17
my medical thought process (AKA why I am not a doctor)

I am thinking of renaming this blog Genie in Pain, or Pain in a Blog. I have been feeling very old and crotchety and like my body is failing me, but in my mind I still feel like a youngster, so obviously I am too young to be falling apart. Is this how I’m going to feel when I’m 74? Like a teenager in a creaky, leaky body?

After taking a few days off running and dealing with a case of not-strep strep, my neck started to hurt.

It went from mild stiffness to unbearable in a matter of days, with no clear cause. By Sunday afternoon I had to completely check out of all things that involved sitting, standing, general holding up of the head, et cetera, et cetera. So basically life in general.

So here’s where my mind went during this increasing neck pain:

Thursday: Huh. My neck’s a little stiff. That’s weird. I don’t remember doing anything that would agitate it. *Zones out on laptop*

Friday: Hm. Stiffness is back again. That’s the last time I do an extra load of dishes.

Saturday: OMG. I have meningitis.

Saturday again: Okay, probably not meningitis. But definitely something.

Saturday, continued: Says here that a sore neck is one of the weird symptoms of strep. That’s it! My negative rapid test was wrong, and the Zpack didn’t kick it! That urgent care doctor was wrong. I feel smugly satisfied. Dr. Google and I are unstoppable.

Saturday evening: Watching TV is hard. Still not completely taking meningitis off the table.

Sunday: Okay, we are veering into “I cannot move my head” territory. Pain moving into shoulder. Super tender spot in front near collar bone.

Still Sunday: I GOT IT! I have swollen lymph nodes from the strep that I didn’t have that the antibiotics didn’t get rid of! I am teeming with infection!

Sunday never ends: CANNOT. OW. MOVE. OW. HEAD. OW.

Monday: Visit to general practitioner. No strep. No swollen nodes. Insinuation that I need a massage. Conspiracy abounds. Hands over anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxer.

Monday, continued: TEARS. (Meningitis?)

Monday still: Anti-inflammatory not working. Pain in back of neck + pain down arm = Dr. Google has diagnosed me with a herniated disc in my neck. MORE TEARS. Fantasize about life before neck pain, AKA last Wednesday.

Monday night: MUSCLE RELAXER, Y U NO WORK. (tears) (no sleep) (more tears)

Tuesday morning: Zombie.

Tuesday morning still: Only been up an hour, and my aching neck is exhausted from holding up my head. Find sweet relief from a mountain of pillows and a neck pillow. Instantly fall asleep. Dream about a life with no head compressing down on my weary neck.

 

Tuesday I went in to see my physical therapist and pitched him my disc theory. Knowing how long it took me to get my back into the pain-free zone, all I could do was cry thinking about it. I was ready for black market steroid shots.

But after some jabbing and kneading and me cursing, he determined that the chances of it being a disc issue were slim to none. My general practitioner was right. My muscles were just so completely knotted up around my nerves. I practically cried with relief.

After more kneading and massaging (him) and swearing (me), I left the office feeling worse than when I went in. But after taking my drugs, propping myself up on the couch and dozing for an hour or so while the kids went from the trampoline to the table to emptying out the pantry of all things edible, I got up feeling like a million bucks. Okay, maybe half a million. But I could stand up and move around without wanting to die, so that’s a start. I went in for more therapy today, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is not a herniated disc, nor is it meningitis.

In short, new life motto: AT LEAST IT’S NOT MENINGITIS! And it’s probably time I rid myself of my distaste for massages.

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11
the flower frog

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There’s a story behind this frog.

Months and months ago Rachel fell in love with this frog at Barnes & Noble. His pink feet and flowery fur made it an odd choice for my girl who prefers ninjas and superheroes. She latched on to him and begged to take him home, but since we’re not in the habit of buying new toys for no reason, our answer was always an unfailing not today or maybe when your jar is full. Each girl has a small mason jar in which we place small, colorful pom poms for jobs well done – showing kindness, taking responsibility without having to be asked, or for other unsavory tasks we have bribed them to do. When someone’s jar is full, she gets a small prize. Ideally it teaches them to work towards a goal, but really it’s just the perfect solution to those random wants we’ve been trying to stave off buying.

