These are a few of my favorite things

My sister-in-law, Becke’, frequently shares posts detailing some of her favorite things, so today I am going to follow her lead and share a few of my favorite things with you.

Because I know you’re dying to know about the things I love!

So without further ado:

1.) VIVO Per Lei facial products – Don’t they just sound fancy? A few months ago, I ran into the mall to pick up a couple of things, and as I walked by one of the center kiosks, a man pulled me aside. Now, normally I don’t stop when those people try to sell me things, but when someone with a romantic Italian accent says, “Excuse me? You are very beautiful. Can I show you a product that I think will further enhance your beauty?” IT’S HARD NOT TO STOP!


So I let him give me his pitch and show me his products and I tried to walk away because, as we all know, I have a mild major addiction to skin care products and being in close proximity to products made with Dead Sea Minerals was sending me into a dangerous downward spin of desire! Seeing that I was about to walk away empty handed, the handsome Italian, who also happens to be the owner of the company, handed me the soap and told me to try it for free.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said as he massaged lotion into my hand. I mentioned my book, and told him where it was set, and my friends do you know what happened?! That handsome Italian started speaking to me in Russian. I can’t make this stuff up. I hadn’t heard Russian in months and suddenly an Italian, raised in Germany and Israel, facial-ist to the stars, is speaking Russian to me in the middle of a mall in Tampa, Florida.

I took that as confirmation from the Lord that I was to invest in some product.


Y’all this stuff is amazing! It’s so amazing, I just wrote the word y’all! Do you hear the seriousness inside my voice?!

Thank you to my new Russian speaking Italian friend for introducing it to me. Visit the website to check out his products. They are some of the best I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a LOT. All the products are made with Dead Sea Minerals in Israel, which means they’re holy, right? I say right.

2.) My Macbook Air. Penny. I love her, and that is all.

3.) Wyler’s Chicken Noodle Soup starters.  Random? Yes. But for a girl who doesn’t love to cook, I adore a meal that I can throw together in less than an hour and that all five people in my house will eat without complaint. Glory!


4.)We bought a Papasan chair from Pier 1 Imports a few weeks ago and it has become the most coveted seat in the house. We fight over it daily. In fact, I think it might have some magical powers, because my children all want to sit in it and read. My children who do not like to read. Magic, indeed.

5.) I bit the bullet and bought the Insanity program a couple of weeks ago. Now, confession – I do not love the workouts. They make me think, and sometimes say out loud, bad words. Plus, Shaun T keeps telling me to find my core and I want to scream at the TV, “I can’t! It disappeared when the third baby was born!”

These workouts are hard in an I-want-to-punch-someone-in-the-face sort of way. But I do love that after only a week, I already feel stronger and like I’m getting results. So this one is less love and more love-hate, but it still counts.

6.) Rain. It’s been raining for three straight days now, and while I’m getting slightly annoyed by all the falling water, I must say the sound of it hitting the window is lovely. It makes me want to curl up in the magic Papasan and read a good book.

Okay that’s all! Now I’m off to clean the house read a book in the Papasan. If you have any favorite things you think I should know about, please share in the comments. Particularly if it pertains to skin care products. That’s right – I just asked you to fuel my addiction.


Happy Wednesday, y’all! 

I’d wave hello but I can’t raise my arms

Confession: I am out of shape. Massively, wildly, annoyingly, ridiculously out of shape. Where working out and fitness was once an integral part of my daily routine, it has become a chore – something I dread and want to get over with…or just not do at all.

When the kids were younger, going to the gym was my escape. It gave me an hour or two a day away from them. I’d drop them off in the play area where they could have fun and I could sweat off a little stress. Or, um, sit in a dark corner and read a book in silence, which I did on more than one occasion.

Physical fitness is mental, too, you know!

Now that they’re older, I can’t really take them to the play area anymore. Which means if I want to work out, I have to squeeze it into the parts of my day that I don’t want to spend in the gym – like early mornings (I would rather sleep) or the evening (I’ve had way too much time to talk myself out of it). I’d like to say that when they go back to school, I’ll get back in the routine, but I’m afraid my brain has shut down the part that used to find working out enjoyable.

I’m trying to revive it.

Last Saturday I accompanied my neighbor to a boot camp with a trainer who came to our neighborhood and tortured pushed us with squats, push ups and running. RUNNING! It’s been long enough that I knew I should take it a little easy, but there is still a competitive side of my brain that’s active and well, and she did NOT like being left behind.

