Category Archives: Family

Back to School Squash

At seven-going-on-seventeen it is so easy to be mortified.  With the start of a new year of school I am watchful for the subtle shifts in behavior.  Do I get a kiss when the school bus pulls up?  Am I woefully out of touch as I suggest outfits for the first week of school?

So far it seems my sweet, big girl is still my funny, little girl underneath it all.   The first day of school outfit was a smashing success and I got a kiss AND a hug in front of the school bus.  There was no additional waving once the bus was boarded but the tinted windows on the bus let me believe that perhaps I just missed it.

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Obligatory First Day of School Pic

Day one was a win all the way around.

Day two started smoothly.  And then every parent’s favorite – “Oh, wait. I did have homework” – moments before the bus is to arrive.  Ever dramatic (where does she get that from?) she clarified that actually she just had to think about something that makes her unique and be prepared to talk about it in class.  Seizing an opportunity to make her roll her eyes, I made several suggestions.  “You could tell them about how everyone in your family is criminally insane.”

“I try and appear totally normal at school.” Good luck with that, kid.

“Umm, you could talk about what it is like to live in a house with a mother that is so incredibly beautiful?” This is funnier if said mother is wearing a nightgown and half a ponytail and her pink fuzzy slippers.

Eye roll number two. And a smile.  The eye roll/smile combo is essential to my parenting.  If I can get her to be annoyed and find it all at once unavoidable to reveal the fact that she shares my sense of warped humor I know I am doing something right.  We all need our own parenting yardstick and this is mine. This sense of humor has served me well and it is all I hope to pass down.

I was hula-hooping in the driveway with Lucy when the bus arrived in the afternoon.  (Testimony to her still being a little more kid than pre-teen, this is not embarrassing at all.) Em hopped off the bus as she always does, mid-sentence.  She had a smirk on her face.  “How was your day?” I called to her.

“Well… it was embarrassing.”

Uh-oh. “Look what someone put in my backpack!”

It could have been so much worse.  We were in the front yard after school on Monday and Lucy was picking vegetables.  It seems she thought she would pack Em a snack. In the greater scheme of things, of all the things she could have slipped in her backpack a squash isn’t so bad.

Traditions are born in funny ways.  I am tempted.  The Second Day of School Squash might elicit the eye roll/smile for many years to come.  Or at least I hope it does.  I have made a note in my calendar.  Late August, 2014.  “Stick squash in Em’s backpack.”

Squash

Lucy NEEDS that squash. It’s as if she has been wondering for an entire day where in the hell she stashed it.

Meditation: It’s ok.

Sometimes all it takes to get my head screwed back on is a chance to take a look at my life through someone else’s eyes.  Rarely do I have the opportunity to really see it, my life, my family.

I have been cranky.  Scratch that – Cranky.  And cranky leads to feeling ungrateful and bitchy.

MQD volunteered us to host a student from the local Won Buddhism temple.  He asked me about it first, naturally, and I said “No problem!” in my customary way and promptly forgot all about it.  I was knee-deep in being Cranky when he reminded me “I pick up the student tonight from temple, don’t forget.”

You’re fucking kidding me, right?  I am limping (tendonitis and bursitis in my aging hips, a post to follow) and angry and Lucy is teething and I guess I need to put clean sheets on the bed and make dinner and paste a smile on my face and pretend to be the Happiest American Family in All the Land.  Great.

“I can pick him up after dinner time and we will go to meditation at 6:30 tomorrow morning, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.  MQD likes to say “It’s ok.”  I used to translate “it’s ok” in my mind to mean “what you are saying is not important and actually not a reason to complain, why are you so damn difficult?” I heard it as a dismissal when all he ever meant was “It’s ok.”  I have spent the last year learning to hear him say “it’s ok” and think only “Thank you.  You’re right.  It really is ok.”

So, in the spirit of “It’s ok” I said “Great.  See you tonight.  I will make dinner.  Vegetarian something just in case.”