Every time we visited a Barnes & Noble she hunted for the flower frog and asked to take him home. And each time we reminded her that she needed to wait until her jar was full. Only when her jar was full, she would get distracted by the instant gratification of something else – a Sonic the Hedgehog plush, a Ninja Turtle action figure. Flower frog was always put on the back burner.

For Christmas each girl received a Barnes & Noble gift card from my grandparents. They are in their late 80s and mostly housebound. My grandmother rarely left the house, and even the smallest outing exhausted her. I knew it was likely that the gift was actually procured by my parents on their behalf.

Rachel immediately recognized the store’s logo and her eyes widened.

“I can get my flower frog?”

So later that day we visited our local Barnes & Noble, the one where she had first seen the frog. Only there was no frog. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It had probably been the better part of a year since she had first fallen in love with it. In its place sat a new line of brightly colored plush animals, similar, but not quite the same. We scoured the kids’ section. I dug through a clearance bin of random animals. No frog.

“Is there something I can help you find?” an employee offered as I scattered plush characters around her station. I debated even accepting the offer, knowing it was a long shot. But I described the frog as best I could.

“Ah! I know exactly what you’re talking about.” Only they didn’t have one there. And she didn’t know what it was called. She was more than happy to call other stores for me, but we needed the damn frog’s name before she could even look it up in the inventory.

She listened patiently as I explained how Rachel had had her eye on that frog for months and months. And now that she actually had money to get it, I feared it was a lost cause.

But this woman wasn’t giving up on us. She scoured the internet for an image of the correct frog as I searched on my phone for the same. Let me tell you, there is no shortage of “flowered plush frogs” on the internet. But we finally found him. His name was Nina, and he might not actually be a him. And as a bonus, he was on clearance for $6.98.

I listened to her on the phone with a store across town, describing the item, and explaining to the other employee that yes, she knows they don’t normally place clearance items on hold, but this was a special circumstance. I wanted to cry and hug her for her unfailing kindness, but I settled on a sincere “thank you” and assured her that she had made my daughter’s day. I wish I had gotten her name. We trekked to the other store and picked up our new family member.

The Barnes & Noble employee’s kindness stays with me to this day. She may say she was just doing her job, but I’ve worked retail. I know that the times you are inspired to go above and beyond are few and far between. She didn’t know me or my daughter. It’s not the kind of place where they remember people who come in every 2 months or so.

 

My grandmother passed away a few days ago. Other than spending most of the day in a fog after I heard, I haven’t processed it much, and I doubt I will until her memorial service. She had fallen ill around Christmas time, was hospitalized, and then released to a rehabilitation center until she was strong enough to go home. Only then my grandfather fell and broke his leg. And he was sent to the rehabilitation center as well,

We traveled up to Dallas about a month ago to visit them both. They would often go back and forth between each other’s neighboring rooms, the nurses wheeling my grandfather into her room for breakfast, or her into his room for dinner. Knowing that they had this time together was oddly comforting, even if it wasn’t ideal. I worried about how they would cope when released and allowed to go back home. But a nagging feeling tugged at me that she wouldn’t be going back home.

Not long after we returned to Austin, I sent her an envelope containing a few drawings the girls had made. On a blank card featuring a lone leaf blowing in the breeze, I tearfully wrote her the words I could never say out loud – how much she meant to me, what an amazing example she and Pop have set for my own marriage. I had hoped that she would receive it and that someone could read it to her, even if it was while she slept. But I don’t know if anyone did.

 

Flower frog has been named Froggy, and he and Rachel go on many adventures together. I never got to tell her the story. I wanted her to know that the gift she gave – whether she actually “gave” it or not is irrelevant – was used for something special. I wanted to tell her that Froggy has a special place in our home now, and a special place in my heart.

