Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Will...

Do you have a favorite song?  A song so wonderful you think, "I could listen to this forever and never get sick of it" but you don't because then it would completely ruin it and it wouldn't be your favorite song anymore?  Still with me?  Okay, good :)  I think my favorite song ever, in the whole world, forever, for the rest of my life, til the day I die, I-love-it-so-much-I-want-it-played-at-my-funeral is "I Will" by The Beatles.  It has been a favorite of mine for years, it was even in my wedding.  It's not a popular Beatles song, somewhat unknown and very simple and sweet.  I really listened to the words recently and my heart took on a whole new love for it.  If I could write a song for Ryan, this would be it.  It doesn't hurt either that The Beatles sang it.  The four men that I love so much that if I ever have twin boys, I'm naming them John and Paul (I'll tell Ryan, "Oh, those are family names" but I'll know who they're really named after . . . I'm doing my "evil plan laugh" right now!)  Anyhow, I love the song, the words, the singer, all of it.  I wish I could wrap it up in a pretty box, stick a bow on top and give it to Ryan for Christmas. But then, he'd probably return it for a song that Hank Williams, Jr. sings or something.  Well, we can't all be Beatles fans, I guess. Click the link to listen to the most fabulous song ever.   Way better than "There's a Tear in My Beer".
How could you not love a man in a tux AND a sombrero?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Have Fought the Good Fight...

October 9th, 2011 was a day I'll never forget.  It was a day that I thought (and sometimes hoped) would never come.  It was a day that gave me nightmares, but at the same time I was beside myself with excitement.  It was the day I finished the Chicago Marathon. 

Back in January, my friend Stacy asked me if I'd like to train for a marathon with her.  I thought she was crazy, but I said yes anyways because well, I'm crazy.  Stacy and I were runners in the way that we'd run a few miles here and there, maybe even a 5K when we wanted to mix it up a little.  But this was a marathon. . . 26.2 miles.  That's a long way.  Stacy did a little research and we decided on the Chicago Marathon.  It was still ten months away, which was plenty of time for us to train and get ready (and maybe chicken out).  It is a flat course and a great marathon for first-timers. I also thought that this would be a great way to wrap up my 20's, since my 30th birthday would be October 12th.

We began training right away and since Stacy was a morning runner and I'm an evening runner, we trained separately.  The first few months of training went fine, but then summer came and with summer came the humidity and high mileage.  Horrible combination.  There were evenings when I felt as if I was running through maple syrup, the air was so thick.  The weather began to take a toll not only physically, but mentally.  I started to think, "If I'm struggling through fifteen miles in humidity, how am I going to run 26.2?"  I started to doubt everything I was doing. I had to get together a new strategy.  A good friend of mine who has finished many marathons and Iron Man competitions told me that running is just as much mental as it is physical.  With that in mind, I started coming up with little "games" to play in my head while running.  I would count red cars, stop signs, churches, anything to keep my mind off the task at hand.  I also added some new songs to my ipod and let me just say "Never Say Never" by Justin Bieber is not only a great song, but it is inspirational.  So what if I'm 30 years old and women my age shouldn't be allowed to listen to JB, it's true and it's awesome.