It’s Wednesday, which means that I can finally move without muttering four letter words under my breath. I feel victorious!

Thankfully my upper body remained relatively unscathed from our torture fitness session. But yesterday when a friend and I took our kids to Busch Gardens for what was meant to be an afternoon of fun, that changed entirely. Picture this: two adults, five children, one of which has a sprained (possibly broken) foot, a wheelchair, two strollers and all the bags that go with taking children to a theme park.

Now, add lightening and a torrential downpour. If you see me today and I don’t wave hello, just know it’s because I can’t raise my arms for all the dashing through the rain in flip flops, pushing a 50 pound kid in an umbrella stroller.

I mean…this is getting ridiculous.

PM-Blogger-Badges_FNLI told you a few months ago about how I joined forces with Pretty Muddy as a means to get back into shape and have a little fun doing it. So I haven’t really started training, yet. At all. Seriously not at all. I mean, the race isn’t until December and I only need to run 3.2 miles so I just thought I’d procrastinate a bit because I HATE ALL THE RUNNING!

I excel at procrastinating. It’s a gift.

After this week, though, I think maybe it’s time to put in a tiny bit of effort. So in an effort to stop embracing laziness, I signed up for MyFitU…a week ago. I plan to start using it today. Or tomorrow. Soon. I’m going to start using it soon.

Maybe if you join me, we can do this together? MyFitU has teamed up with Pretty Muddy as their official online personal trainer. As a result, I get to offer my readers a promotion for 50% off ANY MEMBERSHIP YOU CHOOSE. That’s an awesome deal! This offer can be applied to the 1, 3, 6 or 12 month plans, which means the more you commit to the program the more you save.

MyFitU is a great concept in that they take your overall health statistics and put together a personal plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals. The only thing MyFitU cannot do for you is make you get online and log in your daily activity.


MyFitU offers a comprehensive workout plan to help you maximize your workouts. Based on your weight and activity level, you will be given a daily caloric intake to aim for and you have access to hundreds of healthy recipes to help you acheive your goals.

Seriously, it’s the cheapest personal trainer you’ll ever sign up for!

So, does anybody want to join me? If so, visit and sign up. When you get to the check out enter the promo code PRETTYMUDDY50 for your 50% off discount. Then come back and let me know if you’re going to give it a try. And go ahead and ask me if I entered my activity in for the day. I will happily accept the accountability.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off take a little more Ibuprofen and attempt to stretch out my screaming muscles.

Disclaimer: As part of the Pretty Muddy blogger team, I received a three month membership to MyFitU free of charge. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with both organizations as clearly I need someone to push me out of this lazy funk.

I ran a mile the other day

On Wednesday, after yet another fitful night’s sleep, I forced myself out of bed, threw on my running shoes and pushed myself out the door before I had time to consider the ramifications of my actions. I started running before my not-totally-alert brain could convince me otherwise.

I was about a quarter mile in when my brain issued a “What the BEEP?” signal to the rest of my body, at which point my lungs constricted, my legs turned to lead and I remembered how much I have always hated running.

But still I kept going, because while I may hate running, I hate defeat even more and I simply cannot let my body defeat me this way.

It’s been a long, hard month and a half, which has left me feeling sad, tired, sluggish and trapped under the weight of so much heaviness. Beyond the potentially failed adoption, there have been family issues, hurting friends and looming changes that have so weighed me down that the very act of smiling began to feel tiresome.

So I’m making some changes. Change number one – I’m spending a little less time online. For the most part, the people I interact with online are beautiful, wonderful, encouraging, happy people. But I’m also prone, at this time, to drift toward sites that discuss the current adoption situation, and I dwell on the faces of the children who made it home and it makes my heart ache.

So, I’m stepping back a bit to let my heart heal and to let God realign and reconfigure the dream a bit. He’s doing that, by the way. God is completely and totally shifting things around for both Lee and I. It’s exciting and scary and heartbreaking and relieving and it’s still developing. I don’t totally understand what He is doing or what next step we need to take, but I feel confident that He’s not done with us yet.

I just need some time to let go of the dream the way that I saw it playing out.

Second thing I’m doing is drinking more water and tea, taking vitamins and trying to sleep more. The sleep thing is tricky, though. Darkness and quiet foster too much thinking. I’m working on shutting my brain down at night.

