Saturday, September 22, 2012

The power of the paddle

I know a lot of my recent posts have been a little school-heavy. But, well, that's what my life is right now, and this blog is called Life makes me Laff, so ... that's what you get. And, here's another one:

Molly's school only does one fundraiser a year. They have a walk-a-thon and get pledges from people to support the kids' walking. And, from my point of view, that's awesome. That means no selling wrapping paper, coupon books or cookie dough. (Though, being a Daisy Scout, she will be selling Girl Scout Cookies. Get ready.) I'm ecstatic not to have to go around asking everyone to buy stuff, of which only a percentage actually goes to the school.

We asked some neighbors and family to pledge money a couple weeks ago, then Friday was the big walk. The walk took place during school, then in the evening they had a party at the school with a bake sale, concessions and an auction.

Oh, boy. Did we clean up good at the auction. Being first-timers to this whole shebang, we weren't really sure how much things would go for. So, Cory had an amount he was wanting to spend to get the one thing on the auction list that we really wanted: drum roll, please ...

A movie after school with Molly's teacher.

If you're thinking, "Wow, that's so cool. What a great way for Molly to get in even better with her teacher," well, then that's what I was thinking, too. We're so on the same wavelength! And, if you just thought, "Wow, Molly would probably love that," well, you're clearly not as big of a kiss-up to teachers as I am. But, the truth is, Molly would love it. We happened to run into her computer teacher out at dinner the other night, and Molly was beyond excited. She would be over the moon to actually go see a movie with her teacher.

So, that was the big plan. That was our goal. We got to school, got some hot dogs and staked a claim on a table in the auction room.

Eating hot dogs with Dad.

Molly with her classmate.

The big movie outing was the second item on the auction block. The auction started. We wait for the announcement. Our hearts start pounding, palms sweating. Would we get it? Could we get it? How high was it going to go? How much would we be willing to fight for it? You could cut the tension with a knife.

Alright, that might be a slight exaggeration. Truth be told, you could barely hear anything over the din of children and parents talking and screaming, and we weren't really nervous or sweaty, but it makes it much more dramatic to think of it the other way. So, just go with me.

The announcer called, "Movie after school with Mrs. Clutts." She opened the bidding at $10. Someone else raised her paddle. Aack, this was going to be a bidding war. "Do I hear $11?" Cory quickly raised his paddle. "I've got $11, do I have $12? $12? $12? Ok, it goes for $11 to paddle number 14."

Wait, what?

How in the world did it go that quickly? How was there not a fight to the death for the privilege of going to a movie with Molly's awesome teacher? I guess it doesn't matter. We got it. WE WON.

But, it was WAY less than we were planning on spending, and all the money does go to Molly's school, so Cory started going bidding crazy.

We ended up with "Making jewelry after school with a teacher" and "Making cookies after school with a teacher." THEN, we went into the silent auction.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's the little things

Lately, I've been having a lot of "ahhh" moments. Not to be confused with Oprah's "Ah-ha" moments, of course. I'm not claiming I'm anything like the O. 

Just little things that have made me smile or feel really blessed or just say, "ahhh, life is good." Nothing big or life-changing, but definitely moment-pausing. So, in honor of all the little things in life, here are a couple of my recent "ahhh" moments.

1. Starbucks. Despite the fact that I don't drink coffee, I've been a fan of Starbucks for about five years. (I distinctly remember my very first Chai Tea Latte, courtesy of Aunt Jan on the weekend of Molly's baptism.) But, lately, I've discovered a couple things I never knew. Did you know that you can get a Chai Tea Latte as a frozen drink? Yeah, I discovered that this summer. It's called a Chai Creme Frappucino. And, it is delicious. Then, three weeks ago, I discovered that you can get Starbucks' famous pumpkin spice added to either the Chai Creme Frappcino or my regular Chai Tea Latte. And, if you're like me, you can always get them made with soy. Mmmmmmmm ... heaven, pure heaven, I'm tellin' ya.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Limping through the Plaza

Anyone who's seen me latel is probably wondering when I turned into an 80-year-old woman. I'm kind of wondering that myself. And, no, it's not all the white hairs I've been finding. Though, they, too, have me flipping out. Nope, it's the fact that I've been limping around like a little old lady in need of a walker. Yup, that was me that you saw with the constant wince on her face as she walked through Target.

It started out several weeks ago innocuously enough with a pain on the bottom of my right heel. It felt almost like a bruise. I thought maybe it was because I had walked all around the Legends in flip-flops while shopping for Molly's back-to-school clothes. So, I started wearing tennis shoes everywhere. This was quite the hardship for a flip-flop-lovin' girl like myself. But, the pain didn't really go away. In fact, sometimes it felt like it was getting worse.

After a couple weeks of not going away (My first line of defense is always to ignore and hope the problem resolves on its own. Perfectly healthy way of dealing with things, right?), I figured I probably had done something to it while I was running. I'd been icing and taking ibuprofen, and I finally asked my dad what he thought. He's a doctor, so it kind of counts as going to see one. He looked at it and said it was probably plantar faciitis.

I did not want it to be plantar faciitis because Sarah, one of my running idols from my favorite book and podcasts (Run Like a Mother and Another Mother Runner), had plantar faciitis and it took her out of running for months. I did not want this to happen to me. It can't happen to me.

My biggest problem is that it doesn't hurt when I run. I mean it stings for the first 30 seconds or so, but after that I'm home free. Until I step into the shower. And, then it hurts for the rest of the day. I mean, if I could just run all day long, I'd be good as gold. It's not particularly practical, but it is a solution.

Then, someone suggested that it was my new shoes that might be causing the problem. See, running shoes have recently been going through a transformation. Manufacturers have started making shoes with less of a heel-to-toe drop. What that means, essentially, is that running shoes are created to have the heels up higher with more cushioning than the front.

