Monday, May 31, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 1

I would love to say that I am psyched, motivated, and loving the training - but that would be a big fat lie.  I waiver between feeling good and cautiously excited to being incredibly overwhelmed and wondering why I am doing this.  It's been like a yo-yo...and I really enjoy the ups much better than the downs. 

So I thought that the best way to review this week of half marathon training is by highlighting the UPs and the DOWNs.

UP #1:  I connected up with Michele from Scraps of My Geek Life and Fiona from Mom Active who are both doing the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and I got some great tips!  Fiona hosts a Wednesday night program on MomTV designed to support and encourage moms to choose an active, healthy and fit lifestyle.  And, during last week's program, which Michele was interviewed on, I learned about two wonderful websites that I quickly started using.  The first is Map My Run where it is simple to map out how many miles in a running route (both on streets and on trails).  The other site, Daily Mile, gives me the perfect place to log my miles and keep a journal of each day's workout - plus it is easy to connect with other folks!  It's fun to feel like a larger community!

UP #2:  I ran/walked for four days and each time I felt better about the last. 

UP #3:  A couple of my workout included pushing my boys in a double stroller.  I expected it to be a whiny, fussy, and cranky run - but I wasn't sure if that would be them or me!??!  But instead I was surprised at how much fun we had!  Since I knew that those workouts would be a run/walk, they got to tell me when to run and when I could walk.  I am confident I had a better workout with them than I would have on my own, since they choose "walk" very often, except for the short block where there was a construction site and the time I "highly recommended it. 

DOWN #1:  13.1 miles feels IMPOSSIBLE!  I can not wrap my brain around how I am going to be able to run that far.

DOWN #2:  Blister.  Dang - those things hurt!  I simply wore the wrong socks.  Never again.  I bought 6 more pairs of socks, so I will always have at least one clean pair.

DOWN #3:  Workout apparel.  A few years back, when I decided to run a 5k, I learned about Enell Workout Bras, and for me - who if I could, would happily donate 90% of my endowment to anyone - that bra was a true seas-parting, walk-on-water-type miracle!  It is quite the contraption with 20 million hooks and it's amazing smashing and flattening ability.  But, it is also a huge pain to put on and I have noticed some raw skin from the elastic band (ouch!)  So I think I am going to have to investigate new sports bras.  Also - I can not find shorts that are attractive and work for me.  Since I am not skinny and my legs, errr, rub together (did I really just admit that?) so unless I wear dreaded spandex or longer pants, I am not comfortable in the least.  So either I need to always workout in the air conditioned gym or figure out some new shorts.

OK...I guess I'll take the ups and deal with the downs... 
Week two here I come!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

When Searching Leads to Finding!

I started this blog in January and I was feeling lost.  Since then I have tried to be purposeful about figuring out who I am, beyond a mom and wife. And while I haven’t figured it all out I feel like I have found more of me. In the past six-ish months I have recognized that…
  • I am passionate about motherhood and the importance of moms supporting other moms.
  • Stepping outside of my comfort zone, while unnerving, ultimately produces wonderful moments of growth.
  • I love to write and that I am even good at it.
  • I am creative and I need to incorporate it into my life daily.
  • As long as I am true to myself, it is OK if everyone doesn’t like me. (it sounds simple, but that is big, for me!)
  • My confidence has grown as I have gained clarity in who I am and what I believe in.
And all these realizations have lead to make some decisions about my life, which are energizing, motivating, and make me excited to get out a bed every morning. Some of these life changes, like writing a book and training for a half marathon, I have shared on my blog. And, because of that, I have made some wonderful and unexpected connections with others who have inspired me!  And for that, I am so thankful!
Also, I am happier than I was in January and more excited about my future! It will be fun to discover what the next six months of searching will find.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful for my space...

My space and environment are very important to me.  When I am able to create a place that gives me a sense of peacefulness and relaxation I feel a true sense of home.

Here is one such place that I love, especially on beautiful spring days!

I can sit here, and watch the boys ride their bikes down the sidewalk and play in the front yard. 
Today I am thankful this special space.

Where is your "special space"?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do mothers judge one another?

Yesterday, Liz Szabo worte an article in USA Today entitled Why do mothers judge one another and their parenting? that caught my attention.  The article talked about that "mothers can provide one another with invaluable advice and understanding, they also can be quick to cut one another down, making devoted mothers feel inadequate."  One pediatrician is quoted to saying, "I call it 'competitive parenting'". 

