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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Volleyball with a side of pain

We got up this morning and prepared for another fun-filled Saturday morning full of volleyball games for Emily.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way.

She played her heart out through the first match, but they lost.

That's Sarah in the stripes, line judging.
Emily has on the long black shorts and tall white socks.
Then before the second match started, she and her teammates decided to explore. They found this set of steps that went up from the gym and they wanted to see what was at the top of them. It was the weight room. So they came back down the steps.

The Steps of Doom
And that's where the day went horribly wrong. Emily slipped or tripped or stumbled or something and went down the last 3-4 steps on her back. And if you look closely, you'll see that they're cement. No padding.

Long story short, Ex1 took her to the hospital, and I followed. The Dude took the boys and my van and went back to the house while we took care of her.

We honestly thought that she was fine. We figured that they'd do x-rays and say that nothing was broken and send her home - but we were ok with that because then we'd know that she was fine. After a lot of poking and prodding, a few hours, and several x-rays, it was determined that she did indeed end up with some minimal compression fractures in two of her vertebrae. The ER doctor feels that she won't need any sort of treatment or anything because they are minimal - but he wants her to take it easy for a few days and then follow up with our doctor on Monday.

So Ex1 gave me a ride back home since The Dude had taken my van, and Emily went and hung out with some friends to watch a movie (that had already been planned) for a few hours. She came home and crashed  on the couch pretty soon afterwards, and I'm just allowing her to sleep there tonight. If she's comfortable, I'm not going to make her move.

I swear, this week has it out for me for some reason. We had our drama from the other day and then this today - hopefully this is the end of it, because I'm exhausted and I need sleep.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's a scary world.

(Note: For those of you who know me in "real life", you may know what I'm talking about in this post. I'm asking you to please not share those details here or on my NSM facebook page. There are some things that I prefer not to discuss in detail here. Thank you.)

In general, I live my life in a happy little bubble. At the moment, my life is relatively drama free. Yes, I have stress, but who doesn't? For the most part, life is good. I feel content and happy and most of all, safe.

And then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, that feeling of safety can be taken away - yanked out from under a person like the proverbial rug. That happened to me yesterday. An incident occurred that shook me to my core and made me realize just how incredibly fragile that feeling of safety can be at times.

Luckily, everyone is fine. No one is sick, no one is injured, no one was physically harmed in any way. We are all fine.

However, that could have all changed in a heartbeat. Our lives could have been forever changed. And it's making me look at things through different eyes.

If you take nothing else from what I write here, please - listen to this:

Never pass up a chance to tell someone you love how you feel. 

Don't take time with your family or friends for granted. 

Live your life with the knowledge that nothing is guaranteed.

Now go. Spread some love. Hug and kiss your babies a little tighter. Call that old friend who has been on your mind lately. Shoot an email to your mother just to let her know that you're thinking about her. Heck, send someone a letter so that there is something besides bills and political leaflets in the mailbox. Take a few minutes to enjoy the sunset, even if you're barreling straight into it at 70mph.

Do it. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Something cool happened today...

I'm not a "big blogger". I don't have millions, or even tens of thousands of followers.

There are over 2400 people who "follow" me on facebook, but I know that not all of them actually do. And I think that the last time I checked I had something like 140 people following the actual blog. There are more through feedburner and twitter. But I don't know how many people actually pay attention and read what I babble about on a mostly-daily basis.

I don't do this for the numbers, or the fame and glory (ha!) - I do it because it's fun. It's a neat way for me to sort of have a virtual scrapbook of things that we have done as a family and of the random thoughts that clutter my head at times. And yes, the interaction with people is really stinkin' cool.

But today, I noticed something - and I happened to notice it at the time when it actually occurred.

For the first time since I started this blog in January 2011, I got 5000 views in a month. Personally, I think that's pretty cool.

But at the same time, it's not that important to me. Fun, yes. Interesting, yes. Important? Not so much.

What is important to me as I sit here and type away is to assure you that what you see is what you get with me. I don't make up stories to amuse anyone, I don't embellish the truth, I don't hide things that might make me look bad - I am and always have been 100% honest with every word that I've written here. Because in the end, I do this for me - but I am thankful that each and every one of you is along for the ride.