But, now, with this whole barefoot running thing taking hold, the manufacturers are decreasing the heel height, making it closer in height to the front of the shoe. I've run in the same style running shoe (Saucony ProGrid Ride) for years and years. The newest incarnation of the shoe has a 8mm heel-to-toe drop as opposed to the old 12mm drop.

Are all you non-runners tired of all that technical mumbo-jumbo, yet? Almost through.

I typically switch my running shoes each day. I have two pairs and rotate them. My old pair had the old 12mm drop. New pair: 8mm drop. Some fellow runners thought that might be the problem.
New shoes. Wowee. Aren't they cool looking?
So, I stopped rotating my shoes and started running exclusively in my new ones. Considering I'd run four of my last five half marathons in my racing Kinvaras (an even lighter shoe with only a 4mm heel drop), I couldn't imagine that the 8mm heel drop was the problem.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Body image. Two words that are bandied around a lot in magazines, on the news, on parenting blogs. And, two words, that as a mom raising two girls in this culture, give me some of my greatest parental anxiety.

Every single woman I know has been knocked down once or twice by the pain of not feeling adequate. Of wishing her thighs were thinner, her skin had fewer freckles, her hair was straighter ... oh wait, is that just me? Well, to each her own issues.

But, raising two girls in this world has me yearning for them to escape unscathed. Untouched by the pressure to be stick thin, to have shampoo-commercial-ready hair, to be exactly like everyone else. I don't want them to feel inadequate. I want them to grow up feeling strong and powerful and proud of what God and I gave them. Hey, I grew them in my belly for 9 months, I figure I get some credit.

So, since the day they were born, I have been telling each one that they are perfect just the way they are. That they are beautiful because of who they are. I have told them that it is what is in their hearts that matters and that they have beautiful hearts. I emphasize being strong, having muscles, being able to run, and eating healthy food because it will make you stronger, faster and smarter. I never say "diet" and I never talk negatively about myself because I know girls imitate and get a lot of their views from their mother. I try to not always talk about how cute they look and try to focus on what they can do. (That is a lot harder than it sounds, by the way.) I've written a couple times about these issues before here and here.

I have tried to do everything every parenting book/article/blog post says. I have tried my hardest to combat the culture of "not being good enough." And, two weeks ago, I had my heart broken.

I was on the Facebook on my computer, and Molly was looking over my shoulder. There was a girl's picture on a posting from a photographer. I didn't know this girl and neither did Molly.

"Mom, who is that?"
"I don't know, honey. A girl who got her picture taken by a photographer."
"Is she prettier than me?"
My heart stopped. Surely I'd hear her wrong. "Is she bigger than you? Is that what you said?"
"No. Is she prettier than me?"

Seriously. I think I felt my heart breaking. How could my precious little girl possibly be comparing her beauty to anyone else? How could this already be happening at 5?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catching up with Charlotte

I know I've been a bit negligent on the blogging lately.
Molly started school then I started the complete dismantling and renovation of my living room. I'll have a post on that later. With all that going on, the blog has kind of been put on the back burner.

But, since I've had a couple posts about Molly and kindergarten, I thought I'd let everyone know how Charlotte is coping with having big sis gone all day.

Turns out, she's coping really well.

Before school started, I was worried about how I would entertain her and keeping her busy. I was afraid she would miss Molly and wouldn't know what to do. But, well, she's kind of blossoming.

The girl is a talk-a-holic now. I mean, not around other people. She's still WAY to shy to say stuff around other people. But, when it's just the two of us, she is telling me stories and singing songs and telling jokes. I'm not sure if she was just being overshadowed by Molly before or what. But, now, she's a genuine Chatty Cathy. I, however, cannot prove this to you because she also shuts up if I ever get the video camera out.

Pretty much the only time we have to play is in the morning. Then we have lunch, then naps, then we go pick up Molly. So, I've been trying to keep us busy in the mornings by meeting up with friends. It's been pretty beautiful weather lately, so we've been going to the park or the local petting zoo. Pretty much whenever someone invites me somewhere, I'm there.

 We met up with Kelli and Ally and their kids at the park. Charlotte held her own with the boys.
Checking out the ducks with Emerson and Kaesen.
Playing with two boys taught Charlotte all about playing in the dirt. She was quite proud of herself for getting that dirty!

Charlotte was "reading" to Emerson and Kaesen. She is quite sure of whatever she's reading. Usually it's, "O, S, S." I have no idea what that is about.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bieber to BNL

I'm not sure how I made it over five years into motherhood without listening to annoying children's CDs in the car. I know my kids probably would have loved listening to all things Nikelodeon and Disney Channel while driving around town, but I also love to be sane. I just couldn't do it. I put my foot down and the kids never knew the difference.

So, we drove around town listening to my music. And, I didn't really think anything about it. It was cute when Molly sang along to some of the popular songs on the radio. How cute was she when she could sing the chorus to "All the Single Ladies?" And, I didn't even really mind when she told me that Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues" was her favorite song.

BUT, when she started singing Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" song and wanted a pair of pajamas with Justin Bieber on them at the store ... I thought, maybe I should start finding some more kid-friendly CDs to play in the car. (Total honesty: I've been known to sing along to Justin Bieber, too. Probably totally uncool of me to admit it, but it's the truth. I really think it was the pajama thing that threw me over the edge of the cliff.)

Enter: Barenaked Ladies' Snacktime. 

Um, duh. I can't believe I didn't think of this one before. I mean, I've owned it since before I even had kids. I've been a fan of Barenaked Ladies since I was 14, so I don't know why I didn't think of this one earlier. Granted, the actual name of the band is not so kid-friendly, but we'll just call it BNL, and we'll be all good.