Monday, May 16, 2016

DNA Update: Shocking news!

You guys! I got it! I got my DNA results. And, you'll never believe what the results said about me.

Drumroll please ...

I'm 95 percent European.

Wah wah.

Ok, so, maybe you could have guessed that. I mean, I was pretty sure that that's what it was going to come out to. So, there's nothing really shocking at all. Talk about click-bait. Jeez.

In reality, there are still some interesting tidbits of info in the results. If you're really interested, you can check out the full results here.

But, here's the overview:

So, look at that. Of the 95 percent European, I am 33 percent Irish. Now, I feel like with the red hair and freckles, this would probably be most people's first guess as to my heritage. But, honestly, through the genealogy research that I've seen from my family, I was expecting mostly British and Norwegian (My grandma's maiden name was Kvool. That's pretty darn Norwegian. There's no denying that.). And, you can see that those are the next biggest portions at 31 percent and 23 percent. So, those I was expecting, but, I truly was surprised at the Irish. Honestly, we have tons of stories about being related to Robert Bruce from Scotland, but none about being related to some Irish king.

Ok, confession time. I actually just googled Irish Kings to see if that was even a thing. I had no idea what type of rulers my ancestors had. AND, I couldn't read a single name that came up on the Wikipedia page. It was seriously like a foreign language. 
Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill and Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair  
These are two of the names that came up. That is not English. No, seriously. I have no idea how to say those words (names?). 
Man, I am such a bad Irishwoman. I've got to get me some learning on my whole ancestral homeland thing. Anyone up for a trip to the Emerald Isle? I'm sure I could learn a lot in person ...

A redhaired, blue/green-eyed, freckled Irishwoman with beer. Seems about right, I guess.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The grand adventures of Freckles the Dog

Once upon a time, there was a sweet dog with white fur, brown spots and freckles on his nose. His name, not surprisingly, was Freckles.

Poor Freckles the Dog was lonely. He was lost and didn't have a family. He lived on his own and walked around outside all day without anyone to love him or take care of him. He saw other dogs in houses or on leashes. He wanted to be one of those dogs. It made him so sad.

One day, a nice woman found him. She saw through his matted fur and his scared demeanor. She knew he was a good dog. So, she took him off the street and took him to a big farm in the country. There, the woman and her husband fed him and gave him a bath. This woman did this for many dogs. The farm was full of dogs to run around with and play with. But, Freckles was still lonely.

See, what Freckles wanted more than anything was a family all his own to love.

Now, Freckles didn't know this, but somewhere out there, there was a family with a mom, a dad, and two little girls who very much wanted a dog of their own. The mom heard about this special farm with lots of dogs who needed homes. She just knew that they would find their special dog at this place. So, she convinced everyone in the family to drive for an hour to reach this farm.

When they pulled into the long driveway, the mom immediately spied a very special dog. He was white with brown spots and black freckles on his nose. The lady who worked at the farm said his name was Freckles and that he was an extraordinary dog.

"What Freckles wants is a home of his very own," she explained.

The mom and the dad and the two girls got down on the ground and petted Freckles. He promptly snuggled into the loving hands. Freckles looked in the eyes of these people. He knew. This was his family.
Meeting the family for the first time.

The family thought so, too.

They took Freckles home with him that night.

First family picture.

At first, it was a bit of a transition. Freckles had always wanted a family of his own, but he didn't really know how to live in a house with a family. The family had to teach Freckles about going to the bathroom outside. Not in the dining room. Freckles really didn't like staying in a crate, so he found ways out every time the family tried to put him in. The family could never figure out how he managed to escape, and Freckles never told his secrets. The family also learned that Freckles was an amazing jumper. He could jump from four feet on the floor to the top of the counter. Especially if there were pizza or hot dogs on the counter.

Both Freckles and the family had to learn how to live together. But, soon, nobody could imagine it any other way. The girls liked to play games with him. And, they even liked to sleep beside him.

Freckles never quite got the hang of twister.