The article reminded me about my early days as a mom.
I often felt judged about allowing my first son to use a pacifier.  Random strangers in grocery store lines, would tell my baby, and a sweet baby-talk voice, "Oh, don't need that thing in your mouth."

And the comments and opinions continued about my second son's finger sucking..."Oh, that poor guys is going to have to have braces on those teeth."

As I have grown as a mom, I have become more and more comfortable with my parenting choices and thus able to ignore or dismiss comments.  But, at times, I still feel the sting of the judgements from others.

I'm curious...What do you think?

Do moms (and dads) compete against each other about parenting styles and decisions? 

Have you felt judgment about your parenting choices from other moms?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Wondering's healthy. Broadens the mind. Opens you up to all sorts of stray thoughts and possibilities.
-Charles de Lint

What do you wonder?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Day 1

Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.
~Charles Schulz, Peanuts

So today I did it...I put one foot in front of the other (mostly jogging with a little walking) for 1.5 miles.  And I am sure that the ground felt needed...maybe even a little bruised...cuz' I didn't feel very light on my feet. 

Oh one said it had to be pretty!

The bad news: 
13.1 miles feel like a    L    o    n    g    way to run!
Note to self:  take it one day at a time.

The good news:
It felt good to start this new adventure!

FYI:  I do NOT plan to post about this half marathon every day - that would bore the socks off me and, I'm guessing you too! So my plan is to have posts related to the half marathon just on Mondays. It'll help keep me accountable - and perhaps it might interest someone, anyone...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On your Mark...Get Set...

OK...a while back I saw this post from Michele at Scraps of my Geek Life about the Inaugural Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and I posted a comment, that I was considering doing it.  Her enthusiasm was contagious!  Directly after commenting, I called my husband, at work, and proposed the harebrained idea to him...and he said "What?!!?...Maybe...I can't think about this right now."  And that was how the idea sat...for a a few days. 

Which brings me to today. brings me to tomorrow. 

The day I start...

For 13.1 Miles!
(What the hell am I thinking?)

But here's the deal...I have never ran more than a 5k.  And, I am at least 40 pounds overweight.  And, I don't really think that I like running. 

But I am hopeful - that I will be able to train beyond 3.1 miles - and that I might lose some weight - and that I will focus on the good things about running (maybe I'll even grow to like it)!

And committed - that I will do it!  My goal is simply to finish.
(And to have some accountability I will be posting every Monday, for the next 19 weeks, about my progress and training.)

Tomorrow I run/walk 1.5 miles.  And that, I know is doable...but I know it only gets harder from here...

So...wish me luck.  (and my hubbie too...he's also doing it!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

I never expected...

Before becoming a mom, I never expected...
  • the immense, overwhelming, I-would-die-for-you love that I have for my sons.
  • to be so unnerved by a tiny itty-bitty being.
  • to love my husband so much more after he became a dad.
  • that I would yearn for a mini van.
  • how much children would change and improve my relationship with my parents.
  • that the timing of my child accomplishing (or not) his milestones would, seemingly, reflect my ability as a parent.
  • all the boring, mundane, day-to-day stuff that comes with being at home with my children.
  • to know every single name of every single construction vehicle ever made.
  • that the answers are not always found in a book.
  • how much my friendships would change - in both good and bad ways.
  • how much whining and fussing grates on my last nerve.
  • the judgements others have about how I mother.
  • to feed them so many chicken nuggets and PB&J sandwiches.
  • that potty training would be so frickin' hard.
  • how much breastfeeding could hurt.
  • how wonderful it is to slow down and see the wonders of the world through their eyes.
  • to yell and nag.
  • the joy of watching all the aha moments my boys experience.
  • to hear my mom coming out of my mouth.
  • that I would not be completely fulfilled by motherhood.
  • that they would teach me so much about myself and life!
Now it's your turn...what did you not expect?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thanks for Thursdays - after a few week hiatus

Right now I am loving my kid's artwork and I am thankful for their wonderful preschool teachers!

Sponge Car - how stinkin' cute is that?!!?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

being yourself...

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work on being yourself."
~Anna Quindlen

As moms we try so hard to do what is best for our children, and are often uber-focused on being a "good mom".  But, sometimes I wonder if we are trying too hard to meet other people's (and societal) expectations that we forget to be ourselves?!!?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Jolt of Happiness

Today is a rainy, gray day and I was feeling a little I thought it was time for another Jolt of Happiness.  As I explained in my first Jolt of Happiness, I took ten minutes to take photos of Happiness.