The third thing I’m doing is exercising, because it produces endorphins that help combat sadness, stress and fatigue. Incidentally, I quote Elle Woods from Legally Blonde every time I lace up my shoes to work out:

“Excercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands…they just don’t.” Elle Woods

Ha! That quote makes me happy. It should also make Lee happy, too. And make him feel safer at night…

So back to exercise. Working out has always been a big part of my daily life. I wake up, I eat, I work out, I go about my day. That’s been my routine since college. But lately, particularly the last year, I’ve lost my workout mojo. It’s just been hard to stay motivated.

Add stress and heartache to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Remember, I am the wisp of a girl. Letting myself get lazy is not healthy. There’s also the added stress of this being the year I turn 35, which doesn’t help matters. I’ve officially dubbed the next five months Operation Kick 35’s A$$ Bootay.

In an effort to stay on top of this very important part of my road to emotional recovery, I have joined up with Team Pretty Muddy as one of their Tampa bloggers! I’m so, so excited about this partnership for a few reasons.

One, it just sounds like fun. Running a 5k? BO-RING! Running a 5k that exists entirely in the mud and has slides? SO FUN!

I am already recruiting my local team of runners and if you want to join us, let me know because the more the merrier in my opinion! I plan on running a few times a week so that I can at least survive the run without complete and total embarassment, although I did inform my potentail teammates last night that should the running portion of the race be over my head, I will totally fake a sprained ankle.

I’m not too proud to take myself out of the race if it means saving face…

But really, it’s only 3.2 miles and it’s in the mud! It can’t be that hard, right? Right?!

It’s taken me two days to recover from the one measly mile I ran on Wednesday. I think I have my work cut out for me….

If you want to join me in this year’s Pretty Muddy Race, visit the website and register now, then let me know so we can plan our post race party! *wink, wink*

100 Pound Loser: A Book Review

I first met Jessica in September when we both attended the dotMom event. I found her charming and sweet. She’s the kind of person you wish you could tuck in your pocket and carry around for those dreary days when you just need a little encouragement, which sounds a tiny bit creepy and stalkerish, so don’t tell her I said that, m’kay?

When I agreed to read and review Jessica’s new e-book, 100 Pound Loser, my intentions were simply to do a favor for a friend. What I didn’t know, though, was that her book would be exactly what I need right this very minute.

I am officially in the worst shape of my life. While I have always made health and exercise a priority in life, in the year and a half since we moved to Florida, I’ve allowed that priority to slip down to the bottom of the pile and I feel sluggish, tired and quite frankly I’m tired of my pants cutting off circulation to my lower extremities every time I sit down.

So what started out as a favor for a friend grew into encouragement for my soul.

Jessica’s book is witty, refreshing and encouraging in more ways than one. The before and after pictures alone motivate you me to get up off the couch and move. Pair that with the knowledge that she had four babies in four years and she still managed to lose and keep the weight off and you will understand the motivational aspect of this e-book.

But there is much, much more to this book than that. This e-book is encouragement for the soul of every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and not liked the image who stared back. This book is a reminder that our bodies were made for a purpose, and that purpose is not just to look good in a rockin’ pair of skinny jeans. You (and I) are so much more than anumber on a scale or the size of our jeans.

This was my favorite quote from Jessica’s book:You probably can’t run four miles, strength train, do Pilates, eat appropriate portions every three hours, and perfectly balance your carbs, protein, and fats at each meal every day. Frankly, I probably couldn’t do all that in a week! Remember, juggling the myriad things God has given you takes skill and concentration. He will certainly equip you, but it’s up to you to add, subtract, and balance the balls wisely…

…Truth: It’s more important to live life and enjoy our families than to obsess over weight. I’m pretty sure no child has ever said, ‘Gosh, I wish my mom had lost that last ten pounds when I was five years old.’Jessica Heights, 100 Pound Loser


It’s a new year, friends. A time when the slate is cleaned and we can all start fresh. While there is some humor (at least for me) in the idea of beginning a new weight loss/fitness routine in the beginning of January, the fact of the matter is this: There’s no better time to start than today!

Jessica’s book will motivate you to take that step in the right direction. Her list of resources at the end of the book will give you tools to succeed. What if we all took our health (not our weight) by the horns this year and decided enough was enough? What if we all believed that now was as good a time as any to start living freely in the body God gave us?


I’m up for the challenge…who’s with me?


To grab a copy of Jessica’s book, click here. (It’s a very quick read. You can finish it while babies are napping…or, in my case, while children are busy arguing over the Wii remote…) You’ll also want to head to the 100 Pound Loser Facebook page and click that little ‘Like’ button to receive bursts of encouragement in your Facebook feed (and we could all use that, now, couldn’t we?)

