Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

28 Sep

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Whether it’s happening in The Great Outdoors, or sitting in front of my computer ready to start writing Chapter 1, The Quest is always a good road trip to self discovery.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post.

 

 

 

I Hate Elections Part II, But Hockey Rocks

26 Sep

“I needed to know that regardless of all the mistakes I had made or how lost I was, I was loved.” Lesley Carter from Bucket List Publications.

 

I know that this isn’t always the case with people, especially with some families, where instead of being supportive all they do is use your mistakes, failures, or setbacks to tear you down. They look for any opportunity to push you down, instead of lift you up.

I get that not everybody has a family that’s got their back. I get it. The gossiping and behind-your-back plots that come straight out of a telenovela. I understand. It happens. So it was vitally important for me to lift my son’s spirit when he got word of his Student Council results.

To recap … Pajama Day/No Homework Week, and Pick Up Trash candidates seemed to clinch the two spots. He was heavily on a downer because of it, disappointed and definitely feeling beat down.

And while I was trying to find the right words to let him down easy, I found out there weren’t any. I saw it in his face and felt it in his chest when I hugged him.

So I had an after-school-special moment with him on Saturday about how courageous he was to put himself out there and read his speech. Not many adults can stand in front of a group and read a speech. Not everybody can do that. Not everybody is brave enough to put their ideas out there and it might not feel like it, but he was still awesome.

The fact that he cared enough about his school to try and make a difference was pretty cool. I admired that. I appreciated that he genuinely cared. It wasn’t for popularity. It was because he thought his ideas could help the school.

“Well, I guess there’s always next year,” he said.

“Yup, there’s always next year,” I replied.

And then I gave him all the love I had in that big hug in the parking lot. I wasn’t aware at the time, but I was doing exactly what Lesley Carter had said she needed … to feel loved regardless of the circumstances, just that you would feel loved no matter what happened.

I was worried that love wouldn’t be enough to help him bounce back, this weekend. But after his amazing defensive performance in his first back-to-back hockey game, I’d say he was definitely back.

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He didn’t let the bad news of yesterday effect his moment of today. He had left the Student Council elections in his rear view mirror, and when he got on the ice, he had a clear-eyes-full-hearts moment that lasted the entire weekend. The fact that his sister got him a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles also seemed to help.

 

 

I Hate Elections

23 Sep

I worried, and for good reason, when that goldenrod yellow paper came home in the homework folder.

He was excited about it.

Student Council elections. It was the first time that he was excited about writing three paragraphs. Star Wars, Batman, and the Avengers only got two paragraphs, and it appeared that the reading portion was more important on that one. In any case making a difference at school appeared to be something he was really into, and I worried.

I worried because I didn’t want him to get his hopes up. There were eight students running for two 3rd grade representative positions. And he was feeling confident. He had written a really good essay, but I knew that at this age the essay was not what mattered. Popularity, that was thing, which is why I hate elections.

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🙂

The thing is my son is well liked. He’s got plenty of friends on the playground and in the classroom, but in student council elections, it usually comes down to who is more popular I guess.

So he gave his speech, along with the others, but left early from school for an appointment and I got an email.

His teacher said how great it was that he had given his speech but … there was a but, followed by an unfortunately. And so I read on and I got the news that he hadn’t made it. I figured the chick that suggested no homework for a week, and the other that was planning for pajama Friday’s once a month made the top two. Pajamas. They’re big in elementary school. I mean you don’t even have to get dressed, just roll out of bed. Pajama Friday. Dude.

But he was asleep when I got the email. So unfortunately we have to talk tomorrow. I have to tell him tomorrow … and I worry.  Pajama Friday over Outdoor Garden projects and Sports Days. Some people are not fond of plants and sweat. Pajamas. It’s all about pajamas and flannel. It’s a good fabric, I guess.

Elections. I hate elections.And Pajama Days. They disappoint 3rd-grade hearts. But I know he’ll be all right. He’ll bounce back because he’s my son.

 

 

Daily Post Challenge: Stylish

21 Sep

This set of wheels definitely caught my eye with it’s stylish flair for The Force …

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I think it was my son’s favorite vehicle … ever.

 

Daily Prompt Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

 

 

Not All Accidents Suck … Four Months Later, I Have Orange Gloves

19 Sep

There are a lot of things I would never call happy accidents. Accidents by definition usually suck. However sometimes there are exceptions …

I forgot my daughter’s water bottle in the car. That’s where it all started.

So after returning to the car to get it, going back into the classroom to give it to her and then heading back to my car I ran into this mom. She tells me about this thing called Muay Thai and I was like what?

I’m not of the Jean-Claude Van Damme fitness level, nor do I want to get punched in the face. She assured me it wasn’t that type of class. Intense and driven, but not at the Bloodsport level.