He walked in to the house smiling.  He left his shoes by the front door.  His iPad in hand with the Google Translate app open, he simply smiled.  19 years old. He has been in the US for only a week.  MQD showed him to his room.  Emily helped me finish setting the table.  Lucy smiled back at him.

As I finished getting dinner ready I overheard him talking to Lucy.  She was yelling at him “Shoes! Shoes!” and trying on the shoes he had left by our front door.  Laughing again he said to me “I speak little English.”  Pointing at Lucy I said “You speak more than she does, and I hang out with her all of the time.”  I wasn’t sure if he had understood my joke and I resisted the desire to repeat myself, louder.  “Lucy and me – best friends” and he clasped his hands together.  He got my joke.

20130711-131201.jpgIt was a nice evening.  The kids were pleasant.  Baked ziti for dinner.  I had a cocktail on the porch with my neighbor while MQD and his new friend talked horror movies and music.  Studying to be a priest or not he was still a 19 year old boy.

Morning meditation was skipped. He asked if he could spend more time with our family.  Over the top of his cup of coffee MQD looked to me to answer.  “Of course.”  Somehow in the midst of pasting a smile on my face I had felt the fog lift just a bit.

As I drove him to temple later in the morning he struggled to find the words.  “Envy.  I envy you.  Your house.  Family.  Two children. And a dog.  It is as in a dream?”

It is.

It’s better than ok.  It is a dream.  And I needed to be reminded.

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A Not So Very Big Deal Kind of Day

“I just realized I should have called you before I did this… but I gave away our crib today,” I said, as soon as he answered the phone.

“Just get a picture before you take it apart,” he said.20130701-143311.jpgIt wasn’t all the way apart.  And to be honest, this is as “in the crib” as Lucy ever got in the last two years.  So, it was kind of a non-event.

I took apart the crib and gave it away.

That sounds like a Big Deal, like a milestone.  “Awww, hold old is your baby? Is she moving in to a toddler bed?”

The “baby” is not even 18 months old but it doesn’t make any sense to keep stuffed animals in a gigantic cage.  In fact, I am not even really sure why we had so many damn stuffed animals and I gave away a trash bag of those today, too.

She isn’t moving in to a toddler bed.  In fact, when she moves out of our bed and in to her own it will be a step down.  She will be moving from a King to a Queen.  Poor kid.20130701-143303.jpg

I briefly considered looking at bedding online.  But it is hard to find whimsical kid bedding in a Queen size.  I spent a year and a half wedged in a twin bed with Emily when she “moved in to her own bed” and I am not making that mistake again. So, a Queen size bed it is for this kid.

And really, by the time she moves in to her own room she probably won’t want a whimsical kid room, anyway, right? I should probably get some kind of side table so she has a place for her cup of coffee, huh? I’m guessing she will be reading and drinking coffee by the time she moves out of our room.  She has a comfortable chair; she just needs a table.  Kid will be Virginia Woolf’ing it up by her 17th birthday, max.  But I am ready.

In the meantime, we are booking the Guest Room for the remainder of the summer season.

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Uh oh

It’s cute the first time your kiddo says “Uh oh.”

It’s cute the second time, maybe even the third time.

Somewhere around two or three days after learning the word “Uh oh” it dawns on the stay at home parent that “uh oh” is toddler-speak for “Mom, come clean this shit up!” and it becomes infinitely less cute.

This week I did that foolish thing again where I go to the bathroom.  Alone.  I wasn’t gone thirty seconds when I heard “Uh oh” from the kitchen.

I hurried back out to the kitchen and there they were.  Lucy and Fisher.  Covered in baking powder.  Completely covered.

Fish likes to give me this look like he has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on around him.  Like all labs, you can catch him red-handed and he will still do the dog version of shrugging his shoulders.

I didn’t have the good sense to snap a picture before I started cleaning up baking powder.  But even a picture would not have captured the madness.  Dog covered in baking powder.  Floor covered in baking powder.  Baby delighted with herself.  “Lucy!  What are you doing?”  Lucy smiles.  Fish just looks around like he is as innocent as the day is long.  Lucy turns and reenters the pantry and emerges with a handful of dog food.