The day finally came for us to make the journey to Chicago.  Ryan and I drove and met Stacy and her husband, Chris up there.  I was glad to see that Stacy was just as much of a nervous disaster as I was.  I was so nervous that I was making myself sick, so much so that I thought I was pregnant.  I wasn't, but I secretly hoped I was. . .that was my ticket OUT of the marathon!  Sunday morning, October 9th, Stacy and I walked several blocks from our hotel to the starting line.  Since the crowd was so huge, it took us about 30 minutes to even cross the official start.  The first several miles went great, but then my heel started to hurt (plantar fasciitis that had plagued me for months, SO painful!!)  I told Stacy to go ahead without me.  She had worked way too hard over the last ten months to slow down now.  The next 15 miles were okay, but I was dying to see Ryan.  I kept thinking, "If I could just hug him right now, that would lift my spirits so much!"  And then I saw him, like a big 'ol hairy angel, waiting for me at Mile 20.  As soon as I reached him, I hugged him and sobbed.  I wasn't sad or anything, in fact, quite the opposite.  I was thrilled that I had actually made it alive to Mile 20.  I wrapped it up with Ryan and told him to meet me at the finish line.  Around Mile 24, the reality of the race was setting in.  I was going to finish.  I started to think about all the people that helped me get to where I was at that moment.  Ryan, who made me get my shoes on and go for my runs and didn't complain when I bought my third pair of running shoes since I wore out my first two pairs during training.  He also would drive to wherever I was on my route and bring me a Gatorade, so I wouldn't pass out from dehydration. My four daughters, who made me feel like Super Woman every time I returned from a run and would rub my back when my long runs were over.  Stacy, who roped me into this madness in the first place and forced me to get out of my three-mile-comfort-zone and try something extraordinary.  My parents who kept telling me how proud they were of me for even attempting a marathon.  My sisters, brothers, and the rest of my family who were always so supportive and so encouraging from the very beginning.  My marathon-running friends who gave me so much helpful advice on everything from treating injuries and stretching to teaching me how to push through when my body wanted to quit.  The last mile, I think I cried the whole way.  I had been carrying a picture of Ryan, the girls and me in my hands the entire race.  When I needed a little "lift" I'd unfold the picture and give it a little sugar.  The last quarter mile, I held the picture up to my lips, sobbing like an idiot.  I kept saying to myself, "Momma did it, girls!"  I'm sure the people running with me thought, "Who is this lady talking to?!"  I saw Ryan right before I crossed the finish line and I yelled at him between ridiculous sobs, "I DID IT!!!"  and I crossed the finish line with my arms in the air like Rocky Balboa.  For the next few minutes, I walked up to random people saying, "I finished!"  To my surprise and complete amusement, they would reply, "Me too!" and give me a big hug. I'm usually not one that hugs strangers, but I dug it, big time.

When it was all over, I kept thinking about one of my favorite Bible verse, 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Now, I know Paul the Apostle was probably not talking about finishing a marathon when he wrote that verse, but I think it puts into words the indescribable feeling I had when I finished.  Training and finishing the marathon was a fight from beginning to end.  Because of God giving me the physical ability to run and my family and friends supporting me, I had the faith to stick with it and finish.

My medal now hangs in the rear-view mirror of my car.  It serves as a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. . .a lesson I hope my girls will learn from all this.  It also reminds me that I have nothing else to prove to myself as far as marathons are concerned!  On the other hand, like my little friend Justin Bieber says, "Never Say Never" :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Only the Lonely...

This past week has been a wild one at our house.  School started on August 8th, and so began the chaos.  Dance lessons, cheerleading, homework, early to bed, early to rise...yuck, yuck and yuck (those yucks are directed towards the last three tasks).  Allison started the 7th grade and Mary Carolyne started Kindergarten.  So far, so good :)  I've been so busy with those two starting school, I failed to recognize that one of my little ladies was getting lost in the shuffle.  Laurie.  My sweet, precious little Laurie Beth.  My first red flag should've been on the first day of school when we brought Mary Carolyne to her classroom.  MC was all smiles and was more than ready for us to leave so she could embark on the magical journey that is Kindergarten.  I told Laurie to give MC a hug good-bye and she slowly walked over to her sister.  Laurie laid her head on Mary Carolyne's shoulder and I watched her big blue eyes fill up with tears.  MC didn't notice of course, but I did.  Laurie was struggling to be brave....that was her best little friend we were leaving.  I could only imagine what was going through Laurie's mind. " Who am I going to play with now? Baby Anne Claire?  Are you kidding me?  Please.  Anne Claire can't have karate matches with me.  She can't do cartwheels in the den with me, even after mom says stop.  Anne Claire can't have a contest to see who can stand on their head the longest."  The entire day, Laurie never left my side.  Every few minutes she'd ask, "Can we go pick up Mary Carolyne now?" 