He did like company while he slept. Especially if it was thundering outside.

Most days, while the dad went to work and the kids went to school, the mom stayed at the house. So, the mom and Freckles became best friends. She even took Freckles on long runs. Oh, did Freckles love those runs. He would smile and trot and chase bunnies the whole time. You've never seen a happier dog than Freckles during a run. Even when the mom made him go a really long way, he still was happy. Though, when he made it home, he would often collapse on the kitchen floor and rest for quite a while.

Freckles was so happy when he got to go for a run with his mom.

Freckles would give the mom a guilt trip if she wanted to skip a run.

Sometimes, even the older girl would take him for a run.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kathrine Switzer and my tiny feminists

So, way back in 2013, I stumbled across the book Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer. I fell in love with book. Like, really in love with it. So much so, in fact, that I wrote an entire blog post about it. (I reposted it in its entirety below. If you haven't read it, it's got all the cool facts about Kathrine and her Boston run. Read it.)

But, you know, life moves on. I ran a couple marathons after that blog post. Read a couple more books. Then, a few months ago, I heard the news that Kathrine Switzer was coming to Kansas City to give a talk for Girls on the Run. What?!?! My favorite running idol coming to Kansas City?!? Could this really be happening? As my mother's day present, my mom said she would take me to the event. Wahoo!

The morning of the event, I was explaining to Charlotte that Papa would actually be picking her up from school. "Why?" she asked. So, I proceeded to explain to her and Molly that I would be going with Gigi to this talk.

"I'm going to listen to the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. She's going to give a talk, and I can't wait to hear it. Do you remember when I told you that women didn't used to be allowed to run in marathons? This woman was one of the first to do it."
"That is so unfair!" Molly said. "Women can do anything men can do."
"That's true, but, lots of time, people don't think that way," I replied.
"But, now women are allowed to do anything they want," Molly said.
"Well, maybe in America," I said, "but in a lot of countries around the world, women and girls aren't allowed to do things like sports, go to school or drive. And, if they are allowed to run, sometimes they have to be covered completely from head to toe so no one can see their bodies." 
"What?!?!?" Molly exclaimed.
"But girls are allowed to play soccer," Charlotte said. (Because despite the skipping down the field and avoiding the ball at all costs, Charlotte loves soccer.) 
"Well, yes, in America girls are allowed to play soccer. We're very fortunate to live here. But, even in America, the US women's soccer team gets paid WAY less than the men's even though they've performed better and more people watch them."
"Why?" Molly asked.
"I don't really know, Molly. That's a good question. But, people are fighting to try to change that."
"Molly," Charlotte said, "What would you do if you were president?"
Molly paused and thought ... "I would pay teachers more and make sure women got paid just as much as men because it is not fair that they don't." 

At which point, I gave giant high fives to my two little feminist fighters. I also started really regretted not taking Molly out of school to come with us to see Kathrine.

The event itself was awesome. Kathrine Switzer was every bit as inspiring and energetic in person as she came across in her book. I really just kind of want to be her best friend. She talked about her current venture 261 Fearless is trying to encourage all women to accomplish whatever they dream. And, also about how small victories as a younger child helped her to have the confidence to believe that she could do anything, including running the Boston Marathon. It was awesome for me to hear all things about confidence and inner strength, but it really would've been good for Molly, as an almost 9 year old, to hear. Not to mention, she was an incredibly exciting and engaging speaker. Truly. If I could be that engaging in real life ... Wow.

Anyway, Kathrine was a total sweetheart and took pictures with me and my mom before her talk. I love her.

I'm such a dork. I couldn't help the giant cheese face.

Taking one with both me and my mom.

PS. This woman is 69 years old. Yeah, I want to be her.

She also signed my book to Amy, Molly and Charlotte. Because I'd actually read her book several years ago and had borrowed it from the library, I had to buy a copy there for her to sign. But, it was totally worth it. Obviously.

I thought it was only appropriate to have it inscribed to all of us.

