Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Golf the Lafferty way

Ugh. I really dislike golf. I mean, nothing personal to anyone who likes it, but I just don't see the appeal. Especially on TV, it ranks up there with baseball on TV, if you ask me. But that is an entirely other blog posting.

Despite my disdain for the sport, I've never held it against Cory that he liked to play. Back in our newlywed days, when we were but wee babes, our apartment complex gave out passes for free golf every week. Ahhhh, good ol' The Crossings. Cory played with both our passes and with passes he finagled from non-golfing neighbors. With golf, you know, the more you play, the better you get. So, with Cory playing multiple times a week, he got pretty good.

Back to my not liking the sport. Obviously, I didn't play. At all. But one time, in our newlywed naivete, we had the deluded idea that it would be a good idea to go up to the driving range, and Cory could teach me how to hit some golf balls. The problem was, I'd never even held a real golf club before. So, we spent hours at the driving range. He tried me how to hit the ball. I tried to hit the ball. One ball. Seriously. No matter how many times I swung that stupid club, I never hit my one ball. Cory hit the entire rest of the bucket while I was still chopping, slicing, swinging wildly at that one darn ball. It did not make me happy. It was not a rosy picture of newlywed bliss.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boys vs. Girls

I love our neighborhood, or more specifically, our street. We know almost all our neighbors. We talk to them. We have wine tasting parties. We have block parties. We run races together. Our kids play with each other. When it's nice weather out, you are almost always guaranteed to see people out playing and talking. It's wonderful.

But, and you know there has to be a but, we have been having a bit of a problem lately. Here it is: Boys can be mean!

I guess that's a little harsh. You probably want a little back-story to the wide-reaching derision of an entire half of the world's population, so here goes:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stage Mothering

As longtime, loyal readers of this blog know (Ok, maybe longtime and loyal are slightly exaggerated expressions of the dedication of my audience. Let's go with anyone who has read a couple of my posts.), I have a love-hate relationship with the girly-girl princess culture. I love it, but I hate that I feel guilty for loving it. Stupid psychologists and child-development "experts" with books to sell.

Anyway, this past weekend, I put all that guilt and hate into a tiny little box, locked it up tight and threw the key into Potter Lake. On Saturday, we participated in the epitome of all girly-girl culture - the dance recital.

Now, here's where everything gets a little tangled. Because, as uncomfortable as I was with the prospect of putting stage make-up on my little 4-year-old's face, I used to do it myself. Here's a secret for you all: I was a dancer.

Well, maybe "dancer" is again too much of an overstatement, but I used to dance. When I was younger. Much younger. Much, much younger. I was in dance recitals. I had the costumes. I had the make-up. I had the pointe shoes. I had it all. So, as much as it weirded me out to put lipstick on Molly, I was also excited that she was getting to do something that I had loved doing as a child. And, just to prove my former life to you, here are some embarrassing pictures of me from my dancing period.

Although embarrassing, I did purposely leave out the pictures of me dancing with my giant glasses. Ah, early 90s eye-wear is oh, so stylish. But, luckily for both me and you, you will never see mine! 
Life came full circle, and last Saturday, I was on the other side of the stage. More technically, I was not on the stage at all. I had become the (dun, dun, dun) Stage Mother. Let's clarify: not the negative connotation of the term, a la Dina Lohan, but instead, just the mother of one of the dancers. The youngest dancers (Molly) need help changing costumes, so the mothers of said dancers were allowed backstage to help. Thus: Stage Mothers. It's not as if I was enacting my own episode of Toddlers and Tiaras by pushing my sick child onstage while she was crying about wanting to go home or something ...

Ok, well, maybe something like that did happen. Again, let me clarify (I feel there's a lot of that going on in this post.). Molly has been sick. She had thrown up a couple times and occasionally had a fever. But, when the ibuprofen kicked in - she was perfectly fine. We've been working for this recital for months. We've been going to rehearsal after dress rehearsal after rehearsal. We've tailored the costume. We've bought the tickets. Hell or high water, Molly was going to go to this recital. Well, that really does make me sound like a "Stage Mother." Yeesh.

The thing was, we had to get the timing just right on the dosing of the ibuprofen. If we did it too early, the effects would run out before Molly had to be on stage. If we did it too late, the effects wouldn't kick in until after she was off stage. It was a risky game of chance. There was a chance it could all go wrong.

It definitely started off headed in the wrong direction. Molly woke up from her nap and was not doing so well. Cory's sister, Amber, had come up from Ft. Worth to watch Molly's recital. She was over to help get her ready. We started curling her hair and putting on the aforementioned make-up. Molly started whining that she was cold. That darn fever was rearing its ugly head. Then she started whining that she wanted daddy to hold her. Yikes, this was going to be a long day.
We tried to double-team it in order to get her ready as quickly as possible and minimize the whining.
Trying to coax a smile out of Sicky McGee.
It did not work. Is that not a pitiful-looking girl?
Ok, so, I know you are all ready to vilify me for forcing Molly to participate when she looked like this. But, keep in mind, when the medicine kicked in, she was perfectly fine. So, off to Lawrence we headed. Yes, the recital was 45 minutes away in my college town. Not sure why they have it up there, but the auditorium and stage were huge, so maybe that's why. We decided to give her medicine on the way up there.

