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May 31, 2013

7 Quick Takes 50 - School's Out Edition

Holy cow, this is the 50th time I've participated in Jen Fulwiler's awesome blog carnival, 7 Quick Takes on this blog! Guess what else...I'm about to go over 50,000 views and I have 58 followers, per blogger. I think I need to do a giveaway, or something, eh? But then...I really don't know how to do those. 

--- 1 ---

Today is the final (half) day of school. I wonder...what is the point of half days, anyway? This noon dismissal stuff...I mean, it seems like they really can't get that much done in 3.5 hours or so, and for the little kids, you know they get even less done on a noon dismissal day. 

Oh well.

At noon today, I will officially have a rising 7th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader. 
7th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader
Believe me when I tell you, there were times (when all three of those girls were under the age of 5 and NONE had begun grammar school) that I thought this day would never come. You moms out there who have 2 under 2 or even 2 under the age of 3 or 4....your day will come, too. And you'll wonder where that sweet toddler went (because you'll forget all about the tantrums s/he threw every day at the age of 3.

--- 2 ---

So, back to the noon dismissals -- Guess what? The 2013-14 school calendar came out and we will have noon dismissals on every First Friday next year. Now, that's all fine and dandy. I mean, it's a Catholic school and First Fridays are kind of a big deal. My question is -- will they provide First Friday Mass and Confession for all the kids, too? That is something I'm asking at the next school board meeting.

--- 3 ---

My children are not very happy with me for purchasing another round of "Summer Solutions." 

These are workbooks (I stick with the Math genre) that provide adequate daily review for the kids during the summer so they don't show up in August with empty-heads. 

Oh, the whining! I have heard. 

"But M-o-o-o-o-ommmmmmmm! It's SUMMER!"
--- 4 ---

I'm not the type to allow my kids to sit around all summer and NOT do anything academic anyway. Our school requires a summer reading program and project that is due on the first day of school. Before they had that, though, I always signed my kids up for the Library's summer reading program. So, I'm not sure what my kids thought they'd accomplish with the whining.

And because I need a picture of my boys...

Dominic is forever closing his eyes when I try to take pictures!!!

--- 5 ---

Sarah is going to Challenge Camp next week. She is so excited to go back. She gets a week away from us, and gets to spend time growing in faith, hanging out with girls her age, doing fund activities like swimming, horseback riding, ziplining, etc. They have themed dinners all week and time spent outdoors and with nature and doing faith-based activities that can help her grow in her relationship with Jesus Christ.

--- 6 ---
Dani gets a week-long summer camp (Children of Mary Camp) in July which she will attend with her cousin in NC! She is also excited. The schedule looks promising. It will be Dani's first time away from home for that period of time. I think she'll have a blast, though, especially getting to hang out with her cousin.

--- 7---
Volleyball for the summer starts next week, too. Sarah will be playing regulation ball for the first time. I know she is excited to see how that goes. Helen is going to be in a FUN league for rising 2nd and 3rd graders. I think she's light years ahead of where Sarah was at age 7 with regard to skills since she can already move to the ball and pass it fairly accurately. I am excited to get her going in volleyball!
Bonus: Craig and I are running the 40th Hospital Hill run tomorrow. We are running a 10K. My hope is that I run the whole way. I'd like to beat last year's time, but I should do that if I run the whole way because I remember walking quite a bit last year.
Here's a picture with all five of the kiddos...
Hughes kids on the Eve of the last day of school
Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

May 29, 2013

Eat Right To Feel Right

Over the course of my life, I have NOT been the example for others in terms of eating right.

As a kid, my parents were deathly afraid I'd turn out to be obese like people on my mother's side of the family so they completely over-managed food for me to the point that I always felt like I was "sneaking" food if I ate anything outside of the three meals provided by my parents. Growing up with many comments from my mother about how I was "pudgy" or "chunky" didn't help my self-image much. When I got old enough for sleepovers at friends' houses, I gorged myself on freely available soda pop, cookies and chips. Thankfully, I was a swimmer so I burned enough calories to stave off obesity while I was a kid. But the damage was done as far as my relationship with food and my self image. 