The whole event was fabulous and amazing. I was smiling for hours after. I'm so glad I got to go. Now, if only I'd known I to bring my two budding feminists with me. Next time. Next time.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rite of spring passage

I feel like I might get a couple of "amens" from the crowd with this one. So, let's go. Does anyone else experience the same rite of passage that I do every spring?

I don't mean allergies. Luckily, that has never been something I've had to deal with. (Knock on wood.)

I don't mean thunderstorms and tornado watches. However, I'm pretty sure we're going to be getting into one of those shortly.

I don't mean crazy, squirrely kids anxiously counting down to the last day of school. Though, we do have those in our house. (17 days for us Olathians. Aaack!)

I'm talking about the horrific experience that happens to the majority of us lighter-pigmented humans. Us pale-as-snow folk. Those of us who are melanin-challenged.

I'm talking the first sunburn of the spring.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

You never expect it. It hasn't been warm enough. You've been wearing jeans, jackets, and light sweaters on most days. Not much of your skin is even exposed. Then, comes a warm, sunny day. It is beautiful, in fact. And, you're just just sitting outside on this beautiful day.

Perhaps watching your 6-year-old's soccer game. A light breeze is blowing, so you don't feel hot. You're enjoying the sun and the breeze. You don't even think about the fact that your skin is as pasty as a powdered donut. You're not thinking of the fact that this pasty powdered donut skin is definitely not prepared to be exposed to the vitamin D rays that come along with that warming sunshine.

So, you're just sitting there, happy as a clam. Or, as happy as I would be if I were actually eating said powdered donut. And, you don't feel a thing. You finish watching this so-called soccer game. Cheering loudly for your daughter, even though she mostly just prances down the field and avoids contact with the ball unless it is kicked directly at the spot where her feet happen to be standing. Ahem. Anyway. 

The game finishes. You pack up your chair and pick up your camera (though you have no shots of her actually touching the ball, so you're not sure why you continue bringing it).

Friday, April 15, 2016

I confess, I am an Egyptaholic

Since I already divulged one of my big geek interests last week, I thought I would just go ahead and get this one out there, too. I mean, as long as you're confessing, you might as well confess everything. You guys are cool with that, right? This totally public internet blog is surely just as sacred and secret as a confession booth. No one could possibly see this. We're in a safe place here.

Ok, here goes: I am an Egyptaholic. I have a weird obsession with Egyptology. Yep, I love ancient Egypt. It's true. Man, that feels good to get off my chest.

Now, don't start quizzing me about the different dynasties and and kingdoms and the years they covered. I can't quote all the minutiae. I know the basics: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom. God of the underworld: Osiris. Sun God: Ra. Goddess with a head of a cat: Bastet.

But I've never actually taken a class in ancient Egypt or Egyptology (oh, but if I could go back to school and redo it ... ). I have watched almost every documentary available on Netflix about Egypt's history. I've also read too many books to count about ancient Egypt. Both straight history and historical fiction. (I love Michelle Moran's historical fiction books, Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Seriously, if you like historical fiction and Egypt, then these are your books. It's not just me, right?)

A couple of my favorite Michelle Moran books from my personal bookshelf.

I even have my very own favorite Egyptologist. I mean, doesn't everyone? Just me? Ok. Well, her name is Kara Cooney, and she is pretty amazing. You should totally follow her on Facebook just to see all the interesting articles she posts. (Side note: a friend once asked me, "So, I see you like a lot of things about Egypt on Facebook. What's that about?" I had to then sheepishly explain my obsession. I sounded like a total dork, I'm sure. Just like I do here. Ahem.) Unfortunately, Cooney's documentaries are no longer on Netflix, but she did write an awesome book called The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt. I devoured it. Seriously, so interesting. I highly recommend it.

Now, in addition to the girl crush I have on Kara Cooney, I have one on everyone's favorite Presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin. I had the pleasure of going with my dad to a reading she did in Kansas City a couple years ago. It was awesome. One day, I hope to get a similar picture to the one below with Kara Cooney signing my copy of her book. Fingers crossed for that day.

