Friday, May 22, 2015

Serenity Prayer for the Body

If you haven't heard of the Serenity Prayer, it starts like this:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." -Reinhold Niebuhr

(It is actually longer, but that's the part I care about.)

I am tall. Both of my parents are tall, my brother is tall, and I am as well. If I don't order jeans in the "long" size, they won't fit me. I had to wear flats for my wedding or pay for them to lengthen my dress.

In high school, my height made me slouch in pictures next to my first boyfriend, who was shorter than me. It also meant that my prom date had to stand on a box for the picture. So there is really no arguing the point that I am tall.

It used to really bother me. I would joke about giving some of my height to my shorter friends. Even now, Blake doesn't like me to wear heels because we are the same height, and if I add a heel, I am actually taller than he is.

But my height is in the category of "things I cannot change." Over time, I have come to have peace with my height and be thankful for the advantages it gives, and I try to help others when I can, as there have been a number of times I can help someone reach something that they just couldn't quite get.

I also really wanted blue eyes. Not sure why, but I have loved blue eyes for a long time, I am typically attracted to blue eyed guys (both in real people attractions and the celebrities I find attractive), and I wished my eyes were blue too. They aren't. They are brown, though I think growing more hazel with time. (Notice though, I caught a blue eyed guy, and even have a blue eyed son, so that's a win).

I could go on, as I think most people can, with the things about my body that I don't like and can't change, but that isn't my point.

I am also not a "girly girl." I admire people who know how to dress stylish, do their hair, put on makeup, etc. But here's the difference. I could change this. If I put in the time, the effort, the money, etc. I could learn how to do my hair and makeup and I could look put together every day.

I go in waves of trying to work on this area, and deciding that I don't care enough to try. But either way, this is not a "thing I cannot change." I can change it, it just would require more work than I am willing to do.

At the end of the day, the desire to look put together isn't a big issue. It doesn't affect anyone but me, it doesn't hurt anything either way. It doesn't matter which way I decide.

I am currently reading a book called "Fat Land" and it basically explains all of the elements of our nation's rise to obesity.

A lot of it comes down to culture. Our culture has become one that preaches, "Love your body! Accept who you are! Embrace differences!"

I don't disagree with that. As previously mentioned, I need that message to accept my height, accept my brown eyes. My daughter may just need that message to be happy with her hair, or skin color. There is definitely a lot about our bodies that we are born with and we can't change (at least without surgery). Height, skin, eye color, etc. fall under the first part of the prayer. We do need to accept those things about ourselves that we can't change!

But weight and health are not one of them. They are in the next part. "Courage to change the things I can." Our culture, for too long, has preached a positive body image so much that people who are clinically obese and experience a myriad of health issues because of it, still say that it is their body, and they accept who they are, and they love themselves and don't need to change anything.

I am not a doctor. I am not pointing fingers. I am not pointing blame. I will not say to any of my friends, family etc. that any specific person falls under this post. But if a doctor has told you, or you know you are experiencing health problems due to your weight, I urge you to have the courage to change it. The courage to take the time and effort necessary to help yourself to live longer, to stay off medicines, to be there for your kids, your family, and everyone who cares about you.

Here is the real tragedy in this area: we are so afraid, as a culture, to encourage people to eat healthy and exercise for fear of offending them or making them self conscious that we risk losing them early to any of a number of obesity related health problems. We would rather not hurt their feelings? Many people in our nation are dying, physically dying, because of something that CAN be changed.

My hope, my wish, my prayer, for our culture in this area is that we can start finding the courage to speak up, and not put weight and health in the same category as height. That people would see it isn't something to accept about yourself... but something to have the courage to change.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - See more at:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - See more at:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - See more at:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sonnet for May 2015

Grace's first year at preschool is nearly at a close,
while Remington's time at gymnastics has barely begun.
In her weekly dance class, she learns to walk on her toes,
He finds that swinging, climbing and bouncing is lots of fun.

Times spent at home are full of reading books,
followed by a evening walk with dad to the playground to play.
Imagination runs wild at home with little practicing cooks,
when asked to stop, the little boy says, "I walk away."

Superman is the focus of a little boy's delight,
and our daughter loves to look and dream about the distant outer space.
"On top of Spaghetti" is the favorite song at night,
and fights break out when he calls her "Gracie" and not "Grace."

Lisa's focus rests on getting through "Rory's List" some each day,
and Blake's main hope is that the Ducks go all the way.

p.s. apparently the videos posted this way don't have sound... so you can just watch cooking and skating.

Monday, April 13, 2015

First Ragnar Experience

The tagline for this event is:

"Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.