And for your comic relief - and partially what inspired this post (heard it in the van today as I was racing from one place to another....)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Meal planning for the month

So, tomorrow is my payday - aka the 4th Thursday of the month, which is the magical day when the Social Security Administration decides that we can have our money. And since we only get money one time per month (dependable money, at least) I do my big grocery shopping on that day.

I've been winging it the last few months and have just been going to the store and buying whatever. But I decided to try to be somewhat organized this month. So, I printed out a calendar, marked the days that I have all of the kids vs. just the younger two, and started planning meals around that. And once I had all of the meals done, I made a grocery list.

Yes, I even color-coded.
I don't know that I'll actually get the shopping done tomorrow as I had planned - it's going to depend on how quickly I get everything paid in the morning and on how I'm feeling, but it'll all be done in the next few days, and then theoretically I shouldn't have to go back to the store other than to get things like milk and eggs and such. I might even spend tomorrow searching for coupons if I'm feeling so inclined.

I'm even going to attempt to pre-make some meals and stick them in the freezer so that all I have to do on the really crazy nights is thaw it and cook it.

Can you tell that I'm trying desperately to be organized? I'll let y'all know how it works out for me. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

There are days....

...when I start out so tired that I just don't even want to get out of bed. But I do it because I have to get the boys to school.

...when I think to myself "I should really take a nap while I have the chance" but instead I come home and work on stuff that needs to be done all morning while I have the time to myself.

...when the stress and frustration of being broke but still needing to get just a couple of things at the grocery store is enough to put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

(Note: No, we are not starving. Yes, we have food. I knew that this month was going to be tight because of the whole transmission/broken axle mess, and I get money again in 2 days. I'm not sweating it that badly. It's just aggravating.)

...when the dishwasher decides to eat one of my favorite and most-used wooden spoons. Yes, minor in the grand scheme of things, but still...

...when it seems like all I do is run-run-run to get kids to where they need to go...

....when I look at my datebook for the upcoming week and try to figure out how exactly I'm going to do it all.

...and then I look at the mountains of laundry and wonder if I'll ever get all of it done.

But then I look at the kids' faces and I realize that no matter how overwhelming things seem at times, it's not that big of a deal. To see Daniel grinning from ear to ear as he gets to push a "kid cart" through the store, or see Alex and Daniel having a ball at Scouts (Daniel technically isn't in Scouts because he's too young, but they let him participate in a few things because he's there with me), or to see them snuggled up in their beds sound asleep - those things make the day-to-day stress totally worth it.

He likes to shop more than I do.

Yes, the orange and green blur is Daniel.

I might be constantly stressed out, but I'm also so lucky that I get to be a part of my kids' lives on a daily basis. I might complain about the constant running around, but I'm glad that I am able to do it and to be there for them.

Perspective. Sometimes we just need to change it a little bit.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The latest 5K results

I did this one kind of on the spur-of-the-moment. But it was a blast! The Dude and Daniel were there with me, rooting me on as they always do....

Gotta' love those blue lollipops.

It was a small race - first year for it.

There I go - see the #10 jersey?

About halfway through...

I wasn't dying yet....close though.

Coming up to the finish line.
 Unfortunately, the picture of me actually crossing the finish line didn't come out thanks to my phone being stupid....

Done - and trying not to puke.

A congratulatory hug from one of my
favorite guys!

I even got a kiss from him!
So, how did I do?

Well, it wasn't bad. I really liked the course, except that they didn't close all of the streets and so there was actually some traffic - but that really wasn't a major problem. The weather was perfect.

My best time for a 5K so far was 39:04. I was hoping to beat that, but I didn't. I finished in 41:29.27 - so I missed my best time by about 2 1/2 minutes. Disappointed? A little. But really, I haven't done much to prepare, so I'm ok with it. It just gives me something to shoot for when I do the next one.

Sunset on the way home.

Chilling out before bedtime.
So now, The Dude and I are hanging out and relaxing. It's been (what seems like) forever since we've had any time together because he's been sick, so it's been nice to just hang out and do nothing.....

....although there might have been a bottle of wine involved already. Thank you, spell check. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

They're trying to kill me.

Just a really super quick recap of our day.....

Up at 5am. Breakfast for the herd, dress the herd, get the herd in the van to make the 30 mile round trip to drop everyone off at school.

Came home, enjoyed the peace and quiet, did some cleaning and played around online for a bit. Oh, and got officially registered for another 5K on Saturday evening.