Eeek! I was so stupid excited this night. Since, I already admitted I was a dork. Let's just fully embrace it here. If anyone asks, my dream dinner party would totally be me, Kara Cooney, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Michelle Obama. I mean, I doubt I would be able to utter a word, but it would be epic nonetheless.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I can explain why I love ancient Egypt quite as much as I do. In my genealogy post, I wrote about my love for world history, and I suppose this obsession goes along with that. The whole history of Egypt just captures my imagination and won't let go. Think about it. This civilization began in approximately 3150 BC. That's more than 5,000 years ago. Five thousand years. FIVE THOUSAND. Can you even comprehend that? Here in the U.S., we think a building built in 1900 CE is old. Our country is not even 250 years old, yet. We've got 4,750 more years to reach the span of Egypt.

Ancient Egypt existed way before Jesus walked on water. Way before the Romans built the Colosseum. Way before the Kardashians ruined the selfie. Egypt has been around a long time, people.

A benefit of being an ancient civilization situated in a desert climate is that a lot of things managed to survive through the ages. Those dry, hot conditions tend to help with that. Having so many surviving tablets, papyri, temples, etc., feeds the imagination. "The more you know" and all that. It helps put you in the 5,000-year-old sandals of those ancient Egyptians as they walked on the banks of the Nile.

Maybe I would be just as obsessed with the aboriginal population of Australia if we could find as many surviving artifacts describing their ancient lives. Who knows? Oh, we'd also need a Rosetta Stone. Yeah, that helps us understand quite a bit.

So, one of the exciting things happening in Egyptology right now is the theory circulating that King Tut's tomb was not originally made for him. Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist, published a paper last year theorizing that another chamber may lay behind the walls of the famous Tut tomb. And, that when Tut died so young, he was hastily placed in a pre-existing burial chamber. Many are hoping that Queen Nefertiti's tomb is the one that lays beyond the walls. Teams have been painstakingly scanning the walls and analyzing the data for the past couple months. It's all very exciting. You know, for me. And other Egyptaholics like me. I am anxiously awaiting an announcement about the conclusion of these scans and analysis like a normal person would wait for what, a movie release? A sports trade announcement? I don't know.

Anyway, this may seem like a random topic for a post. I mean, how many geeky obsessions can I possibly confess to on one blog? If we're keeping a tally, it's kind of high, and I'm slightly embarrassed. But, here's the exciting thing that is happening soon that actually made me think to write this post: a speaker is coming to JCCC to give a presentation called, "Unlocking the Great Pyramid." Can you believe that I'm going to go? Oh yeah. I'm obviously excited. Will I be one of the very few people in my age demographic? Probably. But, I'm getting used to it. I am a dork at heart, that's clear. I should just accept it and embrace it. So, here goes.

I am an Egyptaholic and proud of it.

See you guys at the lecture?

Oh well, more Egypt for me.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The importance of the inane

I usually keep things pretty light on here, but I'm about to get a little serious. Stick with me.

I love writing. Always have. This blog gives me a place to write about silly, stupid stuff. Stuff that I've been doing. Stuff that I've been thinking about. Stuff that has no real value in everyday life. Sometimes, I even view it as a kind of challenge. Can I make something stupid, silly and inane into something somewhat interesting or entertaining?

One time, in college, I was assigned to write a story for the Kansan (KU's student newspaper) about this scientist at KU who had published a paper linking modern-day birds to dinosaurs. (Yes, this is how long ago I was in college. This was considered a new discovery back then. Please stop staring at my gray hairs.) Anyway, I interviewed this scientist and proceeded to listen while he showed me drawers and drawers and drawers of dead birds in the top floor of the KU Natural History Museum. For like 2 hours. Two hours of staring at dead birds and examining their bones. Two hours. Two freaking hours, people!

