Can’t believe I’m running…on purpose…because I want to!

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My plan to get in shape on my dry-erase board. I can totally do this!

Β By now you know that sending Ladybug off to her first day of Kindergarten and Freckles off to begin 3rd grade was a very big deal….mostly for me. Okay okay, only for me. I’m here to tell you, it gets easier. With each day you drop them off, it’s a little less heart-wrenching.

While I was stoked that track-out came so soon, two-thirds of the way in I was looking forward to them going back. Not because they were driving me crazy (they really weren’t, I promise) but because I was ready to start running around the lake. I started doing some cardio yoga workouts when they tracked out and at first the kids would join in…then they lost interest. πŸ™‚Β  Then I decided to add in going around the lake [2 miles] to that. I walked and jogged while Ladybug rode on her new bike and Freckles rode her scooter. Then after a couple days of that, Ladybug decided that arrangement did NOT work for her. Meltdowns ensued. Frustrations were high. The trip around the lake was cut short. Waaaaay short. Thus, I began looking forward to the kiddos heading back to school. So while I waited, I came up with a game plan for getting myself in shape. [My one and only aim is to get my body healthier. I am in no way trying to lose weight. I just want my body healthier so I can keep up with my kids and be ready for another if God blesses us with one.]

I found this on Pinterest and copied it down on my dry-erase board.

Starting when I get back to OH!

Then I decided to fill in the ‘Relax!’ days with the 30-minute cardio yoga workouts. I got ambitious and decided to do add in Self.com’s No-Equipment Workout. I did it for a couple days, then realized this thing was for someone a little more ahead of where I was at.DSC00289

Since today is Monday, and a good day to start new things, I started doing the 30-Day Abs Challenge. [Little side note here, I did try starting it back when it hit Facebook and was huge, but after the first rest day, Ladybug got pretty sick and I forgot to do the challenge. I thought about it later and could’ve
picked it up again, but I wasn’t feeling anything, so I just let it go.] I’m hoping that by going around the lake doing the ‘Couch to 5K Running’ that my muscles are going to be nice and warmed up so I will get more benefit from the Abs Challenge. Then I’m going to follow it with a 15-minute yoga workout. Should be awesome!!! πŸ™‚ And I’m playing with the idea of adding in theΒ 30 Day Arm Challenge in there somewhere to help find the muscles I know are there. πŸ˜‰

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There’s something funny about this: running on purpose. I’ve never run. Unless I was being chased, and even then I didn’t run very far. πŸ™‚ In high school, we had to run a mile. I’d chuckle at the coach, run a few feet, then walk the rest of the way. I’m pretty sure I had the longest time for “running” the mile. I just didn’t run. Period.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and I’m a woman with pressures and stresses and anxieties and I realized back in April that maybe my body isn’t as healthy as I thought. The usual workouts just don’t work, I don’t have the discipline to stick with it…or I’m just not doing it right. Instead I wanted to try yoga, and it felt great. Then, someway, somehow, I got it in my head that I wanted to start running. My goal is to be able to run all the way around the 2-mile lake without stopping. Boom. How about getting myself in shape as I get closer to the big 3-0 so I can start a new decade of my life in the best shape I’ve ever been in? Seriously, this sounds like a great plan. And I’m on week 2 and feeling good. I love that I’m able to walk 5 minutes, jog 3 minutes, walk another 5 minutes two times.

I can run for three minutes without feeling like I’m going to die! For me, that is a HUGE deal and I am so freakin’ excited! Wednesday the goal is to be up to 4 minutes jogging and then Friday the goal is to be up to 5 minutes jogging. How awesome is that going to be! πŸ™‚

Anyone else trying something new?

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We survived the Frozen party! All good things, all good things. ;)

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*Whew* I made it through the weekend.
And now I’m sitting here with both of my girls home with me. They are tracked out for the next three weeks!! So excited!! There is so much we want to do while they are home, but today we relax. The kids are catching up on some Disney channel while playing with Ladybug’s new gifts and I’m enjoying some snuggles and just having my girls home. πŸ™‚

But let’s back up and talk about the big ‘Frozen’ party that happened this weekend. (Quick side note: This was the first-ever birthday party, with kids, in my own house. This will probably be the last. haha)

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The basement ready to be decorated.