Walked up to Daniel's school to get him and walked back here. Tossed him into the stroller (we were running a little short on time and I was tired of carrying him on my shoulders) and walked to the library to return some stuff and then to the store to get toilet paper (very important) and a birthday gift for one of Sarah's friends.

Came home, dumped the stroller and jumped back in the van to make the 30 mile round trip trek to get Sarah from school and get her to the dentist.

Made the 30 mile round trip trek to take Sarah back to school.

Came home for about 10 minutes and then went to get Alex from school.

Came home for about 45 minutes, then took off to make what should have been the 4th 30 mile round trip trek to school for Sarah's volleyball games.

Do you see that serve? That serve is amazing.

Then after the game, I got suckered into giving one of her friends a ride home. No big deal - or so I thought - until I found out that she lived 10 miles in the opposite direction from where we had to go. So, that 30 mile round trip trek turned into a 50 mile one.

So if my math is right, that's about 140 miles just running back and forth to school. 

Oh, and on the way home, we saw a strange glow in the distance. And smoke. What's funny is that I've now lived in Kansas long enough that when I see that I automatically think "field fire". We could see this one for about 10 miles, and we were still at least a mile away from it when I took the picture. Yeah, bad picture, but it was the best I could do. And if that's what it looks like from over a mile away, you can imagine how intense they are up close.

So we got home, I chased them all into bed after some snacks, and then I had one more thing that I *had* to do, and that was to make a bag for the aforementioned birthday gift - cheaper and more fun that just a typical gift bag. And cute too. There are just 3 bottles of nail polish in there, but Sarah is thrilled with the little bag, so we're good.

And now, it is time to find my bed under the mountain of laundry and attempt at some point tonight to get some sleep. I'm just mentally going through my schedule for the next few weeks - is it sad that I'm excited that I might get to sleep in until 7:30 on Saturday morning?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All of this for a pair of shoes....

We had a discussion on my facebook page yesterday (was it yesterday?) about the condition of my sneakers. They are in pretty bad shape. And considering that I have a 5K that I really really want to do on Saturday, I really needed to get them replaced.

I decided to do that today. So I got the boys to school and came back to the house to make myself look human enough to go out in public.

In order to avoid the fiery pits of hell that is WalHell, I opted to go to the only shoe store in town to see what they had. And of course, they had nothing - well, nothing that I could afford that wasn't pink.

I hate pink. Hate it hate it hate it. And I don't want it on my shoes. That's probably about the only thing that I'm really picky about - brand names don't phase me, I don't have a favorite style...but I do not want PINK on my shoes. Period.

Annoyed, I went to the fiery pits of hell. They had nothing. No, actually, they had a few pairs. I tried them on. I tried to like them. But they just weren't comfortable and if I'm going to wear them to walk miles upon miles and to run races, they have to be comfortable.

One bonus of living in Kansas...SPEED!
So, I went and picked Daniel up from school and we made the trek into Wichita.

Keep in mind that I really dislike shopping. Seriously, I do. Generally, if I have to go to a mall, I park at the entrance closest to what I need, go in, get it, and leave. I don't like to go from store to store to store searching. Anyway, Daniel and I got to the mall and parked outside one of those big sporting goods stores. We checked out their shoes, and they had a couple of pairs that looked promising, but nothing amazing.

So we headed out into the mall itself.

We went to every single store that sold shoes. Every single one. The sales people weren't impressed when I told them that I wanted the cheapest pair of running shoes that they had - but seriously, I didn't want to spend a lot of money - I just need a pair to get me through a month or two, and then I'll splurge and get a good pair. But I'm not prepared to do that just yet. The looks that I got when I said that were incredible - like I was some sort of moron.

Now, I understand that good shoes are a necessity - I really do. But at the same time, I'm not going to spend $100+ for a pair of sneakers right now. I just can't justify that kind of expense. If I win the lottery (ha!), sure - but until that happens, I go for the bargains.

Anyway, as Daniel and I were walking from store to store, he was having a ball looking at stuff and just talking up a storm. We went into one store - it might have been JCPenneys - and it had escalators. He got so stinkin' excited about them that we rode up the escalator just for the heck of it, walked around the second floor of the store, and came right back down again. He was ecstatic.

Finally, we went to Sears. The very last store in the mall. And there, I found them. Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular - just a decent pair of running shoes.