A few days later, Laurie started ballet and tap for the first time.  She was so excited to be taking the same class the Mary Carolyne had taken the past two years, but I made a huge mistake.  I didn't tell Laurie that Mary Carolyne wouldn't actually be in that class with her.  She walked in the ballet room so excited, but her face fell when she realized she was once again without her sister.  I watched her wander around aimlessly for most of the class.  When the other ballerinas jumped and pranced around the room, Laurie shuffled sadly, shoulders slumped.  It was heart-breaking.  I realized how lonely she was without Mary Carolyne.  She wasn't moping around the ballet room because she didn't like the class. She was feeling things that a three-year-old can't put into words .  She couldn't say, "Mom, I'm sad because you failed to tell me that Mary Carolyne won't be joining me in ballet class.  I feel you misled me and now I'm going to shuffle around this room like a Charlie Brown cartoon character."  When class was over, Laurie wouldn't even walk over to me.  She just glared at me...angrily. On the way home, she hardly said a word;  just stared out the car window.  I had grossly underestimated how hard Laurie was taking the separation from Mary Carolyne.  I told Ryan about it, so we made sure to pay extra attention to Laurie.  We loved on her a little more, slipped her a couple extra know, the kinds of things that speak to a three-year-old :)

I'm happy and relieved to say that things are slowly getting back to normal.  Laurie is returning to her old self.  Why just yesterday,she attacked Mary Carolyne with a stick horse and later she kicked her in the mouth ("It was an accident, Momma," according to Laurie...yeah right).  Who knew I'd miss the slightly violent, story-telling Laurie?  I'm sure Mary Carolyne didn't miss her :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'll Take "Misunderstood Politics" for $500, Alex...

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting my local Social Security office. I always enjoy seeing my tax dollars at work, mainly to make sure that they are, in fact, being wasted and I'm happy to report that they are.  I had some personal business to tend to that I had been putting off for quite some time and I ended up having to make three separate trips over the span of about two weeks.  On my final visit, I couldn't help overhearing a conversation between two of my fellow taxpayers.  The topic?  Politics....always a crowd favorite.  I'm going to do my best to recount the conversation below...

Man:  "So who do you think was the worst president?"

Woman:  "Probably Clinton.  He cheated on his wife."

Man:  "Well, that was Hillary's fault.  You know she couldn't have been a real lovin' lady."

Woman:  "No matter.  Obama is the worst.  Big time.  I heard Congress ain't even gonna let 'em run   again."

Man:  "What?  Why not?"

Woman:  "Cause his birth certificate ain't real.  He was really born in Africa or somethin'."

Man:  "Naw...he was born in Hawaii."

Woman:  "Whatever.  He still ain't legit.  Hawaii didn't even become a state until 1975 or somethin' like that."

Man:  "Well, whatever the case may be, he's gotten us in the money pickle we're in right now by messin' up the interest rates.  I can't even buy a tv without having to pay 20% interest!"

Woman:  "I heard that!  I can't even put new siding on my mobile home because everything's so dern expensive now.  If I'd known all this was comin', I'd stayed livin' at my momma's."

Man:  "I sure hope we get a good feller in office next time to save this broke-down economy."

Woman:  "Yeah, me too.  I don't even vote anyways.  Waste of my time."

Man:  "I don't vote either.  Haven't in about 20 years."

It was at this moment, I thought, that somewhere in the world Jeff Foxworthy's head was exploding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Would You Say...

I often think of really weird things.  Really strange, off-the-wall, made-up scenarios of things that will probably never happen.  I don't know why I do that; to pass the time maybe, since I have SO much time to be wasting :)  One of the weird things that I can't get out of my head lately is if I had some "Back to the Future II" moment and I ran into my past self.  Oh, the things I would tell me!! 

I would tell newborn Lindsey to enjoy these first fleeting years.  Inhale your momma's sweet smell and enjoy the sound of her beautiful voice singing you to sleep.  I would tell her to enjoy being the baby of the family, because Stew would be along before too long and forever strip you of that title.  I think I would also tell her to live it up while she can in those comfy footed pajamas, because apparently it's unacceptable to wear them as an adult :) 

Next, I would like to run into five-year-old Lindsey.  If memory serves me, Lindsey at this age was a happy-go-lucky little girl that preferred to skip instead of walk.  I would tell her to keep that sunny, positive attitude because Heaven knows you'll need it when you hit about 16.  I would tell her to cherish the times that she spends with her family dog, Rebel, because he'll be gone soon and you'll never have another pet like him.  Even when you're an adult, you'll still be convinced that Rebel was actually a human being in a dog's body :) 