And here are the results...

I love my books!

A bunch of crayons...To me, the essence of childhood fun and creativity.

No need for explanation.

We started planting this area 3 years ago - and this year it is starting to feel peaceful - like a wonderful garden, I imagined.  And to think, orignially, I wanted to just plant grass there!

Just pretty.

And, of course the boys - and their weird need to ALWAYS have their hoods on...what is that about?!!?

OK...Your turn!  What would you photograph? 
Your 10 minutes start NOW!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thanks and the Winner is...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
to everyone who filled out my mom survey! 

The responses have been fascinating and I thought I'd share a little nuggets of the good stuff with you!

78% said that Yes, they have felt that you have lost some of themselves since becoming a mom.

Beth explained, "I wanted to be a novel writer.  I wanted to write music lyrics. I wanted to get a master's degree and then a PhD.  I wanted to take long hikes and weekend getaways with my husband.  I also wanted to be a mother...which seemingly pushed all of those other things to the bucket list of 'someday'."

Sandi said, "Especially since I am a stay at home mom, I feel like I gave up on my I worked really hard for and loved.  I'm glad that I am home with her, but I am anxious to get back to work...some day."

And, Jennifer said, "I have grown so much that some of the old me had to leave."

22% responded that No, they do not feel as if they have lost themselves since becoming a mom.

Anne explained, "I found more of myself when I became a mom.  Losing my mother at 22 really put my life and idea of self off kilter...When I became a mother, my whole life fell into place.  I had greater purpose and a litmus test of any decision: What would be best for my child/children."

To the question, How often, within an average week, do you feel "mom guilt"?, you answered in the following way:
38% Multiple Times a Week.
20% Multiple Times a Day
20% Approximately Once a Week
16% Approximately Once a Day
8% Never
Mandy, a member of the 8% Never group explained, "I have to say that I no longer feel guilty. But I did feel guilty when the kids were younger...I felt guilty for wanting to get a babysitter on a Saturday night with my husband....I felt guilty that I couldn't attend all the parties and events due to my work schedule." And then she realized that, "beating myself up about it was not accomplishing anything positive."  I love that, Mandy!  I am striving to find that peace within myself every day!

I am still sorting through all the surveys and I am amazed and thrilled with everything you shared.  Again, THANK YOU!  If you didn't get the chance to fill out the survey, but want to (and I would be so appreciative) click here to take the survey.

And now for the winner of the book, When Did I Get Like This?, by Amy Wilson...

After our high-tech random drawing...

The winner is Dottie Movshin!
 Congrats Dottie!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

GIVEAWAY ~ Today's your last chance!

As I mentioned in my Mother's Day Post, I am considering writing a book about motherhood and I would like input from other moms. Anyone who fills out my survey (and includes their name and email address) will be put into a drawing to win Amy Wilson’s book When Did I Get Like This?

Today is the last day - and it is only 10 questions!  The winner will be posted tomorrow!

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone one who already filled out the survey! 

And, for those of you who haven't yet, in case you need a little more motivation...I will share with you a little more of why I LOVE Amy Wilson's Book - the book YOU could win... 

This book is her story of trying to figure out the balance between listening to all of society's pressures about doing what is the "best" for her children and listening to her own voice and being the best mother she can.  As she writes,
"I love my three children, and I know every day how very lucky I am to have them.  I just don't want to have sinking panic about mothering them anymore.  I don't need to be perfect. I don't want to be a disaster, either.  Somewhere - anywhere - in the middle would be nice."
Motherhood is definitely a journey - and it's nice to know I am not alone on my mothering travels.  When Did I Get Like This? reminds me, that many of our struggles are universal, and that there can be a wonderful camaraderie among mothers if we are open, honest, and truly supportive, as each of us finds our own best way. is important to say that I was not asked to, nor have I been paid for my recommendation of this book!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Life Changing Moment (Part 3)

A Life Changing Moment - Part 1 and Part 2

Carole’s funeral occurred one of those days, and I didn’t attend. I felt the disappointment and judgment from others, and who thought that I “should” be there. (This is the point where I feel like I should say that I regret not going in her hospital room to say goodbye and that I am ashamed that I did not attend her funeral. But, I do not feel that way. I am at peace with those decisions.) I was dealing with my grief? Fear?, and Shock? as best I could. I simply could face the realities, ceremonies, and heartache of her death when mine, rational or not, seemed to be looming.

