August 23, 2016

Summer 2016: Wisconsin

At the end of July we flew to Wisconsin for the 4th annual Hidalgo Warner Golf Tournament which is an awesome event put together by one of Daren's close friends to honor Daren and family friend Rich Warner who was killed in Iraq in 2004. The tournament and silent auction raise funds for Daren and Rich's memorial funds, and the Fischer house of Milwaukee. This year $43,000 was raised!! 

Miles had to return to Virginia for the last couple weeks of the course he was in, but the kids and I stayed in Wisconsin a few extra days to spend time with the grandparents and cousins. 

My golf team was composed of my sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law and the mom of Daren's best friend. We are pretty terrible golfers, but we looked cute thanks to the shirts my mother-in-law got us, so there's that!

My friend Julie and her husband Brad came over from Minnesota for the golf outing and dinner following. Getting to spend time with her sweet family was such a treat. 

We got to go to a Brewers baseball game which was a lot of fun. Grandma graciously offered to watch the little ones, but the older cousins got to come. Finn loved the fireworks that would go off after a home run. 

And ee got a trip in to the Madison zoo which is a really great zoo and is FREE!

always a spot for you, Cale.
It was a really nice trip and a great way to spend time with Miles' family before we leave.

Until next time, Wisconsin!


August 10, 2016

Say Yes to the Mess

I'm not really great at playing with my kids. Like actual playing. It sounds terrible, but I get bored and just don't have the patience that I wish I had. I enjoy reading to them, but find that when it comes to playing with trains, tucks, legos or especially playing make-believe, I'm just not great at being all in with them. I'd much prefer to take them to the library, go on a walk, go to the beach, just do some sort of activity with them. Sometimes I feel guilty about this and other times I just remind myself that we all have strengths and hunting for monsters just isn't one of mine.

I'm trying to get better about saying 'yes' more often instead of 'no' or 'we'll see.' It's hard, especially if Miles is gone, to always indulge them, and sometimes they don't deserve it or it really does need to wait until later, but there are many times that I'm just being too lazy or am not prioritizing the way I really should be.

Tonight Finn asked if we could go on a walk so he could dig in the construction site. It felt nice to just say yes and not worry if he was going to get super messy or if we would be cutting it close to dinner.

The other week Finn wanted to do some art projects. And so I got some paper, put some paint on a plate and gave them a few brushes. I really did next to nothing and yet they loved it. I need to do stuff like that more often.

So what if he wants to get every. single. truck out from time to time. Far too often I get frazzled with the messes, especially as we try to keep the house mostly show ready. But he ever so sweetly played with these trucks and why own all these toys if I'm not going to let him enjoy them?! My goal is to just partake in more of his enjoyment in these little moments.

One day far too soon they will stop asking to do these things. And while I'm not looking to make their childhood some nonstop Pinterest perfection, I do want them to just have memories of Mom saying yes and being fully engaged in their little worlds from time to time.


August 3, 2016

Summer 2016: Mississippi

Shortly after returning from California, the kids and I drove out to Mississippi to visit two of my closest friends, Deborah and Anna. Google maps told me the trip would take under nine hours, but I figured that with stops it would take closer to under ten. Which sounds pretty horrible, but really it wasn't that bad. I flipped Mary's seat around so she could binge out on the movie watching with Finn (thank the Lord for rear navigation systems), and we didn't have to stop until a little over four hours in to the drive. When we had less than an hour to go I realized I would have to stop again for gas even though the kids were holding up ok. I decided to push on a bit further at which point both kids needed potty breaks (and by potty breaks I mean Finn said he had to go so bad we needed to pull over and Mary requested to pee in the grass like Finn, but peed down her leg and all over my arm in the process). I thought I was stopping right near a gas station, but my GPS failed me and brought me to a since closed down station. At this point I had 22 miles until I was at my destination, but only 21 miles left in the tank. The closest gas station was 8 miles in the opposite direction I had just drive from, but I figured that was a safer bet so turned back around which is just what you want to do at the end of a very long day in the car.