It has now been a lifelong battle of trying to see myself how I really look instead of always having the comments in the back of my head picking out the fact that my butt is too big, or my tummy rolls too plentiful, or my face is too fat.

Over the years, I have dieted, and exercised. I have faced my problems head-on and then run crying and screaming away from them at some point only to eat myself back into the out-of-shape overweight Michelle all over again. This will continue to be a lifelong struggle, I think. I am one of those people that really does need to make myself say at least one nice thing about myself in the morning so I can move past this self-loathing for good.

Photo Credit
April 28 of this year began something new for me. I began the process of detoxification, or "clean eating". I basically committed to a grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free, no-processed food way of eating. This meant no artificial sweeteners or sugar, no flour, no milk, no cheese, no ranch dressing on my salad, no peanut butter, no green beans, no greek yogurt, no bread, no tortillas. As a matter of fact, I was quite overwhelmed at the amount of "no's"!! But, I started with lean steak and salad and eggs as the main portion of what I ate, maybe a serving of citrus fruit during the day like grapefruit or an orange. Oh yeah...and no diet coke either.

I have a love-hate relationship with diet coke. I've known for a long time that it's not the best thing to drink, but I would get myself into a predicament where I needed the caffeine and aspartame to "get me going" in the morning so it had become a daily habit. Breaking this habit is something I've done a few different times. I even went 2 years without diet coke at one point. But I know that one fountain drink worth is all it takes for me to want to continue to drink it every single day. So, giving up diet coke for good is a huge sacrifice for me is what I'm saying.

I made it four full weeks completely grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free and without eating processed food. And I lived! And guess what else? I felt awesome!! The first four to five days were difficult, I won't lie. I was groggy, I was craving diet coke, I was craving a sandwich, I was craving stuff like macaroni and cheese from a box! Then, miraculously, it seemed...I felt awesome on day six. My brain still told my body that it wanted a diet coke, but I had the strength to tell myself, "NO." My eyes saw cookies in the pantry for the kids, but my mind was strong enough to say, "You don't want those cookies." Getting up in the morning is not as much of a chore and I no longer hit that lull around 2:00 p.m. telling me I need something to snack on to make it the rest of the day.

Photo Credit

Then I was washing my face the other night before bed and I realized that I can't remember the last time I had a pimple! Then I did remember, but it was more than 4 weeks ago and it was a doozy, too. But my skin is smooth and soft and clear. I don't have to wash my hair every day if I don't want to. I'm also less irritable and anxious -- I don't know if that might be the lack of gluten or not, but I know gluten is something many parents eliminate from diets of their children and see behavioral improvements.

The best part is I am able to run faster, I have taken my pace down from 11:15/mile to about 10:35/mile most days (depends on the hills and any soreness I have from crossfit). Tied for the best part is also that I am wearing smaller sizes of clothes, too.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I did have a margarita Saturday night and I ate some pizza at a work luncheon on Friday. I never noticed before how crappy pizza makes me feel. I paid for that bit of pizza I ate all evening. I remember before I went down this path of "clean eating" that I thought I couldn't do it. I thought it would be too hard -- especially with the kids and the fact that I probably couldn't get them on board with it (let's face it, processed foods are the lifesavers for moms and dads who work outside the home). Honestly, I would often speak in defeatist language like, "I just can't give up my diet coke." or...."I love pizza and bread, I just can't imagine life without eating some of that in my regular diet."

But then I realized that I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to drink Diet Coke every day of the rest of my life. So, I psyched myself up, gave myself a nice pep talk and went whole hog on this plan. And, I'm not looking back -- ever.

Will I ever drink Diet Coke again? Time will tell. But even this week, I was at a deli grabbing lunch and purchased a drink fully intending to get tea, but old habits die hard and I started to put Diet Coke in my cup. Then I used the water spigot and rinsed it out and refilled with ice and grabbed the unsweetened tea.

Will I ever eat pizza again? Oh, sure, I imagine I will...but I remember how horrible I felt the other day recovering from that luncheon and I bet I'll think twice about it and see if there's an alternative available.

Cheese is something I will work back into my diet, but probably not heavily. Greek yogurt, too. But if any pimples show up afterwards, I may reconsider.

