Are you out there, can you hear this?

Hey Strangers!

Well. It’s been about a year and a half since I last wrote anything it seems…so yeah…hey….how’s it going?

I have been debating whether or not to write anymore at all since the internet can, in all honesty, be quite scary these days. All you need to do is tick one person off, they write an “open letter”, Huff Post picks it up, then BuzzFeed, and then basically you’re screwed for eternity. I’m not sure if I want to risk that.

At the same time, though, I really enjoyed most of the time that I spent Talking to you guys, and having this outlet was really great, too. So, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll just leave you with this:

Maybe we’ll Talk soon!

Love is All You Need

I’ve been thinking a lot about love over this past year. Not just because Friday is Valentine’s Day, but because I feel like I am just really beginning to understand the power of love.

I am incredibly lucky. I grew up loved; I never doubted then, nor do I now, that my parents love me. I knew my grandparents all loved me, my aunts and uncles, close family friends, and even my brothers (in their own ‘punch in the arm instead of a hug’ way). Only now as an adult am I recognizing the gift that kind of unconditional love is.

I have amazing friends who love me and whom I love in return. I have been blessed by romantic love in my life – even if there was hurt along the way, there was also love. I am married to my best friend who has shown me more about the truth about love than I thought possible.

I say all this because I want you to know that it’s not like I am discovering love for the first time just now – I am just seeing it differently.

I’ve never been much of a crier. My natural reaction to being upset (usually) is anger. I get mad, then sad, then mad again. That can all happen quite rapidly, but my first reaction isn’t to burst into tears. I might cry – but most likely I’ll be telling you to “Fuck off” in my head at the same time. I would often try to hide or stop myself from crying – from feeling what was making me cry.

When I was pregnant with our first child I remember reading that my emotions would be all over the place. “Watch out! You’ll be crying over phone commercials!”

So I would sit watching TV, just waiting for it. Sometimes I would tear up, but other times I would be thinking “Shouldn’t this be making me upset?” One time I was actually relieved when I started to cry at the TV – like it was an indicator of a healthy, normal pregnancy.

Well, that’s not how it is anymore. I don’t know exactly when, but I have turned into a major blubberer. I swear that just before I started writing this post I started to tear up at DANIEL TIGER. At first this tendency concerned me; should I talk to someone about this? Is this normal? Why am I feeling this way?

Eventually I realized that the reason I am becoming more emotional is because I am simply feeling more emotions. Somewhere along the way my heart opened up and it started letting more in. I wasn’t hiding all the soft spots anymore, in hopes that they wouldn’t be bruised.

I heard this on Ellen one day:

“When your heart is broken – when you have cracks in your heart – it lets the light in. It lets the sun in.”

There are a thousand different ways, big and small, that your heart can be broken each day. Sometimes those things make just a tiny crack, others can split you apart. I think when we acknowledge those cracks and own up to the things that hurt us – that’s when we really see love.

I am more truthful to my heart – my whole self – when I am honest about what hurts. When I do that, what happens isn’t that my heart gets bruised – what happens is that the true love that I have and feel gets stronger. Often it isn’t easy, and the deepest cuts and biggest cracks take the longest to heal, but they can also lead us to the brightest spots of light.

This feeling – it’s stronger than empathy. It’s what you feel when you don’t hide from the fear and sadness that grips you when you hear about a child being hurt, or being sick. When I am honest about that flash of terror instead of hiding behind the comfort of ‘that will never happen to my child’, my heart becomes stronger because I am being completely open about how much I love and adore my children. That in turn helps me make the best (and often the toughest) choices as a parent.

When something gets to me now, I actually welcome it. That doesn’t mean that I sit on the floor and cry regardless of the situation. I just take a second to acknowledge the feeling and recognize that this is my heart’s way of affirming the love and care that I have for someone or something. I am so grateful to be able to feel that way.

It’s funny that the idea of crying, or even just acknowledging that kind of passion for anything, can be seen as a weakness. Now I think that softness can only make you stronger.

Imagine if we all were able to live our lives with the knowledge and acceptance of what was truly important to us, and if we were able to let go of the things that aren’t. Imagine all the time we could get back and all the stress we could lose. What a guide to have! Not only could we live more honestly, but with more care and empathy as well.

There are numerous studies and anecdotal stories that show that in the end


love is the most important thing.

I’m not all the way there – and I might never be, because being a parent and a decent human being is hard sometimes – but I’m going to keep trying my best. These days I feel that once you start opening up your own heart, the more love you will see and feel in the world – everyday.

