghood sent you and what color you'd want if you won.
  3. Follow Runninghood.
Extra credit:
  1. Share this giveaway on your blog.
  2. Share this on Twitter, FB, etc.  
I'll choose a winner on July 5th so you have through the 4th of July to share this with all your friends who could use a Handful!  

For the motherhood readers of Runninghood who have asked about the Jewel Fairy gig that we have going on around here, I finally posted a video/how-to post for you on how it all works.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When the Jewel Fairy Visits! Video and How-To

Jewel Fairy Visits are a pretty special event around our house!  When our Jewel Fairy comes for a visit to deliver her "magic jewels" a.k.a rocks or gems from the craft store or dollar tree, there is a tangible excitement in the air!  She doesn't come often but when she does, it is magic and all my kids still believe!  They ask me often to do my "jewel fairy dance" so she will come and leave her magic jewels for them.  Most of the time I find myself telling them that she doesn't visit very often since she has other kids to visit.  It usually means that I don't have A. The Jewels, B. The Energy, C. The time, or D. All of the above.  Most of the time I pretend to get on The Jewel Fairy website and check to see what her policies are.  I pretend to read things like:

  • The Jewel Fairy only visits once every few months due to the high demand from other children.
  • The Jewel Fairy rarely does doubles (come more than once a day).  
  • Jewels from the jewel fairy are different every time.  
  • Kids must be hiding when their mom or dad does the jewel fairy chant/dance.  
  • Never kick a jewel fairy in the mouth.  Okay, maybe that was the gift horse.  
The Jewel Fairy came today!  She decided that it was a special occasion since our neighbor BFF is leaving for two weeks.  Usually I only do the special jewel fairy dance/chant (which I pull from my ear and is different every time) for such things as playdates, birthday parties, etc. but today was just an ordinary day made extraordinary.  

There was a slight problem to my perfect plan today since the neighbor friend decided to call me out on my "jewel fairy" tricks.  She accused ME of being the jewel fairy of of course my oldest daughter started to be a little skeptic too.  Man, they really had me working it.  But in the end, they still seemed to believe.  They even wrote the jewel fairy a thank-you note and left a gift under the tree.  

This is our Japanese Maple Jewel Fairy Tree where we find our Jewels from the Jewel Fairy!
Here's what they left for the Jewel Fairy today.  It is still there.  Not sure what I'll do for this one.  

How-To Jewel Fairy Visit
You too can have the Jewel Fairy come for a visit!  It's easy, inexpensive and kids LOVE it! Boys and girls alike.  And it makes for a great 4-6 year old birthday party activity! Here's all you need to do.

1. Buy some inexpensive gems or rocks from the dollar store or craft store.  Around Christmas time, we had the Christmas Jewel Fairy come for a visit and she brought these:

2.  If you're hosting a party, sometimes it is nice to have some little bags to use for the kids to collect their jewels in.  Otherwise, we use jewelry boxes, tupperware, plastic baggies, etc.  

3.  Have the kids go to another room to hide.  
4.  Put the jewels where you want them.
5.  Make up a silly song, dance or chant.  Today we said something like "Jewel Fairy, Jewel Fairy come to our house.  Come and leave us something other than a mouse!" Yeah, you'll hear that in the video.  I'd suggest something a little better.  Ha!  
6.  Call the kids out and watch the magic as they find the jewels and collect them. 
7.  Enjoy!

Here's a video from today's Jewel Fairy visit.  Note: I know I sound ridiculous thinking of my Jewel Fairy chant on the fly...give me some credit...I had no idea what I would say until I said it.  

I'll be doing a giveaway for my favorite Handful Bra soon!  All you members of the tiny tittie committee better be on the look out for this fabulous product!  I wear mine all the time!  


Monday, June 20, 2011

I Love You Running! You Make Me Happy!

Running is so much more to me than just a form of exercise. So much more than just a way to stay in shape.  
It is my soul food.  
It keeps me happy.  
Makes me feel balanced.  
Helps me to see life in COLOR! 
 A gift indeed!  