You and 11 of your craziest friends (or 5 of your crazier friends for an ultra team) pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style."

I'm not really sure what part of it appealed to me most, but it definitely sounded like an experience that I would never forget... and I loved it!

My dad picked me up at 4:00am on Friday the 10th, and then I was participating in the Ragnar until he brought me back home at 5:00pm on Saturday the 11th (including the 2 hour drive home).

During that time I had three runs, and lots of time spent in the van or in my aunt's beach house in between our turn to run (which I was told was a very nice way to do the ragnar, compared to normal camping or just sleeping in the van).

My first run was at 5:50am or so. I ran 4.15 miles in 39:07. It was dark, but fun, and I got to chat with some of the other runners. This was a very uneventful leg of my journey. Then, I didn't run again until 6:45pm!

In between I cheered on my fellow runners, and we saw the start of "code 731." As with all relay races, when one runner finishes, the next runner is supposed to be there, waiting, ready to start their run. With a crazy relay race like ours, with van rides between spots, there is occasionally delays. But we saw one runner, runner from team 731, who arrived with no one there... and still no one after 10 minutes... 20 minutes, 30 minutes plus... and then our runner arrived, we made the switch, and we had to drive off to our next location. But our whole team was worried about this runner, and kept an eye out for their van.

We did see the van, about leg 6, of team 731, and felt reassured that they were reunited once more. But by this point, code 731 had become our way of reminding others to hurry to the next runner, because we didn't want any of our team to be "code 731" where they were wondering where the van and runners were.

My second leg, starting at 6:45 was a beautiful run, very scenic, and I got to see the sunset. But there was a problem... the sign that there was one mile left, at which point we text the team that we are a mile out... wasn't there. I waited to see if my garmin was wrong... but by the time I knew it was wrong, I could actually see the exchange point! So... I texted "almost there," not sure what else to write!

It wasn't a problem, my team was there (no code 731...yet), but I did so well, I actually was too fast for my dad to see me finish the leg. I ran 3.98 miles in 35 minutes, way better than my typical 10 minute mile pace. He arrived as I was walking away with vanmates back to the car.

Around this time, one teammate got a horribly bad migraine, to the point where she could barely sit up, much less run. Another teammate took her place for the night run, and we talked about me taking her next run if needed, in addition to my third leg, or switching runs (I had a shorter flat run, she had a longer hilly run).

We got to head back to the beachhouse after our second legs at 10:17pm, and I think I went to sleep about 11pm. We were planning on getting up and moving at 2:00am for our next set, but at 1:40am, we discovered that our other van was moving fast, and we needed to hurry to get there as their last runner had already taken off! So, we managed to take off from the house in just a few minutes, and made it to the exchange on time.

At this point, my not feeling great vanmate was feeling better, but on the fence about switching runs with me, or toughing it out, so I was prepping myself to run my leg (at 3 or so), and drinking coffee etc. But she eventually decided that it was in her best interest to switch and to make sure she didn't push herself past her limits (and agreed after her run that it was good to switch), so instead I had 4 more hours before my run started, and now I was wide awake. I made the best of it, and was able to see each team member's switch through the night.

My last leg started at a little bit before 8. It was cold outside, while not running, and as the sun wasn't too high yet... so I was wearing a running skirt and a long sleeved team shirt as I set off. This leg started with a half mile "warm up" before I started climbing the hill... for the next mile and a half! I went from sea level up to 450 feet of elevation! Not easy, but I pushed through, and even passed a number of people.

As you would expect, the running, plus the hill, plus the day getting warmer, I got hot... and though I hated to do it... I had to change to just my sports bra after I made it to the top. While I was working on the process of removing my shirt... a girl I passed on the hill caught up and passed me.

I wasn't about to let that go, so I got my pace back up, and passed her again. I stayed ahead of her until the last little stretch where I look over my shoulder... and there she is again! I couldn't let her pass me again... so we did a full blown sprint to the end of the leg. (So fun) But alas, her teammate was there, got the switch, and I was a code 731! (no teammates there!).

They got the text (code 731) and my exchange person was there quickly. Problem was, my sprint to the end threw them off, and they thought I had more time before I would be there based on my average mile time of the first few miles as compared to my quick 9 minute last mile. They were there on time... just a bit off and talking.

With that, our van was done, and we feasted on a well earned IHOP breakfast, and then had what I honestly consider the worst part of the whole race... waiting for van 2 to finish. I was done, ready to go home, ready to see my kids... but there were 6 runners still going on our team before we could all finish together. I did take another couple hour nap in the van, but for the most part, I was just bored, walking around or resting till we got runner 12 done.