I want her to know how much I miss her.

 

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3
some stuff: wtf is that song? edition

Ladies and gentlemen, Kanye.

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The other day during my run (okay, more like 3 weeks ago, since I am a slacker) I heard this amazing song. It was ethereal and indie and everything I love in a song, and I just had to know what it was. Unfortunately digging my phone out of my FlipBelt mid-run is next to impossible, so I decided to wait until I got home. But my Pandora app doesn’t give me any history, and googling “song with guitar and piano and clapping and oooh and ahhh” was only returning things like Rihanna and Katy Perry and just no. My Google skills are usually on point, but not this time. So I figured the best way to find out what it was was to just keep on listening to my Pandora station. And like 3 weeks later, I FOUND IT. Or it found me. It’s “Welcome Home” by Radical Face.

Click here if you can’t see the video.

 

Listen to Your Mother Austin has a cast for it’s 2015 show! It’s going to be an incredible show full of amazing stories, and I really hope to see you there! Tickets are on sale now!

Speaking of LTYM, my co-producer and I celebrated with our new cast, but we also grieve deep for the ones we are not able to cast. Sometimes a piece is really great, but we just can’t make it fit in the fabric of the show. My friend Carol (LTYM 2014 cast member…on her 4th attempt!) wrote an amazing post on how to deal with getting rejected. So You Didn’t Make the Listen to Your Mother Cast.

 

The Ultimate Splinter. (Gorgeous piece of writing by one of my new favorite blogs.)

Damn these are some old babies.

Watch out for the ruche. (Man I loved the ruche when I was pregnant.)

But girl. That hat.

It Goes So Fast (Not a Parenting Essay). From Allison Slater Tate: “No woman in the Target checkout line has ever touched my arm and solemnly said, “It goes so fast,” and meant my life. But I kind of wish someone had, back when I was in my 20s and my adult life seemed to lie before me like a vast blank page I could never possibly fill.”

 

Happy weekend!

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5
what I’m watching: animals and comedians edition

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I share my favorite things to stream online. 

Because animals and comedians totally go together.

I have been super excited to talk about some of the stuff I’ve been watching on Netflix this month. NERD. I know. But recently I’ve been in a Friday Night Lights rut – okay, let’s not call it a rut, because that show is awesome, Tim Riggins is still Tim Riggins, Coach and Tami Taylor for ever, et cetera, et cetera – and hadn’t branched out much. The kids have been in a Monster High/Larva/everything annoying rut and were refusing anything that even smelled educational. But, BUT, we all have come across some really great stuff lately.

For the kids

Lately the things they have been watching, while I don’t really mind them all THAT much, haven’t been all that educationally stimulating. So I was thrilled when they moved from teenage monsters that wear ridiculously high stilettos to something a little more age appropriate and, well, cute.

puppy partyPuppy Party – Are you kidding me with this cuteness? Puppies. PARTYING. Milo and his puppy friends basically run around for an hour, introducing kids to various different breeds, and it’s just so damn adorable. You are watching puppies play, eat, drink, and play some more. And it’s RIVETING. Oh look! They’re taking a nap! Puppies napping!

Y’all, I am not being sarcastic. We could’ve had this on all day. Rachel has decided she wants a Puggle, and I’m not gonna argue with that. And then of course you’re going to have to watch Kitten Party and Pet Party, because BABY ANIMALS.

 

scholastic storybook treasuresScholastic Storybook Treasures – YOU GUYYYYYSSSSS. I looked up from making dinner one evening, and the girls were watching one of my all time favorite stories, Harry the Dirty Dog. That makes it sound like I just let them run rampant with the remote, and maybe I do, but only at allotted TV times. It was like a gift from the heavens when they learned how to work that remote. Anyway.

