Monday, August 29, 2011

Encouragement just when you need it most

My youngest is a passionate, strong willed, independent boy.  You can read in to that first sentence.    He can be a complete joy and a complete challenge.  There are days he can bring me to my knees.  As tough as he can be, I love this toughness about him, just not all the time.

Taking him in public can be tricky. He can be perfectly well behaved, or perfectly awful.  Last week Friday, we were finishing up or last errand to get ready for Irene.  We had been to the store, the bike shop, the bank, and the library.  We were at our second library of the day and my youngest was done.  I purposefully put him in a stroller because I knew how this trip would go. He had already been a handful at the store and the other library.  I was just hoping that I would be able to keep him contained enough and quiet enough to do what we needed to do and get out of there.

While in the kids' section of the library, I decided to let him out of the stroller.  Mistake.  He began to run around the stacks and take off out of sight.  Not only that, but he was laughing loudly.  I grabbed him and held him.  I told him to be quiet.  He screamed to get put down.  The screaming continued.  I decided to put him back in the stroller.  It was a fight.  He locked his knees and continued to yell to get put down.  After a struggle, I got him buckled into the stroller.  He continued to yell.  I was deflated and embarrassed.  I wanted to get out of the library as soon as possible before anyone could ask us to leave. I told the other boys to quickly pick out another book so we could leave.

As I was walking down and aisle, a women getting books looked at me and said, "Excuse me Ma'am."  

Oh, boy, I thought, here it comes.  She is going to say something like, "You really should not bring him to the library. or "Can't you control your son?"

"You're amazing.", she said.

I looked at her dumbfounded. 

"You're amazing." She repeated.

"You are incredible with him." She said.

I almost laughed.  But, I said thank you.  At that moment, I felt so far from amazing.  At that moment, I did not think anyone else could think that I was amazing or doing a good job.

But, here was this stranger telling me I am amazing.

I needed to hear that in that exact moment.  I needed that validation at that moment. She really was like an angel. Her, "You're amazing" meant "Keep up the good work.  Your are doing the right thing.  You are fighting hard. You are doing the best for him." to me.

And I realized that we all need to hear it too.

In those moments when the kids are tough and you feel like you just want to break down and cry, know, that you are AMAZING!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Facebook Status

Forced Evacuation: This is a forced evacuation of the XXXXXX household. All household members under the age of 30 MUST evacuate the house and remain outside until authorities say it is safe to return inside. This forced evacuation is in an effort to mitigate the stir-craziness that is bound to occur due to the impending house arrest caused by Irene. This evacuation must be taken seriously. Love, your mom

7 Quick Takes - Natural Disasters, Emergency Prep, and Plans gone awry

1. Earthquake

We live about 15 miles outside of DC, so we felt the earthquake.  All of the boys were in the living room and I was, ironically, checking the Annapolis Striders website to see if they had info about the Annapolis 10 miler race this weekend and how it may be affected by another natural disaster, Irene, and the house began to shake and I heard a rumble.  I thought it was just a large truck of some kind coming down the road.  I got up and started walking toward the front window.  The whole house was swaying and the pictures on the wall were rattling.  My oldest looked at me and asked me what it was.  I said, "I think it may be an earthquake."  Now, I know NOTHING about what you are supposed to do in an earthquake, so I decided I wanted to go outside. I walked through the kitchen and my oldest followed and stopped right in front of our glass china cabinet that was rattling.  I saw him standing there and yelled, "Get on the couch."  I covered them all in pillows (like that would save them!).  By the time they were all covered, it had stopped.  Afterward, we all went outside to talk with neighbors and I called my hubby who works downtown.  Nothing important broke.

Cancelled.  Darn Irene.  But, although it would have been a fun race if it were a nice day, I was not looking forward to running it in the rain and wind.  And, the only reason I signed up for this one is because they have an awesome finisher's gift (yes, I can be shallow).

  Luckily, the Annapolis Striders are working out a way that we can still get it.

3. Irene
I have never been in an earthquake before this week and I have never been in a hurricane either.  Looks like, before the weekend is out, I will have experienced both.  Irene is coming up the coast.

4. Emergency Preparedness
I am not one to fall into panic and go buy out the stores, but I was with half the town at the store this morning.  We are ready for Irene.  We have water, food, and an emergency radio. The car is filled with gas (not like we are driving anywhere during the storm). And we have books and movies, lots and lots of books and movies.  I went to two libraries today.  We are stocked. 