On our way to the finish line... who should we see but runner 731! We talked to him, took his picture, explained our code in honor of him, and discovered what had happened. His team had gone to the next exchange, accidentally skipping his exchange. He didn't like to run with a cell phone, and didn't know his team's number anyways. But they were at the next stop, wondering what happened to him, and it took them a whole hour before everyone was reunited once more, with the help of the Ragnar volunteers. Anyways, crazy that we happened to see him and his team, with so many people around.

I was crazy tired that night, and I am still sore, but I still felt like it was a great experience and I do hope to do another Ragnar someday, possibly in another state!
 Checking off 1 mile done
 Van 1 cheering on Tabitha as she conquered a crazy hill (also distributing well earned candies to people as they finished their hill when we were waiting for her).
 Van 1, leg 1 done.
 (no pictures of leg 2) This is my last mile of my last leg picture... such a pretty sight!
 I finished the running portions of my ragnar!
 All 12 of us crossed the finish line together!

 Don't let a code 731 happen to your crew!

 All twelve medals actually go together. It is hard to read but says, "Together we ran 200ish miles, Ragnar Relay series"
 "Silly face" team picture
 Van 1 team picture
 Checking off my third leg... which was actually Tabitha's (yellow check mark meant run by someone else for our team)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Snapshot of Life as I turn 31

In a rare occurance these days, Grace and Remington are both taking a nap!

I decided to take it as an opportunity to write a short, no picture blog of my life before I turn 31 tomorrow.

My life is full, blessed and I feel that most days I am able to find that delicate but beautiful balance of time for me, time as a mom, and time as a wife.

Grace has preschool twice a week, and those mornings are special because I have time with Remington that he doesn't have to share with Grace. We sometimes run errands, or go to the park, or Pretend City, or just stay home, but he gets all the mom time, and he loves that, and I do too.

Tuesdays we visit my mom, and have special grandma mornings with her followed by a lunch. Then Remington falls asleep on the drive home (and sometimes Grace does too, but almost always wakes up as I get her out of the car.

But most afternoons, when Remington is napping, Grace and I have a special time where we play board games together. She loves a princess game my brother got for her and she always is Snow White, and loves to win. Recently we got a cooperative game, and she just couldn't understand how we could both win, but she loved it.

I have never lost the love of reading that I got as a child (and have passed onto my kids), so I get my doses of me-time in my reading at two main points of the day- breakfast and snacktime. At lunch and and dinner, there are no books, phones or tv (unless it is a Ducks game) allowed, and we focus on actually having a conversation. But at breakfast and at afternoon snack, both kids know that mom is reading. They are happy and content in their food, and I read that it is actually really beneficial for kids to see their parents reading, as it sets a good example. As Grace has gotten older, she actually will ask me about my books from time to time and I share what I can about what I am currently reading.

Perhaps it is because of that, or something else, but both of my kids love to read. We get stacks of books from the library, in addition to our extensive library at home (inherited from years in the classroom) and a good chunk of my time with the kids is spent reading books to them. Both of them love to bring me a book (Remington will say, not so politely, "Read it!") and sit on my lap as I read them a story, and are getting good at telling me the story of books we have read together many times.

I try for an afternoon walk with them every day, but when that doesn't happen, I try to get Blake to take them instead. But even at home, Remington especially, the kids get a lot of exercise with the variety of balls we give them access to, and hockey sticks/net, baseball tee, etc.

I strive for running before everyone wakes up two days a week, and then once on the weekend, and I also have added weight training a few days a week when Blake gets home. This is another good me-time place where I don't have to worry about anyone but me, and Blake has been amazing at giving me occasional evenings where I can go out with friends too, and he watches the kids (and I return the favor for sporting events or what he wants to do).

We have started "cry it out" with Remington and it seems to be going well, though it is heartbreaking to do with a kid with his advanced vocabulary, as you won't just hear crying, you also hear, "Momma, where are you?" and "I love you, " as he tries hard to get me to come back early. However, with his wider understanding, we can talk about how mom will come back after he goes to sleep, and that seems to be helping. Last night was only a few minutes of crying, and I hope that it continues to go down (as I truly hate hearing him cry).

After the kids go to bed, Blake and I get our unwinding time either with a tv show- recently we are on a superhero kick- or the video game that we have returned to for the upteenth time, having started it before we graduated college and have played and quit multiple times.