Scholastic Storybook Treasures takes your favorite children’s stories and brings them to life. Along with Harry, there’s also Chrysanthemum (a new favorite of ours, both book and animated version); How Do Dinosaurs Go to School; Bark, George; and the hilarious Scaredy Squirrel.

For the grownups

mike birbiglia my girlfriends boyfriendMike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend – Let me just say that I love – LOVE – Mike Birbiglia. I first heard him a few times on This American Life, and I am latching onto him before he gets too super famous.

I am not a huge fan of standup comedy; it’s sometimes too crass for my taste (although we recently watched Patton Oswalt, and I really enjoyed most of that one). But Mike Birbiglia isn’t your average standup comedian. He’s a storyteller, and you begin to realize that he’s not just up there telling jokes. He’s telling you a story. A hilarious story that has one long theme, but dives back into his past with anecdotes and tales and he wraps it all up at the end with a hilarious, yet poignant bow. There’s also a “movie” produced by Ira Glass called Sleepwalk With Me, but I didn’t care for it. I love you, Ira, but Mike B is best when he’s actually telling the story, not acting it out. But DO watch this one.

 

Aaaannnnd as soon as I finish this post and log off, we’re going to dial up some House of Cards and see what that old Frank Underwood is up to. I only have about a season and a half left of FNL, so what else should I be watching? What are YOU watching?

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26
admissions: on cupcakes and training

Last Friday as I was gathering up Zoe’s lunch and jacket and urging her to get her shoes on and trying to locate her water bottle that’s always missing, I stopped in the middle of the living room and groaned. Dammit.

What’s wrong? Christian asked. And I explained that since Sunday was Zoe’s birthday, today would be the logical day for her to take cupcakes to school to celebrate, and in my usual last minute haste to plan her party for Saturday, I had completely failed to plan for this. (If you know me well, you should not be surprised. If I am anything, it is NOT on the ball.)

So go to HEB and get some cupcakes, he said. And then I was all, Yeah I COULD, but that’s so boring, and I like to make them, and and and… Because I really do. I don’t keep the neatest house and I don’t take them on the grandest of adventures, but dammit, I will always make their birthday treats in whatever theme they want.

And then he was all, Dude. Have you seen your schedule lately? You need to take something off your plate. Pick up some damn cupcakes on the way to school and be done with it.

So we did, and Zoe carefully surveyed the choices and settled on a container of red, blue, and green frosted cupcakes because I don’t think the boys will want those pink and purple ones. And that was that. While I would have loved to have made pretty cupcakes for her class with my killer buttercream frosting, it was kind of a relief to just spend $6 and grab a 12-pack that someone else slaved over.

 

I have pretty much decided to give up on my half marathon training. I’m not giving up on running, but like those cupcakes, I had to take something off my plate. A lot of things are different this time around from the last time I trained for a half. My kids’ schedules are different (although more accommodating than last time). I’m completely out of shape from being our of commission for almost a year. We’re working on Listen to Your Mother.

But the biggest change is my attitude.

After my last grumpy running post, everyone came out in droves to lift me up and admit that at some point in just about every single run, there’s a point where you want to say “Eff this.” But my attitude towards my training in general has been negative and riddled with apathy and anger. It’s not self-doubt, because I’ve done this before, so I know my body can do it with the proper training.

It’s that I just don’t care.

My knee started hurting a couple of weeks ago, and after a run on Friday that should have been 7 miles, but ended up just shy of 6 (with tears!), it hasn’t really stopped hurting. My longer runs have all put me in a really bad place mentally. Like, not just that hard and challenging struggles that come with training. Pure hatred. I don’t ever feel properly prepared. I can’t hit my stride, ever. While I’m grateful that my back is well enough that I can run, I’m not enjoying this in the least.

When I was out on that 7 mile run that ended up just shy of 6 (don’t forget the tears!), I threw an internal hissy fit. I vowed to not only give up on the half marathon training, but to also quit the ambassador program and throw myself a big, fat pity party, preferably with donuts, because I am a failure. Then about a quarter mile later, I told myself I was probably being a wee bit overdramatic, and realized I could just step down a notch and run the 10k and not have to turn in my ambassador badge just yet. And then I felt I could breathe again.