I couldn't figure out a polite way to get out of that cramped attic/bird mausoleum. (Looking back, this is when I should've figured out I was never going to be the next Edna Payne. I am simply too concerned with being polite to make it as a reporter.) After all the hours of courteous "hmmm"s and "how interesting"s, it became my job to turn the interview and all other pertinent information into something a college student would read and perhaps find interesting. I don't know if I actually accomplished that, but it is still, to this day, one of the articles of which I'm most proud. Simply because of how hard I worked to turn it into something someone might want to read.

So, that's what I do a lot on here. I take something miniscule and see if I can make it into something entertaining. Hell, I once wrote an entire post about Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Yes, an entire blog post about the deliciousness of a child's processed dessert snack. I don't know that I always succeed in creating entertaining entries, but it's the effort and the work that I enjoy. It's using the part of my brain that I fear has gone dormant from years of child-rearing and non-use.

Monday, April 4, 2016

DNA – No Way!

Ok guys, so I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a total dork. It's true. I accept it. I bore people all the time with anecdotes from the latest documentary I've watched. I listen to history, feminist and freakonomics podcasts. My favorite gift every Christmas is a different college lecture series about words, grammar, or the history of language. (Thanks, Dad!)  Yeah, I'm a complete and total dork.

But, one of my biggest geek interests is in genealogy. (Sometimes, I swear there's a 70-year-old woman stuck in my body.) My mom has done a lot of research about our personal family tree, and we know the names going back quite a ways. But I just can't get enough of all things family history. And, not even just mine. I adore the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" on TLC (the latest season premiere was last night!) and "Finding Your Roots" on PBS. I'm giddy like a schoolgirl when a new episode is on.

These shows are so intriguing to me because not only do you get to find out the ancestors of people (famous or not, doesn't matter to me), but you get to take a ride through the history of the world as you do it. If you live in America but are not Native American, well, then you're ancestors came from somewhere else in the world at some point. The shows take you back to all these countries where people lived and, from some reason or another, left and came to America.

(Side note: there are many seasons of an English version of "Who Do You Think You Are?", which obviously wouldn't have the whole coming to America aspect. But, I can't get my hands on it. It's stuck across the pond. I've tried. That's how pathetic my obsession with these shows is.)

I always think about what it must've taken someone to leave everything they've ever known to set out across an ocean to find their place in the world. It's fascinating to me. The courage and fortitude people have shown throughout history is insane. It makes my suburban dilemmas seem pretty pathetic in comparison. I never had to escape a Russian pogrom or be chased out of my country by a totalitarian dictator. These are real things, people.

Also, it's crazy to think about the myriad choices all these people made and how it all ended up funneling to you and your DNA. I mean, it's nuts. One great-great-great-great-grandmother falling in love with Peter instead of John, and your whole DNA could be different. I could very well be a super tall genius blonde model if not for that one choice. (I mean, I'm almost there as it is, but, you know, I'm sure it was only that one choice that ruined my chances.)

In these shows, they often perform DNA tests on the guests to discover what their DNA can tell them about where their ancestors came from. It's mind-blowing to think that with a tiny little spit, scientists can tell you that at some point you had an ancestor from China that you never knew about. It can also find that you're related to someone else who had the same test done. In one episode of "Finding Your Roots," Bill Maher and Bill O'Reilly found out that they are distantly related. Whew, that Thanksgiving table would be a boisterous one, for sure. Just make sure to hide the knives.

Anyway, all this buildup to tell you the really thrilling news of my day. I got my very own DNA ancestry kit in the mail. What?!?!? Yes.

Me with my very own DNA kit!

The official kit!
The inside. Because I'm sure you were curious.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Strand-Lafferty Easter take 7

There are few things that can elicit the same degree of excitement in our household as talk of the annual visit from Penny for Easter. This is now the 7th(?) annual visit. It started kind of on a whim from the Strands, and it has turned into an annual event that simply cannot not happen. It is written in stone. Commandment Number 11, if you will.