My other excuse was the fact that I was wearing my Big 5 Sweatpants with the hole in the right pocket that was expanding to the outer layers of my sweatpants. The kind of pants usually reserved for household cleaning when no one sees you, or running on the secluded track at the park where distance and a long t-shirt hides the hole. I wasn’t in the mood to be judged by people who wore matching stretchy outfits at a gym

She again assured me it wasn’t like that.

Just try it.

First class for free.

Well I had nothing to lose then.

Little did I know that four months later I’d be excited about Tuesdays and Thursday mornings. Muay Thai Mom Madness had slowly crept up and made it’s way into my inner circle. And that mom? I think she’s lost over 18 pounds and another mom lost like 36 pounds. Me? I gained two.

Funny.

It’s all good. I didn’t really join this Muay Thai Madness for weight loss, because I feel good in my skin. I joined for a different reason. One familiar to a lot of people in sports. So when the coach recently asked a few of us for references, I was more than happy to oblige. I was able to let others know about my reasons and hopefully convince them to pick up a set of gloves and have my coach introduce them to Thailand.

Here’s what I wrote …

 

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I’m not in the picture, but it’s still a great shot of the class.

 

Dear Future Muay Thai Warrior,

I loooooooove my kids but there are some days when you wake up and motherhood beat you down by 9 a.m. You get lost and forget yourself. You forget you used to be badass. That’s where Coach Patrick comes in … I go in like Clark Kent and come out like Superman … Superman in Orange Venum Muay Thai gloves.

And when I walk in all I want to hear is … Esooooooooooo!

If Coach  says that, I smile because I know I’ve done a good job. I know my left hook made an impact. I know the right power punch found the sweet spot on the pad. I know he’s proud of his student.

Some people like to go to class as part of a training regimen for their next fight, others are looking for a new exercise routine to help them stay in shape. But what I look for is how it makes me feeeeeeeel and how it’s become part of my active lifestyle. I love triathlons and obstacle racing, but have also embraced Muay Thai as a way to turn the corner when I lose my balance in life. With his welcoming nature and powerful kicks, Coach infuses the class with technique, style, encouragement, and awareness. His contagious passion for Muay Thai creates an inspiring environment that helps students reach their personal goals.

But not only do you walk away from the class with great combinations, knowledge of Muay Thai, and the ability to knock out an unassuming attacker, you also walk away feeling empowered. That’s something I always look for in whatever I do. So whatever drama, or disaster, life, motherhood, or work awaits, I have this bring-it-on attitude, because I just walked out of Coach Patrick’s Muay Thai class, and I got this. Esoooooooo!

Feeling inspired?

Try something out. You never know. Not all accidents suck.

 

 

America Ninja Warriors On The Playground

17 Sep

Feeling inspired by all the American Ninja Warrior madness, I decided to take my kids out for Worldwide Day of Play! Not that the Guats needed an official excuse to go outdoors, but having a Day of Play celebrated across all Nickelodeon Channels … well that just had Playground America Ninja Warrior written all over it.

I can’t tell you how inspired and addicted my kids are to that show. I feel grateful that they get pumped up after watching stuff like the Olympics, Spartan Races and America Ninja Warrior. As they watch, they’re leaping, running, climbing, and stretching across their kid-made pillow infused obstacle course in the living room. I like that they feel like they can come out in their own Gatordae commercial and that they push each other through these imaginary obstacles and time limits.

I used to wonder what kind of kids I would have when they were still in diapers. Whether they would be avid sports fans and enjoy the Saturday college football rituals, volleyball at the beach, 5K mini runs, Olympic TV watching marathons, or catching a game at the stadium. I was hoping they would be, but you never know.

So when they cheered on athletes during the Olympics that made me smile, when they root for the Kings on the ice it feels good, when they  raise their arms in the air and scream as our team scores a touchdown it warms my heart, but when they created their own obstacle racing adventures on the playground and crowned themselves champions because they  conquered Mount Midoriyama I was high-fiving them all day. When they fell off the course and splashed in the imaginary pool, I enjoyed hearing their post interview, explaining what they think went wrong and how they were going “to try harder next year”. However I will say that the monkey bars still leave me with tiny calluses … My badges of honor.

So … regardless of whether we had an invitation, The Guats celebrated Worldwide Day of Play the America Ninja Warrior way. Hope you guys got out too.

 

 

Daily Post Challenge: Zing!

12 Sep

This conversation definitely has some zing!

 

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Writer Wednesdays: Making an Andre Agassi Comeback

7 Sep

You woke up in the morning before the kids did, ready to write. It’s the only pocket of time you could find in the 24 hour period. You were pumped up with the I got this attitude!