I sneak art projects in from time to time, but most days, in the down time between preschool, Grace's dance class, my mom, their other grandma time, and playdates, etc. I just let them play. I really push the divergent thinking toys (which are toys that can be played with a multiple ways). The latest favorites are things like the train tracks/train set, the dollhouse, and the small animals. I love seeing their creativity come out. I have seen Grace give the tiger a shot and Remington have a princess riding a dinosaur. Remington, the other day, set up a bunch of animals in a row, and started feeding all of them with a pretend fork, and saying, "Yummy," as he went. Grace will cook us up crazy foods in her play kitchen, and it never ceases to amaze me what creative minds my (and probably most) kids have when you just let them play with a toy with no specific, predetermined purpose (like so many electronic games and toys these days).

Not to say that I even meet my own perfect image of what parenting should be. Perfect world, my kids wouldn't watch any tv... but the only way I can find to be the wife I want to be is to make a compromise here. For an hour every day, I let the kids watch a show while I clean up the kitchen and prep dinner if I can. They do have to pick up toys first, and whoever cleans up best gets to choose the show. Another way that I am less than my own ideal is with cloth diapers. I feel the need, on this blog of mine, to admit that while Grace still uses cloth diapers at night, we still haven't made the switch with Remington. It is hard to get away from the better look, and ultimately ease that the disposable diapers offer, especially with the many outings we go on.

With that, Remington woke up... and so did Grace... but suffice it to say that I am at a great place of peace and happiness with my lot in life these days.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Recent Happenings

I have 15 minutes before I have to pick up Grace from preschool, but I know it has been forever since I posted a blog. 

There have been two races for me, both in tutus, one was a costume contest, which I didn't win but was proud of my Irish step dancer try.

The kids are cute as always, and remington is talking up a storm and we were told was "definitely advanced" according to the dr., with his 60-70 plus words he knows and his numerous two word phrases- like "no way" and "hockey game". 

Grace is doing great at preschool and loves to do creative play at home, like making us pretend blueberry cheese to try. 

Last picture is of a ducks jersey with a bell costume and heels :)

Life is good, but busy and full, and most of my spare moments of 2015 have been spent exercising, or working on putting 2014's pictures in a photo book... Perhaps I'll finish by the end of the year. 

Now I've got 7 minutes to add pictures!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bucket list item complete!

Way back in 2011 I came up with the crazy plan to do a 10k, half and full marathon, and officially announced it on the blog. There was going to the the two shorter races in 2012 and then the full in 2013. But thanks to Remington, I was a spectator that year. Then pregnancy, recovery and retraining, minus the broken toe time, and I made it to today. 

I completed my marathon today!!!! A goal since high school, a committed goal worked towards for 4 years, was completed today!

But more than that I am super excited to say that I didn't just finish... I rocked it! I was afraid of shuffling along, eventually going 15-16 minute miles, lots of walking. No, that was not my race today.

I was strong! I had to hold myself back in the first half and still finished in 2:13,
and then kept running the majority of the second half, taking walking breaks for water or at the mile markers. I was passing people in the last 6 miles! Passing them! And when I saw my time on my watch, I figured out I could make it under 5 hours if I ran from mile 25 to the end, and I did it! I actually sprinted, yes, sped up, for the last .2 and crossed before the 5 hour mark by 2 minutes!

I got super emotional at mile 25, 26, when I could see the finish line and when I got my medal! The worst parts were at the few points in the course where we had to double back, and I just wanted to reach that point. Also, my lower back kept hitting so all walking points also had a forward fold, stretching on the side time. 

Miles 20-26 were dedicated to the adoption process for Grace, with each mile representing one step closer to getting her home.

Overall I averaged an 11:30 or so pace, but it actually was closer to 10 (or faster) in the first part and 13-14 in the later parts. 

Thank you everyone for your support and especially to my dad who followed me around on his bike to cheer me on multiple times and to Blake, who took care of both kids all morning and still showed up with them at my race to see me finish.

P.s. How I feel now, with my legs crazy hurting is worse than I felt while running, but I finished that huge goal in a way I am so proud of!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of 2014

In last year's end of the year post, I wished that 2014 would be a much less exciting year than 2013... with all of the kids arriving and figuring out how to become a parent of first one then two kids.

I think I got my wish. As I looked back over the blogs of the year and then went through my annual jar of mementos, I made a few observations.

This year had big moments for other people, but not too many for us. My brother and sister in law got married, and I had two cousins have their babies. Huge events (invites featured in the top left) for those people, and events we were excited to celebrate with our family, but not big events for us personally.