I have a hard time quitting things. I wouldn’t say that I normally overextend myself, but when I commit to something, giving up is rarely an option, and I beat myself up over it if I do.

But this time I felt such relief.

Seems that just like the cupcakes, I just need to take something off my plate. Running should be an activity that helps relieve stress, but right now, sticking to a training schedule is just causing more of it. I feel like it’s a waste of time and energy to continue to push something that I am truly hating. I want to be at a point where I get grumpy if I DON’T run, but it’s not coming. So I’ll run the Zooma 10k, and I’ll probably run the Cap10k right after that. If I continue to run with some consistency over the next few weeks, I will be fine for that distance, and I can just aim to improve my time. I have my eye on the 3M half marathon next January.

I’ll run for fitness and for fun, to blow off some steam and to challenge myself when I’m ready. But right now I’m perfectly fine saying I quit. Kind of.

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6
I injure myself by just being me

It really takes a special person to injure themselves doing practically nothing at all. And if there’s one way I always classify myself, it’s special. Well, that and forgetful. As in total flake. Just this morning I remembered that Rachel was going to be receiving an award in the morning assembly for modeling good behavior. The assembly was last Friday. And I can’t even use one of my nonsensical injuries as an excuse. I just forgot, mere hours after finding out about it.

Say what you want about your achy marathon legs or the scrapes and bruises you got from that extreme obstacle course. I have real, honest-to-God injuries that I acquired by just BEING. First off, I have a camel splinter. Most people worry about the spitting or the biting and don’t even realize that the real dangers of camels lies in the petting, as in their fur is filled to the brim with tiny dagger-like needles, just ripe for being embedded into delicate fingers like mine. Nothing like searing pain ripping through your arm every 2 minutes to alert you that you tend to grip everything in the world with the exact same point of your middle finger where the camel splinter lieth.

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They are also terrible selfie takers. Was I worried about the biting? The spitting? No. The Instagramming.

At this point I see no way of getting it out other than performing minor surgery on myself, so I figure I’ll just play the game of “let’s see if it gets infected” before getting too crazy with the straight pin sterilized with a lighter. Do I even have a lighter?

Then last night I attempted to rescue Tiger from eating a balled-up Hershey Kiss wrapper, and to thank me, he clawed the shit out of my right hand (the camel splinter-free hand). Like, he hooked my finger with his claw and shook it and I wanted to die. If you’re going to ask me why there were empty Hershey Kiss wrappers next to me on the couch, you may as well ask me why I even attempted to save this wretched cat from eating it in the first place, because the answer to both of those questions is I DON’T KNOW. What I do know is that I have discovered my pain threshold, and it is “cat claw puncture in the pinkie finger. Also ring finger.”

asshole cat

I may have cried a little, then I threw shoes at him, and then he curled up next to me like “Hey, We gonna watch some Friday Night Lights, or what?”

And THEN today I practically paralyzed myself putting my hair into a ponytail, which makes perfect sense, given the increasingly diminished use of my hands. Some people would probably say “Maybe you shouldn’t be such a mom and wear your hair in a ponytail all the time,” and then I would say, “Maybe you should come a little closer, because I haven’t showered in 3 days and I think you need to smell this.”

So I did my usual early morning supermodel-esque tossing back of the hair, while simultaneously lifting up my arms to gather it up into a messy bun (before messy buns came with a 7-step process and a pinnable image), and there was a popping? Or maybe a snapping? There was definitely a shooting pain, and then I couldn’t move my head. I spent the rest of the morning turning my entire body every time I need to face something or someone, like a robot, only I think most robots can even turn their robot necks.