Happy Losing, friends!

PS: I did not receive compensation for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. I received a free copy of the book to read and I am grateful to Jessica for the opportunity.

Dear Motivation, Please Come Back…

Once upon a time, exercise was a singular focus for me. I rarely went a day without participating in some kind of exercise. It was as needed for me as oxygen and staying active kept the demons away.

Then I started having babies and my focus changed.

After Landon was born, logistically getting to the gym on a daily basis was just too difficult. Still, I made the effort to get in multiple times a week and work my muscles into submission. I needed this time to keep my sanity…and I needed to keep the demons away.

I had to keep my mind in submission and I couldn’t allow my body to soften because doing so left me anxious and frustrated.

Then we moved to Florida and everything changed. I began homeschooling the kids and though I had a gym membership, I couldn’t find the time to get in and use it. The kids are past the point of being excited about nursery care, so I didn’t use the gym much.

Now they’re in school, but between writing obligations, adoption paperwork and volunteer needs at their schools, I can’t seem to find the time to get to the gym. For the first time in my life, I have zero motivation to exercise. This does not bode well for the wisp of a girl and I’m working to readjust the priorities because, let’s face it – I’m not a youngun’ anymore. I can’t eat whatever I want and be sedentary and expect to stay in shape.

Stupid aging…

I recently received some products in the mail from Empower Fitness, a company dedicated to helping the busy indivdual (like me!) stay motivated and active to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From the Empower Fitness Website:

Designed exclusively for women by women, Empower offers fitness products; world-renowned trainers; nutritional expertise; and online communities to help you reach your goals.

Empower is here to inspire and motivate you to be active, healthy, and strong. It’s your moment of truth, now MAKE YOUR MOVE to Empower.

Using the bands from their Total Body Toning System, I’ve managed to squeeze in workouts right here in my office. Sometimes even sitting at my desk. The resistance bands allow me to push my muscles to work a little bit harder and leave me feeling like I actually made an effort to do something.

While motivation is still lacking significantly, having workout bands laying at my feet at least gives me less of an excuse to do nothing at all. So I’m picking them up and using them each morning and slowly but surely I can feel that familiar desire to take care of myself returning.

I’ve also got a DuraBall Pro  from FitterFirst, a “one stop shop for functional fitness products and accessories” to challenge me to further to improve muscle tone and overall health. There are so many different exercises that can be done with these tools and I’m excited to start using them more without having to sacrifice the precious alone time that I have that is in so high demand these days.

If you’re interested in products that inspire fitness without taking up a significant amount of time or space in your home, visit the Empower Fitness website where you can connect with fitness experts, order products and read inspiring tales of real women who fought to regain control of their fitness goals and have see real results.

You can also visit FitterFirst and shop their extensive line of products that will help take your fitness to the next level.

Happy Friday, everyone! May your weekend be active and full of laughter and fun!

disclaimer: I received the Empower Total Body Toning System and the Duraball for my promotion of this company. I was not compensated. I am grateful for the opportunity.

The one where I join a gym

I joined a gym last Friday – hence the ultra-creative title of this here blog post. It was time. I held off joining a gym for eight months because I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could save money and be disciplined and work out on my own at home.

Turns out I’m a total wimp when it comes to exercise. While my husband morphs into He-Man before my very eyes with nothing but a few barbells and shear determination, I have turned into a cream puff. Not cool.

Friday night was my first workout and it was…interesting. I chalked it up to being Friday evening, but I felt a bit like I’d stepped into a meat locker. I’m used to working out with all the other smokin’ hot minivan moms. Gym time is social time. We laugh, we chat, we sweat off all our stress. Sure there are a few bumpy muscle men milling about, but mostly we rule the proverbial roost.

But I was in the minority Friday night. It was mostly men in muscle shirts grunting and gabbing while us few moms walked among their smelliness trying to look as interested in the weights as they were.

So last night I went back, assuming that there would be a little less testosterone and a little more estrogen to help me in my journey toward total fitness AWESOME. (Incidentally, my friend Melissa has labeled her spring fitness craze “Operation Badass,” which I just think is the greatest title evah.)

Tonight was worse! I kept wondering where all of the other minivan moms were. And then I noticed a packed Zumba class and realized, “Aaahhh…there they are. They all know better.”

Clearly I’m a newbie.

So I powered through my workout and as I did, I made a few observations about the male species – particularly those who fall under the category of “worker outers.”