Best part? $60 shoes on sale for $30. And no pink.


After all of that, we deserved lunch.

After we ate, we took off back toward home, stopped at the grocery store real quick, ran to the house and chucked the groceries into the fridge, and then picked Alex up from school. 

Then it was just chaos. I got supper started so that it was ready when Ex1 brought Sarah and Jared home after her volleyball practice. We quickly ate, and then we loaded up to drop those two off at Ex1's church. Then we took off to pick Emily up from her practice and brought her back and dropped her at the church as well. Came back home, got the younger two bathed and in bed, cleaned up the kitchen, the older three came home from church and got ready for bed, then I packed lunches and started cinnamon rolls for tomorrow.

And of course, I just remembered that I still haven't done my laundry. Darn it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

He's a keeper. Like we didn't know that already.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about how The Dude gets me?

He proved his wonderfulness (is that a word?) again today.

Exhibit A, posted on his facebook at 4:42am this morning:

I knew I wasn't going to hear from him all day - if he was doing Nyquil shots at 4am, then there was no point in even thinking about talking to him. Sure enough, later this afternoon, he finally got online. I asked him what he was talking about in that status, and he just said something vague about it being something that I wanted but kept not buying for myself - and that he'd bring it over later.

Fine. I hate surprises, so I tried not to think about it and I went to do the dishes - and then I figured it out.

Sure enough, he showed up a little bit later, feeling miserable and sick and cranky. Not only is he battling the intestinal bug that he's had for a few days, but now he has the flu on top of it. Anyway, he had this with him:

Big deal? Nope, not in the grand scheme of things.

But to me - HUGE. Really really HUGE. See, my griddle - that gets used constantly thanks to my kids' obsession with French toast and pancakes - only has 3 legs. I don't even remember how the 4th leg broke off, but it's only had 3 legs for a really long time. So whenever I used it, I just put a little pepper shaker under the corner that didn't have the leg.

It was annoying, but it worked - so every time we saw a display of them at the grocery store, I'd stop and look at them...and then walk away, because as long as it worked, I couldn't see the point in buying a new one. Sometimes I take that whole "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule too far. This was one of those situations where it was more like "well, it's broken, but it still works, so until it breaks more and quits working completely, I'm not going to replace it".

But here he was, at the grocery store at 4:00 in the morning, sick as a dog, and he saw it and bought it. And then brought it to me after he got up from his Nyquil-induced coma.

Again, I don't know how I got to be so lucky, but I'm not going to complain. At all. And I'm going to keep him. For a very long time.

Feel better soon, babe. I love you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tired of being Mom

Yep, you read that right. I'm tired of being Mom.

This is something that's been rattling around in my head for a few days now. And I'm going to try to explain myself before everyone gets all cranky with me and misunderstands what I'm trying to say - because I know that I can't be the only one out there who feels like this.

It dawned on me today when I went to do a load of laundry. I walked into the cluttered disaster area of the laundry room, made my way to the washer, opened it up and grabbed a handful of wet stuff to toss into the dryer. I opened up the dryer door only to find it crammed full of dry stuff. I let loose with a too-loud expletive and went to find a basket to throw the dry stuff into so that I could get the wet stuff into the dryer so that I could wash what I actually wanted to wash.

Honestly, it was all kid clothes in the washer and dryer. And all I wanted to do was wash my stuff. Mine. My laundry, that's been piling up for days on end, because it seems like the kids' stuff always needs to be done first - either because the girls "need" something to wear (sometimes the need is legit, sometimes it's not) or one of the boys had an accident and it stinks or someone's out of underwear. Whatever the reason, the kids' stuff always gets done first.

But then again, the kid stuff always gets put first, doesn't it? Because that's what parents do.

Before I get farther into this, let me just preface all of this by saying that I love my kids. I love them with all of my heart and I wouldn't give them up for the world. Seriously. I might complain sometimes a lot but I do love them. And I know that this is the life that I chose when I became a single mother. I'm well aware of that fact, so you don't need to point that one out to me.

Now sit back and relax because I'm going to complain vent. A lot. Because I need to get it off of my chest.

I'm a soccer mom, but without the soccer. Instead I'm a volleyball mom, a basketball mom, and a Scout mom.

I'm the cleaning mom, the laundry mom, the fix-it-when-it-breaks mom.

I'm the grocery shopping mom.