Love wins.

Last Call for 2013

Hey you! Yeah, you! I know, I know…it’s been a long time. Sorry about that. I got tired, then lazy, then a little more lazy, then I kinda holed up with the family from mid-December until now.

This will be short and sweet; no massive recaps here.

I just want to say “thank you”. Even though I haven’t been very consistent with writing, and even though I don’t actually know how many people this reaches, I have to say “thank you” to all of you. Even if it’s just me, my husband (whom I of course force to read this), and my Mom…knowing that I have this outlet and that I can share my thoughts and experiences has made me a kinder, gentler, less insane Mary. And that is good news for everyone!

It’s funny that even though I haven’t shared things recently (they are half written in my head), I haven’t felt as isolated. It can be very hard to be a stay-at-home-parent – and not for all the really obvious child-based reasons. It can be so hard because you feel so alone.

Thanks for keeping me company in 2013. I wish you all the best now and in the New Year!

TalkingToGrownUps Out!

And Now It’s Time For A Breakdown….

In case you didn’t know, I ran a freaking half marathon last Saturday. This is my story. (cue E! True Hollywood Story music). Heads up: I swear a lot in this one.

I had decided – after much back and forth in my own head – that I would stay in a hotel the night before. The race was the ING Hartford Marathon/Half Marathon, and we live just far enough away that I could have driven in that morning or stayed over. After thinking about what it would really be like to get up at 4:30, try to get myself ready, then wake the kids up really early, deal with their lovely “I should still be sleeping” attitudes and behavior, and be on the road before 6am, it was decided that I would stay in a hotel, and my husband/kids would drive in the next morning at a more reasonable time.

The day before the race I am giddy. I am pumped. I am walking around the house muttering “I can DO this!” and then following up my own comment with “FUCK YEAH you can do this!”

I pack my bags and double check all my gear. Small freak out about what to wear when waiting for the race to start/bib needs to be visible/don’t want to get cold, so I pack a throw away shirt, and another option as well. (I over pack when nervous.)

In general I am feeling good. There is only one thing that worries me.

Men- you may want to skip this part. Scroll down until you see this: **********





Alright ladies. Truth is the race is happening during a not awesome time of the month if you catch my drift. At this point, I am hoping against hope that it won’t be awful, but sure enough, morning of the race I wake up and I feel like crap. The worst day of the worst time of a whole stinking month and I have to get up and run 13.1 stupid miles. Great. I already feel nauseous from cramps, nerves are adding to it and are not helping…this was not how I was hoping to start the day. Anyway, enough about that – let’s go find the guys.







OK!! We’re all back together again! So, where was I…right – rainbows and sunshine.

It’s the night before the race, my husband comes home early, we all eat dinner and then I take off. I get to the hotel, check into my nice room, lay everything out, check in with family and friends, and get ready for bed. It’s not too late, and I am tired, so I snuggle in. I am drifting off when all of a sudden I hear:



I immediately wake up because it sounds exactly the way the door to my son and daughter’s room does when it is opened in the middle of the night. Confused, I realize where I am, then roll over and go back to sleep.


Again, I wake up, grumpy now, but am still half asleep, so again, I roll over and go back to sleep.




For the next two and a half hours I hear that sound every so often. It doesn’t happen at regular intervals, it isn’t coming from the hallway – I have no idea what it is and it’s getting later, and later. You know that point where you start to panic about how much sleep you will get but only if you go to sleep RIGHT NOW? Yeah, I hit that point very early on. Every time I would start to drift off, I would think:

“Oh, thank God I am falling asleep now…ahhh, sleep…wait, don’t think about falling asleep – just relax and let it happen, no thinking, just reeelaaax…no…stop thinking, you can’t THINK about falling asleep because then – SHIT. ARGHHH!!! Now I am AWAKE again!! At least you didn’t hear-“



I am wandering around the room at 12:30 am, when I finally realize that the sound is coming from the thermostat. Not the actual blower, but the tiny little control on the wall shutting on and off, on and off, on and off.

I adjust the controls to never, ever turn off and finally fall asleep around 1am.

6am comes around waaaayy too quickly, but then adrenaline kicks in, so I am up and getting ready. Worried about what the ladies and I discussed earlier, but determined to make it work.