A few days after my ER trip, I had a follow-up visit with my doctor. She ruled out other physical illness and concluded that I, in fact, had a panic attack. And while this diagnosis helped me better understand what I was feeling, I still struggled with believing that I would be OK (both physically and emotionally).

Meanwhile, there were still many questions about why Carole died. The ER doctors had never found the cause of her condition. Furthermore, her family doctor received back tests and found that she, in fact, did not have mono like we had previously thought. These unanswered questions, added to my anxiety. I desperately wanted to hear an explanation, believing that knowing the cause of her death would alleviate my fears about my "impending" death.

An autopsy was done with inconclusive results. And, finally after multiple pathology tests it was determined that the cause of her death was unknown.


Case Closed.

Throughout the following few weeks, my panic attacks persisted. I continued counseling and fortunately, had learned some coping strategies for the episodes, had wonderful support from some very good friends, and none were as bad as the first. As time passed, I slowly began to believe that I would survive.

I wanted an explanation. I wanted closure. I wanted to understand why this happened. And all of that would be left unknown. As hard as it was – I knew that I needed to move on.

As much as I would like to write a conclusion that fits nicely in a beautifully wrapped present – I do not have one. That was eight years ago (today), and I still think of Carole often. I am still saddened that her life ended after only 23 years and it still seems incredibly unfair, that there is no known reason.

Her unexpected, unexplained death shook me to the core, forced me to examine my mortality and challenged my emotional state. It was one of those life-altering moments that tested my resilience and tenacity. While time does heal, scars remain. I learned a lot about myself in those few weeks and have been forever changed. Occasionally, since that time, I have had panic attacks - and they are always terribly difficult, unsettling, nauseating, shameful, and emotionally exhausting.  But each time they are less severe.  I know that it is a moment that will pass and I am not afraid to reach out for help.  (Note to Reader: If anyone out there has experienced panic attacks, please know that you are not alone or crazy. I would encourage you to talk about it and seek out help!)

While, I was significantly impacted by this experience, I know that I appreciate life more than I had prior.  And for that I am grateful.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Life Changing Moment (Part 2)

To read A Life Changing Moment (Part 1) click here.

As the day progress, the bad cloud never lifted. At some point it changed from my fog of sleeplessness to a gloomy misty rain of denial to a dark storm of reality. Carole*, while being kept alive by machines, was gone. A scan had found she had no brain activity. Her family had arrived and suggested that anyone who wanted could visit her, before they turned off her life support. I contacted students that she was close with and told them the shocking news. Many, just home for summer break, came rushing back to say goodbye. Her friends from graduate school, and classmates from her undergrad and high school arrived. Tears were shed and hugs were exchanged and many people went into her room to say goodbye. In fact, I believe everyone who was present, did. That is, everyone,


I was scared. Petrified.

I couldn’t.

I didn’t.

The next few days are a blurry mess. I felt as if I was just going through the motions of daily life. I had still not caught up on my sleep and desperately wanted too. While my schedule had eased, sleep was not easy to come by. Instead, I had fitful nights of little snippets of sleep, mixed with crazy dreams, and waking with high anxiety. I still wasn’t feeling well, and my symptoms seemed to be getting worse. I was hot, then cold. I awoke covered in a cold sweat, and my stomach was tied in knots. Often I felt dizzy and lightheaded and those random body aches became more regular. All the while, I was trying to trudge through my days.

One afternoon, after leaving work early, I went to my boyfriend’s condo to take a nap. When I woke my feet were a pale shade of purple and were tingling. I was dizzy and was having a hard time breathing. I called my boyfriend in a panic and we went to the hospital. They checked me out from head to toe. I got an EKG, and an ultrasound. I peed in a cup and they took vials of blood. They poked, they prodded and I didn’t care. I just wanted to know what was wrong with me. Multiple tests were done and everything came back normal. There was no concrete answer and as I was being released, there was just a simple suggestion, that perhaps I had a panic attack.

The next morning, I decided to see a counselor and as I talked, in-a-stream-of-consciousness-sort-of-way, about what had transpired during the pass few days, I acknowledged something that I could no longer ignore. I tried – Oh how I tried to suppress it – but it was there. That terrified voice screaming inside my head saying “Remember – you had the same symptoms as Carole!” “You’re next!” “You are going to die!”

to be continued (the last part, tomorrow)...