There are six types of men who frequent a fitness facility. Most men are going to fall into one of these six categories if they work out on a regular basis. This is a clearly comprehensive list based solely on scientific research. *eye roll*

The Grunters:

The Grunters are a particular group of fitness buffs who enjoy weight training for the ultimate benefit it brings to their overall health. While the Grunter may be pleased with his appearance as he curls his 50 pound dumbells, he is more than likely just happy to work out as a general way of life. Working out makes him feel healthy and confident.

The Grunter lifts heavy weights and emits low grunting sounds with each repetition, though he tries to keep himself under control. Minivan moms can appreciate his dedication and his willingness to not give in to the obnoxious.

The Groaners:

The Groaners are one step above the Grunters. They, too, love the physical benefits of working out, but they take more pride in their appearance. They watch their muscles contract intently with each curl and they make it a point to let everyone around them know they are are lifting seriously heavy weight.

The Groaner is known to drop his weights when he’s finished lifting for dramatic effect. The heavier the weight, the more the floor shakes, the more awesome he must be.

The Growlers:

The Growler dives across the line of annoying and lands squarely in the obnoxious. Growlers emit long, low sounds that sound an awful lot like child birth, thus leading minivan moms to cringe and make a hasty escape. A Growler typically sports a tatoo of a flame or something equally as radical on his calf or chest and he likes to stand up and applaud for himself when a particularly grueling work out is complete.

The Growler is often found flexing his muscles in the mirror at the end of a long work out.

The Musketeers:

The Musketeers travel in packs of two or three. They like to cheer each other on and shout things like, “C’Mon, Bro, you got this!” and “One more, Dude. Just one more. C’Mon, I know you got one more in ya!” Sometimes they even smack each other on the butt in celebration of a job well done. Musketters are particularly fun to listen to, as they have lively stories to share in between sets. I enjoy Musketeers.

The Hover-ers:

I do not enjoy the Hover-er. This is the bulgy men who stands over you as you use the chest press machine. When you stop to rest between sets, he takes a few steps closer and leans in. “You done with this machine?” he asks and when you shake your head no the Hover-er will step back and cross his arms, clearly annoyed with your lack of done-ness. You will have no choice but to relinquish your machine to him…despite the fact that you’re surrounded by five other machines that work the same muscle group.

Hover-ers are probably the same people who ride your tail on the highway if you’re not going a minimum of 15 miles over the speed limit.

The Guppies:

The Guppie comes to the gym in his work clothes, his tie slightly loosened. He walks in with cell pressed to ear and a fancy gym bag slung over his shoulder. The Guppie will come out a few minutes later in a nicely pressed, coordinated work out outfit. His shoes are brightly colored and his hair is neatly coiffed. He still has his phone and will shoot off clearly important texts in between sets. When using the free weights, The Guppie will frequently stare at himself in the mirror. He’s known to fix his hair throughout his work out.

So what do you think – Maybe it’s time I looked into Zumba, eh?

Image Credit

Yoga in the fetal position

Last night I decided it was time to get my lazy behind up and actually work it out a bit. I have always been an active person and have been an avid worker outer (my blog…I say that’s a word) since I was in high school and my track coach taught us all the finer points of navigating a weight room. From that moment on, I have made sure I had access to a gym and I exercised faithfully.

Until we moved.

Something switched off inside of me when we moved down here. Part of the problem was the stress of moving, which working out would have helped with but the other half of the equation is the fact that we decided to save some money by not enrolling in a gym. “We can just work out at home,” Lee said matter of factly.

My husband grossly underestimates my motivation and drive.

It’s true, we have a lot of weights, and we have a work out bench and a pull up bar. We have plenty for me to use, but the final nail in my active coffin was a complete lack of desire. With the kids home all day, working out didn’t feel like an escape anymore – it felt like a chore. And so I stopped.

For the first time in twenty years, I’ve gone almost six months without doing anything. I’ve run here and there and on occasion my husband has managed to get me out to the garage to lift a few weights, but mostly I’ve become a sedentary bump on a log.

Bad Mommy!

So last night I pulled out a Yoga DVD that we purchased ages ago and popped it into the DVD player. It’s an 80 minute Power Yoga workout led by Rodney Yee. Yeah, I don’t know who he is either. All I know is his royal blue biker shorts are a little too bright and a little too spandexy. It’s…awkward.

About ten minutes into the Yoga video I felt myself starting to unwind a little. I was finally working out and I had missed it. “Stand tall and feel the muscles loosen in your back,” said the soothing voice on the DVD. Rodney doesn’t talk. He just stands there in his painted on shorts on a cliff over some ocean.