But then you made the mistake of checking your email and then you saw it …

Dear Applicant …

Right there, right off the bat you knew something was wrong. They didn’t even have your name there. You were just “applicant” and then they followed it up with …

We regretfully inform you …

As soon as you hear those words, you know. You feel the punch in your stomach and a pain in your temples that makes you wince. The air is knocked out of you and a wave of sadness, insecurity, and doubt comes crashing in knocking you over. You turned in something you thought was one of your best works, you knew it, you believed it and the “congratulations,” would have validated that thought. But instead all the voices that told you, “maybe you should get a real job,” come rushing in and it hurts a little more.

You break a little, and your shoulders slump as the weight of the “No,” bears down on you as the sun rises. You feel broken and wonder if you should even apply to the other job or agent that’s sitting on top of your to-do pile. You wonder if you should even continue writing the next chapter. You can’t seem to find the writer in you and you a need a moment with all this heaviness that hit you this morning.

You don’t want to wallow in it, but all you do is feel the pain of the no.

But then something gets to you during a deep breath moment. Someone says something on a podcast that reaches your inner Andre Agassi and pulls him out.

“Let your dream be more important than any situation you got going on …”

You realize that you’re discouraged but not defeated. You’re looking for a comeback … an Andre Agassi comeback and it’s in you.

You remember how to pick yourself up off the floor, because you’ve felt failure before. Instead of being stuck in a moment that you can’t get out of, you break free. You lace up your shoes and go running. You grab your gloves and go a couple of round on the bag. You stop thinking I’m-not-where-I’m-supposed-to-be-right-now thoughts, and replace them with how-far-have-I-gotten moments.

You begin to turn the corner in between breaths.

The Andre Agassi comeback is on the horizon.

You turn on the computer and begin to type again.

You got this.

 

 

 

Memories, Monster Mutt, and Duct Tape

5 Sep IMG_5779

“You’re making some great childhood memories.”

That’s what someone told me, when I mentioned our recent Guat Adventure. I wasn’t purposely trying to make memories, I was just trying to have a good time and do something with my kids. The fact that someone saw it that way made me smile, because maybe when my kids look back on their childhood, they’ll remember our trips to the beach every weekend during the summer, our Staycations, book festivals, adventure races and this …

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Our annual cardboard yacht regatta that often reminds me of my own childhood wish to build something and enter a wacky race. Maybe they will look back at growing up with me and it will make them smile.

We came off of this year’s race victorious, beating Minecraft and a Piece of Cherry Pie. We won our heat and it felt awesome to get to the finish line without tipping over. Many boats didn’t seem to make it to the half way point. But we built a seaworthy vessel and it wouldn’t have been possible without duct tape, and multiple trips to our neighborhood Do It Yourself Center. But not just any duct tape … Gorilla Duct Tape … It’s pretty powerful stuff … 9 rolls … had to be right?

I liked the fact that with a little bit of imagination, and a lot of patience and duct tape we turned a measly cardboard box into something pretty awesome. Last year my son decided on Optimist Prime, this year my daughter decided to choose one of her favorites …

 

Monster Mutt Monster Truck.

And just like last year, every part of the process was fun, from the duct tape, to the coloring, to the anticipation of the race, to the spectators judging your boat, to the actual race. Every part of the journey was felt and enjoyed. Those memories were happening and I had no idea because we were just in the moment.

Just like every one else I imagine …

 

 

Memories, Monster Mutt, and duct tape. They made for a great weekend, hopefully one that they’ll want to put away in one of those memory mason jars I keep talking about.

 

 

Buen Camino my friends …

 

 

22 … I’m Up For It, Are You?

2 Sep

Are you up for the challenge?

22 pushups a day. That’s all it takes. Sweating for a good cause to raise awareness about a topic that not many talk about but should.

Mental health. It effects every decision you make, from how you breathe, to whether you get out of bed in the morning and go outside, to handling business at work. Mental health issues effect us all, but today I’m talking about how they effect our veterans.

I learned about the challenge through one of the looooooooves of my life Jax Teller.

Sigh.

He rarely posts anything on social media, but had something to say about the suicide statistic regarding veterans. On average about 22 veterans are killed by suicide a day. When I heard that I couldn’t believe it! 22.

Raising awareness for mental health issues that lead to suicide is something I think is extremely important. Being able to educate ourselves, talk about it, and understand the problems and triggers that lead to thoughts of suicide can help someone change their course. Spreading awareness, education, and compassion can lead to change.

So are you up for it?

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🙂

I am.

This week I became part of the initiative trying to spread the word about #22Pushups and help the organization reach 22 million pushups. Every little bit helps. All of this in order to honor those who served and raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention.

22 pushups a day … for 22 consecutive days.

You got this.