In conclusion! Camels are terrible selfie takers with dangerous fur, cats are assholes, both of my hands are likely teeming with infection. The only thing to do now is look straight ahead to the future. Because I physically can’t look elsewhere.

 

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4
some stuff: happy valentine’s day edition

 

 

 

Honestly, none of this has anything to do with Valentine’s Day, so that’s kind of a lie.

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I’ve started doing this thing on Instagram and my Facebook page where I show you what I just finished and what I just started. This week I posted that I just finished Labor Day* by Joyce Maynard, and I started Tales From Another Mother Runner,* from the ladies who wrote Run Like a Mother.* Labor Day wasn’t as fast-paced as I anticipated, and at first the 13-year-old narrator frustrated me, but it was still riveting. And sad. But not too sad. It was more like a lonely sad.

Tales From Another Mother Runner is a compilation of essays on running and training and life and motherhood, and it’s just perfect for me at this point in time where I am completely frustrated with running and training and life and mothering. Sometimes things fall into your lap right when you need them. (*affiliate links)

 

Benedict Cumberbatch name generator. I am Biblical Concubine.

From Salon, an honest piece about how having a spouse who can bear the brunt of the earning makes it easier to follow your dream as a writer. Or not. But don’t claim that you got by with some freelance work when you come from a wealthy family, or that you “worked really hard” when you clearly have a lot of connections in the business. “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

Why we should be suspicious of the new Harper Lee novel.

Could you institute the Pomodoro Method? I think it’s worth a shot. (h/t Oh Hey, What’s Up?)

From Jen Hatmaker: On Becoming a Writer. It’s so easy to fall into that belief that writing just comes naturally to all writers. Truth time – IT DOESN’T. I mean, it can, but it’s work. Even your favorite writer doesn’t spout brilliance from their fingertips. “Writers write and writing is work and work takes time. And it is good work. It means something. It is noble and important. It always has been.”

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS. From This American Life, a fascinating episode about internet trolls and the things that people will get worked up about.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whether it involved 50 Shades of Grey or Grey’s Anatomy.

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12
grumpy running. now with more swearing!

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Saturday night I went to bed all grumpy because I knew that even though Sunday was my sleep in day, I would eventually have to get up and run 6 miles. And I was not excited about running 6 miles.

I feel really apathetic this time around. The good thing about training for a second half marathon is that my body has done this before, and I know it can do it again. I know that it will be hard, but I can do it. I know that race day will fill me with adrenaline, and I’ll finish wanting to do it again. Like, not the next day or anything. But again.

I also know I’ll get burned out as race day nears. I know that I’ll have good runs. I know I’ll have bad runs. I know I might very well get THE runs. So instead of telling myself that I’ve done it once and I can do it again, I’m saying, “I’ve done this once. So why the hell am I doing it again?”

Was I a one and done runner?

So I asked Christian, “Was I this apathetic last time I trained?”

And he said, “Yes. Yes you were.”

I’m not sure what the difference is this time around. Well, one of the differences is that I am out of shape and a few pounds heavier. And I’m not in the shape I was 2 years ago. I started training for 2013’s Zooma right off of my training for the Tough Mudder event I completed in October 2012.

My schedule is different this time. Where I thought I would have a lot more time to run and “do things” once I had all 3 kids in school at least a few days a week, that is just not the case. But I may have to consider making time for a run if I want to save my early morning sanity.

Today my back was hurting a little, so I rolled it out, ate a banana, drank my coffee, and headed out for my 6 miler. If runs had theme songs (and most of mine do), this one be a mashup of “Against the Wind” and “Running on Empty.” It was a glorious 65 degree day here in Austin, but I just didn’t have it. At 3.5, after a couple of walking bouts, I texted Christian something along the lines of “Motherfucker. I can’t do this.”  Okay, that was exactly what I texted him. About a mile later, it was “Fuck this shit.”

Bad runs make me swearsy.

I could barely pass up the elderly lady who was jaunty-walking down the street ahead of me. When I turned around and we passed each other again, she couldn’t even look me in the eye, she was so embarrassed for me.