Now, if anyone ever doubted that Molly was an emotional girl, which you seriously shouldn't, the visit from Penny will eliminate any of those doubts. I swear, she turns into a screaming fan girl at a One Direction concert at the thought of Penny coming to town. (Or, what her mother would've been like had she ever been taken to a NKOTB concert. Which, I wasn't. I just had to imagine what it would've been like. No bitterness here, though, folks. I did make my childhood dreams come true a few years ago when I saw NKOTB at the Sprint Center as a 30-odd-year-old woman. And, it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. Step by Step, ooh, baby ... But, I digress.)

Molly starts looking forward to Easter on the day after Easter the previous year. Well, OK, after she stops crying about the fact that Penny is no longer here. But, it starts getting serious after Christmas. I can't really blame her. The months between Christmas and Easter do kind of suck. What with the snow and long, dark nights. Not fun. The countdown is on immediately after we pack the stockings away. And, it doesn't stop.

I realize the excitement is almost more for the idea of Penny (not that Penny isn't awesome). But it's just the idea of this amazing, fun-filled, candy-laden weekend that really excites Molly. This year, she made decorations, cards, bunnies, crafts, and even picked up poop in the backyard so she could earn money to buy all three girls matching stuffed peeps. This build-up has been going on for a long time. Molly has been trying to count the number of times in her life that she's seen Penny. When I tried to explain to her that she's already seen Penny more times in her life than I saw Laura for the entirety of my childhood, she just didn't care. No matter how often, it's just not enough.

(Have you noticed I haven't mentioned Charlotte at all? She loves the annual Strand visit as well, but her emotions are much more rational and even-keeled. Thus, not as interesting for a blog.)

So, with all this build-up and all this excitement, the weekend was finally upon us. The Strands were supposed to leave Minnesota at 3 on Thursday and be here by around 10 Thursday night. Well, on Wednesday night, Laura sends me a message that they are expecting 14 inches of snow on Thursday morning up there. WHAT?!?!? Mother Nature, what are you doing to me? How can I possibly explain to Molly that the Easter visit might not happen due to a snowstorm in Minnesota?!?! So, I did what I'm always eager to do. Ignore that a problem exists and hope everything turned out ok. And guess what? For once in my life, that plan actually worked!

The snow stopped, the plows came, the sun shone, and the Strands were on the road. It was glorious news. Not the least for me because I didn't have to deal with a broken-hearted 8-year-old. They got here late, and Molly and Charlotte both woke up when Penny came to bed. It did take a while, but eventually they all went back to sleep.

The next morning was another tradition. Laura coming to Bar Method with me. She's coming with me the last couple years. The first year was hard, but now Laura is in amazing shape, so she was a total pro.
We, of course, had to take a picture to document the start of the weekend.

We always look for different things to do with the Strands when they're here because they are super cool, adventurous folk. And, we want to seem cooler than the suburb-living, soccer-game going folks that we are. So, this year, we decided to take them down to the KC Public Library to see the awesome building that looks like books. And, of course, to take pictures.

The girls were not as impressed with the library as I had hoped. The roof was pretty cool because they could see out around downtown KC a bit, but we didn't actually have a library card for the library, so we couldn't check out any books. They thought the old bank vault in the basement was pretty cool, but we were pretty much done with the library in a short time. We walked a short distance to a cool lunch place, then found a bakery that a friend had recommended for dessert. We got there right as they were closing, but they let us in to buy some yumminess. We then went back to the library steps to eat our delicious treats.

The girls checking out the books.

We had to pose on the book steps.

Laura and Amy on the roof of the library.

The girls in the basement with the old bank vault.

We stopped by a bakery for dessert treats, and they gave us some baguettes. So, when Laura found a moped, she just had to act the proper French lady she is at heart.

The girls eating their treats back on the library book stairs.

I, of course, just had to get a brownie with a peep on top. I only ate about half the brownie, but demolished the whole peep.

After fun downtown, we headed back out our direction and bowled a few frames at Pinstripes. We discovered that, at Pinstripes, even adults can have bumpers. Do you know what that means? I finally won a game of bowling! Score. After, Charlotte needed to take a picture on some bunnies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

As the Wheels Turn

We had a major milestone in our house this past week. This one has been a long time coming, too. A long time, with a lot of drama.