Kid ratted him out. She knocked the baking powder on the floor while getting him a little snack.  These two are thick as thieves.  Uh oh.

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Going Home

Home.  I think about it frequently. I write about being a stay at home mother.  I write about making a home for my family.

I grew up in only two houses.  Home was a physical and unchanging place for more than twenty years. In the last ten years I have moved more than I had previously in my entire life.  In the last five years alone I have moved three times.  This house, this home where I am now, we moved while I was pregnant.  When we brought Lucy home and our family was complete, I knew we were home for good.

This week I am packing up the car again.  I am taking the girls to the beach. Mention to a grocery clerk or an acquaintance “heading to the beach” and they might not even notice the melancholy tone.  The beach.  The beach is vacation and sunscreen and smiles all around, right?  But long ago, the beach was home.

I became a mother at the beach.  I brought Emily home at the beach.  Home.  I miss the sand and the salty air in the morning. I miss the long, flat roads for running. I miss my friends and the seafood and my family.

This week much of my ex-husband’s family will gather at the beach.  My family.  Waiting on the birth of a new baby we will grill hot dogs and laugh and soak up the sun.  Some time  this week  I will put Lucy in the jogging stroller and I will take a nice long run down Bay Drive. I will turn down Third Street and as I get closer to my turn, my old street, my feet will slow.  I will ready myself.  And I will run by my old home.

My family is still my family. The beach will still welcome me with the promise of sandy feet and the tight feeling of salt water dried on my skin.  The long, flat roads with a cool breeze in the morning will be there. But my home? It isn’t my home anymore.

I hope it is home to someone. I hope there are flowers on the porch and bicycles in the driveway.

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The Lone Boob

Recently I wrote something for The Outlier Collective, a blog where a topic is chosen by the administrators and two bloggers write independently on the same subject.  When Eric, of A Clown on Fire, asked me if I’d write about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy my response was “Let me think about it and make sure I have something to say.”

I did a little reading and wrote 500 words in about ten minutes.  Turns out I had a lot to say.  I read it and reread it and thought “Yep.  That’s what I think.”  She did what she thought was right with the resources she has to reduce her risk.  It’s that simple.

As soon as I got to think about mentioning the fact that breastfeeding contributes to reducing the risk of breast cancer I started to second guess myself.  Me?  Hesitant to talk breastfeeding? I started to wonder if I was becoming a broken record.  Would the mention of breastfeeding cause someone to think “oh, there she goes again, back on her soapbox” and disregard the rest of my message? Maybe.  But is that a good enough reason to keep silent? I don’t think so.

I like to add an image to everything I write.  It’s Blogging 101. The pictures that I include in my posts frequently get as much attention as the post itself. In a world where Instagram and Photoshop make it so easy to beautify ourselves it seems people take notice when you put your un-airbrushed self out there.  Pictures of my stretchmarks, pictures of my journey back to some level of fitness, pictures of my leaky wet spots and yes, pictures of breastfeeding, get a lot of attention.  A lot.

But I hesitated.  Should I include a picture of myself breastfeeding  in the post about Jolie and her mastectomy?  I was searching my pictures for an appropriate image when I opened up PhotoBooth while I was writing and snapped a picture.

Recently a picture that I posted of myself nursing Lucy while I changed Emily’s bicycle tire got a lot of negative feedback on Facebook. While I elected to delete the comments and rise above it one comment in particular got under my skin.  “Some people will do anything to get attention.”  Presumably she was referring to my posting a picture of part of my breast on the internet. But her comment stung because part of me started to feel like maybe I had become a one-trick pony.  My breastfeeding posts get far and way more traffic than any others. I like to think it is because it is the topic about which I am most passionate so they are likely some of the most well written.  But I had to ask myself – am I getting lazy? Is breastfeeding my go-to when I am coming up empty?