I’m not used to crying on runs until I at least get to the 10 or 11 milers, but damn if I wasn’t close this time. I wanted to just stop and walk the rest of the way home. But I was kinda far away from home, and that would take a really long time. And I am impatient.

And I thought of my friend Lisa, who is running the Austin Marathon next weekend. I know her training has been hard. She’s had some good runs. She’s had some bad runs. She’s been emotional and weepy on some (IT HAPPENS). But I’m just so damn proud of her. I can honestly say I will never ever EVER want to run a marathon. But she’s going to DO it. Such a badass.

And I thought of the people who came out of the woodwork the last time I blogged though half marathon training to tell me that I inspired them to get out and run or walk or do SOMETHING. Because sometimes when you’re a blogger, you know you’re putting your words out there, but it doesn’t always occur to you that someone is reading them, much less getting all inspired and stuff.

And I thought of my girls and how it’s been hard for us to find a regular activity they enjoy sticking with. Rachel’s been grumpy about going to Tae Kwon Do, and Claire’s fighting some self confidence issues in ballet (we’re not even going to talk about soccer). I want them to enjoy what they’re doing, but I also want them to see the commitment and the process of setting a goal and working towards it, even when it’s not all fun and games.

Because at this point, I’m not running because I want to. I’m waiting for that to kick in, that feeling that if I don’t run I’ll be eternally grumpy until Christian hands me my shoes and practically shoves me out the door. That’s what I miss.

Right now I’m running because I have a goal, and I’m going to meet it. Unless my back gives out again, and well….I’d be a liar if I said that a small part of me wouldn’t be just a little relieved if it did.

 

If you don’t hate running, consider signing up for the ZOOMA Texas half marathon, 10k, or 5k! It’s a fun race, I promise. And you can save 10% by using the code LEIGHANN15.

 

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14
fitting life into…life

My alarm goes off at 6:00 every morning, which for some reason sounds excruciatingly early. I stumble out of bed around 6:15, shuffle into the bathroom, wash my face, and try to put my contacts in without getting a fistful of fur in my eye, since the cat decides that this is the best time to jump on the counter and rub all up on me.

I shuffle into the kitchen, shuffle into the girls’ room (I do a lot of shuffling in the pre-dawn hour) and attempt to wake them up. Rachel is super cuddly, but eventually rolls out of bed. Claire is cranky and whiney, but eventually lets me drag her out. We do our best to leave Zoe alone, since she needs her sleep, and wrangling 2 kids is easier than 3 (shocker), but she gets super pissed if she misses out on breakfast with her sisters and often forces herself to wake up and join us.

From the time they are up, it’s a whirlwind of eating breakfast, making lunches, packing snacks, brushing teeth, feeding the cats, getting dressed, brushing teeth, letting the dog out, getting socks on, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, SHOES! SHOES! SHOES! Like, how does one forget to put on the left sock?

Somewhere in there, I manage to get dressed myself. Walk to school, head out for a run (maybe), come home, make coffee and breakfast, shower (maybe?), take Zoe to school, come home, work work work, head out to start the pickup process. Come home, snacks, folders, all of the dishes I neglected throughout the morning, more coffee, clearing space on the table for LEGOs or more drawings or bookmaking, and for the love of cheese fries, please hang up your backpack before I trip over it again.

Coffee or no coffee, once the late afternoon rolls around, I am beat and want nothing more than to flop on the couch, but then it’s what’s for dinner?  then panicking about dinner and then the actual making of the dinner. Then it’s eat your dinner, sit on your bottom, and no, sour cream is not an acceptable side dish. 

Baths (maybe), brushing teeth, dry yourself off, PJs, books, lullabies, lights out. I finally flop on the couch and listen to the giggles and the continued craziness that comes with three girls sharing the same room and wonder when will this not be chaotic? Where are the slow-moving evenings I remember as a kid, where there were no drill sergeants, where I would jump into my dad’s lap as he watched TV and breathed into his face so he could smell that I brushed my teeth?