I wrote this mainly to remind myself of this process and how it felt. I plan to write a post on crossfit and exercise, too. But I think the biggest factor in weight loss and wellness is dietary, and I've noticed the biggest difference lately due to the things I am no longer eating. 

I know it's a hard thing to give up the things I have given up. And personally, I like tying that sacrifice to some other intention -- offering up my own discomfort for the spiritual help of someone else. I don't write this to say everyone should do it. I think different people have different goals in their lives about what they want to achieve. And people often have extenuating circumstances that might prevent them from moving on something like this (budgetary, small children in the home, etc).

I just want to get this out there though that I think there might be something to this non-processed, whole foods diet thing. I always thought it was a good idea. I was one of those people who would say, "In theory...sounds like a good thing..." followed by a BUT and that whole, "I would miss my diet coke too much" or something like that.

It's only been a little over 4 weeks, but if the way I feel continues to be this good, I can't imagine returning to my old ways.

May 27, 2013

Memorial Monday Mumbles - 46

Happy Memorial Day. I have plenty of family members who have served our country, but none (that I know of) who gave the ultimate sacrifice. prayers for all of you who do have a loved one who died serving our country. 

1. A day off work is always welcome, although my weekend didn't officially start until about 1:00 p.m. Saturday (from work). We had a huge malfunction little problem with our systems that carried our work over into Saturday. But I'm glad it was resolved and life went on.

2. I ran 5.0 miles on Saturday! Well, at least when I include the 0.75 that was worked into the WOD at crossfit. I maintained a 10:36 per mile pace for my 4.25 miles I ran beforehand, so I was happy with that little bit. The 10K Craig and I signed up for is Saturday, so I hope it goes well.

3. So, early last week I picked up a book...
Have you read it? I finished it in about 3 days. If I didn't have a family and stuff to attend to, I would have finished it in a day I am sure. Excellent read. So, I immediately picked up...
and finished that in basically 2.5 days. Another excellent read although it does end rather abruptly. (Don't worry, no spoilers here.) I've been kind of annoyed I haven't had the time yet to start Mockinjay. But I will remedy that situation today. :)

4. The kids have four more days of school. I can't believe I am about to have a 7th grader in this house. I also have a hard time with the fact that Dominic has another year until Kindergarten. He is already reading and drawing inferences that I would expect of a kid in 1st or 2nd grade. But another year of preschool for him.

5. I love rainy mornings. It rained while we were all getting up and around this morning. It was lovely. I laid on the couch and the kids fended for themselves. I must say, transitioning to this time in life where three of my kids are capable of fixing their own breakfast and helping with the younger ones is...interesting.

6. Vincent shows signs of potty-training readiness. But then...he doesn't. I don't know...I know eventually he will be out of diapers, but I'm torn in this weird place where I want it to happen now, but then I don't want it to happen.

7. Twelve years since we've been in a situation where there is not a baby on the way and the youngest is about to graduate diapers in a few months. Every so often I find myself pondering that.

8. Heading to hang out with siblings and their children today. I read this article, The Gift of Siblings, from the NY Times yesterday that a friend shared on Facebook. Loved it. 

9. We are fundraising for Helen's sponsorship fee for the National American Miss Pageant in August. It's been an interesting process. I love how Helen doesn't back away from it because it's uncomfortable or hard. I have often called her my "mini-me" but I think she's stronger  and more confident than I was at her age.

10. Vincent has hit his tantrum stage and I swear I forget that any other kid went through this stage because his are so ridiculous. I know that this, too, shall pass, but that doesn't mean that right now I don't want to lock myself in a small padded room and wait these things out. goodness.

A rare moment with my boys...

May 20, 2013

Monday Mumbles - 45

Happy Monday! I'm mumbling. Not sure Jessica is or not (she did!), but I just kind of do these whenever I think of it on Mondays. :)

1. I actually posted over the weekend. Hadn't had anything pop into my head to write about on the weekend for awhile.

2. My baby girl is growing up. These pictures kind of took me by surprise the other day. Watching Helen interact with other girls her age, I see how confident she is, and I love it. I don't know if it surprises me because I don't remember being confident as a kid and Helen is so much like me in other ways or what the deal is. But I like to see it.
Helen dressed and ready for Ballet Pictures

Helen with her friend Chi-Chi

3. Sunday was new shoes day for Dominic. Of course, that turned into new summer shoes for the girls, too. Thank God Vincent didn't really understand what was going on, and he can't talk so he couldn't ask for new shoes, too. I used my extra 20% off reward at the stride rite outlet and still paid out the whazoo. Why do basic necessities, like shoes, have to cost so much? 