I leave the hotel and make my way to the park. At this point I need to do three things. Use a port-a-potty before the race starts, check my gear bag, and find the starting line. I jumped in line for a toilet first thing and was so glad I had because by the time I waited in line and finished up, the lines had tripled in length. Next I scooted over to gear check where I could drop off my lovely clear race provided/approved plastic bag, and found even longer lines there. With only 15 minutes until start time, I checked my bag and slowly made my way to the start area. I would guess there might have been people still in line when the horn went off.

At this point I realize that this is a big race. I hear during the welcome pep-talk that there are about 17,000 people running the 5k, the marathon, and the half marathon.

That’s a lot of people.

The way the race is set up is that the 5k has it’s own start/finish area as well as a separate course. The Marathon and Half Marathon start together, and then split into 2 groups after about a mile, but finish at the same place. We were all jammed together, waiting for the starting horn. When it finally happened it was a bit anti-climatic as we all had to walk a ways to even get to the starting line, and then walk a bit before it opened up enough to start jogging.

When we got to the split there were a huge group of volunteers making sure we all went on the right course. I heard from behind me a woman say “Oh my god, could you imagine if you went the wrong way? If you got on the half course after working so hard for a full, and shit, if I went on the full marathon course I would die.” I think we all felt that way, so we were all very careful to follow the directions to the right one.

The first 4 miles were awesome. I ran without music for almost 3, then put in one ear bud. I was on pace, smiling, thanking volunteers and police officers as I passed them – I was so excited to be there, to be able to run this race.

After mile four I started to not feel very good. I stayed hydrated, slowed down a bit, but things were stacked against me, so when I thought I would vomit at mile 5, I decided that maybe walking for a bit would help. So, I did. I wasn’t pleased, but I really did not feel like throwing up on the side of the road. I went back at it after a little bit, made it through the halfway marker, and then had to walk again. This time I walked to a port-a-potty, waited in line, had some water, finished up and went back on the course. Felt better and was back on pace for 7-8.

At mile 8, two things occurred to me:

One was this: On my long training runs I took the advice I read somewhere and broke the distance up into 3rds. So, for say my 12 miler, after the first 4 miles, I said to myself “Part one is done”, then after 8 “Part two is done – lets finish part 3, home stretch” or something of the sort. Well, during the race I had been doing that again, but I realized that today, after 8 miles I still had 5 more to go…and at that moment 5 miles seemed so much farther than 4. My brain started saying things like “You have to run a whole other mile before you even get to say Part 2 is done” and “This isn’t even the home stretch, this is closer to halfway than the finish line”.

Apparently, my brain can be a lying jerk.

Now I’m not in the best mindset, I’m already feeling crappy, and I have what seems an eternity to run still. Then the second thing occurs to me:

When I thought about my ‘pie in the sky’ goal time, I didn’t think about the fact that when I run around town, I am always having to stop for traffic/lights/trains, etc. Little breaks here and there. The key part of this thought is that when I stop to wait for a walk signal, I stop my timer…but during the race it doesn’t. So not only do I need to keep up a quick pace the whole time, but I actually need to go faster now because of the walk breaks. Then I remember my mile 6 pit stop and the 5 minutes that took.

At this point I decide to throw out my goal time and just focus on finishing. I just wanted to finish. I was not having a good time. I was annoyed at having to constantly duck and weave around people. I was annoyed at the runners throwing cups and half empty GU packets at me (very slippery, FYI). I also decided that if I heard another fucking cowbell in my life it would be too soon. I just wanted to run, not think about a million other people around me, and get into the zone, but the million people weren’t going away, and neither were the cowbells, the people with snarky signs like “REMEMBER WHEN RUNNING WAS FUN?”, or the random musicians with amps along the road.

I actually called my husband at mile 9 or so to let him know that I was feeling like shit and not going to be arriving at the time I hoped for. I won’t lie – I started to cry on the phone. I was so disappointed to have worked so hard for so long, to have trained so much faster, and then to be in the middle of the race feeling the way I did. He told me he loved me, that I was still out there doing it, to take my time and he would see me when I got to the finish. He also said he could see the beer tent from where he was standing. He knows how to make me feel better.

I kept plugging along, walked through the water station at mile 11 and decided that I was not going to walk again. That whatever it took I was going to RUN those last 2 miles and if I threw up, so be it.

At mile 12 I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and was in a bit of a daze. I put Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ on repeat and kept moving. I saw the last curve before the finish line and just kept saying “In 2 minutes you will be done” “Before this song ends you will be done”.

I go around the last curve, see the giant stone arches and I say (out loud I think)

“I am going to fucking finish this race! I am DOING THIS!!”