5. No more vacation
We were supposed to leave for our annual vacation to Cape Cod this weekend.  But, changed our plans due to Irene.  Somehow being on piece of land that sicks out into the Atlantic and is surrounded by water during a hurricane does not sound like a peaceful vacation.  So, instead, we are probably going to go to the tropical, sandy, sun-filled, BUFFALO. Yes, reallyBuffalo.

6. Other dashed plans
Our kitchen remodel has been permanently put on hold.  There is a glimmer of hope it can still happen, but I am not holding my breath.  There are lots of reasons why it is not going to happen now.  But, we have figured out creative ways to update what we do have that will involve a minimal amount of construction work on our part.  Once the project is complete, I will post pictures.

This is totally random, but I am seriously impressed with this adoption agency.  They have been wonderful and we have not even committed to using this agency yet.

Have a great weekend everyone! Thanks Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Brotherly Love

This is what family is all about  . . . . when they are not hitting or yelling at each other ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The 5K that started it all

Two years ago I ran my first 5K.  Well, it really was not my first 5K, but my first 5K since having kids.  Before having kids I had dreams of being a runner, but I really was a fair weather runner.  I would run when conditions were perfect and when I started to sweat, I began to walk.

That all changed two years ago.  I got this idea stuck in my head that I wanted to run the MCM 10K for the Run for Vocations in October 2009. I needed to train.  And during that training, I ran my first real 5K too.  It was the Pregnancy Clinic 5K in September 2009.

I remember being very nervous.  I remember feeling like I would die at the end of it.  I finished in like 31 minutes.  And it was at that 5K that I caught the running bug.  After that race I was determined to run a half marathon (which I did just 4 months later).

Well, this weekend I ran the same 5K.  It was at the same place, along the same trail.  I have not run a 5k race since that first one. Yes, really . . . only 10Ks, a couple 10 milers, half marathons and one full marathon. 

And, it was great. Other than forgetting to turn on my Garmin, the race went well.  My goal pace was an 8:30 and I ran the race in 26:22 (8:27 pace) . . . does anyone else think that I ran it in 26:22 cool . . . . the mileage of a MARATHON!! And I even won my age group.  Yes, there was at least one other woman in my age group. And yes, the race was extremely small!!

And my son J ran it too . . . he finished 2nd in his age group.  Here is a photo of him finishing with his brother K!  K "rode in style" most of the race, with my hubby pushing him in the stroller (that is him in the background).

Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes - Running, Schooling, and Adopting, Oh, my!

1. Busy, Busy, Busy
As you can tell I have not blogged much lately.  Between trying to get our kitchen remodel wrapped up so it can start, getting ready to start homeschooling again, reading and praying about adoption, and running, I have not had much time to write.  The days have been busy with fun and other things and computer time has been limited.

2.  Running and matters of the heart . . .
I have not been running as much as I would like lately.  I am going slower and at reduced mileage.  With experiencing chest pains while running, I have been nervous to push it.  My echo cardiogram came back clear and a sports massage therapist I have been seeing is pretty convinced that it is a muscular injury of some sort.  But running still makes me nervous.  I ran 5 miles yesterday and started to have chest pains.  As I started to correct my form, I did notice that I was hunching my back horribly.  Which can totally explain why I get upper back and shoulder and chest pain and my breathing is off.  Even with that said, since nothing is getting better, I am going to schedule the stress test that my Dr mentioned.  I really want to rule out a heart issue for good.

3. Marathon???
I should be training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  It looks like it may not happen this year.  I am hoping it can, but leaving it all up to God.

4. Adoption
I think I am praying for the intercession of more saints right now that I ever have before.  St Thomas Moore . . . . patron St of Adoption.  St Francis Xavier . . . Patron St of China.  And the list goes on. 

We had put pursuing adoption on permanent hold until the other week when my husband came home from a Holy Hour and said we should start the process.  Now, we are just seeking His will for where to adopt from.  I really wanted to adopt from Ethiopia, but there are so many changes and issues going on with adoptions there right now, that we do not think this is the right time.

And, although, I never would have considered China before, after seeking out information on a little boy on the waiting child list, my heart has been opened to the possibility.  Hence the Novena to St Francis Xavier.

We will not be starting the adoption process until my hubby is done with his dissertation.  After 7 years of course work, reading and writing, he is almost done. Revisions are done and there have been copies of the several hundred paged document lying around the house.  I guess I will be calling him Doctor pretty soon!  I am so proud of him.