The truth is I am nursing roughly 60% of the time that I am writing.  I am nursing 30% of the time that I am eating.   I am nursing 60% of the time that I am talking on the phone.  I am nursing 70% of the time that I read.  Because I am nursing 95% of the time that I am sitting down.  I am nursing a toddler.  And as any woman that has ever nursed a toddler can tell you it is a blessing.  Nearly 100% of the time that I stop to catch my breath I am nursing.  Life moves quickly right now. We are climbing and running and jumping and falling and exploring.  And in the moments that I take pause, the moments where I write blog posts in my mind and dictate semi-unintelligible notes in to my phone, I am nursing.

It’s not an agenda.  It’s just where I am right now.  It’s my life.  Will I be talking about breastfeeding all of the time in a few more years? Probably not.  It will always be important to me but I imagine as my life changes something else will move in to my mental spotlight.

And before someone else can say it – I guess when I am no longer nursing I will have to think of a new reason to take pictures of a single boob and put it on the internet.  The web is saturated with images of pairs of boobs.  It really doesn’t garner much attention.  But a lone boob?  Man, it really gets people riled up.   Is it just a gimmick?  I don’t think so.  But am I going to get all defensive when someone calls me out and tries to make me feel like a jerk?  Nope.

Or I suppose I could think of something else that really irritates people.  And if it has as many benefits to my own health and that of my children I will probably take pictures of that, too.  In the meantime I am just going to keep on keeping on. Doing my thing, raising my kids and being me with a lone boob out.  Because that, friends, is how I roll.

Peace out!

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The Birthday Week in Review: Or All the Shit I Learned in One Week of Being 37

I have been 37 years old all week. So far so good.  For the record – you can teach an old dog new tricks. I present to you a recap in pictures of all of the things I have learned this week.

20130508-204258.jpgThis old dog has learned to love running.  I have spent the winter and early spring on a treadmill, running only two days a week and trying to be kind to my body but it was time to get outside before the summer sun prevented me from hitting the streets.   Wanna see me in all my spectacularly slow glory?  Hillsborough Running Club.  Good people, good routes, meeting right near a little street with particularly good beer, bbq and coffee for sale.  Wednesday nights, be there or be square.  I make dinner for the family and roll out.  Solo.  In the evening.  I might not make it inside a bar, but I park right near one and that is good enough for me.  It feels good to be out, to have plans that do not involve the kids or a meeting or a chiropractor appointment.  I have never been such a joiner before but stay at home motherhood has me signing up left and right.  Give me a schedule, give me somewhere to be and I am on it.

I am learning to love running.  So much so that I got a tshirt and a bumper sticker.   Running might be my new favorite band.

I have learned that I can clean my entire kitchen floor and run my vacuum in less than three minutes.  I have fallen in love with the steam mop.  It does nothing on the dog hair front but it steams the dried up yogurt right off of the floor.  (Sidenote: Fisher eats everything that hits the floor and some things before they even land.  But he’s not a fan of yogurt, hence the dried up yogurt.) How do I clean my entire downstairs while the human wrecking ball that is Lucy is tearing around the house? Simple.

The kid can climb.  Up.  And up only.  She climbs up on to the table and she stands there in stunned silence.  I have approximately three minutes to pick up all the tupperware from the cabinets she has emptied, return the board books and the stuffed animals to their cubbies and sweep, mop and vacuum before she gets bored and begins to bellow, begging to be returned to the floor so that she can climb up again.  She stands and watches.  The faster I move the more rapt her attention.  Three minutes.  I learned it only takes three minutes to get “company clean.”

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I am a bit of a neat freak in the house.  Note that I said “in the house.”  When I was a teenager a perfect punishment would be the afternoon my father said “C’mon, we’re gonna clean your car.”  Not only was I not going anywhere in said car, but I would be standing in the driveway with my father while my secrets were revealed.  Coca-cola cans and fast food trash, overdue library books and too short skirts were pulled from under the seats.  In spite of the fact that I ended up with a clean car (my father can make a 1981 Dodge Aries station wagon sparkle, y’all!) this was not enough to make me enjoy this ritual.