Then when we got to the gas station I could not find my wallet. Total panic mode set in and I figured I must have left it at the place I first stopped (still back in Georgia!) and I searched all over for any spare change in my car. I ran inside and gave the cashier $2.90 in change and hoped that it would put enough gas that I could make it 30 miles to my friends house. It did not and so I started to sweat and cry and called Miles in a frenzy. My friend Anna was driving to Mississippi from Arkansas and had just arrived and was about to come get me when I reached under my seat and felt my wallet! Needless to say I had a glass of wine promptly upon arrival.

And despite the long drive with the stressful ending, it was so wonderful to spend time with my friends and their kids. A lot of the trips and visits we have lined up this summer are partially because we will be moving out of the country and want to ensure we get this time with family and friends before we leave.

My good friend Molly even drove down and it was so wonderful to get to through a bonus friend into my visit! We squeezed in pool time, dinner and drinks without the kids one evening, and just lots of reminiscing and quality time together. The kids were pretty disappointed we had to drive back, Finn especially. But thankfully they did great on the drive back. Four days after we got back we set out on the next adventure; Wisconsin!


July 24, 2016

Summer 2016: California

We spent the 4th of July out in California this year. I have the greatest sister in the world who cashed in her sky miles to fly me and the kids out from Georgia to California. Miles flew out from Virginia a day later as he's (still) in a course there. My parents drove from Arizona and my brother and sister-in-law came out from Colorado. So my whole side of the family was together for a few days in San Diego and it was really great to all be together again - I legitimately can't remember the last time my whole family was together and this very likely will be the last time I see my side of the family before our move to England in a couple months.

I was a little worried about flying coast to coast with two little ones by myself, but the kids did great on the flights out to California (we had a short layover in Atlanta, then a direct flight from Atlanta to San Diego). I think it helped a lot bringing Mary's seat on the plane. She took a nap at one point and I was able to read and watch a movie on the flight - it was awesome! The flight back was great on the flight, but the layover was a little rough with some fits, messes, delays, etc.

While in California we got in some beach time and I tried surfing for the first time in my life and actually stood up twice! Sweet Finn was so excited to go surfing (meaning for him to be held up on a board), but when the waves pushed him a little harder than he was prepared for he got really frustrated. "I just don't know what to do!!" he shouted. Poor buddy, we'll stick to boogie boarding for now.

The kids had a blast on the 4th - further reaffirming it's my favorite holiday!

And we just really enjoyed the time with family, hoping we get to see them all again sooner rather than later.

And then my heart exploded


July 19, 2016

Run Across Georgia Update (Round II)

The Run Across Georgia (almost two months ago) this year was both very similar and very different to my experience last year. It was similar in that it was overall a really positive and rewarding experience. We raised over $10,000 on just my team alone, but of the four teams of Stroller Strong Moms teams we raised over $50,000 which is just awesome and humbling all in one. That money is going towards three really great charities so if you are reading this and you have not gotten a very delinquent thank you card yet, please know how much I appreciate all the donations and all the support that we got.

The reason it was different was because this year it was a lot harder for me physically than it was last year. I signed up for more miles this year than last as I've been running more and felt a little more prepared, but I just went in to the whole thing pretty drained. We had a girl get injured so the only way for our team to stay competitive was for the rest of us to cover the remainder of her mileage (versus dropping to a non competitive status and not having a time requirement as well as the ability to switch out runners). I thought I was doing a decent job of fueling throughout, but actually got pretty dehydrated and my longest run (7.2 miles) ended up being my slowest and I basically was running in the standing fetal position, had to take breaks to go to the bathroom in the woods on the side of the road, dry heave, and mostly question all my life decisions. It was super!

Fortunately things improved, I was able to keep food down after that, I took two oral IVs, and with constant hydration my last two runs weren't too bad. I ended up running 38.5 miles in the 36 hour period and was totally exhausted when it was done, but really proud of our team and really grateful for the opportunity to participate in this race another year. 

This flag was about halfway along the course and had Daren's picture and info about him.

The first handoff. I always handed off to my good friend Julie who 
has become my marathon buddy while living here.

Miles drove out from Savannah to meet me at my last run. He said Finn worked
for HOURS on my sign and the cute little nugget was so excited to hold it up.

About to start the last run!

The two competitive teams of Stroller Strong Moms crossed the finish line together, 
coming in as the first place female team for the third year running!