As you know, I spent last week getting our large basement room ready for the party. I had also been hunting through three local Party Cities for any ‘Frozen’ decor I could get my hands on. Β Stop #3 was the goldmine…and also the furthest drive. πŸ™‚

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Everything I had planned on putting up…

I may have a gone a little overboard and now have to return a few things…but better to have too much rather than not enough. Continue reading

Got a Frozen Party in My Future…

Hi everyone! Sorry I left for a bit, do you forgive me? I know I was here once a week (sometimes twice a week) and then I just stopped showing up. I’m really very sorry. I’ve thought about you everyday! I promise I have a good reason.

You forgive me?

Oh! You’re the best!

So last time I dropped in, I was shocked by the fact that both of my kids were in elementary school and no longer at home. (Seriously, that is crazyness!) The Monday that both of my girls were in school full-time was pretty rough. I dropped them off at carpool, up until this point everything was going fine, and as they got out of the van and the teacher was closing the door, I watched them grab each other’s hands and walk into the school. Two sisters holding on to each other ready to face the world. (A touch dramatic, I know, but this is seriously what went through my mind as I watched them walk away…without even looking back.)

Crap. It was a good thing I was in the van alone because I started blubbering. I got home and proceeded to full-on crying. Hey, this was tough! My kids were going in to something new together, and I couldn’t follow! But, like the adult I am, I pulled myself together and went to hang out with my mom, grandmother, and uncle. (My grandmother and uncle were in town to celebrate my mom’s big birthday. πŸ™‚ ) Driving over, I was good. Doing fine. All 25 minutes of that drive. No sweat! I got this!

Then I walked into the house. The dam broke and that was it. Don’t worry, after getting it all out, I got myself together and we hung out all day. (It’s funny, I had the same reaction the first time I ever left Freckles at daycare. I went to my mommy’s house and started crying about how I had just left her there. πŸ™‚ )

The rest of the week I spent keeping myself busy: paid bills, ran errands (in record time I might add!), spent a day doing freezer meals, having lunch with Hubby, did laundry, and some other super fun stuff that I honestly can’t remember. πŸ™‚

Friday, Hubby stayed home so that we could attend a funeral mass for the father of Hubby’s oldest friend. 😦 So tough to see my husband, my rock, sad and hurting. Nothing wrenches the heart more than watching this man quietly deal with this and see the tears silently fall down his cheeks.

Then the weekend passed in a blur, as it always does. And we are starting a new week. This week though, I have also had my plate full. I’ve been trying to get my basement room ready for Ladybug’s birthday party with her friends and classmates this weekend.

Like any other little girl (or heck, even little boys maybe!) at this moment, Ladybug requested a ‘Frozen’ party! (Seriously, who didn’t see that one coming?) So, this week was spent moving some of the boxes out of the main basement room to the smaller basement room that is supposed to be for me and all my crafting hobbies.

Now the main room has most of its space open. And my mom helped me buy supplies for the party (pictures of THAT adventure will have to find their way on here!) and then yesterday helped me make serious steps in turning the basement into a ‘Frozen’ zone. πŸ™‚ It really does look cool.

Today I need to make a list of all the cake supplies I need, head to the grocery to pick them up, then start baking cakes! Tomorrow I’ll decorate, since the party isn’t until 2 o’clock on Sunday. With the way I’ve got everything planned out, I shouldn’t be too stressed out by the time 2 pm rolls around on Sunday……but let’s face it. When does everything ACTUALLY go according to plan? So my back-up plan? Keep Calm and Let It Go. hahaha Or perhaps my plan should be: Keep Calm and Let the Storm Rage On. Or maybe I should just: Keep Calm and Build A Snowman. πŸ™‚ Yep, having fun with this.

And ya know what? Pictures are coming soon!!!! I can’t wait to show you the transformation of the basement! It’s going to be great! And there’s a surprise in store for the party that my little ones don’t know about! Guess you’ll have to come back to find out all about it! muahaha πŸ˜‰

See ya soon!

It was supposed to take forever

me and girls

I never thought I was cut out for this “mom” thing. I honestly never thought I would choose to be home full-time with kids. I really just never thought I would be good at it or enjoy it.