I pick up the pace to what feels like a sprint at this point, run through the arches…and realize that the actual finish line is 100 feet further ahead.finish line v2

Not cool. Not. Cool.

So, I keep up this deranged woman sprint thing I’ve got going on and run to the finish line. I see one of the race photographers and I’m like:

“I’m going to look triumphant and happy in this g-damned photo even if it kills me”


So, I start smiling, keep running until this woman from out of nowhere comes up behind me and jumps in front of me at the FINISH LINE. So, instead of my “I did it!” photo, I’m sure it will be more like this:h4E506987

Oh well….it doesn’t matter, because I FINISHED!!! It felt great to stop running, and it felt great to accomplish this goal.

Mostly, it felt great to just stop running.


(and since you were probably singing it anyway…for you to enjoy – the inspiration for the title)


Man, I wish I had known that….

I ran my last run this morning before my half marathon Saturday. I’ve been thinking for a while now about all the things that I have learned or experienced during this training process, and, since this is me we’re talking about, I thought I would share them!

Things to think about when running a lot – or – Man, I wish I had known that:

1. Running gear is expensive. Good shoes, possibly a watch, gear, and clothing adds up – quickly – even if you stick to stores like Target or Old Navy like I do.

2. The clothes you buy won’t last as long as regular clothes. Not that they’ll fall apart or anything, they will just stink. Like, stay away from others stinky. (I’ve been soaking mine in a mix of chlorine free Oxy-Clean and vinegar, and that has been a big help in getting the funk out of older stuff.)

3. You will be tired. Training for any type of competitive sporty activity will make you more tired than not. Yes, you will get the energy boost from said activity, but you will still have spent hours expending said energy and that will make you sleepy.

4. Think about what the training schedule will be like and really plan how you will do each day. I signed up for my race in the summer when my husband’s schedule was quite relaxed and I could get out easily and had more help around the house and with the kids. Once fall started up and his schedule went back to normal, that all changed. I wish I had realized how much that would change not only my training schedule, but also how it would impact the rest of my day. Running 3-5 miles at 7 or 8 am 3x/week did not affect me the way running 3-5 miles at 5 or 6 am 3x/week did, especially when I was back to being on my own with kids, school, house stuff 90% of the time. (See #3)

5. Talk out the training schedule with your partner if they will be picking up the slack when you are out. I wish I had done that as I think we would have avoided some unspoken resentment along the way. Refer them to point #3 (again). I went to bed earlier, I did less around the house – in general my energy levels were down. (This also had to do with my next point…)

6. Your eating habits and drinking habits will change. This was true more for me as a first timer than someone with more experience. I resisted changing things in those areas because, well, I had changed so much else I didn’t want to, damnit! After I did, though, I wished I had done it earlier.

7. Not all gear is necessary, but don’t skimp on certain things. Shoes are the big ones to get right. Get fitted if possible, but also listen to your feet (I know, I know, but you get it). I didn’t like any of the suggestions I was given for shoes, so I did some research at home and then I called Dick’s Sporting Goods. I spoke with a manager and asked if I could come by (later in the evening but not too close to closing, on a slower weeknight) and try some running shoes on and then test them on one of their treadmills. I gave 7-8 pairs a spin, and the manager (who was also a runner and who had to stand there while I used the machine) was able to spend some time just talking about the shoes and what might be a good fit.

8. Another kind of gear that you shouldn’t skimp on is safety stuff. These days I run more in the dark than during daylight hours, so I wear a reflective vest. I also considered wearing a headlamp, but my town has enough streetlights that I didn’t think it necessary.

(a little blurry, but my 6 year old took it when I got back this morning at 6am when it was cold and dark. Not bad, considering all that!)

(a little blurry, but my 6 year old took it after I got back this morning at 6am when it was cold and dark. Not bad, considering all that!)