Speaking of my hubby . . . it looks like he will probably get to go to ROME for work!  I am so excited for him.  Since neither of us have been there before, I have already told him that he must take tons of pictures!

7. The kitchen remodel
It has been more stressful than enjoyable.  We have one more contractor coming to the house in about an hour.  After that, final decisions will be made.  I will be honest, the reality of spending that much money is starting to get to me.  And although, we have saved up money specifically for this project, I have seriously thought of just forgetting the whole project and living with our 60's kitchen for a bit longer.  But, I know I will just love to have the kitchen done, so I am sure we will go through with it.  Hopefully, we will have the project started and done in the month of September. 

Have a great weekend everyone!  Thanks Jen, at the Conversion Diary for hosting!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A child is waiting

Did you know . . .

~ There are 4.3 million orphans in Ethiopia alone
~ There are close to 100,000 orphans in the Ukraine
~ Many children around the world are social orphans, given up due to poverty, illness, or other

As you can tell, I have been reading a lot about orphans lately. After a lot of prayer, we have decided to begin the adoption process.  Although we had put it on hold for a number of months, we are seeking God's will in this process and will hopefully begin our home study before the end of this year. 

I seem to be drawn to the "Waiting Child" link on so many adoption agency websites.  A waiting child is often an older child, but can be an infant that are often hard to place due to physical or mental disabilities.  After doing a preliminary application through one agency, we have been able to view the "Waiting Child" listings.  And, I will admit it is so sad.  Many of these children are given up for adoption due to little things like a cleft lip/cleft palate or a deformed limb.  Yesterday, I saw the most beautiful photo of a little Chinese baby boy that is waiting for a home because of a simple limb deformity.

I will admit, it kept me up most of the night.  To see pictures of beautiful children that have been discarded because they are not "perfect" and are just waiting for a home; I wondered which of these children will be blessed to find an adoptive family.

And I wonder what God may be calling us to as a family as well.

Maybe there is a child waiting for us to bring him home . . .

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For your health: quote of the day

The food you eat each day can heal you, or it can kill you.  It is more powerful than most people realize. Choose wisely what you eat.            ~ Bill Phillips

This quote is so true and profound.  I try to remember this each time I make food choices.

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I am very behind in posting these.  I hope to get more frequent with posting them.  Because, when I post frequently, I tend to write more down each day, each week.

a relaxed school schedule
beautiful weather
boys "camping out" in our backyard
a bike ride to the playground
a morning at a friend's house
daily mass
anther beautiful day
watching the wonder of boys enjoying life
new flowers planted in the flower beds
a boy who helped plant and water the new flowers
pictures and texts to my husband so he feels a part of our life when he travels for work
A sleeping in a new bed in a new room.  No more crib!
A not getting out of the bed at all and sleeping so well in it
J in his new room
J reading at night
dwarf sunflowers
a friend's electric sander
a blossoming garden
seeing nature at work- a duck eating a frog!
a day with lots of cub scouts
help from my 3 yr old to make coffee in the Keurig
my husband's new bike
family movie night
water slide
time with my parents
hand and hand with my 3 yr old
special time with my little boy
determination on my 8 yr old's face
Starbucks gift card
Nerf bullet on the kitchen ceiling
iced coffee
cards from my hubby during our anniversary week
an unexpected hug from my 8 yr old
K reading to A
K encouraging A to go on the potty
not having to wait for a table (the kindness of the restaurant owner)
learning what community is all about
friends who watched our boys
seeing Wicked with my hubby
10 wonderful years
8 yr old asking me to read the bible to him
seeing a beautiful sunset while driving across the Severn River Bridge
the sail boat illuminated by the golden light of the sun set
the recognition that life is precious
watching the boys play
K singing so loudly at mass
praise and worship at Steubie U
mass at Steubie U, alone, without the boys
recognition that we serve a BIG GOD
pool at the hotel
seeing old friends
 being on Steubenville's campus
further recognition of God's gifts
sun set at Antietam battlefield
realizing that the journey and not just the destination is meant for fun
family duck duck goose
finger paitn drawings drying the the clothes line
an owl's call
laughing boys
games with the boys
making my boys smile

(gifts 367-429)

Friday, August 5, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1. Had my echocardiogram yesterday. The tech, even though she did not say much of anything, did let it slip that it looked fine.  I will get the full results in a few days. I am glad that all will probably come back clear, but it does not give me any answers as to why I am having chest pains or how to get rid of them.