Seven-year-old Lindsey has no idea what is going to happen to her at this very young age.  It will change the course of her life.  She has no idea that in July of that year, she is going to meet her future husband.  I would tell her to keep an eye on that cute little boy sitting in the church pew next to her, because someday he is going to be the reason you get out of bed in the mornings.  He'll be what brings you immeasurable happiness and he'll be the one you'll be thrilled to grow old with. He'll be the one you want to have children with and the one you want to cuddle with on the couch.  He'll hold you when you cry and make you laugh so hard your stomach hurts.  He'll drive you crazy when he leaves his bathroom a mess, but you'll clean it up anyways because your heart will be so full of love for him.  He'll leave the house at 10 pm when you're pregnant and have a craving for Kripsy Kreme and he won't get mad if you don't save him one.  You will know how it feels to have butterflies in your tummy for the rest of your life, because of him.

Fifteen-year-old Lindsey is well, a brat.  Plain and simple.  I would probably slap her if I ran into her.  I can say that, because it's me :)  After popping her in the mouth for talking back to her momma, I would tell her to try to enjoy being a teenager.  I know all the stress you're feeling, all the pain, all the fear.  Honestly, Lindsey it gets harder before it gets easier.  Much harder.  But you will be just fine.  Don't invest time in boys that don't care about you and stick with those sweet friends you have, especially the friend you have in your mom.  Stop being so rebellious, stop being ugly to your mom, stop skipping school...and go clean your room.

Twenty-two-year old Lindsey finally has it (somewhat) together.  She married the best fella out there and she's happily settling into married life.  She's trying so hard to be the perfect wife and mother, but it's not happening :)  After forcing her to stop obsessively cleaning the house, I would sit her down and tell her she's being unrealistic.  You've got years to clean this house, trust me.  If you had any idea how much laundry you'll be doing before you hit 30, you'd rest up now and save your energy.  I would tell her that in just a few short years, her house will be full of precious little girls bouncing off the walls and tearing up the place.  I wonder if she'd believe me if I told her that it won't really bother her anymore if the laundry isn't done and there are dishes in the sink?  I'm sure she'd be shocked to hear she'll be the kind of mom whose girls aren't always well-behaved or well-dressed, but you'll be okay with can handle it.  You will have days that you want to pull your hair out and getting to go to the bathroom alone is a rarity.  There will be times you feel so alone, but you snap out of it fast because you'll realize you have more love and more support than you ever imagined.  You will consider yourself beyond blessed because you have healthy kids, a husband who adores you and a family that makes your job as a mom SO much easier, just by being there for you.  By the by, enjoy that figure because by the time you hit 25, it'll be long gone :)

I wonder what I'll tell 40-year-old Lindsey, 50-year-old Lindsey or even 70-year-old Lindsey?  I'm sure I'll tell her that it's okay to cry when your girls leave for college or when you see their daddy walk them down the aisle.  I may tell her that hot-flashes and mood swings are a normal part of menopause, but try not to take it out on Ryan so much, he's only trying to help :)  Or maybe I'd tell her that her choice in a retirement community was excellent, although I know it was hard to sell the home where your children grew up. 

Oh, and big points to the first person to knows what band has a song with the same title as my post :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

To Know Her is to Love Her...

Our sweet Anne Claire turned one this past week.  I really feel as if it were just a few weeks ago that I held that tiny (for one of our babies!) seven pound, nine ounce baby in my arms for the first time.  I will never forget the look on her face that precious moment.  She had the sweetest, loveliest expression on her face, almost as if she were telling me, "I'm here, Momma."  That very minute, all the pain I had felt seconds before vaporized, and time froze.  I felt like her eyes were fixed on mine and that she was studying me as much as I was studying her.  I still get that feeling when her beautiful blue eyes meet mine.  She has a calm about her, despite the chaos that ensues in our home on a daily basis!  Anne Claire simply sits back and takes it all in.  She watches her sisters with quiet observation and I wonder what is going on in her little mind.  I can't wait until she learns to talk so she can fill me in on what she's thinking about.  For the time being, I am happy just to watch her grow and soak up all the love and happiness that surrounds her.  Ever since she was born, a verse of The Beatles song, "To Know Her is to Love Her" has reminded me of Anne.  This verse is a perfect fit for that perfect baby:

To know, know, know her
Is to love, love, love her
Just to see her smile
Makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know her
Is to love, love, love her
And I do.