I can only assume that yoga is more fun and easier on a cliff over the ocean. That’s assuming, of course, that you are able to resist the urge to shove your instructor over the side of the cliff…

About ten minutes after we loosened our backs, I began to sweat as soothing voice over dude and Rodney led me through the Warrior 2 pose for the umpteenth time. “Now slowly lower to the push up position,” The Voice told me and I did even though my arms were shaking rather violently.

Down dog.

Up dog.

Be the Cobra.

Throw up.

Six months away from working out was long enough for me to forget how blasted hard power yoga is. About thirty minutes into the workout, I lost all feeling in my shoulders, which was actually a welcome relief to the searing burn of my muscles lighting on fire. I accepted the numbness as a sign that I was either dying a slow death or my body was simply releasing a defense mechanism against stupidity.

Forty minutes into the workout The Voice instructed me to stand on one leg, the other leg straight ou behind me. “Now very slowly, reach your arms out over your head. Have one strong, straight line lead from the palm of your hand to the heel of your outstretched foot. Feel the power surge through your body.”

If power feels like pain, I felt it. I was strong.

Shortly after this, The Voice instructed Rodney and I to lay down on our backs and tuck our feet up as close to our backside as possible. “Now place your hands on the floor by your ears and slowly push up into an upward bow.”

And  upward bow? What is an upward bow?

It’s a back bend!

I pushed myself up into a position that I haven’t tried since early high school when I was competing in gymnastics and my body was under the impression that such torture was normal. Last night, however, my body laughed at me. Out loud laughed, then trembled, shook and I plopped back to the floor. I watched Rodney on the screen, folded backwards in bright royal blue spandex shorts.

I may need counseling after this experience.

We did three “upward bows.” Well, Rodney did three. I did one and a half. At this point we were 45 minutes into the workout and I was now numb from my shoulders to my knees. I attempted to continue on, but when Rodney laid on his stomach and The Torturer The Voice told us to grab our ankles behind us and raise up to form a human boat, I threw the remote at the TV and curled up in the fetal position.

This morning I woke up and found the sensation had returned to all of my limbs. Unfortunately that sensation is pain as my muscles try to figure out what happened to their extended sabbatical.

Stupid Yoga.

If you need me today I’ll be sitting quietly on the couch trying to harness my Inner Chi. Whatever that means…

Image Credit

My People

I was fifteen years old the first time I visited the former Soviet Union.  An entire world opened up before me in brilliant technicolor.  Amidst a backdrop of dark clouds, we stepped off the plane and my soul lit up.

“I’m coming back here,” I whispered.  I knew because it was as if I had stepped into a place already familiar to me; a place that had been carved out for me long ago.  I just needed to find it.

Our trip lasted fourteen days, but I fell in love in less than a second.  It wasn’t just the glamor of the foreign trip, though there was a bit of that.  We were only a handful of years removed from the fall of the Iron Curtain and as Americans we were still treated very much like royalty.  But it was more than that.  I felt like I knew those people.  Their language was like the chords of a melody to me and I soaked it up as though I had been ravenously searching for it my entire life.

It was love at first sight.

And I did go back.  I went back the next year and the one after that.  I minored in the language in college and while others in my class moaned and complained about the work, I asked for more.  I met with my professor in the afternoons and had him explain the grammar to me over and over (I still don’t get it).  I bought book after book and in my spare time practiced translating stories.

I’m only now realizing how weird that is…

I went to Ukraine my junior year and lived with my adopted people.  It was the hardest and most wonderful four months of my life.

This has always just seemed natural to me.  It’s felt natural to meet Russians everywhere I went and to befriend them…because they’re my people.  I don’t speak as fluently as I’d like to anymore, but the sound of the language still sets my heart aflight.  It is a melody that I can’t describe and that has only been recently revealed to me as…odd.

When we lived in Texas and I coached at WOGA, I often attended the Russians only parties because why wouldn’t I?  I fit there.  My favorite memories of that time are looking out to the back porch and seeing Lee standing in a circle with all the Russian men as their mouths moved in rhythmic fashion.  When they laughed, he laughed.  When they nodded their heads, he nodded his head.  He had no clue, but he didn’t care.

He’s my people, they’re my people. You remember him kissing the cross, right?

My husband is so good to push me and prod me to keep up my skills in Russian.  There are many times when we are in public and we hear Russian and he immediately introduces me and makes me start speaking.  Sometimes this drives me crazy because it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing and because people look at me like I’m a nut job.