I am still not a huge fan of cleaning my car. I am better than I was.  I try to pull the trash out of the side door cubbies while I pump gas.  I don’t let the kids eat in the car  often. My car is no longer the trash can on wheels it once was, but it isn’t pretty.  For years my car has been a collection of Diet Coke bottles, peanut M&M trash and outerwear that I brought along to make me feel like a better mother.  No one ever wears the sweatshirt, but dammit you had better bring one.

I have learned to love water.  No more Diet Coke cans for me.  I cleaned my car out this week.  I might have had a few water bottles in there.

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I have made peace with the fact that my car is messy.  I am what I am, I guess.  Speaking of making peace with who I am and where I am in my life – I am Sporty Spice, guys. I wish I was Scary, I would love to be Posh and the red hair dye of my early twenties reveals my deep-seated desire to be Ginger.  But I am Sporty Spice and there is no denying it. This week I learned I can put my jogging stroller on my bike rack!  I can take Lucy running on the downtown route I love without cleaning out my trunk to make room for the stroller!

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I might have been outrageously excited.  I just might have run four miles only to find that Lucy was passed out and I had no choice but to keep cruising around downtown. Lucy napped through the library, the post office and the co-op grocery store.  And I learned that even when you are winded and you’d like to sit on your ass you will keep walking if it means your kid will keep sleeping.

20130508-204323.jpgI had a good week.

I learned that I can clean my shed with help from Lucy.  I can keep her from drinking from the gas can while organizing bungee cords and rakes.  I learned that eating clean is swell in theory but that it is totally possible to eat an entire red velvet cake almost by yourself and not feel bad about yourself at all.  I learned that sucking it up and committing to a nap schedule really will make for an easier bedtime routine. I learned that oven baked chicken is fine and dandy but pan fried in Panko is really where it’s at. I learned how to use two of the thingamajigs on my bicycle multi-tool.  I re-learned the finger tip drag freestyle drill and how to maximize the efficiency of my stroke (say that with a straight face, I dare you.)

IMG_4985 copy And perhaps the most shallow but the biggest immediate change – I learned that cutting off all of my fingernails did not make my typing any better. But it will mean that Sporty Spice won’t spend two hours a week fixing her damn nails anymore.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Not when there is so much more to learn.  Happy Birthday week to me.  May the learning continue…

 

 

37th Birthday: Part 2

The late morning became the afternoon quickly.  Birthday number 37 was shaping up nicely. Em came home from school and she set to work preparing for dinner.

She practiced waiting tables.  20130508-080023.jpgShe offered to make me a “fancy drink” but I did some soul searching and decided that even if the baby is asleep in your lap that is not a good enough reason to teach your 7-year-old how to make a gin and tonic.  20130508-080012.jpgMQD came home and brought sushi from him (who knew there is a Kelly roll?) and we opted to play outside for a bit before we ate dinner. 

I had some time with my mini-me – 20130508-080053.jpgAnd MQD spent some time with his. 20130508-080033.jpgEm sweetly offered to chase Lucy around for a bit so MQD could make faces at me while I tried to take a picture of him.20130508-080046.jpgEventually it was time for dinner.  I put my phone away (gasp) so my last picture for a while was a quick snap of our menus. (On the inside they said only: sushi. Em came to the table and asked us what we would like and rolled her eyes as we opened the menu and hemmed and hawed before selecting “the sushi.” Note the custom menus – “Mom likes the beach and Dad likes monsters.”)20130508-080059.jpgWe had sushi and red velvet cake from the little bakery in town. We had sushi on our honeymoon for my birthday.  We had red velvet cupcakes at our wedding and MQD sweetly ordered a small one to be delivered to our room as we celebrated my birthday with champagne in the middle of the afternoon.   I felt special the entire time MQD and I were on our honeymoon.  The intoxicating combination of the “just married” glow and the chance to spend time just the two of us for the very first time created an atmosphere that we might never truly recreate.  But for me, on my birthday, MQD tries.