2.  The excessive heat the last few weeks, I think, has killed my squash plants.  The leaves have slowly yellowed and parts are dead.  This happened to my cucumber plants last year too.

3. I have pulled out all the adoption info that we collected months ago to look at again.  One of the agencies we got info from is All God's Children International. I watched the following video.  You do not have to watch the whole video, but just watch the first 30 sec. I cannot watch the first 30 sec of the video without wanting to bring home an orphan today!

Every Moment Matters from Videos for AGCI on Vimeo.

4. My boys were running around, playing, without their shirts on this morning.  When asked why, my oldest told me that it made them look more like pirates!  I think there will always be a part of me that will wonder about why boys do what they do!

5. I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  And, I have been spending more time at his website to get myself "grounded" again.  With looking at remodeling our kitchen and all the money that that costs, we have had many discussions about money and our financial plans for the next 10 years. Anyways, I came across this article called 5 Points for Modelling Contentment (to your kids). If you get a chance, you should read it. It is very good.

6. We recently re-subscribed to Magnificat. So glad we did.

7. I have absolutely nothing else!

Have a great weekend everyone.  Thanks Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This minimalist runner's confession

All minimalist shoes.  98% of my runs occur in these shoes.  I even barefoot run on and off. And I spent most of last summer barefoot running.  I have researched the topic and am convinced that barefoot/minimalist running is really the best for the body.

But, I have a confession.  I have recently put something in my minimalist running sneakers.  Custom orthotics.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Custom Orthotics

I admit, I was VERY opposed to them. I would not even listen to the doctors and chiropractors who kept telling me that I needed them.  Not one could give me a good reason that they would work.  Plus, they were so expensive even with insurance, that I would not even consider them.

What changed?

First, barefoot and minimalist running has been great. It is 1000% better than the motion control sneakers I was in, but it was not without its problems.  I had mid back pain when I got to 5 miles.  I had slight plantar facitiis issues develop.  I got some horrible shin splints.  And I had IT band issues.  So, minimalist running was not the "cure all" for me that I had hoped it would be.

Second, I recently went to a new chiropractor.  She is trained in many different areas and I went to her for scar tissue work.  During my initial meeting with her, she took one look at my feet (I was wearing flip flops) and asked if I had problems with back pain, etc while running.  I explained my myriad of problems and then she, as all other chiropractors had done, told me I needed custom orthotics.

I blew her off.  I told her I barefoot/minimalist run.  I gave her a brief explanation of how I did not think custom orthotics were not for me.  And then she explained something.

Not my foot!
I do not have normal feet.  My second and third toes are both longer than my big toe (It is called Morton's toe).  She went on to explain that that throws of my center of gravity on my foot and so my body has to place the weight differently on the foot because of that.  She did say that people with normal feet benefit from barefoot running because their center of gravity is where it should be.

Then she did a scan of my feet.  And, after a year of minimalist running, my arches were as flat as they were a year ago.  When I saw the scan I was so upset.  I thought, for sure, that my feet would have changed during that time. But they haven't.  And I spend most of my days barefoot.

That convinced me to at least try the orthotics.  That, and the fact that I was able to get them at cost, which is cheaper that I could get them through insurance.

My custom orthotics are in my Pearl Izumi Streaks right now and I will tell you that they do feel good.  It is a totally different feel from the motion control sneakers I used to wear.  It will be interesting to see how they affect my running and my injury rate!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Public Enemy #1

Yes, this cute little bunny, or at least one like it is currently on my public enemy #1 list.

Why? You ask.

For eating my garden.  This little guy has eaten 4 out of the 7 watermelons on the vine, nibbled on some tomatoes that were too close to the ground and has even tried to snack on a jalapeno (serves you right little bunny!).

Plus this little critter has even had the audacity to remain hiding in the garden while I picked tomatoes.  He just stared up at me until I yelled at him to get out.

He is undaunted when our Golden Retriever Rosie is in the back yard . . . I have seen him hop his way to the garden and slip past her defenses!

He is a sly little critter.  You should not be fooled by his cuteness!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Obviously my husband and I have been married forever

My kids and I have been playing Jenga alot lately.  The other day, after lunch, I asked the boys what game we should play and my oldest begged for Jenga.  As I was getting it out, my 8 yr old asked where we got the game.  I responded, " I do not remember. Daddy and I got it when we first were married."

He then chuckled and said, "Oh, so this game is ANCIENT!"

I guess I am that old and have been married forever!