Happy birthday, Anne Claire.  You light up my life :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What If...

I don't know about everyone else, but Charlie Sheen has made me realize something recently.  The more the media talks about him (and every other idiot in this world) the more it seems to encourage his bad behavior.  I think if we all became disinterested in what he was doing, he may stop.  What if the media only reported on the good stuff people did, however boring it may be?  Would that cause people to stop doing ridiculous things for attention?  Probably not, but it's an ammusing thought anyway.  What if these were the headlines we were used to...

"MTV Donates All Earnings to Charity; Vows to Go Off the Air for the Good of Mankind."

"Charlie Sheen Treats His Kids to a Trip to the Zoo and an Ice Cream."

"Snooki and The Situation Enjoy Brunch and a Round of Golf."

"Lindsay Lohan Buys Fertilizer and Tomato Plants for Her New Garden."

"Divorce Rate Down; Couples Reportedly 'Love' Being Married."

"Kardashian Sisters Start New Jobs as Geriatric Nurses; Patients Say the Sisters are 'Kind and Unpretentious."

"Michael Vick Adopts Entire Animal Shelter, No Ulterior Motive Suspected."

"Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag Take Vow of Silence."

"Paris Hilton Buys Fuel-Efficient Hyundai, Says She's Thrilled with the MPG."

"Rappers Grammatically-Correct Songs Create a Generation of Well-Spoken Teenagers."

"Lady Gaga Has Busy Saturday, Mowing the Grass and Painting the Garage."

"Kanye West Loses a Canasta Tournament, Shows Crowd How to Be Gracious in Defeat."

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Feminine Mystique...

I've said many times how much Ryan makes me laugh. I think it is the glue that holds our marriage together. Well, actually, God is the glue, but you know what I mean. Lighten up. Anyhow, last night Ryan was telling me about a commercial he had seen. I am going to do my best to recount the conversation we had about it:

Ryan: "Guess what I saw a commercial for today?"
Me: "I don't know. What?"
Ryan: "Pads, but not regular lady pads."
Me: Laughing too much to respond
Ryan: (In a slightly disgusted/aggravated tone) "Pads to wear in case of an 'accidental spritz'."
Me: Laughing so hard I'm crying
Ryan: (Now in an angry tone and holding his hand out like he wants me to high-five him) "And guess who was on the commercial? WHOOPI GOLDBERG IN A KING TUT OUTFIT."
Me: Nearly passing out from the lack of oxygen due to laughing

Poor Ryan, feminine products and their mysteries will never end.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunny-Side Up...

The last few days, I've felt yucky.  I'm not sick or anything, I've just had a bad attitude.  I hope it hasn't shown on the outside, but I've felt it on the inside.  I know it's just because I'm tired, stressed, have too much on my plate, etc.  You know, everything that everyone else has going on :)  When I get in these little funks, I like to think of what makes me happy.  So, as a self-therapy-type-thing, I've made a list of some of what makes me happy.

~My husband, my babies, my red kitchen, fuzzy socks, the smell of coffee, anything and everything PiNk!, Gene Kelly when he's "Singin' in the Rain", ridiculously HUGE hairbows on little girls, ChRiStMaS MuSiC, fresh sheets, organized drawers, my perfect little black dress, the changing of the seasons, Paul Harvey's noon radio commentaries, Sunday afternoon naps, Laurie's perfect dimple, chenille bathrobes, yummy scented candles, Mary Carolyne's beautiful blue eyes, good hand cream, the feeling of a baby kicking in my tummy, black and white tv shows, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, my Dyson vacuum cleaner, Allison's cute "sprinkling" of fReCkLeS,  friendly people, my friends, John*Paul*George*Ringo, Anne Claire's toothless grin, my momma, running, the freedom to worship, getting a recipe right the first time, ***BeDtImE***, realizing that thanking God and counting your bLeSsInGs makes everything all better :)