When I had Freckles, I thought the 5 years leading up to her going off to kindergarten would last forever. What in the world was I supposed to do all that time? I mean, geez, I’d never have any time to myself. Those years were going to take forEVER!

Or so I thought.

I was 2 1/2 years in of doing this mom thing, and we decided to add another baby to the family. Hey, I was enjoying this. And time to myself? Didn’t really cross my mind. And if it did, I had some awesome family ready to hang out with my girls. But I was loving my job and never looked back. After all, this is going to last forever…right?

See, I thought I’d be happy when kindergarten rolled around. I’d get my freedom back! Thinking back on it now, it’s astonishing that I ever felt that way.

You know how part of the miracle of having children is that women don’t remember exactly how painful giving birth is? (We forget and think, “hey it wasn’t so bad, I want to do it again”. Then we do it again and remember it all and wonder what in the world we were thinking. πŸ˜‰ ) I believe that there is another part of the miracle – one that occurs after the first day of kindergarten happens…

Looking back, I don’t remember how torn up I was about Freckles starting school. It probably helped that Ladybug was home with me and I didn’t want to fall apart in front of her. I do remember being sad and shedding some tears, but I don’t remember being ready to fall apart or feeling a heavy sadness in my heart. I do recall thinking that “this was the beginning of the end”. But at that point, Ladybug was still home and a whole year off from preschool. Surely having her home with me was going to last forever.

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I seem to have blinked a touch too long because Tuesday was Ladybug’s first day of kindergarten. Wait, what? That’s it? It’s over? But…but…but it was supposed to take forever. They were going to be home all day everyday forever before they were going to be off to school.

Wasn’t it going to take forever? Wasn’t Abby always going to be in her car seat behind me in the car? I never envisioned a time when I would come home and not need to open the door to let a little person out. She was always going to be there waiting for me to open the door, undo her bottom buckle (because she can undo the top buckle on her own) and hold out my hand to hold her little hand as she climbed out of the van.

Wasn’t she always going to be with me as I headed out of carpool line in the morning? With her sweet little voice already asking for hot chocolate when we got home? Or asking to go to the store because she had stuff to buy?

Having both girls off at school all day 5 days a week was something I rarely thought about. It just seemed like an abstract idea. But, alas, here we are. Two kids in elementary school. How did time go by that fast?

Hubby and I dropped Freckles off at her door and walked Ladybug to her class. Then we headed back down the hall, out the front doors and began the lonely wall back to the car. Without either of our children. I was holding on pretty good until one of the teachers we passed by (who was Freckles’ assistant teacher in 1st grade told me “good luuuuuck” as we passed by. I began to say ‘thank you’ and my voice cracked. The dam had been broken. Luckily I had my trusty sunglasses to keep the tear-filled eyes hidden….though I’m pretty sure the furrowed brow and quivering bottom lip gave me away. But I held on tight to Hubby as we continued walking away from the school that held both of my precious babies.

In the safety of the van, and then the house, I didn’t hold back. There was a heavy sadness within me and all I could do was cry. I was sure Ladybug, like Freckles, was going to be fine. I’d left her for two years at preschool and she was always fine; she always did well. But it wasn’t for her I was crying. Something beautiful had just ended. There wouldn’t be anymore snuggle-filled days with my little buddy. I’m not going to be able to go to the Farmer’s Market with her and pick out fresh fruits and veggies then to get some ice cream. Instead, I’ll have all day to clean the house and keep with laundry and prep a lot of freezer meals. Given what I’m trading in for a clean house…a clean house just doesn’t seem all that important anymore. I thought the messiness and being behind on laundry and always having someone underfoot would last forever. It was supposed to take forever to get to this day.

I know, we will have track-outs and vacations and weekends, but it just won’t ever be the same. We will make the most of this new era of our lives, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the next 10 to 13 years aren’t going to take forever either. In fact, I’d wager they are going to fly right on by.

It really felt like it was supposed to take forever.