But I’m so grateful for his prodding because he knows me so well.  He knows how much I love and need to accompaniment of Russians.  Without it, I feel a bit lost at times…

When we lived in St. Louis, I never really thought it odd that my children were the only children with two American parents in the Russian school.  It just seemed natural to me that my children should be there.

They’re our people.

Moving down here I have already, again, been blessed to meet and make Russian friends.  As we all gathered around the table on Halloween night, they asked me…


“Why what?” I asked.

“Why do you speak Russian?”

No one has ever really asked me that question before and I didn’t have an answer.  Because I love it?  I love everything about the culture and the people, the food and the traditions.

Because you’re my people, I wanted to say.  But that sounds odd, so I just shrugged and smiled.

“You are the first American I ever meet,” said the man next to me, “That want to know Russian.  I don’t understand.”

And I don’t either.  I don’t know why God embedded these people so deeply into my soul.  I don’t know why my heart shakes when I hear the language spoken.  I don’t know why I feel at home in a group of Russians.  I don’t know why I long to go back to the country and take my children there so badly that sometimes I physically ache.  I really don’t know why.

I just know I love it.  They are my people and I love them.

The one where I didn’t die

Four years ago, a runner friend of mine convinced me to join her in a marathon relay downtown.  Fancying myself a runner with untapped potential, I happily agreed and then spent the next four months cursing myself for agreeing to do something so reprehensible.  I finished the race, running the last leg, which was uphill.  Six point three solid miles of incline.

One week later I found out I was pregnant and never ran again.

Until, somehow, I was convinced to do the race again this year.  I think my friend used some kind of voodoo mind trick on me to convince me to do it.  Wait…actually I believe it was MY idea to run the race this year.  Clearly I was possessed or on crack or something because why would I willingly choose to do that?

I must say, the training this time around wasn’t nearly as bad.  Probably mostly because I did a pretty pathetic job of it.  But I didn’t hate it.  I finally figured out my rhythm in running and actually found myself, dare I say, enjoying myself.

The week before the race, I ran my longest run in four years.  I did four miles, on the road, by myself.  Major mental victory given the fact that I much prefer running on the treadmill mostly because it helps you out.  On the road you actually have to do all the work and you have to run up the hills and can’t set a negative incline to recuperate. 

I felt like super woman when I finished.  Take that FloJo!  Until…

The next morning I could barely walk.  Seems my left hamstring was in rebellion and for the next week it begged me to back out.  But I wouldn’t have it.  Being the stellar athlete that I am, I refused to back down.  Ahem.

Race day came and the alarm went off at 4:40 in the am!  Again, I cursed the gods of road races and stumbled out of bed.  I was running the first leg of the marathon so tardiness was not allowed.  As we lined up at the starting point, I began to feel the buzz of excitement in the air.  Running isn’t so bad when you are doing it with 17,000 others who are all excited.  We took off and I quickly fell into a nice pace thanks to a friend who showed up and happened to be standing next to me.  He was running the half marathon just for fun.

Just for fun.

Let that simmer for a minute.

It was nice to have a partner and off we went.  A funny thing happens, though, when you’re running with someone who likes to run 13 miles for fun…you get left behind.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At about the half mile mark we went under a bridge, which was apparently labeled the pee spot as roughly ten men were lined up, peeing against the fence.  “Good to be a guy,” I remarked to my friend, who simply grinned.

At about the two mile mark, we began to head up hill – steeply up hill.  I wanted to keep up with Scott, I really did.  But alas, I needed oxygen.  “Go,” I gasped.  “Save yourself.”  He hesitated, wanting to help me out and encourage me, but it was clear that my lungs were dangerously close to combustion, so on he went, the back of his head bobbing and weaving all perky like.

And I walked up the hill.  No shame.  I walked. 

This turned out to be a terrible idea because once I stopped, my protesting hamstring tied itself in four knots from my butt to the back of my knee.  It was like an indignant toddler, arms crossed, foot stomping, “No I won’t GO!”  But with four miles to go, I needed to keep running so I stretched the bratty hamstring out and off we went, this time with a slight hobble.

I round the three mile marker and thought I was going to hurl – have I mentioned it was close to 90 degrees that day? – when I looked over and saw a woman stop, pull down her pants, and pee on the side of the road.


200 yards later we passed a Port-a-Potty, but whatever, right?

At five miles, both amstrings were screaming at me.  They were in full out tantrum mode but on I foraged, stopping only once more to walk up what seemed to be a mountain, but was actually probably a very slight inline.