Dominic was very cute about his new shoes, however. He said he wanted Star Wars shoes, so I went and looked and sure enough, there were some Star Wars Jedi Light-Up shoes available in his size and in our price range!

Dominic's new shoes!
4. And when we went home, he ran laps around our downstairs as though he were the fastest kid on the planet. I heard him say to Helen, "Come on, Helen, let's race! I bet my Jedi Master shoes will beat your leopard print sandals 'cause I'm the fastest!" Fun.

5. I've made it through 2 weeks of CrossFit (CF) and Saturday's workout included the ever-interesting Burpee. The Burpees I have done in the past didn't involve my stomach/chest touching the floor, but the CF Burpees are a bit different since stomach/chest touches the floor and the hands come up and then back down to lift ourselves back up. So, basically, the CF Burpees involve throwing your body to the floor and getting back up, much like a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum. I totally thought of Vincent while I was doing them...and of course realized this is why little kids are so fit...because they do this sort of thing all the time. The guy training the class said that the CF'ers who compete and such, basically do a pancake with their bodies and get right back up. Oh goodness.

6. We also started doing stuff like hanging from the bar and trying to lift our legs to do things like oh, touch our toes to the bar (I couldn't do that) or try to lift our legs and touch our knees to our elbows (I couldn't do that either) or just lift our knees as high as we could while we were hanging there. Then they also started teaching us how to do a controlled swing on the bar which should help us as we get stronger to do all kinds of things on that bar. I think I need to get some glove/grips or something.

7. I've been thinking about trying to get Vincent into gymnastics. So far he appears to be my most coordinated and high-energy kid. I think he'd be great with gymnastics early on before trying to get him into swimming lessons / swim team :)

8. Dominic said he wants to play soccer in the fall. That should be cool! I'm so excited to get him involved in something active like that. He likes video games too much right now.

9. I have been grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free for 22 days now. In that time I have also been unnatural sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free. I'm working on a post to describe this process. But suffice it to say, while my brain still sends messages like, "Let's get a Diet Coke" or "Man, pizza sounds so good!" I feel really good. I don't feel deprived (anymore). When I'm tired, I'm just tired -- not tired (and groggy) or tired (and coming off a sugar/flour high). It's interesting to say the least.

10. I'm happy to announce that I hit my 10% loss goal with Weight Watchers this weekend! I am also just shy of hitting the 25 pounds lost mark!

The key chain received from WW for hitting 10% goal
Last week, I was 0.4 away from this goal, so I figured I would hit it, but I blew past it by losing 4.4 pounds this week. I honestly think losing that much in a week probably isn't expected usually, but my body seems to really be responding to my new dietary regimen and the CF workouts! I was way excited to put on some denim capris I wore last summer...so I'm getting there!

Have a great Monday, everyone!!

May 19, 2013


One of the things about running is it gives me lots of time to think.

And sometimes I think about...


I wondered, what is it that makes me get out of bed at ungodly hours in the morning to make sure I get a run in? I wondered, what is it that makes my stomach churn when I think about getting out for a run. Honestly, I think the ungodly hours bit keeps me from thinking myself out of runs...I just get up, get dressed, brush my teeth and go. It's when I lounge around on a Sunday morning and have time to contemplate what I'm about to do that gets me all messed up.

I didn't grow up loving running. I was a swimmer. I rode my 10-speed bike to and from my 2-a-day practices in the summer. I liked biking and swimming. Honestly, I think I liked swimming because it got me out of the house on a regular basis -- didn't like being at home much growing up. But, if running was ever in the cards for practice, I was not game. I hated the idea. Thankfully it was only one or two practices a summer they'd have us run a mile or two before morning workout.