But now. Now it's official. Molly is a two-wheeling bike rider.

Yes, I do realize that Molly is almost 9 years old. I do know how old that is for someone to finally start riding a bike.  I know all this. But, hear me out.

So, technically, Molly learned to ride with no training wheels last spring break. Exactly a year ago. And, while she could technically do it, she was not comfortable with it at all. At all. We'd ask if she wanted to go ride her bike, and the answer was always an emphatic "no." I thought that she just hadn't been bitten by the bike-riding-loving bug. I blamed myself (as I am always wont do) for not pushing harder. She was too old when she finally learned. We should've worked harder with her. We should've been having family bike riding sessions. Yada, yada, yada. The neverending parental guilt, right?

Well, I really don't know what happened. I don't know why the change. Maybe it took a year of considering the ramifications of not riding a bike. Maybe she got tired of seeing all her friends ride by on their bikes. Maybe she just needed that much time to work up the courage. I mean, she is my child afterall. Taking time to work up to scary things might've been passed down in the DNA. No one would ever describe me as a jump-without-looking kinda gal. Ahem.

Anyhoo, back to the story at hand. Something shifted and all of a sudden, over the last week, Molly has become a bike-riding extraordinaire. She's ridden with Cory to get breakfast at McDonalds. She's ridden all over the school parking lot during spring break. She asks almost every day if she can ride up and down the street. And, yesterday, she begged to be able to ride her bike to school.

Now, keep in mind that school is less than a quarter mile from our house. I mean, we can literally see the school building from our front window. I'm looking at it right now, in fact. But, who are we to discourage this budding excitement? So, last night we trekked over to Academy because we just had to buy a bike lock to ensure that this morning's pilgrimage could happen.

And, this morning, she couldn't wait to jump on her bike and ride like the wind that whole .2 mile to school.

Oh, did I mention that Charlotte wanted to ride her bike, too?

"Look, ma, no training wheels!"

Using that oh-so-important bike lock!

Now that Molly is in the world of bike riding, I couldn't be happier for her. So many memories of my childhood revolving around riding my bike everywhere around the neighborhood (and beyond). And, I know I sound like the stereotypical old person here, but bear with me. My gosh, it was fun to just ride around wherever, whenever and however we wanted. Ahhh, the freedom and happiness we didn't even know we had or would forever be looking to reclaim.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Blast from my past

Do you ever wonder if you've made an impact on people? Do you ever wonder if you'll be remembered? I can't be the only person who has these thoughts. I'm sure I'm not. But, the other day, this question was kinda-sorta answered for me. It was the one bright spot in a fairly bleak week, so it's something I keep coming back to right now. Here's the story:

Whenever someone asks where I grew up, I hesitate. I mean, technically I was born in Germany. Then I lived in Kansas until I was six. At which point, we moved to Fayetteville, NC. My dad had been in the Army and was in and out of medical school, which led to all the shuttling across oceans and countries. But, once he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, we stayed quite a while. At least, for a military family. I went to school in Fayetteville from 1st grade up through 9th. At the start of 10th grade, we moved back to Kansas. And, here I've stayed ever since. So, when someone asks where I grew up, I say North Carolina, even though I've lived in Kansas for the majority of my years. Not the easiest question, but I do consider my most influential childhood memories to have taken place in those years I resided in North Carolina.

Now, when we left North Carolina to move to Kansas, I was not happy. First of all, I was a 14-year-old girl. Show me a 14-year-old girl who is happy to leave her whole life and all her friends, and, well, I'd be more likely to believe that that girl was in fact an alien sent to earth to explore the intricacies of teenagehood than she was an actual teenager. I was very unhappy. I did not want to leave. I had a crush on a boy, and I had a life with friends I loved. This was not in my plan.

14-year-old me. (Ugh, the eyebrows and braces!)