9. To follow that…if you run in the dark, make sure you have run the same course in the daylight FIRST. I can attest that sidewalks and roads do not look or feel the same when it is very dark. Plus, shadows can be anything: actual shadows, wet (read:slippery) leaves, holes, or my personal nemesis, the ball bearing of the road: the walnut:photo(47)

10. One last safety thing: be aware of your surroundings. In the dark if I listen to music at all I only use one ear bud. On busy roads I only use one or take them out completely. I am not a ninja runner, but I cannot tell you how many times I have surprised people coming up behind them. They had no idea anyone was approaching them quickly. I live in a safe town, but shitty things can happen anywhere, so keep your head up. Not only that, but no matter how bright your clothing might be, there will be drivers who will not see you. Don’t get so lost in the music that you aren’t safe

11. You might gain weight. My husband runs occasionally (he’s trying to start up again – go honey, go!). After running a few times per week for a month or so he weighed himself at the doctors (we don’t own a scale) and he had lost 7 pounds (woohoo!)! Around the same time, I visited my parents and I used their scale. Now, I was 10-11 weeks into training, logging more miles each month than I had ever thought possible, and – you guessed it – I had gained 7 pounds!! Once I calmed down I realized that yes, the scale had gone up, but I was wearing pants that I had bought 11 years and 3 kids ago. Forget the number and look at the big picture – how healthy you are and how fantastic your butt looks.

12. Be prepared for some not awesome things to happen to your skin. Some people might just be glowing all the time, but others, like myself, might look like a tomato when done running and get blemishes in odd, uncomfortable, or embarrassing places. For the first time ever, I have gotten neck acne. Lovely little bumps below my ears. Super sexy.

13. This is the best stuff ever. Just use

14. While I have had moments where I have absolutely hated the whole idea of running, I am already thinking about what race I might want to try next. I’ve met and reconnected with some really great people through training for this half, and I’m really happy to be here.

I’m sure there is so much more to know, but I haven’t been at it long enough. I also know that this post is long enough as it is!!! Less than 2 days until the race! I’ll let you know how it goes!!!

Note from Me:

I’ve been compiling this list for a while in my head, and when I went to start writing it down I realized that I should properly notate it. You see, I am new to this, and I wasn’t sure if some things were typical or happening just to me, so when in doubt, I googled stuff. The one place I went to for help was a great blog called Shut Up + Run, and Beth who runs it (get it?!?) is a wonderful source for honesty and help. Specifically, after the scale incident I checked there about weight gain. It was on her site that I saw her own list of “20 Things No One Tells You About Running”, and it had the stinky clothes thing, too. I just want to be super clear that I did not steal her thoughts, because that would make me a total thieving jerk.

Hitting the Happy Runner Wall

So I’m running this Half Marathon in about 2.5 weeks. I’ve been really excited about it – I started researching everything that has to do with running, picking the brains of anyone who has ever run anything. I started reading all these running blogs written by women who are going after marathons, triathlons, Half Iron Men, full Iron Men, Iron Crosses, the works…(gotcha). I was happy and focused on this race and the training.

Aaaannndd then I wasn’t. As I said to a friend, “I have hit my ‘happy runner’ wall”. All of a sudden it wasn’t fun. I was exhausted, I was hurting, and I resented all the time I had spent the previous 2+ months training and was already resenting the next month I would have to spend doing these stupid long runs and getting up at the ass-crack of dawn.

I was mad about hurting. Bad knees run in our family, so when they are a little sore, I don’t really worry about it; it passes. Ankle pain was new. It also wasn’t going away. I googled stuff about it six-ways to Sunday, I asked anyone and everyone what they thought it might be. What I didn’t do was see a doctor – the one thing that I should have done right away. Nope. I didn’t want to hear that I couldn’t run the race, not after putting so much into it already. So, like a dummy, I kept running, with every run adding another layer of physical hurt and resentment about the whole damn thing.

I was also really, really tired. Please feel free to laugh at me after I share this next bit:

When I started this whole 13.1 experience, I didn’t really think it would affect my day-to-day life much. I honestly thought:


“Once I just get a few longer runs of maybe, I dunno, 7 miles or so under my belt, it’ll be easy. I’ll just keep going…I mean, that’s over halfway.”


I didn’t think it would be that hard, I didn’t think that I would be very tired from upping my weekly mileage significantly, and I certainly didn’t think I would have to alter my diet/drinking habits. (Let me tell you, I learned that lesson the hard way – fast.)


I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I have never claimed to be a genius.


In this situation I was just really, really, really naïve. I was not expecting half of the crap that came my way during this process. For the most part I was pretty positive about all of it, and if I got a little down I would buy a new running t-shirt as a pick me up.

Then I hit the wall. The exhaustion, the pain, the sustained effort coupled with a few really crappy runs – it got to me. I decided I was just going to be cranky and push through to the race and deal with the ankle after…but then I read a blog post by a runner who had just had major surgery after ignoring an injury for too long.