When I was a little girl your birthday was really special.  There was the dinner that you selected and at least one small gift that surprised you.  It wasn’t surprising because you didn’t know about it  in advance, it was surprising because you couldn’t believe that anyone even knew you wanted it.  I guess I thought that once I was a “grown up” I’d never feel like that again.  I have had awesome birthdays.  I have been to concerts and bars and parties and dinners.  I have been in love, on dates, with my girlfriends.  But not since I left my nuclear family home did I have a birthday like last night.

Last night I had that feeling again (even though I forgot to eat dinner off of the “You are Special today” red plate!) This feeling started while we were playing out in the yard.  But when we sat down to open presents – that’s when this feeling overwhelmed me.

Months ago I was rummaging around in the closet after a couple of glasses of wine.  “What are you looking for?” MQD asked.  “My slippers!!  I can’t relax without my slippers!!!” It was one of those moments that as soon as it happens you know it will become part of your family lore.  MQD has since suggested to me that I “go put on [my] slippers.”  I know what he means.  It has given him a way to suggest to me that I chill the fuck out without making me mad.  Now, that’s something.  As the weather has warmed up and my precious slippers have moved further to the back of the closet in favor of flip-flops I have started to eye the fuzzy flip-flop slipper.

Fuzzy, flip-flop slippers.  Why would you wear flip-flop slippers?  What exactly is the point?  I used to think this.  But a few weeks ago I took a second look at them. 20130508-080018.jpg And last night I reached in to a gift bag and pulled out a pink pair.  Em picked them out herself.  X-large.  Dearfoam, pink and fuzzy.  “How did you know I wanted these?  Now I can relax all summer!!”

There were other things.  My favorite gum.  A Snoopy figurine.  Sunglasses.  Deodorizing shoe balls (Very funny, MQD.  Not the most romantic gift but the poor man does have to share a closet with me.) A perfect birthday card, made just for me!20130508-080105.jpg

But it wasn’t the cake or the sushi or the slippers or the birthday card.  It was that feeling. It was my birthday yesterday.  And I was special all day.

~

Emily June,

Someday you will read all of this. Some of it will horrify you, I am certain.  Some of it will make you laugh.  But I hope these words make you pause.  You and your dad made me feel so special yesterday.  Thank you. Your kindness does not go unnoticed.  In my wedding vows to your dad I said that I knew he was “the one” our first Christmas together.  His gifts to me reflected his efforts at listening, at getting to know me.  And you, my sweet girl, you gave me pink fuzzy flip-flop slippers and all I can do now while I sit back and drink coffee and enjoy their fuzzy pinkness is think “Man, this kid gets me.”  You are growing up.  And I love it. Keep being you.  Because you, you are special every single day.  

xo, Mom 

Join me on Facebook for a few ridiculous videos of the birthday shenanigans!

 

37th Birthday: Part One

So far, so good…

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I slept in a bit. Woke with the mini-me in time to say goodbye to Em and MQD.

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Kicked it in the kitchen with the salad spinner for a bit.  (Side note: A salad spinner is an excellent baby gift!! Better than you think. It has provided hours of fun.)

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Hit the gym for a spin class and a short run in my new hat! Thank you very much, Laura!!  (HA! You might kill me for linking to this, but look what I found when I was hunting for your website!!)

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And now I think I am going to close my eyeballs for a few minutes.  It appears that turning 37 has exhausted Lucy.

Stay tuned for part two when I share the rest of my birthday with two more special people.  And sushi.  And cake.  And more cake.  And a gin and tonic.  And cake.

 

Want vs. Need: The Bucket List

Is it a want or a need? I ask myself this question a hundred times a day. Sometimes it is a slippery slope and I can feel myself justifying before I even get to the answer. Somewhere in between the wants and the needs is a space for the things that we feel we “deserve.”