*names have been changed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Life Changing Moment (Part 1)

I was exhausted. It was the end of a school year in 2002, students had just left campus and it was now time to catch up. Catch up on sleep, on my relationship, and on life. But unfortunately, I was having a hard time. The contractors were in our bathroom, at 7am, and they were noisy. Sleep was not possible. I had been recently feeling sick. Nothing horrible, just a low-grade exhaustion coupled with dizziness, and unexplained body aches. Early that morning, desperate for sleep and not feeling very good, I ventured back to my apartment to curl into my bed. A bed that had been vacant for a few months, since I, unofficially, moved into my boyfriend’s condo. It was quiet and I began to doze. I was hopeful that a little sleep and going into work a couple hours late would fix everything! Unfortunately, when my alarm went off, two hours later, I was torn from a deep sleep – leaving me feeling heavy, drained, and yearning for more shut-eye. But, I couldn’t. I had stuff to do. After showering, and getting ready, I headed into work. Still not feeling fully awake, I answered my ringing phone to Beth*, a colleague’s voice. “Kim, have you heard about Carole*?” “No,” I replied, “What’s up?” She took a long pause and then I heard her take a deep, shaky breath, “She’s at the hospital and it doesn’t look good.” My brain was not understanding. I just could not wrap my thoughts around what she just said.

Carole was a Graduate Assistant (GA) that had worked for me for the past nine months. I was the director of student activities at a small liberal arts college and she was one of two GAs that helped to provide various activities and events for the undergraduate students. Together we had worked with student leaders putting to together leadership retreat, advising student groups, and coordinating events. We met weekly and saw each other almost daily. And, while I wouldn’t have said that we were great friends, we got along well. I liked her. She was an unexpected mix between a truly, compassionate, thoughtful, fiercely religious woman, with a fun streak of rebel rocker. She was a great role model for the students and fun to be around.

As with many of us, as the academic year was winding down, she was wiped out. Furthermore, she couldn’t seem to shake a flu bug that had been hanging on for a month or so. Weeks earlier, she had gone to see her doctor, who had suggested that, she had mono and began to treat her for it. Since this meant that she was going to have to slow down, she let me know about the diagnosis. As she told me about her symptoms, I remember thinking “is that what is wrong with me?” We figured out what to do to reduce some of her stress – including extending a deadline for turning in her project notebooks and having others cover some of her events. And, after a few days, with lots of sleep, and less stress, while she was not 100%, she seemed to be on the mend. She was excited about an upcoming trip to Ireland and was glad the year was slowly coming to an end.

And so, that day, with the fog of sleep still looming over me, I was trying to comprehend what Beth was telling me. “What do you mean that it doesn’t look good?” I inquired. “What happened?” Beth explained that earlier that morning, while I was curled up in my bed, Carole, who was suppose to leave for Ireland later that day, had plans to go to breakfast with her best friend. When her best friend called Carole answered the phone, but something was wrong. She didn’t sound right and complained about not being able to move one side of her body. And then, her best friend heard her collapse. When there was no response by yelling through the phone, Carole’s best friend and husband hightailed it over to her campus apartment. CPR was performed, campus staff responded (including Beth), the ambulance arrived and she was transported to the hospital. As Beth told me all this, I nervously glanced over my emails, looking for some sense of normalcy, and there it was. At 2:03am, Carole had sent me an email. “Kim, thanks for the extension on my notebooks. I am so excited for Ireland! I’ll get them done when I get back.” And, that’s when I heard Beth’s shaky voice say, “Kim, I don’t think she’s going to make it.”

A voice inside my head screamed, "What?!!?? No! That can’t be true!" Deep down, I knew – I knew that something terrible was happening. Beth was never one to overreact. She had been there, helping while the rescue squad arrived. She followed the ambulance to the hospital. She had talked to the doctors. She was trying to let me know – but I wasn’t ready to hear, that while I was sleeping, when I should have been at work, someone I knew, someone I saw all the time, someone who was only twenty three years old, was barely clinging to life. I was too shocked to face it.

To be continued...

Today I am participating in Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Shell at Things I Can't Say.

*names have been changed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More easy buttons...

Today I want this "Easy Button"...

and this one...

What would your easy button say?

And, in case you missed is my first "easy button" - especially for moms.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It was a Walk in the Park

It was a walk in the park...

with moments of simply noticing...

the splendid beauty of the world,

that reminded me of
how much I cherish and love the beauties in my world!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if life
was always just a Walk in the Park?

Recent Comments