I did NOT want to end up with some horrendous injury because I was an idiot/coward, so I went to the doctor. (I would be the idiot/coward – not talking trash about another person)

After an exam she ruled out tendonitis, and an x-ray ruled out a stress fracture. It was basic overuse, and I needed to take it easy, and maybe look into something that supported/aligned my ankle more.

So I did – I went easy for the rest of the week, and when I did go out again – guess what? It was fun. I think my brain and (try not to roll your eyes here) my spirit needed the break just as much as my body did.

Then I got a super big boost today in the mail:





I was thrilled, then terrified, then thrilled again, then slightly nauseous. I’m back to feeling excited again. I’ve got a couple of more weeks to train, but I’m going to listen to my body more this time, and most importantly I am going to remember to HAVE FUN!!!




(Side note about buying a new shirt – I have been pretty happy with the running shorts, t-shirts, and sports bras from Old Navy, but I like the pants from Target’s Champion line better. I cannot justify nor afford the crazy running gear that is out there, so these are my main shopping stops. 

Umm…I have no idea if this is protocol, but I see other people doing this: I haven’t been given anything from either ON or Target, these are just my thoughts. If they WANTED to give me some running stuff, though, that would be totally cool. And if Garmin wanted to, say, throw in a Forerunner 10, that would also be totally, totally cool.)



Run Mary, RUN!!!!

I wouldn’t consider myself a runner, but I do run. I wasn’t a runner growing up (field hockey and tennis, thank you very much) and when I had to run for those sports I did not enjoy it. Nope. When I would see people running I would look at their faces and say “Why do these people run when they all look so miserable doing it??” I decided that I was going to be a happy runner when I had to go out and train for the upcoming season. I wasn’t happy to be running, mind you, but if a car was coming I would plaster a giant smile on my face or try to look really serene, thinking I looked something like this:


but I’m pretty sure the effect was more like this:




Suffice it to say, running was not my thing.


That is, until I had children; lovely wonderful children who were so healthy and strong that my body had to make an enormous amount of extra room for them to grow. I know it’s hard to convey sincerity sometimes, but I really am so grateful that my children were not only so healthy, but that I was able to give them the room to grow that they needed. That being said, I don’t love the 2-3 inch gap I have between my abdominal muscles that will never close – or the lovely little flap and pouch that was bestowed upon me as a parting gift.

I started running because one doctor told me not to do any type of exercise that focuses on the abdominal region because he was afraid I would rupture. Great image, huh. I started at a gym, but then realized that if all I could do was some elliptical and treadmill work, it wasn’t worth the price. Then, I moved to running outside, and kind of half-assed things for a year or so. I would ‘train’ (half-assedly) for a Mother’s Day 5K, but then it would be back to the old routine of getting out for a mile or two twice a week, and then only when I really NEEDED to be by myself.

A friend and I were talking recently about running and she had said that she wanted to start up again, but hadn’t hit that point yet where she felt really motivated. We were interrupted a few dozen times before I could either think of a response or actually voice it, but what I thought after was that right now, running is all I have for myself. That, and this blog. I don’t work outside the house, and just about everything I do away from the home is involving or because of my family. I don’t take a class, or meet regularly with others on my own; my attempts to start a business were stalled by state regulations even before I acknowledged that right now might not be the best time for that. Right now, to do something just for me, I run.

One day I ran 4 miles, just because I wanted to see if I could. It was hard, but I did it. A few runs later, I did almost 5. And then I saw a facebook post of a friend who was listing the races she was thinking of doing, and one of them was a Half Marathon. For some reason, that idea just got stuck in my head. We emailed back and forth; she sent me support and a training schedule, and I got started. I told my husband, but no one else. I wanted to see if I could make it through the first few weeks without falling over or turning into a crazy person (see above picture…). I was kind of shocked that I could do it.

I registered a few days ago. I am excited that I am Getting Out (not so urgent these days…no caps needed), and am committing to something challenging. I’ve wanted to call it off a few times, before I even registered, but I kept hearing my husband say this:


“Of course you want to quit, it’s hard…”


Which was the absolute truth. I didn’t want to do it because I was afraid of failing – because this wasn’t easy, and there was a definite chance that my knees might not hold up, or that I wouldn’t be able to train enough in time; this was hard stuff and if I didn’t put the work in, I would fail, and for me that is scary. But even though I am scared at times I love the way I am feeling. It’s been a long time since I had a goal that was just about me, and it’s great to get out there and go at it.




I’m not all the way there yet, but I do know that if I keep trying, I’m not failing. If I give it my best, then I succeeded in challenging myself.