After swimming, there was basketball and volleyball. for those two sports, running was a means to an end. I ran faster dribbling a basketball "coast to coast" than I did any other time in my life. I could play basketball for hours without needing a rest and my favorite way to play was fast-paced up and down the floor. Volleyball didn't require distance, just footwork and speed and agility. I didn't mind that much either. Sure, we ran 12 laps around the court for warm up, but that was the extent of it.

When I went to college, I rowed on the Crew at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. I had strong legs and athletic build and found another sport I was good at. Again, running was a part of our spring break workouts (we'd run to the river for our warm-up -- about 2.4 miles or so), but hardly the main part of our workouts. 

I didn't start running until about a year after Sarah was born. I had gone on a doctor-supervised quick weight loss program and lost 65 pounds and knew I needed to do something to keep it off. It's hard to get pool time around here, so regular swimming was out, so I grabbed some running shoes and off I went.

I will say something for those early days -- I attributed my ability to stick with it to the fact I weighed lighter than I had in probably 10-12 years. It helps when running if you don't have a lot of extra weight, I still believe that. But over the years, I gained weight (with pregnancies and other things) and I still kept running. As a matter of fact, I was about 20 pounds heavier in 2007 (when Helen was 15 months old) when I ran my marathon. In hindsight, I wished I had eaten better leading up to the marathon so I could have been about 10 pounds lighter, but I still finished that marathon. The summer after that I went on to train specifically to run a half-marathon in sub-2hours. And in October 2007, I ran the Kansas City half marathon in 1:54. I ran another one 4 months later (in Houston) in 1:56.

But when I think back, I remember how I still kind of dreaded my runs. I think that's just part of running. Knowing how much better I will feel AFTERWARDS helps me get out there to do it even though I really don't want to.

I don't run any distance with ease very often. Sure, there's the odd time when I feel like I'm killing it out there and could run and run forever. But those really only come along every once in awhile.


I think that's why I keep running though.

I continue to get up at ungodly hours on weekdays, and I keep getting out there on a Sunday when I don't really feel like it because there's the chance.

There is that CHANCE that this next run is going to IT. 

MAYBE this next run I will feel like I am going to fly out of my shoes and I will feel like I can run 2 extra miles just because I can't bear the thought of stopping.


May 14, 2013

Strange, Weird, Wonderful, Awful

I wanted to write something meaningful on Mother's Day. 

But I couldn't.

There are perpetually-unresolved issues with my own mother. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to handle them. It's difficult when the way you are left to love someone is not the way you wish it would be. It's a possibly bitter resignation to settle for what is and give up the dream for what you thought you always hoped for.

I often miss my Nana and Aunt Bea, especially, I think on Mother's Day. My Nana was the best example of a mother and mother-in-law and grandmother there ever was. I can only hope to be half the woman she was -- and I'll be doing pretty good at that. Aunt Bea, though not a biological mother, was a mother and a grandmother in many senses of the word, to so many of us. She supported me emotionally, spiritually and psychologically through my college years, through a relationship that wasn't all that good for me and into my married life. She was the great-grandmother my kids wouldn't have known any other way.

This year, I have the bitter, unresolved feelings and I have the nostalgic and longing feelings. But, I also have joyful feelings as I was surrounded by my children and their lovely hand-made gifts. This was Dominic's first year to make me something at school and he was so proud of it. Helen gave me a couple of things they made at school, too, along with her hand-made card that said "Mommy, you're the best Mommy in the whole world." and it is just like a dozen cards she makes me on a whim every week. Dani had a nice acrostic (thank you #cathsorority friends who helped me with that word!) describing me with each letter of MOTHER. Therefore, I had a bunch of new things to put up at work. :)

Also, this year, I grieve that special piece of me that is no longer here, but has gone on to Heaven, my Gregory. A few times I rubbed across my stomach remembering that there's nothing growing in there anymore. My stomach has finally begun to flatten out a bit (losing weight helps, but I think the muscles are contracting back finally realizing there's nothing in there anymore). I had a fleeting thought while at work today that I'd be about 10 weeks away from my due date this week and probably be waddling or something if I were still pregnant. So, Mother's Day was sad for me this year in ways it never had been before.

