Read To Me, Sissy


Tonight Natalie got started with story time while I finished cleaning up after bath time. This was a much quieter start to bedtime than the usual jumping-on-beds-like-monkeys routine. Natalie and Liberty like Pinkalicious because she is pink and eats cupcakes and calls herself Pinkerella. James likes it when Pinkalicious continues to eat too many cupcakes and turns red, and the pesky little brother who yells “Pinkaboo!” at the end of the book.

On Running

I didn't run here, but I looked for water to swim in here. This is the city surrounded by water with no place to swim. But I found this cliff to sit on instead.

I didn’t run here, but I looked for water to swim in here. This is the city surrounded by water with no place to swim. But I found this cliff to sit on instead.

I have always hated running. I didn’t like how it hurt. I found no joy in running further than 200 yards at a time. I was in track, but I was a sprinter – get it over with as soon as possible- that was my motto. My husband started running to get in better shape and lose weight and I thought he was crazy. It only took a year before I decided to give it a try. And, it hurt. I couldn’t go very far and it was disheartening how tired I was after such as short distance. But I kept going, mostly because it was 20-30 minutes out of the house, by myself, with no one clinging on my legs, whining or begging for something. It was my guaranteed alone time. Unlike biking or walking, it was not even possible for me to take a child running with me. I got addicted to the time alone and the feeling of the “runners high” after finishing a run, especially when I met a new milestone – faster mile, longer distance, longer overall run, etc. I quickly hit a plateau last spring after I had started running. Then, as quickly as I had become addicted, I suffered an injury that kept me from running for months – almost kept me from walking. I started to miss and appreciate more that time alone to reflect and as I figured out how to overcome my t-band injury, I got back out on the trail even more determined than I had been before. I ran last fall, trying hard to increase my miles and failing. It seemed that no matter how hard I pushed myself, I could not meet my goal of 3 miles in 30 minutes. I took up some suggestions from fellow runners and decreased my mileage to try to increase my pace and finally one day I said, “Screw it. I’m just going to run one stinking little mile.” And I did – in well under 10 minutes. I started to wonder if I could run further than 3 miles and as I changed things up, I started meeting my goals. I was elated when I ran a 5k in under 30 minutes; so excited not long after when I ran 4.5 miles in under 45 minutes and very pleased when I was able to run 6 miles this summer at the cabin – and in a time of just over an hour.

Don’t tell anyone, but when I get close to meeting a goal and I can see it in the distance, and I give that last little push, every last ounce of effort I have, for the last 20 feet or so, I literally get the chills. Goosebumps on my arms and legs – like my body knows it has overcome an obstacle. And I celebrate, just a little, in my own mind a small accomplishment.

Don’t get me wrong. I still hate running, which is hard to understand. I usually turn my music up loud for the first mile to try to drown out the voices in my head telling me I should just walk or that running is not all that great. After that first mile, I can usually hit a stride that will carry me through my workout goal. Deep down, though, I’m still a sprinter. And when the goal is distance, I just about let my chest explode to pump my legs faster to¬†just get it over with.

I probably will keep running. I’m not up for marathons or races. This is just for me. For now, while my kids are little and beg constantly of my attention, I have a much easier time giving it to them when I have been able to take some time for just me, shoes to the pavement, and run until it hurts.

It goes without saying that summer with this family includes a lot of swimming, boating, fishing and general playing in the water. We went to a water park Friday with our friends and let the kids swim their hearts out. Seven hours later we loaded up their exhausted bodies and drove them home. And while there weren’t many enthusiastic takers for a dip on Saturday, they were back in the saddle today. Diving in from the side and doing “the cold water challenge” which is a series of commands they have to follow to get wet – stand, jump, kneel, sit, swim! They made this up and it causes them to get wet and giggle without stopping.