And when someone that loves running so truly and deeply finds themselves unable to run or exercise, life tends to take on a grey and dull quality.  Not to mention the mood swings, lack of energy, feeling gross, a decrease in happy feelings and without running and exercise is just not nearly as wonderful for someone that loves it so much. So many of us have been there.  Faced with injury or sickness.  Trying out new forms of exercise in hopes of finding a "temporary replacement". Some of us even start making deals with God that if we can just run again then we won't train so hard but remember to enjoy running for the simple act that it is...just to run! We'll take care of ourselves this time...focus on better form, eat better, ice, stretch and roll...we won't take it for granted!  Then there are some that just can't run anymore due to bad knees or more serious injury, like the doctor I saw the other day. Oh, how his eyes lit up when I mentioned that I just finished a marathon.  You could tell that he shared this love for running.  He didn't have to say a word.  You could see it on his face and hear it in his questions. Hearing him talk made me realize just how important it is to care for our bodies and be wise with "How we Run".

This week has been a weird week for me.  It has been an almost  "forced break".  I believe that my body really did need it because I wasn't doing such a good job at taking a break and "being still".  So it took a double whammy to knock me on my buns!  

PMS+ Kidney infection + drastic drop in exercise + bacon all over my kitchen = one grumpy woman! 

Last night I could take it no longer! I'd done my duty of making bacon for father's day, our house stank of it (still does), I'd rested and took my medication for 5 straight days, and somehow managed to shovel copious amounts of crap down my throat and I was left feeling like a grumpy piece of lard.  So I headed out the door and just ran.  Didn't have a plan in was just a time to run!  

I felt better within the first two minutes of getting my heart rate up.  I was smiling at strangers, waving to the neighbors, and returning to myself one stride at a time! After a 10.5 mile run at marathon pace I am feeling AMAZING!  Like someone turned the lights on.  Like a blindfold was lifted.  Like I just took the best happy pill that was ever invented.  I missed this feeling! I missed this simple pleasure of running! Running because I LOVE it and NEED it and not because I am training for something and feel like I HAVE TO RUN.  Running because it is just part of ME!  Part of what makes life Sweet. Part of what makes me a better Amanda!

1.  If you're not a "runner", is there something that you do that brings the color to life, turns the lights on, and just makes you feel like a better you when you are doing it?  
2. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  I've had this book for awhile but have yet to read it.  My husband recently read it and has been incredibly inspired.  I've never seen him so inspired to run. He used to say that he wasn't a runner and would rather stick pencils in his eyes than run a marathon and now he is looking up races for ultra marathons! I'm reading it now so that we can discuss it.  Have you read this book? 
3.  I have a few friends who are just starting to run.  They want to know a good book for beginner runners.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Time For Everything...Even Bacon! And Father Figures and Remembering My Dad.

It disgusts me.  
The smell
The look.
What it is. 
What is left in the pan after it cooks.   
But I do admit that it doesn't taste so bad if I try to forget how bad it is for me. We never have bacon in the house.  Unless it is Father's Day or my husband's birthday.  We might even take some along when we go to a beach house or camping with friends. Once my husband tried to bring some home when I was pregnant with our firstborn.  I was so irrational an hormonal that I threw it out of the house onto the driveway and yelled "We will not live like this?!"  I think I might have mentioned something about how bacon is horrible for you and how it makes you fat and prone to heart attacks.  Poor guy was just trying to get a little bacon.  Then last year for Father's Day I made him Turkey Bacon.  I still have not lived that one down with his buddies that found out about it.  Until now.  Tomorrow is redemption day for me.  I figure if I can't have a redemption marathon then I might as well redeem myself on Father's Day.  I even got the thick cut kind.  And who knew that something this bad for you could be so expensive?!  

Yuck yuck yuck!  
He deserves it!  He's everything I've ever wanted in a husband and a father for our children.  The relationship he has with our kids is just what I would have wanted with my own father.  So, BACON it is!  Bring on the BACON!  