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DSC08794 Waiting in carpool at the end of the day. πŸ™‚

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Homeschool — To Do It or Not To Do It…That is the question

Well last week I kept Ladybug company on the couch. This Monday morning brought a little fever. But this time it’s Freckles who is down for the count. Not sure what is going on yet, so far it seems like just a cold: sniffly nose, sore throat, sneezing, fever and occasional cough. Hopefully she’ll be better to go to school tomorrow, with the school year winding down I hate for her to be out sick.Β 

But this gives me a chance to talk about something I’ve had on my mind off and on over the last year. Homeschool. To do it? Or not to do it?Β 

I’ve gone back and forth so many times I’ve lost count. What if I pull my kids out of public school and I fail them and they fall behind and can’t get into college? Which curriculum and books do we use? There is an overwhelming amount of tools and resources. How do we afford it? Can we afford it?

Then I reflect on Freckles’ third year at school. I have concerns that she may fall behind later because this year was a little shaky in the math area. By the end of 2nd grade they are supposed to begin learning multiplication tables. But they have spent the entire year learning 10 different ways to add and subtract. And now my child struggles with simple addition. She had everything down fine before the start of the year, but after they learn one method, they are forced to re-learn addition using a different method, whether or not it makes sense to them. It’s no wonder she’s gotten confused. Adding is as simple as first add the ones column, then the tens. Now you have to break it down, re-group it, add the different parts together, then add it all back together.Β 

Anyway, I also think about how much better Freckles could understand things if she went out and saw and touched- which is an opportunity homeschooling offers. And I would be able to slow down in areas Freckles needed it, and move aheadΒ in other areas where she excels. And one of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I could spend more time with my kids.Β 

Then I wonder, am I even qualified to do this? But as their mom, I teach them how to walk, to eat, to talk, and give them the basis for learning when they get to school. Why is when they turn 5 I’m no longer qualified to teach them? I have their best interests at heart and would stop at nothing to help them excel.Β 

Ladybug is not yet 5, but she’s been writing for at least a year now…maybe a year and a half…I’m really not sure. She started with learning her letters, followed by learning to spell and write her name. Now she writes ‘I love you Mommy’ and ‘[Ladybug] loves Mommy’ and so many other words. And she is learning to spell new words everyday. (One day when I picked Ladybug up from preschool, they had artwork hanging in the hall. Ladybug had written ‘[Ladybug] Frozen’ on her paper. πŸ™‚ And after that, her favorite thing to write on her papers was ‘From [Ladybug] To Alex’, her uncle.) Ladybug has even begun solving simple addition problems while we are in the car. So if, before the age of 5, I’m able to help Ladybug learn to spell and begin reading/recognizing words and help her learn simple adding and subtracting, why couldn’t I homeschool my kids?Β 

Then of course, it’s back to: Oh my goodness, can I do this? What if I fail? What if I fail my kids?Β 

Then back to: Well, homeschooled children do better than their public school counterparts. And colleges like those who have been homeschooled because they are more focused and driven.Β 

I’ve also worried about the legal side of things since North Carolina does require testing.Β 

And now that we have more space, it seems a little more feasible.Β 

So for now, Freckles is finishing up 2nd grade, and Ladybug is about to start Kindergarten.

Has anyone else been conflicted like this? What did you do? I’d really love to hear about it!

Life as a mom — This is hard!

Something has to end so that something new can begin. But does it always have to come to an end so fast?

Today was my baby’s last day of preschool. Two years of preschool come to an end. The new beginning I mentioned is Kindergarten. In July. How is it possible that my baby is about to be 5 and off to elementary school? It really seems like last week she needed to be held in order to sleep. You probably think I’m exaggerating. But no. I promise you I’m not. For Ladybug’s entire first year, she would not sleep unless she was held. It was a sleepy year for Daddy and Mommy. πŸ™‚

Ladybug is such a silly, fun and smart little bug. I really and truly enjoy hanging out with her. She keeps me laughing and I get plenty of snuggles and kisses. It is simply the best.

Have you ever had someone stop you in the store and tell you something nice about your child (or children)? That compliment is usually followed up with “enjoy it, it goes by fast” or something similar. Okay, okay. I admit it. I’ve said it once or twice to a mom of a tiny one. (Seriously though. In the midst of feeling like you will never be clean and well-rested EVER again, it’s done. And you do shower every day again. And you do get full nights of sleep again. But when you poke your head in your little one’s room, they aren’t so little all of a sudden. And you wonder “what just happened??”.)