First up was the dress rehearsal. It's the only time we could take pictures or videos of the performance. We got there just in time to change Molly backstage. We saw the performance, then I went backstage again to change her into her next costume. When I got back there, she was crying. Apparently, the dark of the backstage area scared her. Long night. 

When the dress rehearsal was over, Molly was convinced that she was finished. When I explained that we still had to go through with the actual recital, she looked at me like I was crazy. She wanted nothing to do with this "second performance." It took a bribe of ice cream and two TV shows to cajole her to go back for the recital. And, no, I'm not above bribery.

And, finally, FINALLY, the ibuprofen kicked in. Just in time for the performance. Check out my little star! Whoops, that didn't sound too Stage Mother-y, did it?

Seriously, the cutest costumes ever.
Look at those angelic faces.
Charlotte was a good sport throughout the whole ordeal.
Ballet performance.
We did it!
So, after the "second performance" was finished. Molly was completely perked up. She was thrilled to see her adoring fans come to greet her after the show.

Delighted by all the flowers she received.
The whole gang came out to cheer Molly on.
Amber, my partner in crime in the whole make-up/hair debacle earlier in the day.
Me with my girls in front of a Jayhawk.
A star and her proud Daddy.
So, all in all, the recital was a success. She didn't cry onstage and was happy when she was finished. She even did a couple of the actual dance moves while onstage. And, when the little girl in front of her fell face-down, Molly told me that she stopped to make sure the little girl was ok. For some reason, of everything that happened at the recital, the fact that Molly was concerned about the other little girl made me the proudest. Maybe I'm not such a Stage Mother after all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

True parent moments

Last night, my deep slumber was interrupted with cries. Poor Molly has been fighting a bug for a while, and it was getting the best of her. So, at 1:56 this morning, while holding my feverish and puking little girl, a thought slowly (my brain doesn't exactly move at lightning speed in the middle of the night) dawned on me. Sitting on the bathroom floor, cradling Molly, it hit me: This was one of those times when I truly feel like a mother. It's not to say that I don't always feel like a mom, but there are just those moments when the feeling is crystallized and so clear. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Cory was not having this revelation, being too busy cleaning up the puke from the floor. Props have to go out to him for that. But cleaning up puke is exactly what I'm talking about. Only a parent would be cleaning up someone else's puke from the floor at 2 in the morning. (And, I'm going to say college doesn't count, because no one actually cleans up the puke until the next morning.)

Being a parent is about so much more than just creating and delivering a baby. It's about all the other stuff you do to bring these crazy kids up in this crazy world. So, in honor and celebration of a dear friend of mine who, just this week, was finally able, through adoption, to open her arms to a little boy and call him her own, I've compiled a list of the top times I've felt like a parent. Times that have had absolutely nothing to do with actually giving birth.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rearranging our plates

A couple weeks ago, I was in the grocery store with Molly and Charlotte. I'm pushing the cart around. I was actually picking up food with plans to prepare meals at home. This is a big deal for our house. I'm feeling pretty good about myself as a mom. So, we reach the bread aisle. I need to pick up some bread for sandwiches. I'm standing there and another mom comes up with a girl, a little older than Molly. Our girls wave to each other and smile. I give the other mom that "Aren't our kids so cute?" smile. Just a normal, Wednesday morning interaction in the grocery store. I reach down to pick up our bread. The other little girl reaches to pick the same kind. All of a sudden, I hear it. The other mom saying, "No, no! We don't eat white bread at our house, little miss Sally Mae goody-two-shoes."

Ok, so I added that last part about Sally Mae. But, I was annoyed. And, the rest was true. I'm going to go with the assumption that the mom didn't know I had my hand on that exact same type of bread when she said such a condescending thing in such a loud voice. And, I know, I know, everyone from Joy Bauer to that Eat-This-Not-That guy says that you don't eat white bread. I just cannot get on board with wheat sandwich bread. I don't like it. And, to be fair, I always get the whole grain white bread with lots of fiber and no high fructose corn syrup. That's gotta be at least somewhat better. Right? Maybe?