Something I've noticed after experiencing this loss is that I never could comprehend what this felt like before I went through it. Now, when I hear of a loss, there's an actual pain in my own heart for the other person experiencing this pain. It makes me feel bad sometimes because my own sister suffered a couple of losses, but I had absolutely no idea the pain she was going through. Now that I've suffered my own, I appreciate so much the things she has to say about it if the subject comes up. 

I now understand how a person could have a lapse in faith during a time like this. I am so afraid of that happening. I wonder if  I go overboard trying to maintain my faith in any way I can...reflect on the Eucharist, pray the Rosary, read the Bible...anything that will help me feel close to God. Sometimes, though, I think I am really trying to feel close to Gregory.

I guess I'm glad this year's Mother's Day is over. And maybe writing this, I can let go of some of the feelings I have. I wrote a comment on Rebecca's blog describing the day as "Just one strange, weird, wonderful, awful day."

I think that pretty much sums it up.


May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes - 49

Happy Friday! It's time for another edition of 7 Quick Takes. I actually have a little bone to pick with an article that I read this week.  Got time to go read it? 

Okay, I'll wait.  

And now, read on...

--- 1 ---

The first thing that annoyed me was how stressful they made 3 kids sound. I'm not saying it's not stressful. Actually the transition from two to three children was the hardest we have had. And we had all three the same gender!! 

I think the amount of space between the children makes a big difference in how stressful it is -- or at least in the type of stress a person experiences. In my case, when #3 was born, that meant I had 3 children under the age of 5 and that was very stressful for me. In fact, I kind of swore off ever doing that again...but I was on my way to doing that when Gregory was still with us.  But then, in the case of someone that has...say 4 or 6 or 8 years between their second and third child, I can see that being a little easier because the older children could possibly help more, but I can see it being highly stressful to go back to the baby stage after so long out of the baby stage. 

You see...I think those would be stressful even if it was #4 (if the youngest three would all be under the age of 5) or even if it was #7 coming along about 5 years after #6. I just don't think it has so much to do with it being THREE KIDS, as I think it has to do with the ages and stages of the family involved.
--- 2 ---

What is up with this little statistic from their survey?  

"46 percent of moms say their husbands/partners cause them more stress than their kids do."  
I don't get that. Does that mean 46% of these women married immature men who won't help out around the house or spend more time on the golf course during the weekend than being a dad? 

I mean, it just seems odd to lob a statistic like that out there and leave us all to our imaginations. WHY would husbands/partners cause more stress? Is it because they put pressure on the women to maintain a certain physical appearance? Or do they put pressure on the women to limit the children they are open to? Or do they spend money willy-nilly? I am annoyed at the mention of a statistic like this and leaves it to our imagination just what annoying things said husbands/partners are doing.

--- 3 ---

The comments from the mom of four (including twins) annoyed me, too. First of all, she's no longer in the throes of raising children, so her mind is muddled. I'm only 12 years in and I have five children and even I can tell you that I look back fondly and have forgotten all the details of the early years with Sarah, but since I am currently experiencing age 1-4 with my boys, I am reminded that surely I was frustrated and spent a lot of time in a fog when I had Sarah, Dani and Helen all from age newborn to age 4 and it wasn't something I routinely laugh off. Sure, I survived, but I don't think I'd appreciate reading someone making light of the early years and then turning around saying the stress is still high when the children are grown. Note: I am not saying there's not stress with the older children. 
--- 4 ---

Which brings me to another annoyance in the article. Why is this mother stressing out about her grown children and their job interviews or taking their finals? Do I just take my little advice too seriously, that we should do the very best we can to raise our children to know, love and serve the Lord, to be good citizens and to work hard and then -- at some point you acknowledge that you did the best and it's in God's hands and you pray? 

I don't foresee stressing out over my kids' finals at school -- I figure that is on them. Same with the job interview. Of course, I don't plan to pay for college entirely either. So maybe that has something to do with my attitude.

--- 5 ---

Finally, I get annoyed at this:
 "60 percent of moms say raising girls is more stressful than raising boys."
What. Is. Up. With. This. Sentiment?!?!? 

It's probably not fair to assign my annoyance on this statement to just this article, but since they put it out there in black and white, I feel the need to address it. 