I'm the run-it-to-school-because-it-was-forgotten-and-it's-needed mom.

I'm the mom who attends every single one of the kids' functions, big or small.

I'm the mom who mops the floor multiple times every day just to keep from sticking to it.

I'm the late-night-mending-because-we-ripped-it-but-need-it-tomorrow mom.

I'm the mom who stays up entirely too late to get things done, and then gets up entirely too early to get it all finished because there just simply aren't enough hours in the day for me to get it all done.

I'm the sicker-than-a-dog mom who still has to get out of bed and do what needs to be done around this house, whether I've had any sleep or not.

There are times when it is just completely and totally overwhelming. And there are times when I know that if I don't do something - anything - for myself, I'm going to lose it. I've been so busy being Mom that I've forgotten what it's like to be Me.

So...I've been thinking....(I know, scary thought)...

I need to start doing things for myself. No, I'm not going to blow off the stuff that needs to be done for the kids, because realistically, if I did that, who would pick up the slack? It would just create more work for me in the long run - and that's what's gotten me to this point.

I was going to come up with a bucket list, but I need to do things NOW. Not just before I die, but NOW. I got to thinking that my birthday is in a few months, so maybe I could come up with 42 things to do before I turn 42 - but as I started making the list, I honestly couldn't come up with 42 things that didn't somehow involve doing things for the kids. And I'm being selfish here - these are things that I want to do for ME. Me and me only.

And with Daniel starting school full-time in 2 weeks, I'll actually have more time to myself to do some of these things. Some are silly, some are serious, but they are all things that I want to do.

1. Run a 5K. Not walk 3/4 of it. Run it. Or at least jog it.
2. Get to the point that I can go out and at least walk 13.1 miles (a half-marathon) a couple of times a month.
3. Go on a date with The Dude. Alone. With no kids. Just me and him - out somewhere, in public, together. We don't get to do that nearly enough.
4. Get a manicure. Not a do-it-myselfer. A real one.
5. Read a book. From start to finish.
6. Cook a meal - for me. Whatever I want with no complaints from anyone else.
7. Go bowling. I haven't gone in years, and I miss it. (Maybe combine with #3?)
8. Actually finish one of the many quilts that I have started.
9. Volunteer at the homeless shelter.
10. Actually take one of the quilt designs in my head, put it on paper, and then make it. And finish it.
11. Save enough money to get a new digital camera so that I don't have to use my crappy phone for all of my pictures.
12. Lose 25 more pounds.
13. Get new sneakers. That's going to have to happen within the next couple of weeks. No choice there.
14. Make a charity quilt. That's actually started - but I need to finish it.
15. Go hang out at the coffee shop once in a while, just to get out of the house.
16. Get the bikes fixed, and go for a bike ride. That one will necessitate getting past some fear, but I want to do it.
17. Get my kitchen chairs fixed. I keep putting it off, but it needs to be done. I want it to be done.
18. Go through all of my clothes and donate what I don't wear or need.
19. Get out and walk/jog at least 3 times per week - regardless of the weather or how crappy I feel.
20. Find and try at least one new recipe every week - whether the kids like it or not.
21. Start cooking ahead and freezing meals - if for no other reason than to reduce my stress.
22. Make the apron that I've designed and redesigned in my head at least a dozen times now.
23. Actually buy, fill out, and send Christmas cards this year.
24. Use the weights and exercise CDs that I have sitting around collecting dust.
25. Learn how to knit. Or crochet. Or maybe both.
26. Start making my own laundry detergent again. I've gotten lazy.
27. Organize the garage - because it really needs to be done.

That's a good start at least. And there are 118 days until my birthday. I wonder how many of these I can get done by then.....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend shots

It's been kind of a weird weekend. Not bad. Just...off for some reason.

Maybe it's because Alex's father actually took him for the weekend, and so he was gone for 49 1/2 hours (a new record). It might have been because I just didn't really feel good all weekend. Maybe it was the weather. It could have something to do with The Dude working a lot of hours this weekend (and not feeling well himself) and so he hasn't been around and I miss him (sappy, huh?). Maybe it was just a combination of all of that plus more.

Anyway...here are some shots from our weekend. It was another one of those weekends where I was busy the whole time, but didn't get much done.

Started out with Emily's volleyball games Saturday morning...

Emily serving while Sarah acted as line judge

Love this old gym. The bleachers? Not so much...