On Taking 365 Photos

I was inspired recently by a friend to take a photo every day for a year. The calendar freak in me wanted to wait until January 1st, or at least the first day of another month. But then, the part of me that wishes that I wasn’t such a big procrastinator decided there is no time like the present. I thought about how I could document these 365 days and the meaning that the photos would hold and I remembered this poor, abandoned blog. So last Tuesday I started taking photos. And never posted any. Today is catch up day. I can’t promise to post a photo and story everyday, but I do plan to take a photo everyday. Here are the first few, along with their stories.


I took this photo of my girls in the back of the truck as we shared a picnic watching the rain (and a rainbow) over Lake Menomin while waiting for Taylor to be done with football practice. (8-11-2014)


Tuesday I went for a run in Menomonie, waiting for football practice to be over again. Leaving Menomonie behind was a happy time in my life, aside from missing my friends. I didn’t have a lot of good feelings about Menomonie itself. But running and reflecting made me remember some of the beautiful places there and softened my heart a bit. (8-12-2014)


Liberty enjoys watching You Tube videos of people making play-doh dresses for their dolls. She was completely silent sitting here for over an hour with play-doh and princesses (8-13-2014)


Thursday was the third day of the third week of Google Summer Camp at work. Some of the Math Dept people brought in ingredients to make s’mores because what is summer camp without s’mores? (8-14-2014)


Natalie finally let Riley pull out her other front tooth. “It didn’t even hurt!” she said. (8-15-2014)


Liberty likes to be as close as possible to me at all times. This is her watching cartoons on her iPad as she is actually laying on my back while I am watching Netflix. This is a very typical finding… (8-16-2014)

This Moment: A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


IMG_1340On a recent trip to Pewaukee, WI, James ignited a poultry passion inside himself. He was The Egg Collector. He marched fearlessly into the chicken coop and looked high and low for eggs. He searched every nest box. He made Jessie wait what seemed like hours to check out ever corner and “Wait for dat chicken to way he’s egg.” And, no joke, that chicken did “way he’s egg” while James was waiting. He quickly scooped it up, still warm, and nestled it in the bucket with the others. James did not always wait for chickens to get off of the eggs, either. He stuck his hand under their breast feathers and lifted until he could see if there was an egg there or not. Two more times chickens laid eggs just for James. One laid an egg on the floor, after being chased from her next box. He was very proud to show Grandma Mary all of the eggs he collected. Then, he sadly watched as the bucket of eggs was destroyed by the hungry dogs on the front steps.

I did explain later that all the chickens were girls and that only girl chickens lay eggs. The conversation went something like this:

Me: You know, James, only girl chickens lay eggs.

James: No. Boy chickens lay eggs.

Me: Only girl chickens do.

James: How do you know that?

Me: My dad told me. (First thing that came to mind, where did I learn that anyway?)

James: Well, my dad told me that boy chickens lay eggs (no doubt he did).

Me: Well, they don’t. Boy chickens…. boy chickens… um (What useful non-sexual thing do boy chickens do that would make James proud?)… Boy chickens protect the girl chickens.

James: Yeah. Boy chickens protect the eggs so that they don’t get broken.

Sure. Sure they do – in a roundabout way. I guess…

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Once upon a time on a brisk sunny day in early spring, a mom and three kids were home trying to make it through a crazy day. Mom decided it might be a good idea for the kids to play outside. She invited them to put on their mud boots and go splash in the puddles. The oldest girl asked the mom to go get her sunglasses and the mom obliged. While she was in the house for 3.5 seconds all hell broke loose.

The oldest daughter, who had requested the sunglasses, came crying to the garage door with the wet muddy knees. Turns out she had fallen down in her rush to go find Mom. Through tears she was able to choke out, “And it’s an emergency. James is stuck in the mud!” The mom quickly put on her boots and ran to the side of the house, laughing to indeed find James stuck in the mud.


Stuck in the mud and very unhappy indeed. He said, “Get me out. I’m stuck. Stop laughing.” As he was rescued from the mud, he remarked that he had made a bad choice to go in that mud. The mom agreed, still laughing as James stood waiting for his boots to be retrieved.


The kids all peeled off their frozen, wet, muddy clothes and took a nice warm bath.

The End


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