I rounded the corner of my six mile run right at the 70 minute mark.  Much slower than I anticipated, but I blame that on my stubborn hamstrings.  As I handed off the belt to my friend Amy, who was way too excited, I might add, I exited the course, high fiving perfect strangers all the way. 

“Great job!” they cheered.  “Awesome – way to go!”  I felt so loved and encouraged and I decided I wanted to run another race…maybe the half marathon?

Someone remind me – what’s the definition of insanity? 

Right.  That what I thought.

Wednesday Whatnots

What Not’s?  What Nots.

Grammer makes me crazy…

So today is a hodge podge of random tidbits for your reading enjoyment.  Or for my writing enjoyment.  Someone will enjoy themselves today!

Speaking of writing enjoyment.  Remember the novel I told you about?  The one I started, then stopped, then started, then stopped, then started again?  I wrote a little more last night!

So at this pace, I should finish the book by the year 2024.  I am on a roll, folks!

Seriously, though.  It’s really difficult to find time to write.  I don’t know how people do it.  Yesterday I got up at 5:30 with the sole intent of working only on my novel.  By 5:40 I felt awake enough to open up the file and at 5:45 Landon stumbled into my room and the morning was shot.  I left my house at 8:00 and only came home for two seperate one hour bursts before 10:30pm.

Then I had to work on the things I’m actually getting paid for.  So, I’m still planning on finishing that book, but I haven’t yet figured out how.

This is where I flawlessly merge from one topic to another.

I officially signed up for a marathon relay yesterday.  Me and three others will split up a marathon.  I ran this race four years ago.  One week after finishing the race (and not dying) I found out I was pregnant (surprise!) with Landon.  Here’s to hoping we don’t have a repeat of that this year, right?

Oh…and here’s to hoping I don’t die.  Considering I can only run 2 miles right now (3 miles on a really good day…which has only happened twice) and I need to be able to run 6.5 in two months, that’s a legitimate prayer worth lifting up.

And again, we transition.

I think you should all  go back to last week’s post titled I laughed until I cried and read E. Lehman’s comment.  I laughed out loud, pretty hard, when I saw it.  Then I pumped my fist in the air and yelled, “I rock,” as the dog looked on in bewilderment.

Speaking of the dog (transition), she’s making me crazy.  I’m pretty sure she’s clinically depressed and I’m wondering if I should get her on Prozac.  She mopes around the house, wimpering, and she stands right underneath my feet every second of every day.  Every second I’m home that is.  Mostly she’s cooped up all day and she’s bored and I feel terrible for her.

Not bad enough to walk her, of course, because it’s only 10 degrees outside.

She’s not a dog who enjoys laying around the house.  She’s active and she is bored and I feel bad but I don’t know what to do about it so I keep giving her food, which means now I have a depressed dog who’s getting chubby.

I’m running out of pithy transitions so I’m just going to insert a line from here on out to signify a topic change.

I have a PT appointment today for my shoulder where I may or may not have a torn rotator cuff.  I’m supposed to go see a Sports Medicine guy about it, but I haven’t yet for two reasons:

– I’ve really been quite busy and haven’t found the time to schedule the appointment.

– I’m a scardey cat and I don’t really want to know if it’s torn because then I’ll have to actually do something about it. 

So for now I’m sticking with my PT because I like him a lot and I’m hoping I can nurse it back to health ala natural.


My mom and dad are in England having a grand old time and I’m glad for them, but…

I miss my parents.  I want to go see them but, you know, logistics.  So I just try to live vicariously through my mom’s Facebook pictures and talk to her every few days instead.  I thought about taking the kids with me to see them, but then added up the costs and remembered that I would be trapped in a small space with them for an entire day with the eyes of strangers watching and decided Skype was a lovely invention worth making use of.


I sang at an event at our church a couple of weeks ago where I got to cover several great old standards.  I had way more fun than I even dreamed I would and out of the deal have made contacts with a few people here in town that do these sorts of gigs both professionally and as amateurs.  There’s a good chance I’ll get to do a bit more singing around town and I couldn’t be  more excited. 

Or nervous…

Final transition into the closing paragraph.

I’ve got another video idea rolling through my head and just need to find the time to put it together.  In my mind it’s brilliant, but it’s probably really lame in real life.  Either way, I’m hoping to include more video posts in the near future because I’m ready to spice things up a bit on the old bloggy blog.

And with that, I shall officially conclude this blog entry.

The End.