We did a bunch of running around after the game, including a quick run to the library while we were out and about.

I can not believe that I allowed her out of the house like that. And yes, those are pajama pants.

Remember the apple tree that I found a couple of weeks ago? We finally got back up there to pick the apples.

Picking apples

There's a reason why I bring my kids along on these adventures - and it's not just for the family bonding time. They're better climbers than I am.

Just a little dew-covered patch of wildflowers

Not as much as I had hoped for, but still enough for a few batches of apple butter in the coming week or so.

Now, about a month ago or so, I went on another garbage bag rampage with the kids' toys. They refused to pick stuff up and put it away, so I picked it up for them - and all of the toys went into a big garbage bag and the bag went outside beside the trash can. Now I admit that I did rip it back open again at one point, because there was actually a shoe in there that was needed - but other than that the bag was not disturbed.

And then it rained. And I forgot that the bag had been torn open. Grrrr.

I finally relented and brought the bag inside yesterday - I figured that with the issues that I've been having with Weird Neighbor, I didn't want him to "help" me by throwing the bag into the trash can for me. A lot of the toys did go into the trash (oh darn). Some of the plastic stuff went into the dishwasher and some of it went into the sink. And on one of the toys, we found a new friend....

Somehow the other day, Alex managed to rip this shelf out of the wall. Apparently, he accidentally reached up to it with the broom handle, accidentally hooked the broom handle around the end of the shelf, and then accidentally pulled it out of the wall.

I just love how those accidents happen. He's lucky there were just bins of hats and gloves up there, and not something really heavy.

But I finally got around to fixing that today.

The rest of the time has been spent cleaning and doing laundry and cooking and doing dishes and all of that fun stuff.

I still just feel....... bleh. But I have determined that no matter what happens in the morning, I am going to force myself to go out and walk/jog after I get the kids off to school. I'm not sure how far I'll go, but after the incredible workout the other night, I need to do something to keep myself going.

Now, I just have to stick with it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inspiration from Losers

What an evening!!!

Anyone who knows me well knows that there are only 2 television shows that I will absolutely go out of my way to watch. Two. That's it.

One is "Parenthood" - and since that just started up again this week, I am happy.

The other one...probably my all-time favorite....is "The Biggest Loser". I haven't watched it from the beginning, but I've watched probably the last 5-6 seasons - and I love it. I love the contestants (most of them anyway) and I love to watch how they learn to take control of their lives and turn themselves around and become healthy.

I have to admit, some of those contestants have been huge inspirations to me. HUGE.

So when I saw the opportunity to meet a couple of them, I jumped at it! Ken and Austin Andrews are a father and son duo from Pasadena, CA and they were in Wichita. They did a speaking engagement last night (which I couldn't go to because of volleyball), but tonight they were having an open workout type thing at one of the Ys in Wichita. So after Alex's father picked him up, the other 4 kids and I headed into the city.

We were actually the first ones there, and when Austin walked in, he came over and visited with us. He was a great guy to talk to and didn't make me feel nervous or anything. We talked about the kids, who were running around like maniacs in the gym, and I told him about my hip replacement and the races that I've done since then. Other people started to arrive, and then Austin and Ken spoke.

They talked about the importance of family on different levels, but especially about how parents need to reinforce healthy habits for kids. If the kids see their parents being healthy, they will imitate that - but on the flip side, if the parent sits around on the computer all of the time, the kids will start to mimic that as well.

The next thing I knew, Austin came over to where we were sitting and asked Emily to stand up.

He asked her how she felt about me running in all of those races after I had my surgery and she looked over at me and told him that she was proud of me. I couldn't help it - I had tears running down my face (and I might have some tears now).

I never really thought about it before. I was doing the races for me, to prove something to myself, but I never really realized that it would have a positive impact on my kids. Sure, the girls and I have done some races together, but for whatever reason...it just didn't hit me.

Then, there was the workout. It was led by this skinny little thing who was apparently hired to torture poor unsuspecting fools like myself. You know, the ones who were stupid enough to wear long sleeves and sweatpants instead of shorts and a tank top because it was just a tiny bit chilly outside. Idiot.

And of course, the dorky star-struck fan photo op:

Yeah, we had all just worked out. I worked out in the same group with Ken and Austin Andrews.

How cool is that?

I think I might have missed a couple...