I’m exhausted. During these days there’s no time for writing, or if there’s time, there are no words or inclination. I’ve opened up countless drafts, only to stare at the white space of doom. I can’t seem to find time to vacuum, fold the laundry, contact that person about that thing, clean the bathrooms, but in reality, when there is time, I have to choose between doing those things or taking a much needed break. I feel the constant push and pull of the “need tos” and the “want tos” and wonder how everyone else balances it all out, how they fit life into their life.

In the evenings I start dreaming of going to bed with my book at 9pm. I want to write. I need to straighten up that dining room table. I should do those strength exercises I put off earlier. But all I really want to do is dial up some Netflix and binge watch Friday Night Lights, because let’s face it – that’s the only way this laundry is going to get folded.

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5
what I’m watching: what were we thinking? edition

As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I share my favorite things to stream online. 

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I haven’t been watching much of anything new lately on the Netflix. I’ve been deeply entrenched in Friday Night Lights. Yes, STILL. I’m in the middle of season 2, and I’ve determined that Tami Taylor can do no wrong, Tim Riggins is a just misunderstood puppy, and Julie Taylor is the most annoying TV character ever. I love it.

So much of the streaming exploration these days has been happening at the hands of my children. I’m not going to lie, the day they learned to work the remote and navigate Netflix was a magical one. But it also means I have a little less control over what they are watching. Depending on how much I am paying attention. I mean, JK, I am always paying attention! LOLOLOL!

larva netflixSo one day they discovered this show called Larva and chose to watch episode after episode instead of our usual Saturday night movie. It’s a Korean animated show about two silly worms in a sewer – glamorous, I know – and their many silly escapades. Each episode contains several short cartoons, filled with lots of physical comedy. And lots of farting. Naturally, they love it. Christian and I…may be rethinking this. After this next short where the red worm eats some nasty crumbs that fall down the sewer grate and toots uncontrollably on the yellow worm. (Spoiler alert: In season 2 they are upgraded to a nice apartment in the city!)

monster high frights camera actionThen when Claire was sick with the flu, I let her lay in my bed and watch whatever she wanted while I worked. She chose…every single Monster High movie in the entire Netflix archives. I never intended to get my girls into Monster High. I cringed a little when Claire received a doll for her birthday last year, but it immediately became her very favorite thing – and still is. She was even a character for Halloween. And the cartoons aren’t terrible, aside from the short skirts and impossibly high heels that no one – even monsters – would ever wear in high school. Then again, it’s been a while since I was in high school.

 

 

the interview netflixFinally, the other night, bereft of other appealing options to agree on, we found ourselves watching The Interview with Seth Rogan and James Franco. It was….a Seth Rogan and James Franco movie. A Seth Rogan and James Franco movie that I am really glad I did not pay to see. But to be honest, you gotta know what you’re going in to when you dial up a Seth Rogan/James Franco flick. Let’s just say we weren’t watching it to gain knowledge and increase brain cells. I’m pretty sure it was the opposite of that.

 

 

 

So yes, that’s about it. I’m bummed that I don’t have any great recommendations for everyone, because I usually like to find the hidden gems on Netflix. But our Netflix viewing was kind of a bust this month. Mainly because I have been gobbling up Friday Night Lights at any given chance. #sorrynotsorry

In other Netflix news, there is some really fun stuff that has come out that my kids have also checked out and heartily approved.

the adventures of puss in boots netflixThe Adventures of Puss in Boots has the fun spirit of the movie, but with new characters and adventures for Puss and his boots. I am a sucker for that damn cat.

 

 

 

 

 

snow buddiesSnow Buddies is the next up in a long line of Buddies movies that my girls are all crazy about. Puppies will never not be cute. Puppies in show? Oh em gee.

 

 

 

 

 

What have you been watching lately?

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