In the top right you can see three race bibs (much less bibs than those featured in the 2012 end of year post), but the funny thing is that none of them carry much significance to me. The 2311 race number is for a race I did to try to get a good time for the Avengers Marathon (the 2360 race), so I could be in a good corral to start (which I did). Trouble was, I managed to break my toe a few weeks before the event, so though I did it... and finished... I walked it. Best thing about that day was having fun with my sister in law, bonding with her, and being in a superhero costume. But definitely less than the "I ran a half marathon" feeling. The little race bib is Remington's. It was for his first race, but even that was a dampened affair. Grace was supposed to do the race with him. They were both signed up to do the inaugural Avengers Kids race together. But the night before... Grace got a fever. A minor one. But enough that we had to do the whole ER visit, late night, blood draw evening, instead of the night before a race evening. It also meant that I went with Remington, but Blake wasn't there for his son's first race, and Grace just missed out on the fun. (For the record, he needed a lot of encouragement and some hand holding, but he did the whole 100 meters on his own two feet). I hope that in one month from tomorrow, I can officially say that I did my marathon, and that will be a race bib of 2015 to be proud of, but the race bibs of 2014 are all somewhat dampened for me.

On the left bottom you can see a category of mementos that seems to keep growing- sports stubs (and there were many more that never even made it to the bottle). We went to two baseball games, a football game, and many hockey games in 2014. Blake is becoming more and more a sports guy and I seem to be pulled along for the ride, and am finding myself enjoying these sporting events right along with him.

We have mementos of some of the stand out events of the year- Grace's first recital (a disaster in which she did not appear on stage), our family vacation to San Diego, OC Fair, my 30th at the House of Blues, first family trip to Disneyland, and seeing a musical. (Two less significant mementos- movie stub and carousel ride stub).

But one of the observations I made on this trip back through 2014 is of the big things that don't have any physical marker for them in the jar. This includes events like Blake's 30th boat ride, the girls karaoke night, and the trip to California Adventures, but it also includes things that I would say mark 2014 the most.

At the end of 2013, Remington was little more than a blob (a cute adorable blob) who had just learned to roll over, but he couldn't do much when you put him on the ground. Now, he is almost running, and is able to very much communicate with us, with several words! 2014 marks the year he went from baby to toddler.

Pretend City is another big one. We got a membership in March, and went countless times in 2014. I have seen both kids play with every area of that place in many different ways, and we have tons of memories made there this year.

If you had asked me back before I reread my year's blogs if Grace has drastically changed this year, I would have said no. But I would be wrong. Conversations with her in early 2014 were mostly run by us with her adding little bits. Now, Grace is saying many full, long, complex sentences and stories. For example, today on the ride home from some errands, she was pretending to drive. She said, "Bye, see you later, I'm going to work. I'm back, now I'm going to the gym. I'm back, I'm going to drink a protein shake." (Based off of what Blake does daily). Another day she was talking to her dinosaur and telling him to make good choices and to eat his rocks. If we tell her not to do something because she might get hurt she says, "I don't want to get hurt, then, I go to hospital, and get poked. " If you ask her what she will be when she grows up she says, "A doctor." (Except for the time she answered, "Santa, so I could have a long beard.")

She goes to preschool, she can undress herself, she brushes her own teeth, she takes her medicine daily like a champ. She understands and knows so much! She can count to 13 perfectly (and the next numbers vary, in one instance being nineteen, seventeen, eleventeen).

She and Remington argue, as all siblings do, but she also can be super nice to him, and says, "Thank you, Remington," when he gives her things, and will also volunteer to give stuff to him.

This year has had its less than perfect moments too. Like when Grace missed her first trip to the mountains because of a bad crisis triggered by a beach trip. Landed her eventually in the hospital for two days, and she got an MRI (though thankfully nothing worse came of that crisis). She missed her first day of preschool for this hospital trip too. As mentioned above, she missed her first race to a fever. She, at all of three, had a liver biopsy this year (and already has some liver damage consistent with her known medical history, but nothing too bad to start a new medicine for sickle cell).  This new medicine is a gamble, as the doctors aren't sure how it will affect her other problems, and it is known to weaken the immune system, but the payoffs are great, so they advised us to start it. We shall see.

We had our one year old birthday party and our three year old birthday party, we had many Remington first holidays, and overall, I think we had a great year, enjoying the beautiful kids that are such a blessing to us.

My wish for 2015 is much of the same. I wish for continued health and happiness for our family and for others. I wish for us all to focus on each other more, and less on our stuff and our electronics. I wish for us all to make good choices (as I so often emphasize with my 3 yr old) for ourselves and for our relationships with others. Happy New Year!

p.s. Where are the cute kid photos and videos? They will be featured on another post within the week. :-D