I want a new pair of jeans. I need to wear something. I deserve to wear a pair of jeans that fit and make me feel good. But none of that answers the question – Do I buy the jeans?

Nine times out of ten I come to the conclusion that I don’t really want or need to buy the object in question. I go around and around in my stay at home mom mind and I decide “Nope. Don’t buy it.” I am fortunate to have a partner that lets me budget our family’s expenses. It makes sense this way. I do the bulk of our spending. Food. Kid stuff. Clothes and whatnot. I have a good handle on what we have in the “Fun Money” pile and I think we do a pretty good job of spreading it around the family. Sometimes just feeling like I could buy the pair of jeans is all I need.

And then I got this fitness bug. I want a gym membership. I need the hour and a half to myself. I deserve this head space and so do my kids. It makes me a better parent. So. Gym membership is a green light. Whether it falls in the want or the need doesn’t matter. It works for us. Embarrassing truth: I spent more on Diet Coke and peanut M&Ms in a month than I spend on a gym membership for the entire family.

And then I picked up what might be the potentially priciest hobby one could choose in the realm of casual athletics. Don’t pick one sport, Kelly. Pick three. Well, all you need to run is shoes. And a better running bra. And the swimming, well, you only need a swim suit. And goggles. And a cap. And you can ride almost any bike if you’re looking to finish not compete. And I was lucky that my mom had a bike I can use. Oh. I need a helmet. I found a triathlon suit online for wicked cheap that is remarkably unflattering which means it must be a good one as they all seem to be more unflattering than the last. I just need sunglasses. And a water bottle. Oh, man, I get heinous chafing when I run in a wet sports bra so just one thing of Body Glide. And maybe a few energy drinks or something. And even if my tri-suit was inexpensive I don’t want to safety pin my number to it so I will need a racebelt. But they are only five bucks.

And that’s it. That is totally all I need. Right? The elastic shoelaces that make my running shoes turn in to slip-ons were a splurge. I admit it. Best six bucks I have spent in a long time.  Still cheaper than a great glass of wine.

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This sprint triathlon training has been riding the fence between want and need since the beginning. Even just signing up for one is spendy. But I feel so good. I am proud of myself. And it has nothing at all to do with my kids. That’s huge.  It’s worth it. What’s that old saying – “Happy wife, happy life.” Hanging in our laundry room when I was a kid was a little plaque “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Mama is happy. This is good. It is like the trickle down economics of “Fun Money” spending.

I’ve blown about a hundred bucks in the last fifteen weeks. That is in addition to the hundred bucks my mom slid in to my back pocket the last time I was at home.  I promised her I’d not spend it on groceries.  Two running tops, a sports bra, six pairs of socks, a new cap, a water bottle, a headband and a pair of sunglasses later I took this picture for her.  “Done. You spoil me,” I wrote in the text. I comparison shopped and considered different options for weeks before I almost let that hundred dollar bill burn a hole through my wallet.

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It’s Thursday.  Three more days and it is “Race Day.”  I have worked hard. I am really excited.  I have read a million blogs.  I have looked at a million lists of Tips for Tri-Newbies.  Tie a balloon to the bike rack so you can find your bike.  Don’t think so much about what you look like.  No one is watching you.  Don’t get upset when the 80-year-old woman on the mountain bike passes you. Pass on the left.  Don’t litter.  Put your stuff in a bucket.  Set up your transition area on a towel and use your bucket to sit on while you put your shoes on.

A bucket.  You can get a 5 gallon bucket at Home Depot for three bucks.  I could let Em decorate it with a Sharpie.  “Go MOM! You can do it!”  It made me smile to think about it.  But I have a bucket in the shed.   I don’t need a new bucket.  I just don’t.  Not when I have this one.

I’ll be the girl with the hot pink shoe laces and the paint covered Sherwin Williams bucket and the tears running down her face.  Wish me luck.

The Bucket