Father's Day
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!  My dad died when I was little but I've had several father figures in my life that have played different roles in my life.  The lack of a strong father figure in my life has always been something that makes my heart hurt.  I've always wanted that special father/daughter relationship that I see many of my friends have.  The kind of relationship where I feel protected, loved, and adored all wrapped into one.  A father that is hard on me but only because he believes in me.  A father that is part of my life and supports me in all that I do, even when he doesn't see eye-to-eye with me. Someone that is "like" me. I've always imagined the father that is present in my life and makes a point to let me know that I am loved and never alone in life.  

I may not have had this type of father/daughter relationship that I always imagined.  Not everyone does.  Relationships are not always perfect or how we think they should be but the important thing is that we have people in our life that are there for us and that love and support us.  I've had several people in my life that have filled a "fatherly role" and for them I am thankful.  They have not been perfect but they've served a purpose in my life and shown me love and support in their own way.  

My Grandfather--My dad's dad, My Grandfather Bardwell Odum.  This man was a strong and loving presence in my life.  Even all the way from Dallas, Texas.  Once my dad died (his son), my Grandfather made sure that he would be there to support us in ways that my father wouldn't be able to.  He was very hard on us kids.  Many times overly critical.  But he always always told me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.  He encouraged me and taught me to understand the value of money.  He taught me how to save money and be wise with it.  And it is because of his encouragement and support that I went to college.  I loved my Grandpa so very very much.  I miss him.  I miss the summers we went to visit him.  Swimming in his pool.  How he taught me to whistle, catch fish, eat frog legs, and dive off a diving board.  I love how he signed me up for my first mile race when I was only 9 or 10 and he inspired us to run. He told us stories of our father, our family history, and stories about his life and our relatives from generations back. He died a little over a year ago and I miss him so much. I'm so thankful for the close relationship I had with him despite the times that we didn't get along. I love you Grandpa!  

My Father-in-Law--I may not have the closest relationship with my FIL but he is one of the most loving and supportive fathers I know.  He is ALWAYS there for us and he loves his family more than anything!  I know he is there for me no matter what!  He would do anything for us.  I'm so very grateful that my husband has had his father as an example throughout his life.  Someone to show him what is important in life...relationships and family!  Someone to model the value of giving time, being able change, working on a marriage to make it work, and being able to admit when he is wrong.  Thank you Pat!  You are such a gift!

My Dad Died Young
In honor of my own father, here is a picture I've shared before.  I don't have many pictures of him from when I was a baby and until he died but I did get some old pictures of him after my Grandpa died.  I was also sent a few of his running medals.  

Many of you are familiar with a few posts that I wrote about my dad.  The posts that explain how he died, some trials in his life, his love for running and how I feel connected to him when I run. They are pretty important to me so for those that are interested, I'll include them here again in honor of father's day:
Passion, Determination and the Will to Run
The Deepest Part of My Running Heart--Running for Him

I'll also include this poem that I wrote for him several years back.  

The Earth His Home
The earth he cherished.
The mountains, 
     His nutrients.
The land, 
    His fuel.
Nature enriched his life,
     With it
He filled his soul.
Now he enriches the earth
Under that 
      Quivering aspen tree.

The earth fell down upon him.
      Robbing him of his breath. 
Leaving his soul to dance
      Above Mount Buffalo and 
his body to rest beneath the roots of 
      the tree that he planted for us to climb.
The small brick, painted,
placed at the foot of the white wood.
      That was was where my father lived.

A father I was too young to know
      But am engrained with his spirit.
His breath fills my lungs,
      His power is in my legs,
His strength in my will.

The soft steps of my feet and the 
      rhythm of my breath
      are a call to him.
Running gracefully under the open sky that is
      unusual in beauty
The road that stretches out to touch the end 
     It is a connection
He runs beside me and tells me 
    He is proud.

It is I that continues his vision--
     that holds the earth so dear.
The mountains, my inspiration
     his music fills me up.  
His dream carries me with its passion.