I am going to keep at it, and hopefully come October I will be able to share a wicked awesome photo of me at the finish line.





Hoffing things up

In my recent return to the interwebs I left off with a teaser promising some Hoff. I’m not going to drag it out and make you all wait – it might take a minute to travel down this journey that leads to David Hasselhoff, but we’ll get there. So buckle your seatbelts, grab a snack, and come along with me.

I’ll start this little trip with a quick explanation. My background (genetically) is Irish, English, Scottish, and a smidgeon of Native American. If stereotypes are to be believed I am predisposed to drinking, a quick temper, and bad teeth; I happy to report that only two of those apply, (hat tip to modern dentistry). My temper is what I’ll be talking about today. I’ve always had one, and always will. I’ll probably always be working on controlling it. If you are a parent you know that kids will bring out a temper in even the most mellow person sometimes, so if you are already primed like me, it can be challenging.

Second part of the explanation: Our son who is now six has given us some pretty challenging behavior issues over the past few years. He is a very sweet, smart, empathetic, good little boy, but he has moments where I almost don’t recognize him because his behavior changes so much. I’m trying to be polite about this, but the truth is that he has brought out my temper like I never thought possible. Tantrums, backtalk, hitting, out of control stuff – things that go way beyond ‘just being a little boy’ behavior. It has impacted the entire family at times. We have been ‘dealing’ with this for a really long time and have tried a number of things, but it would work for a little while, and then fall off and we would be back to square one. If you have a ‘challenging’ child you will understand how hard it can be, how draining – emotionally and physically – to deal with that all the time.

My husband and I have had more conversations than I can count about his behavior, what we could try next, what article we read or book we saw about child development and behavior modification techniques… and then I started really looking and really listening from a different perspective.

I knew something had to change. It had to because I hated how our home felt some times. I hated how I sounded, how my husband sounded at times. I hated the fact that I knew I loved my child more than I could bear, but my behavior was not reflecting that. And that’s when it clicked and I said these words to my husband:


“It’s us.”


Now, I won’t go into too much detail, but the basic rundown is that we realized that while our son’s behavior wasn’t great, our response to it was making it all so much worse. We would be consistent with rules and discipline, but how we delivered it was immediately more angry and frustrated than we should have been.

Adults carry things over; we remember that our kids refused to pick up in the morning, threw food at lunch, and hit a sibling in the afternoon, so when they sass us later in the day we carry all of that over. Our response that might have been more evenly toned or consistent with our ideal reaction becomes loud/shrill, angrier, or even just plain nasty. The kids don’t remember anything from earlier, so all they see is Mom or Dad overreacting to a small infraction.

This is what we were doing, all the time. Our son’s behavior challenges had been going on for so long it was like our disciplinary engine was always in 2nd or 3rd gear; we were just waiting for him to screw up or act out – and then ZOOM!, off we went in overdrive. It had become so part of our parenting we didn’t even realize we were doing it.


Still with me? I know this is a long one, and it’s not even really funny, but hang in there!

We started trying to change our responses, to be calmer with all the children. It took a few starts and stops, and we realized that we needed to change one key aspect – how we reminded each other to chill out. Shockingly enough, neither of us responded well to the other person telling them to “Chill out” when their temper was up. Strong eye contact also did not work. Neither did hand gestures.

Enter The Hoff.david-hasselhoff-as-michael-knight-in-knightrider-thumbs-up-1498122592

So here’s how it all went down.

One night the hubs and I were talking about the behavior crap again, and I was saying again that a lot of the fault lay with us, and we needed to calm down (again). We needed a way to remind the other person of our parenting goal, but it needed to be done in a way that didn’t make the other person feel defensive, and it also had to be done in a way that the children didn’t know what we were talking about. We needed a code.

Now, at this point it’s been a looong day and I’ve had 2-3 glasses of wine – keep this in mind as it factors heavily into the flow of this whole thing – and I say:

“It’ll be like a science experiment! We’ll try for the rest of the summer to chill out, and see if there is a correlating response with his behavior!”

Husband: “OK – let’s give it a try. What’s the code going to be?”

Me: (remember – lots of wine already in my tummy) “OK – well, it’s a science experiment…and the first thing I think of when I think of science is Bill Nye the Science Guy! Aaannnd my favorite episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy had this segment about magnets, and the voice over guy went through all sorts of household items going ‘Magnetic or Not?!?’, and then at the end, they showed this picture of DAVID HASSELHOFF and the voice over guy goes something like ‘MAGNETIC PERSONALITY! You be the judge!’ That has made me laugh for like 20 years!!”