When we started out with three girls, I heard so many people express outright sadness that we were having girls. We heard things like, "poor dad will never see the bathroom" or people would look disappointed when we found out Helen was a girl on her ultrasound. 

I heard people say crass things like, "The thing about having a boy is, you only have to worry about ONE <insert word for male body part>. When you have a girl, you have to worry about MANY." I mean, what the heck does a person say to that? And why do boys get a pass on stuff like that? Just because "boys will be boys?" and we don't expect better of them?

Well my thoughts on that sentiment are this: Perhaps if people stressed HALF as much about raising their boys to be good, honorable, and virtuous young men, it would decrease the amount of stress they feel when they raise their girls to be good, honorable and virtuous young women.

And now -- I am done with that article. :)

--- 6 ---
I started crossfit this week. The first workout was Tuesday and it was the same workout we will do in four weeks to gauge improvement. It was a 200M run and then we came in and did three sets of three exercises: Ring Rows, Push-ups, Air Squats (we did 15 of each, then 12 of each then 9 of each) and finished with 200M run. I did it in 8:48. So I'll be interested to see how I do in four weeks!

The Thursday night workout was a warm up of 400M run, then they taught us the movements for a dead lift and a Press and a Push-Press. Then we did a "10s" workout which meant we did 10 kettleball dead-lifts, 10 Push-Press; 9 kettleball dead-lifts, 9 Push-Press all the way down to 1 each. My time was 7:02.

I'm fascinated by this timing of everything. That's a motivator for a person like me, so I'm interested to see how this works into all the workouts going forward.

--- 7---

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we were notified that National American Miss (NAM) had obtained Helen's name as a potential for the Missouri State pageant. We have never done anything like this. We went to the "open audition" Tuesday afternoon and there I learned there were a couple of options where they could have received Helen's name: Ballet studio or a teacher could have submitted. We don't know any former NAM participants (that we know of) and they listed other sponsors like Ford -- but I have no idea how Helen's name would surface from that vein either. Anyway, they interviewed her on Tuesday while I was getting the information on the program.

Before anyone worries I'm going to let Helen go all Honey-Boo-Boo or anything, this particular organization has a strict no make-up rule for girls 12 and under, and the categories they focus on are community involvement, interview skills, public speaking and work to teach the girls poise and develop their confidence.

So they called us last night and said Helen is a state finalist. My baby girl will be in the Miss Missouri Princess category at the Missouri Pageant August 9-10. She was literally GLOWING when we told her they'd called to say she's been selected.

Here she is in a picture she took with a reigning Miss MIssouri (I can't remember if she is the Jr. Preteen, Preteen or Jr. Teen):

Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

May 6, 2013

Monday Mumbles -- 44

Mondays. Blah.

1. This was Vincent a couple weeks ago (his hair is so long!!)

2. This is a blurry picture of Vincent yesterday after I cut his hair (me, for the first time on my boys, cutting hair!)

3. Vincent does not like to sit still. At. All.

4. I ran my 5K Saturday...the whole way, too. It was a nice course, I thought. It had a steady incline through the 1.5-2 mile mark and then it was a nice gradual decline to the finish. By my phone I did it in 32:00 and Nike+ app cheered me for my "fastest 5K" (since I've been using that app -- I was faster when I was younger, haha).

5. As cold as it was, it was still a good run. Sure hope Mother Nature is going to let us have spring now. Living with temps in the 30's in May is not cool.

6. Watched Skyfall yesterday. I enjoyed it. I love the 007 movies. :)

7. I cried at Mass again. This time, I thought I was going to make it, but then....the tears started right before Communion. Sometimes I wonder if I cry because I expect to cry. My therapist says I need to stop with the thinking that crying is a bad thing or that I'm supposed to be over all this by now. My brain knows she's right, but the part of me that always picks everything up and moves forward on everything else in my life is stubborn.

8. I ran 3.5 miles this morning! The hills around my house are brutal. I know it's not like living on a mountain range, (ahem, Rebecca), but they are pretty hard around here. I try to remind myself they are getting me ready for the incredible incline for like 1.2 miles in the Hospital Hill 10K on June 1...but then I realize that if it was just a bit flatter around here, I'd be up to 4 miles by now! 