But I’m getting carried away. So I’ve been reading this book my mother (in-law) gave me. It’s called Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. [Side note: I’m enjoying the book so far. πŸ™‚ ] One of the stories Glennon tells is about how she was shopping with her two small children. In the checkout line, well, the kids weren’t really being angelic. Some older lady, just being nice, told her how much she enjoyed those years and how quickly those years pass. The lady then told Glennon to enjoy absolutely every moment. All the while, Glennon’s kids are a touch out of control and she’s thinking to herself “really?!? you want me to enjoy this very moment??”. So because life is not always enjoyable (c’mon, do you really enjoy the tantrums?), Glennon decided to find a few moments each day to cherish and call it a success.

After reading her story and seeing my baby end her preschool years, it hit me. While I make a conscious effort to not take this time for granted, I kind of have a different reaction. Well to be honest, I kind of take Glennon’s idea and run as fast as I can in the other direction. I tend to worry that I’m not enjoying this time enough:

Am I going to remember the way this sweet face looks when she first wakes up?

Am I going to remember the little dimple that appears when she smiles her impish smile?

Am I going to remember her sweet and unique Ladybug smell?

And what about her laugh? Am I going to be able to remember her contagious giggle? The one that can crack my I-mean-business face?

Am I going to be able to remember the way those little freckles under her eyes make her face more angelic?

Am I going to be able to remember how warm and soft and cuddly she is?

Will I be able to remember the way, when she is sitting on my lap, she reaches her arm up behind her and wraps it around my neck?

Obviously I could go on, but I think you’re getting the idea. I capture every moment I can with the camera for both of my girls. But there are things that can’t be preserved with a snapshot. They are the moments captured in the heart. I suppose though we may not always be able to readily recall all of the things we would like, they are still there. Locked away in our hearts helping to continually shape us.

But I want to be able to remember all of these things. I don’t want to forget or have it locked in my heart, though I’m sure glad it’s there because it means that it happened. And a selfish part of me doesn’t want my baby to say goodbye to her preschool self. [Man, I’m tearing up as I type this. Hubby is going to wonder what on earth I’m writing about to make myself cry. :,) ] I’m not ready to say goodbye to days spent in the yard with Ladybug as she squeals in delight at finding worms and putting them in a bowl with water. Or to the afternoons in our front yard watching her find and catch roly polys, put them in the compartment on the back of her tricycle and pedal around the driveway. Or to the lazy mornings spent snuggling on the couch watching her favorite movie and kissing those soft, squishy cheeks and getting kisses back. I don’t want to say goodbye to picking my Ladybug up from preschool and watching her run down the hall carrying her tote bag to say ‘goodbye’ to her music teacher, which she did every single day this year.

I want to be able to freeze-frame my baby as she is right now. I want her to go on and become who the good Lord made her to be, but I want something to be able to look back on and be able to remember everything and smell that unique scent of my Ladybug.

Ah, to be a mom. This life has its ups and downs and of course it’s all worth it and I am truly grateful for every moment (even the unpleasant moments, like tantrums, because it means I have children and I am a mom, ya know?). But it’s also hard. It’s hard to let go of the babies as they grow out of one part of their lives and are ready to begin the next chapter. It’s hard to let go a little more. When our children begin to walk, we have to let go a little bit. When our children enter preschool, or daycare, we have to let go a little more. When our children enter elementary school, our grip has loosen even more and they are gone for a large part of the day. I imagine that when our children enter high school, we have all but let go. Then college. And then they begin creating a life and identity outside of the home we built for them and with them and around them. It’s hard. But so worth it. And I’m sure that, if I asked, is what my mom would tell me, her oldest with a family of my own.

So today, I swallow the gianormous lump in my throat as I pick my baby up from preschool for the last time. I put my sunglasses on, even though I’m standing in the shade, to hide the tears forming in my eyes. I know that if I open my mouth to speak I’m going to crack. So I smile the best smile I’ve got, nod a lot, and give plenty of hugs to Ladybug’s wonderful teachers; one of whom taught Freckles in her second year of preschool. I smile down at my little girl in her hearts swimsuit with her Dora towel wrapped around her and her sandy brown hair in braided pigtails and take her soft, cool little hand in mine. We’ve said our goodbyes, and the time has come. She is ready to go, and I want to hang back. Just for another minute. But with wet eyes behind my trusty sunglasses, my little girl and I head to the car to begin the next chapter.