After being made to feel like a fairly horrible mother right there in the grocery store, the government decided to pile on. Has anyone else seen this new food "pyramid" that's out there? It isn't actually a pyramid. They've changed the shape. It is now a circle. Or, a plate, as it were. I've got to admit, it does make a lot more sense for it to be a plate. I mean, that is the vehicle from which we actually consume our meals. Well, most of the time. Unless it's from a bag (Chick-Fil-A), box (Noodles), aluminum foil (Chipotle), or chinese take-home container (Pei-Wei). What? Am I revealing a bit too much about my food consumption habits? Anyway, here are the new food recommendations, on a plate:

Great. Now I have a very visual, very colorful guilt trip.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sharing a run

I love to run. I'm not sure how else to describe it. Non-runners often think I'm crazy when I say that, but it's totally true. I love the feeling after I'm done, for sure, but I also love when I'm out there, on the road, just me and my running shoes. Well, and my Garmin running watch (but, more on that in a minute).

It hasn't always been that way. I didn't start running until college. Ok, that's not technically true. I was actually on my high school track team my sophomore year. I was on the sprint squad. Really?!? Me, a sprinter? It was truly ridiculous. This squat, stocky body is not a sprinter's body. I'm pretty sure the coaches just saw absolutely no potential, so they didn't even bother figuring out that I would've been so much better running longer distances. Or, at least, not at bad as I was at sprinting. I'm pretty sure I finished either last or second to last in every sprint I ran. I was awesome, clearly. And, that was my last year of track.

When I got to college, I started running as a way to stay in shape. A way to ward off the freshman 15. A way to rationalize being able to eat dessert every time I went to Mrs. E's (our dorm dining hall). What? It's not normal to have ice cream as a topper to every single meal? I have no idea how much I ran back then. It was before the days of GPSs or even Google Earth (heck, I'm pretty sure it was before Google was around), so there was no way for me to figure out how much I was running unless I drove the distance with my car. I ran routes where that wasn't really possible, so I just kind of guesstimated all my runs. This is about the time the obsession started.

It became a habit or obsession that I had to do almost every day. I would run in the cold and the heat. If I had a week with more than two days off, I would be annoyed. It was a stress reliever, but also, I really started to enjoy it. If you look at my wedding photos, you can actually see the sports-bra-shaped tan lines on my shoulders: the result of all those runs. Why, oh, why did I not figure out a way to cover those up? They still bother me in pictures. Anyway, after we got married, Cory and I started doing races together. We started with one: the Lenexa Freedom Run 5K. Then, we started running more races. I started doing 10Ks. If you've never tried a road race, I highly recommend it. It such a fun, party atmosphere. Everyone is so nice; the camaraderie is awesome. And, well, there are usually donuts at the end. That's Cory's favorite part of every race.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that before I died, I wanted to run a marathon. I kept putting in far away, in the distance, way down the road. Then, one day, I just decided I was going to go for it. I think doing a lot of running on the treadmill caused it. I like to look at concrete numbers about what I'm doing. When I was on the treadmill, I was constantly telling myself, "just one more quarter mile." Somehow, all those quarter miles turned into a marathon. After that first marathon, Cory got me my precious Garmin running watch. I could see, in real time, the distance I was running. Oh, it was glorious. I could be even more obsessive during and after my runs. And, I loved it.

Then, Molly came along. I know a lot of runners run way far into pregnancy. But, it was very hard for me. I was sick with both girls (Charlotte much more so), and it was just not fun to run with a giant belly. I ran a lot after Molly was born with her in the jogging stroller. But, running with two kids in a double jogger is significantly harder, though still not as hard as running with a giant pregnant belly and constant waves of nausea.

Nowadays, running is such a social experience for me. I get up and go for a run with my neighbor Sarah before our husbands leave for work. It's our time to talk without children interrupting every other second. No one's nose to wipe except our own. Actual, real grown up conversations and running. Perfect. And, even though I love running without my kids, I've always dreamed that one day I'd be able to run with my girls. (Turner family girls, I'm looking at you guys!)

Molly's seen me go out every morning for runs. Cory takes her to a lot of my races to cheer me on. I was hoping that by exposing her, someday she would want to run, too. And, this week, I got my wish. She had been saying that she wanted running clothes because at a couple of my races, they have kid fun runs. She's decided that to run those races, she should be in running clothes. Oh my little princess, she needs to be properly dressed and accessorized even to run. So, for her birthday, she got two sets of running clothes.

On Wednesday, she decided she wanted to go for a run with mommy. I went for my normal run, then came back to get her. She was wearing her new running clothes, of course. We went out on the road. She was pretty fast (she hasn't learned pacing, clearly). She went all out as long as she could. She started doing the runner's breathing, which had me cracking up. We talked about her birthday, the bunnies we saw, the weather. It was just like I had dreamed it would be. It was truly perfect.

Showing off her muscles after the run.

After we got back from our run, Molly said she had "so much fun running." Then, she promptly sat on the couch and ate a bowl of cereal. I have absolutely no idea where she was modeling that behavior from. She sure has never seen it from me. Or ... maybe I've done that a couple times ... or every day. The things they pick up on. At least she learned the running from me, too.

On a side note, please send good thoughts my way tomorrow. I'm running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, and it's supposed to get to 90 degrees. Yuck. I'll let you know if I survive.