9. Our parish is getting an altar rail. I think I misunderstood what Father said last week and thought it would be installed this weekend, but apparently have to wait one more week. I'm very excited. We got a new altar just a couple of weeks ago, too. Our sanctuary looks so very different now than even just a few years ago. I know I personally like the changes, but I'm not sure how everyone feels about it. I was reminded of my last "Catholicism Nerd" post I did. I need to think of something else in that vein to write -- it's been awhile!

10. Working from home this morning because Vincent had goopy eye last night and I don't want to take a chance on spreading it at daycare. So, I'll work from home, get him down for his nap and then head into the office because there is some testing I need to do this afternoon!

Have a good Monday!


May 1, 2013

Arms Wide Open

Tuesday was one of the hard days. 

I have to admit, they are getting fewer and farther between. But they still come around. I was at my therapy session Tuesday evening and the tears poured out of my eyes while I talked. Earlier in the day, I was in a long, boring meeting and they were putting lots of dates up on the screen. The dates were related to conversions and upgrades and all kinds of work-related stuff. But I saw dates that meant to me, "should be 26 weeks pregnant and about to take that glucose test" or "due date" or "maternity leave" and I choked up.

I also think in my own grief, I haven't given Craig enough attention. I haven't asked him how he's feeling about the whole thing. I've been pretty self-absorbed and I worry that I've forgotten (through my in-actions) that Craig is grieving a lost child, too.

My therapist made a good point by asking me how Craig is doing and whether he talks about it. I know that men are different and might not be as apt to discuss their feelings or cry openly. But I couldn't answer her because I don't know how he's doing and he hasn't been as open as I have been about the grief I feel. I need to give Craig the opportunity to do that and I don't. Part of it is because we're really not alone, just the two of us, all that often. So I don't really get the chance. But I need to remedy that. He and I need some time together. Alone. For whatever -- to just hang out, to talk about lost dreams or broken hearts, to cry...

When I think about Gregory and what might have been, I think about having my family with three girls and then three boys. I had a hunch he was a boy from the earliest part of pregnancy and I started dreaming the Brady Bunch dream, ya know? I thought that God knows me so well that I need this symmetry in my family of three girls and then three boys -- it provided balance in my brain and in my heart and I was so happy about it. I dreamed of my boys playing baseball or basketball or football together. I dreamed of those boys wreaking havoc on their older sisters every chance they could. I dreamed of Vincent being able to be a big brother. I dreamed of one more stair step in my sequence...making my family complete. I still feel like we're complete (I've always felt our family was complete after each of my children) but that Gregory's place just isn't here with us. Painful as it may be, that is just the way it is. Gregory is no less my son and a part of our family because he is already a Saint.

Surely Craig had dreams, too. I remember as we drove home from the hospital with all five kids in the car shortly after Vincent was born and Craig saying to me, "Ah, I just realized when I get to have a beer with Vincent, I'll be almost 61 years old..." I see Craig play cars with the boys, or try to teach Dominic how to catch the ball and I know he surely thought about playing with Gregory, too. Maybe having "guy time" as they all got older, and going to movies or just hanging out on the deck grilling, maybe playing cards.

I know that having a child in heaven is a blessing...one that I will appreciate more in the years to come than I do now. As I walked to my little corner at work Tuesday trying to hold off the tears, I thought about the fact that when I'm old, I'll probably refer to Gregory fondly as my Saint in heaven waiting to welcome me.

Saturday I heard the song by Creed, "With Arms Wide Open."
With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything

As I listened to it, of course, the tears started. Craig's and my arms were wide open to greet Gregory. We love him so much and miss him and are sad that we did not get the opportunity to welcome him to this place and show him everything. And now, for us, even though he was born to heaven, everything has changed -- for us and for Gregory. We are left with a piece of us gone, Gregory gets to experience Love, Himself. 

In my stronger moments, I think about the lyrics to this song and I think about what it will be like, God willing, when Craig and I come to heaven...and Gregory's arms will be wide open to welcome us to that place and he'll be able to show us the way to Love.

That's my prayer, anyway.