He lives among nature
      The sun cresting on the mountain
His soul dancing, wandering free over
      Lake Dillon.

Just as earth he so loved,
     so too, earth took him.
Now he enriches the earth 
Under that
      Quivering aspen tree.  


Friday, June 17, 2011

Rockin' The Bump

I love pregnancy. 
Love it!
I think it is perhaps one of the greatest parts of life that I've experienced.  
The miracle that it is.
A life growing inside of me.
Trying on a decent size rack for a change (but always happy to be done with it when it is over...I like my small boobs).  
Finding out that I'm pregnant,
Feeling my baby move for the first time,
Getting some curves,
Feeling like it is Christmas for 9/10 months and finally opening the main gift!  

I love it!  
Even with the constant urge to pee, the exhaustion, getting fat, my nose growing into the size of a small planet, swollen feet, cankles, mood swings, nauseousness...the list goes on..... Even with these things...
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing!

So when Marjorie from Taking It On shared her pregnancy photos tonight for this Rockin' The Bump link up, I knew how I was going to spend some of my Friday night.  I don't usually do "link ups" but I couldn't resist this one!  

I'm sure there won't be many people who will give a rip about these but this is fun for me...purely self absorbed here.  How many pictures of Amanda's belly can she post in one night?!  Ha!  I've got many.  Can't find any of my second pregnancy on this computer...that was the pregnancy that I got really soft and chubby.  All I wanted to do was sit on my bum and eat cookies.  My third pregnancy was the one that I actually got professional photos taken because I knew it would (should) be my last.  

First pregnancy at 37 weeks

Whose boobs are those??!  

We were just kids here!  

Okay, the following photos are purely to embarrass my husband.  Sorry honey.  This is when the photographer thought we should try one of those sappy poses where the husband looks up adoringly at the wife and we take ourselves too seriously.  My husband just COULDN'T do this!  We were laughing so hard!  Made for a great belly laugh and I love the photos because they capture this fun moment where we both got lost in our laughter.  

Random pregnant thoughts:

  • Some of us like to rub our bellies when we are pregnant.  And then there are some that think this is the most annoying thing ever!
  • What is up with people that just come up to you and touch your belly when you are prego?  I understand if you know me or ask first but random strangers sometimes think that it is okay.  What?! I don't come up and touch your belly.
  • Never ask someone when they are due unless you know FOR SURE that they are prego! 
  • Don't offer your advice about how to raise babies and everything they should do with their labor and pregnancy UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED!  Seriously.  This is so personal.  Don't tell a mother how they should put their child to sleep, whether they should or should not use a binky or bottle, etc.  Why do people do this??  
  • Don't tell a pregnant mother what they will and will not still do when they have their baby!  Don't place your own life experiences and lesson on others and assume that they will fall into the same life patterns.  I couldn't stand it when people at school would tell me how I wouldn't want to read professional literature or take classes anymore once my child was born.  Or how I wouldn't camp or go back backing.  They just had to tell me that my adventurous and ambitious life would be over.  No thank you.  
  • Don't place your own ideas and opinions about labor, breast feeding, etc. on others.  This is a personal thing!  
  • DO Tell a pregnant woman how beautiful she is.
  • DO ask before you touch a pregnant belly.
  • DO offer your advice if they need it (and ask) and let your pregnant friends know that you are there for them.
  • DO give the positives about motherhood and childbirth.  
  • DO take your close friends a meal after their baby is born.  This helps a ton!
  • DO understand that everyone is different with what kind of support they want.  Don't assume that your pregnant friends are like you.  They might NOT want visitors for awhile.  And this is okay!  

1. If you've been prego before, did you like it? Hate it?  Feel indifferent about it?
2. For those 4-5 men that read my blog (Mike, Slomohusky, Chris, Kovas..), what was it like for you to have a pregnant wife (or girlfriend...I don't know your story)?  Did your wife enjoy it?  Was she a happy prego?  
3. Future you look forward to being pregnant?  What do you think you'll like/dislike the most.