At this point my husband is just staring at me.

Me: “We can use Hasselhoff as our code word!! So when one of us is overreacting, the other can say “You’re Hasselhoffing” Or, “Don’t Hoff things up” and the kids won’t have a clue!

Husband: “You want to turn Hasselhoff into a verb.”

Me: “And an adverb!”

So we did. The really crazy thing is that it has worked. As reminders, I have taped up some pictures of The Hoff around the kitchen/family room area. There is even one directly behind my son’s chair in the dining room. The pictures are so wonderfully ridiculous that they make me smile, and right off the bat I am calmer. Not only am I calmer, but my husband is, too. And most importantly we are parenting better with all of our children, and we can see that reflected in their behavior.



There’s ‘Stern Hoff’ giving me the eyeball when I was dishes, telling me to chill out.














‘Puppy Hoff’ and ‘Knight Rider Hoff’ adorn two cabinets in the kitchen and remind me of the important things, like snuggles, love, and of course, puppies.












Finally, ‘Cowboy Hoff’ is taped up directly behind my son’s chair in the dining room, telling me not to ‘Hoff things up’.






It’s great. Really, really great. I do have to explain why there are pictures of David Hasselhoff all over when people visit, but again, it makes me laugh. It sometimes starts a conversation with our guests – how they have a challenging child, how they wish they could change how they responded or how their homes feel. It is so helpful to hear that others are feeling this way. It can be hard to admit as a parent that you are making mistakes, and you don’t know how to make it right, but trust me, you are not alone.


So that is how the Hoff came to join our family. Maybe he’ll join yours, too!



Post Script:


I know that this is a long one already, but if you made it this far you are either my Mom or someone who has also had issues like ours. If you are my Mom, (Hi! Love you!) If you are working on being a calmer parent, then here are some resources I have found helpful:

*The Orange Rhino ( Great online resource. Good for tips on staying calm and for helping remove/move past some of the crappy feelings that come with yelling/anger. (That’s where I got the ‘reminder’ idea)

*This article and ‘method’ Super great. I might need this tattooed somewhere.

*Personal awareness: (courtesy of my Mom) Making sure that I have eaten enough, had enough to drink (water…sad trombone), as much sleep as is possible to get when parents of young children. For me eating is huge. I get hungry easily, and when I am hungry, I am a jerk. My mom knows this, my husband knows this, friends from college know this. Somehow, I didn’t know this, or at least wasn’t aware enough to realize how much it really affects me. I travel with snacks all the time and if I start feeling crabby I try to remember to check in with the tummy and see if I need to appease the beast. I am also trying to make sure that if I am cranky about something else that I don’t take it out on the kids inadvertently.


That’s it for now! Whew! Talk to you soon!

Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone….

Hey there strangers! It’s OK, you can all breathe a sigh of relief: yes, this blog will continue. Your fears that my extended absence meant I wasn’t going to write anymore, while understandably terrifying, are for naught. Here I am!

I hope everyone has been having a lovely summer; things are going along here quite swimmingly. I’ve been thinking of a lot of things to write about, but am having a hard time finishing anything. You see, I have a lot to say about the current state of politics and the continued crap that is being thrown at women in particular, but I don’t want to be “Super Angry Liberal Blog Lady”, and SALBL doesn’t sound cool, so I tabled those drafts until I can write about it more reasonably.

I’d like to write about some funny stuff, but most of the ‘funny’ things I hear these days are about poop and toots, and I’m sure you get enough of those hilarious jokes at home.

I’ve started to write a few things about day-to-day stuff, but then I get a blog post from another brilliantly talented person (ahem) about a similar thing, and I don’t want to be a bore.

And, well, honestly, I’ve been having a great time just hanging out with friends, my family, and my box of wine. I’ve switched to Sauvignon Blanc, just to be crazy!

So that’s it….and now I’ll pretend that you are all super interested in what’s coming up and leave you with a teaser:




(Gotcha with the Hoff, didn’t I? See you soon!)

(Oh, and that whole ‘Summer Schedule’ thing? HAHAHA!!! Nope!! We’ve had a great time without any schedule at all…not only have we had a lot of fun, but our son is reading more and at a higher level, our older daughter is trying out this whole reading thing, and the baby is counting to 11 semi-consistently. Yup, like Spinal Tap, she goes all the way to 11.)